Sunday 31st December 2017

With a couple of killer weeks at work, and with the late dawns and early dusks, birding was mainly put on hold in December. On the 2nd Dec I did manage a second go at the Foulon for Hawfinches. It took a while of wandering around until I finally saw one fly in and perch right at the top of a tree. Unfortunately it immediately flew further on towards the main gates and I couldn't see where it landed exactly. I searched the area carefully and I was beginning to think that I had lost the bird when it suddenly appeared right in the middle of a Yew Tree - a good view of a Hawfinch at last! It wasn't close enough or bright enough to get fabulous photos but I managed one or two when it appeared on the very top twigs. I raced back to get another birder who was looking for them and we watched it again for a while in the same tree before it dissolved away into the foliage and disappeared.

 Hawfinch - Foulon Cemetery, 2 Dec 17 a.jpg

Hawfinch - Foulon Cemetery, 2 Dec 17 a.jpg

  Short-toed Treecreeper - Foulon Cemetery, 2 Dec 17

Short-toed Treecreeper - Foulon Cemetery, 2 Dec 17

I had a few walks on Vazon beach at high tides to see what had washed up after the very windy weather. One evening, the beach was littered with hundreds of By-the-wind-sailors (Velella velella). This species, related to the jellyfish, floats across the ocean, powered only by the wind catching in its 'sail', therefore is very susceptible to being 'beached'. This was also notable because it is officially my 2500th species of wildlife that I have recorded in the UK & CI. Quite a nice, unusual species to hit this landmark with.

 By-the-wind-sailor - Vazon, 15 Dec 17

By-the-wind-sailor - Vazon, 15 Dec 17

 Blonde Ray egg case - Vazon, 1 Dec 17

Blonde Ray egg case - Vazon, 1 Dec 17

Later on in the month I went for another look at the Whooper Swan and it was showing very nicely by the roadside on 19th Dec. Whilst waiting to pick up a couple of Christmas shoppers at Havelet on 21st Dec, I saw the usual wintering Common Sandpiper at the bathing pools and a huge Grey Seal swimming in the bay. And, apart from a couple of checks of the patch, that was that for the year.

 Whooper Swan - Rue a Fresnes, Castel, 19 Dec 17

Whooper Swan - Rue a Fresnes, Castel, 19 Dec 17

Something else I finally got on with was to make a little homemade light box for the photography of some of my specimens. This was done by using cardboard and tracing paper to diffuse the light from my lamps, to try and cut down on ugly reflections off the shiny surfaces of the insects. I think it is working really well and I have put a few examples below. The rove beetle Quedius levicollis is notable because I think it is a new species for Guernsey, found in my garden when I was weeding.

HHM STE 19Sep15.jpg
Quedius levicollis STE 15Oct17b.jpg
Stenoria analis STE 21Aug17.jpg
Phaleria cadaverina PtSoif 7Aug17.jpg