Sunday 16th October 2016

After the excitement of mid-September, the rest of the month was somewhat dull. I was hoping for a nice rarity to go and twitch but there were none found. Late-September usually shows a slow down from earlier in the month here on the island and so it was not a huge surprise and anyway, due to the schedule of Rosie's shifts, I did not really have any chance for some quality birding time. However, by the 29th Sep when I had my first two Grey Wagtails of the season at Pulias, I knew the late autumn migrants were starting to come in.

The first proper session I managed was on 8th Oct when I managed a morning around Pleinmont with the Sultans. We hoped that the huge number of rarities that had arrived in the UK in the preceding weeks had maybe filtered down to us, especially since the first Yellow-browed Warblers had been seen here in the last few days. However, we were almost astonished that we could not find any of these Siberian sprites in any of the Pleinmont valleys, with only a single Firecrest picked out amongst the small number of Chiffchaffs. Up on the top, things were not much better, with only a bit of thrush movement evident - we had a Ring Ouzel and a few Redwings in amongst the larger numbers of Song Thrushes and Blackbirds. So we left the headland very disappointed not to have seen any even semi-rarities.

So I headed for home earlier than planned which gave me a little bit of time to check the patch. I stopped at Rousse headland and the first bird I saw when I reached the bottom of the gardens, a rather nice Yellow-browed Warbler! After checking the massive wooded valleys at Pleinmont and failing, I find one in this little clump of bushes. But I suppose that the small groups of trees really focus the birds into one small area and so are easier to pick up. There are so many trees at Pleinmont, you'd really need a small army of birders to check them all. And if a YBW isn't calling - like this one wasn't - then it would be so easy to walk past any number of them. At least with the smallnumber of trees at Rousse I don't feel like I am missing birds.

 Yellow-browed Warbler - Rousse - 8 Oct 16

Yellow-browed Warbler - Rousse - 8 Oct 16

This small group of trees between the gardens on Rousse headland and the Peninsula Hotel is one of my favourite locations and one which has the 'feel' of a good spot. This is the second time Ihave had Yellow-browed there and it always has the odd migrant and I am sure that I am going to find a real cracker there one Autumn in the future. And if you are reading this and are thinking of finding one there yourself - back off! I have "first baggie" on this!

 The bottom of the gardens at Rousse - one of my favourite sites

The bottom of the gardens at Rousse - one of my favourite sites

On 10th Oct, the wind changed to a bit more northerly after the autumn consisting of mainly wind directions between south and east. So instead of searching the headlands after work I opted for a brief seawatch from Pulias and got lucky with both a flock of 3 Common Scoter and a single Bonxie past in just a few minutes.

Other birds seen during the early part of October were both Skylark and Whinchat at Vazon on 11th and 3 Firecrests together at Le Guet on 14th. We still have not had anything really good this autumn and I have not had a local tick this year. Surely it's going to come soon, surely.

 Barred Sallow - garden - 14 Oct 16 - a new species for the garden and rare in Guernsey with less than 10 records.

Barred Sallow - garden - 14 Oct 16 - a new species for the garden and rare in Guernsey with less than 10 records.

 Western Conifer Seed Bug in the garden

Western Conifer Seed Bug in the garden