Friday, 16 August 2019

Today was a bit of a wash out. The rain started around 5am and continued, on and off, until 4pm when it seemed to brighten up a little.

Some brave people went out and the weather resulting in some counts of waders, gulls and terns but very few numbers of the small birds. Terns were seen both heading down the west coast and resting in solfach in small numbers with a single Little Tern, two Arctic Terns and eight Sandwich Terns also with a Great Skua heading north along the coast too. Wader counts included an impressive 53 Turnstone, four Ringed Plover and Dunlins, our first juvenile Sanderling of the year, and two Grey Herons

We do have some interesting news back today on a colour ringed Kittiwake spotted in some photos of the flock that built up at the south end earlier this month. The colour ringed bird had 6 rings on and was found to be a bird born in Britany, France, in 2011. It has yet to breed successfully but has attempted and has been seen at its natal colony every yer since it was born. it was last seen at its natal colony on the 4th of August, and it was photographed on Bardsey on the 12th of August.

The Kittiwake photographed on Bardsey
The same Kittiwake photographed in Britany, France, in 2018

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Today the wind picked up to almost 50mph in the morning from the west-north-west and so sea watching took priority. It was dry and fairly clear all day resulting in quite a warm evening in sheltered areas.

The seawatching started well but seemed to go quiet, as the wind let off a little suddenly things started pouring through and counts were made up of 2144 Manx Shearwaters, 1947 Kittiwakes, 217 Gannets, 177 Sandwich Terns, 13 Arctic Terns, 12 Fulmar, six Arctic Skua, four Great Skuas, three Whimbrel, five Common Scoter, and a single Little Tern.

Else where there were singles of Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Peregrine, as well as seven Swifts, a single Little Owl performing well for some guests, a Tree Pipits was hanging around nant, our first Lesser Whitethroat of the autumn was also at nant with 19 Willow Warblers.

Our first Migrant Hawkers of the year, there were five in total including this stunning male the hung up for us, identified by the 'gold tee' mark above the blue band at the top of the abdomen  

A bit of a record shot of the Tree Pipit at nant

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Today brought rain throughout the night and well into the morning. Showers were on and off for the most part but cleared in the evening providing a nice calm night before the winds pick up again tomorrow morning.

A walk in the early morning rain did produce some good counts of waders seen through soaking wet, steamed up binoculars. The star was a Greenshank in with a small flock of Redshanks, a bird that only puts in an appearance a couple of times a year. Turnstones were in high numbers and when the rain cleared they were seen to head south in small groups, the mornings total came to 61. More waders numbers were made up of four Whimbrel, 48 Curlew, 13 Redshank, Two each of Common Sandpiper and Purple Sandpiper and singles of both Dunlin and Sanderling.   

Else where on the island, birds of prey included a single Buzzard and two Kestrels and Peregrines, 18 Common Scoter headed south throughout the day, three Grey Herons were around the narrows with a single Black-headed Gull, pipits included 59 Meadow and 32 Rock, and Wheatears filled the south end with 43 individuals.

One of the few surviving broods of Mallards that will reach adulthood, still sticking close to their mother for now

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Today held blue skies for the most part with a breezing coming in from the north west, but stayed hot especially in the middle of the day.

The morning again produced the birds today with highlights being two Arctic Skuas together off the west coast along with a small number of Common and Arctic Terns. The south end produced two Tree Pipits  in amongst the flock of Meadows Pipits and Linnets that numbered 31 and 129 respectively. This flock has only formed recently and they seem quite active, perhaps waiting for the right time to leave or even being made up of new birds joining everyday as others leave. 

Waders were in good numbers again too, Turnstones were the most abundant with 34 individuals and some juvenile appearing now too. In addition to these there were 12 Redshanks, seven Whimbrel, 43 Curlew.

Other birds of note included 260 Kittiwakes at the south end, 14 each of Pied Wagtail and Wheatear, and singles of Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Grey Heron and Dunlin.

This seal has found the perfect spot for a snooze on the beach today

Monday, 12 August 2019

Today was a reasonably calm day compared to what we have had recently and the sun was out with only a little drizzle of rain in the evening.

Today the highlights came from the morning, when an Osprey headed south along the mountain, nant held 24 Willow Warblers and the south end produced some good numbers with 242 Linnets, 124 Meadow Pipits, 316 Kittiwakes, and 51 Curlew. Birds of prey put in a good show today with the already mentioned Osprey, singles of Buzzard and Peregrine and two Sparrowhawks, a male and a female.

Other good numbers included two Grey Heron, 11 Redshank, 29 Turnstone, a single Mediterranean Gull, two Black-headed Gulls, 40 Rock Pipits, a single Robin, 24 Wheatears and six Chaffinch

Part of the Kittiwake flock building at the south end

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Changeover took place today instead of the usual Saturday, due to the gusty weather. We gladly welcomed the Golden Oldies, amongst them are some quite unforgettable characters that are always great company.

An interesting record for the day was a juvenile Arctic Tern seen at South End by Lewis. It was calling as it sat on the ground, before taking off and doing a quick circle.

Arctic Tern
After the bad weather it seemed as though the butterflies were making the most of the sun today, with many Painted Ladies, Common Blues, Large Whites, Peacocks, Red Admirals, Meadow Browns and Graylings littering the island!
Painted Lady
Other birds around include: seven Dunlins, one Kestrel, one Buzzard, one Sparrowhawk, 54 Curlews, five Whimbrels, six Redshanks, one Common Sandpiper, four Sandwich Terns, two Robins and 200 Linnets.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Today we saw some weather on Bardsey. The wind was up to 60mph from some reports from the south west creating a really rough sea! With this in mind there was only one thing to do, seawatch.

