8th March

Spring sprung into action today with not one, but two Wheatears gracing our shores, one on the East Cliffs and one on the West. Black Redstarts also put in a small show with three individuals in new areas. Although we counted the same number of Chiffchaffs as yesterday, they were far more concentrated with six in the immediate area around the Obs and a pair at Reap Lane. Pipits and Wagtails had also begun to move with a very slow trickle of Meadow Pipits following the rain showers, a single Grey Wagtail and 11 alba Wagtails. Five Rooks put in a show over the Crown Estate Fields. The sea was beginning to show some promise with three Common Scoter accompanied by the first Velvet Scoter of the year.

Elsewhere on the island, Penn Castle continued to provide with singles of Black Redstart and Firecrest, a couple of Goldcrests and three Chiffchaffs.

Despite the large amount of suitable habitat, its always a nice surprise when one of the Little Owls is feeling cooperative © Erin Taylor 

Migration action's hardly got into first gear just yet and we're very much still at the clutching at straws level of getting excited with things like high flying Grey Wagtails arriving in/off. What happens to all the Grey Wags that we watch leaving out to sea during the autumn? We have a tiny bit of ringing evidence to suggest that some actually about turn and end up wintering in southern England but you'd imagine that most must surely make it to France. Of the several hundred that we count departing each autumn we're lucky if many more than half-a-dozen are logged returning the next spring - have the others all just succumbed during the winter or do they return by another route? This sort of question could probably be asked about a whole host of migrants but maybe because they're so audibly obvious it seems to be Grey Wagtail that we always end up pondering on... © Martin Cade: