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Sat 3rd September 2011

Posted on September 4, 2011 at 5:15 PM

For the last few days of the summer holidays Rosie took little Anais away to visit Peppa Pig World in the UK, so I was home alone with the older two kiddiwinks. After one day spent teaching them how to become experts at lounging around the house (it was rainy), we visited the woods at Petit Bot, which I haven't been to for ages. There were very few birds around, which one would expect at the time of year - just calling Bullfinches, Long-tailed Tits and Short-toed Treecreepers in the tree tops. I did see lots of Water-Pepper which is a new plant for me, and Abigail discovered some pretty cool fungi on a fallen branch, which she identified herself as King Alfred's Cakes when she got home and looked on the internet - and when I looked them up in my new fungi book, she was totally correct.

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King Alfred's Cakes - Petit Bot, Sep 2011

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For the last week, whilst relaxing in the garden in the afternoons, we have been accompanied by the distinctive melody of fairground music. This is because a mini-fairground had decided that it would mop up the last few pounds of parents' summer cash by plonking itself literally at the end of our road. With this constant musical backdrop continually calling the children towards it, I eventually gave in, especially because Abigail adores Merry-go-rounds.

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Aidan & Abigail on the Merry-go-round (a.k.a Money-go-down)

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As you can see, Aidan is rather wary and looks a bit pensive as he sits atop his rooster. The actual Merry-go-round was pretty fantastic to be fair. It looked like a real old-style one. The pot-bellied guy who was operating it said that it had been restored but was originally built in 1881 and, although it isn't generally wise to take the word of a fairground worker, I could well believe it.

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This morning, the conditions looked pretty good for some arriving migrants and indeed I had a Yellow Wagtail go low over the house. Late morning, I saw on the website that Chris had trapped a Bluethroat at the Claire Mare. Although nationally not that rare, the last record in Guernsey was in 1996 so this was quite a big deal. But the bird had flown from the hand and had not been seen again. Since Rosie had returned from England, I thought that it was worth a punt and late afternoon I gave it a go. Searching the whole reedbed would have been madness, so I considered that the ditch below the Tamarisks by the path to be my only chance. The habitat there looks great for a skulking Bluethroat.

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The Tamarisks at the Claire Mare - couldn't you just imagine a Bluethroat hopping around underneath there?

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So I walked the trees a few times then found a gap where I could see underneath and sat down and waited. And of course, what came hopping into view? Yes, a Wren. There were 2 Chiffchaffs and a Blackbird in there but no Bluethroat. It had clearly found a better spot to hide. Whilst lying in the grass a few Greenshank called overhead and a Schreckensteinia festaliella landed on my trousers. Well at least I gave it a shot. You certainly won't see things if you don't try. Back at the hide, a Little Stint was feeding at the far side of the pond. I haven't seen one in Guernsey for ages, but it does seem to have been a good year for them nationally.

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Little Stint - Claire Mare, 3 Sep 11

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So another dip then. That's two in a row. Back to work on Monday though, and with it, more regular birding. Hopefully this September will produce out a top rarity.

Categories: 2011 Autumn