27th February to 5th March –The first Puffins and some other spring arrivals


Strong to moderate
easterlies and northeasterlies blew in up to the 4th before switching to a
light northerly on 5th. It was overcast and cold but there was no rain.

Seven Teal were counted on Pondsbury on 28th and four were
still present on 5th. The highest count of Mallard was 19 (15 females and four
males) on 5th. The most interesting duck this week was a female Shoveler which
was flushed off Pondsbury. At the time of writing it is still present on the
island. Although common on the mainland this constitutes the 14th record for
the island since LFS records began in 1947. The last was a male on 2nd November

A Stock Dove first seen in Millcombe on 2nd was present up
to the 5th. There was a high count of three Woodpigeon on 1st. Two Water Rail
were seen on 4th, one by Quarters and another below Brambles Villa.

It turned out to be an excellent week for early wader
migration. Single Golden Plover flew over on 2nd and 3rd. A flock of 15 was on
the airstrip on 4th and nine were present on 5th. A Lapwing was in Barton Field
on 4th and then on the airstrip on 5th. A Curlew was in High Street Field on
5th. Nine Purple Sandpiper were still at Brazen Ward on 5th and a single bird
was seen at Hell’s Gate on 4th. Woodcock were seen on both 4th and 5th. A few
Snipe are still present with two on 28th and 1st and singles on 27th, 3rd, 4th
and 5th.

Golden Plover, Airstrip © Stuart Cossey
Curlew, Brick Field © Stuart Cossey
Purple Sandpipers, Brazen Ward © Stuart Cossey

Gulls are still congregating in the Village fields with up
to 145 Herring Gull. A small congregation of immature Great Black-backed Gulls has
formed below Benjamin’s Chair with 13 counted on 3rd. A Common Gull was seen on
4th and a Blackheaded Gull flew past the Church on 5th.

Auks are returning to the island in large numbers. At Jenny’s
Cove on 28th there were 5100 Guillemot, 700 Razorbill and amazingly three
Puffins. This is the second earliest returning date after 27th February 2019. Another
count on 5th saw 2000 Guillemot, 300 Razorbill and 45 Puffins

One of the first three Puffins, Jenny’s Cove © Stuart Cossey

The first Cormorant of the year flew north on 27th. There
were then four north on 4th and six flying north on 5th. In the calm Landing
Bay on 5th a total of 24 Shag were counted as well as two Great Northern Divers
and a single Redthroated Diver.

The female Sparrowhawk and Merlin are still present and
Peregrines are becoming a common sight as they display over the Village.
Surprisingly after a two week absence the Jackdaw was seen again on 27th and
was seen around the Village and Lambing Shed for the rest of the week.

Female Sparrowhawk, Millcombe © Stuart Cossey
Jackdaw, High Street Field © Stuart Cossey

Skylark have been singing above South West Field when the
weather has been warm enough, with hopefully more arriving in the next few
weeks. A Chiffchaff was in Millcombe on 3rd and 4th. A Firecrest was in Millcombe
on 2nd and another was in Quarter Wall Copse on 5th. A small increase in
Goldcrest was noted on 5th with four along the East Side and Millcombe. Single
Redwing were seen on 27th and 5th. A male Black Redstart was seen on 3rd and a
female on 4th. The first Wheatear of the year was a male seen up by Dead Cow

A notable passage of Meadow Pipit occurred on 3rd with 184
counted including a large grounded flock of 110 in Tent Field. 83 were counted on
4th but some of these were assumed to be birds from the previous day. As well
as Meadow Pipits, five unidentified alba wagtails and two Pied Wagtails flew
north. 35 Chaffinch were counted in Millcombe on 5th showing a notable influx
over the max count of eight for the last week. Other notable finch passage
include a Goldfinch and a flock of 18 Linnet over on 2nd.

In non-avian news, a Hummingbird Hawkmoth was found
hibernating in the Carpenters Workshop on 3rd.

Contributors: Stuart Cossey, Rosie Ellis, Joe Parker, Martin