Saturday 26th October 2019
Walking through the narrow lanes around Kings Mills we encountered several sizeable flocks of chaffinches that were searching the stubble fields and hedgerows for food. We checked the individual birds as best we could, as they dashed from open ground to the shelter of the trees and back again. We were hoping that there might be a Brambling with them, but on this occasion we drew a blank.
Adding to the feeling that we were definitely into ‘winter ‘ birding were the numbers of song thrushes and blackbirds around and a lone fieldfare, which put in a brief appearance.
We saw a buzzard and a sparrow hawk and from the hides at the Rue des Bergers reserve, we saw a great spotted woodpecker and heard a Cetti’s warbler singing.
The pond itself was fairly quiet, with only one teal present.
We found what was possibly a family of white wagtails, and a couple of pied wagtails and some meadow pipits around a herd of cows, while near the stream that runs under the Rue des Bergers, we saw a grey wagtail.
These were just the highlights, of a very interesting couple of hours.
Wednesday 6th November 2019
A small group of us enjoyed a highly productive 2 hour stroll through the lanes from Bordeaux to Les Miellettes and back. At least 40 species of birds were seen well, and this total could easily have been higher as no birds of prey were seen on the walk.
The main theme of the morning were the sheer number of birds that were in the island to overwinter or to feed before moving on to other areas.
We started off by enjoying the sight of a 20 strong flock of Brent geese in Bordeaux harbour. These had travelled from their breeding grounds in Siberia to spend the winter in our much milder climate.
In among the boulders at the top of the beach was a female Black redstart, another bird that had travelled a long way to our shores, this time from Central Europe.
Further along the beach we came across a flock of Turnstones a small Wader that makes a huge migration from its Arctic breeding grounds to its wintering grounds in Europe and further south.
In the fields bordering the nearby lanes, we came upon flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare, these are members of the thrush family and come from Northern Europe to feed in milder areas, on berries and worms. They are on the move all winter, searching for food and sheltered areas throughout Western Europe. They were accompanied by flocks of Starlings, which come to our island from Eastern Europe.
Another northern species that we were delighted to see were the 2 male Brambling that were feeding with a flock of Chaffinches in a field off the Miellette lane. Nearby, 2 female bullfinches were spotted quietly feeding on blackberries in a small quarry. This species, in contrast to most of the others we saw, is highly sedentary and would most likely spend there whole lives in Guernsey.
It was a fascinating morning and we all felt that the birds were enjoying the calm mild weather, after the recent storms.