Time for the annual LATT trip to somewhere in the north-west and Ouessant was the destination of choice again this year. Things had been looking good with a decent selection of birds seen there in the preceeding week but, as ever with birding, nothing is guaranteed. We arrived and while organising access to our rented house the first good bird turned up: a gentle, bubbling “bruuuup, bruuup, bruuup” indicated a Bee-eater somewhere overhead but try as I might I couldn’t pick it up. Throughout the day this bird toured the island while calling constantly and was recorded by most of the birders present but actually only seen by a handful.

As usual I did my own thing over the following days but it soon became clear that most of the good birds from the previous week had departed. A group of Whooper Swans (Cygnus cygnus) were an interesting sight having apparently arrived last week in an exhausted state (presumably from Iceland ?). One of the juveniles had succumbed to the rigours of migration within a day and the rest of the family party installed themselves in the marsh below the Creac’h lighthouse where they showed pretty well most days.

Most of the rest of the week was a little disappointing though still enjoyable. The weather wasn’t particularly favourable for bringing migrants to the island being rather windy from the north-west and showery at times. However, the lure of seawatching in these conditions meant that most of the birders on the island were up at the Creac’h lighthouse on 19th where a minimum of 29 Cory‘s (Calonectris borealis) and 16 Great Shearwaters (Puffinus gravis) were noted, the latter a French tick too. The weather continued to deteriorate to such an extent that we decided to leave the island a day early as there was some risk that the ferry would not operat on the Saturday due to the conditions. All in all not a bad week but next year I think we’ll go there earlier in October !

Ouessant, 14-20 October 2017