From the observatory and from the north hide a total seawatch went from 07:00 until 13:00. The number of Manx Shearwaters passing was the most impressive spectacle as they streamed through heading south off the west coast passing at around 2000 an hour at times! The days total tallied 11,786 but there must have been more. Other good totals included three Balearics, two Black Terns, two Wood Sandpipers, two Arctic Skuas, one Great Skua, three Sandwich Terns, 12 Commic Terns, 177 Gannets, 29 Fulmar, 193 Kittiwakes and a single Swift.   

A walk around the south end and the narrows at close to high tide really made you feel like you were on a remote island. The waves out to sea seemed taller than the land you were standing on at points and as they rolled in toppling over themselves they crashed into the rocky shores, rushing into small in-coves, splashing up and drenching you with sea water. quite a spectacle. Waders were feeding amongst the mountains of seaweed that had been thrown up and flocks were made up of mostly Turnstone and Dunlins with 35 and six respectively along with seven Redshank and a single Sanderling.

Manx Shearwaters over a rough sea

Friday, 9 August 2019

A few days ago some strong winds were forecast, and today was the first day of said strong winds. It was gusting at 50mph with heavy rain pouring down at irregular intervals, and so no boats made a crossing over to Bardsey. But tomorrow is forecast to be worse, which means that our 'Golden Oldies' have lost a day of their time here!

A morning seawatch was slightly less productive than hoped, but between the hours of 0800-0930, 67 Gannets, four Razorbills, 51 Kittiwakes, seven Sandwich Terns, three Common Terns and 863 Manx Shearwaters were seen, mainly flying south.

Good wader counts were had today though, particularly for Turnstones of which there were 46 (the year's high count!), also around were 28 Dunlins, one Sanderling, four Ringed Plover, three Whimbrels, 50 Curlews, seven Redshanks and three Common Sandpipers.

Because of the waders down on the beach and the strong winds, the assistant wardens attempted to catch a few after the sun went down. Unfortunately the tide was going out at the same time the sun disappeared. We hoped it wouldn't matter too much, but in the end we just about caught two Dunlins and narrowly missed a Common Sandpiper. Still, all good fun though... If a bit wet and windy!

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Today was the calm before the storm, it was a flat calm day with blue skies and sunshine throughout with temperatures in the 20's.

There were signs of some migration today with two Pied Flycatchers and three Spotted Flycatchers seen across the island today. There were 12 Willow Warblers at nant and more throughout the withys and the first Garden Warbler of the autumn was caught and ringed at the observatory. Linnets were counted at 82 today and a single mobile Redpoll was heard from the observatory. More Wheatears were present along the west coast today, there were 16 around the island with a single 'Greenland' bird at the north end. The island also saw another day of flying ants seen at the north and the south end pulling in large numbers of gulls. Some Smaller gulls were seen feeding at the north end including seven Black-headed Gulls and two juvenile Mediterranean Gulls bring the days count up to four after two were seen pasting the west coast in the morning. Last but not least the first egret of the autumn was found by a couple of North American visitors, a Little Egret in cafn where the boat comes in.

Offshore a pod of 18 or so Common Dolphins kept the departing guests happy and a few Risso Dolphins were offshore too.

Juvenile Mediterranean Gull off the west coast                                   Lewis Hooper

Rock Samphire can be seen across much of the coast and has flowered amazingly this year

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

The wind today was gusting at 20mph from the south west. Manx Shearwater burrow checks were done today, the average weight of the ones checked today (which all seem to have hatched in the same couple of weeks is 550 grams, but the heaviest now weighs 629 grams. Still 100 or so to go before it's ready to face the outside world.

We're starting to Manx Shearwaters under these piles of fluff
A Little Owl was yapping in Nant valley once again today and providing good views. This year there has only been one definite successful breeding attempt on Bardsey.
Little Owl
Other birds around include: two Purple Sandpipers, four Dunlins, 13 Whimbrels, 61 Curlews, 14 Redshanks, 14 Common Sandpipers, three Razorbills and four Sedge Warblers.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Today the wind really picked up from the south west and it was the first time in a while that we didn't get a boat.

The first good seawatch of the autumn saw 1300 Manx Shearwaters, a single Balearic Shearwater, 67 Gannets, 27 Kittiwakes, three Mediterranean Gulls and seven Sandwich Terns in a 4 hour period on and off.

Elsewhere in land the majority of the sightings came from the south end and the narrows as most of the time during the day was spent clearing out the tractor shed and putting up the nets in the withys. Wader numbers included nine Redshank, two each of Sanderling and Dunlin, three Common Sandpipers, 45 Curlew, ten Whimbrel, and 13 Turnstone. Other good counts included 33 Linnets, 22 Rock Pipits, another four Sandwhich Terns and a small flock of Meadow Pipits at the tip of the south end perhaps waiting for the right conditions to head south.

Juvenile Herring Gull showing the typical pale patch in the inner primaries and the dark tail-band with a streaked rump. 

Sandwich Terns heading south

Monday, 5 August 2019

It was once again calm today, however the weather had turned the night/early morning before and absolutely drenched the volunteer and staff member who were out ringing Manx Shearwaters! The nets were opened the next morning too, but the ringing session was easily the least productive of the week, yielding just two re-trap Blackbirds and a re-trap Wren!

The withies were strimmed and lopped today ready to catch passing migrants, which are starting to trickle in already.

Oak Eggars
Manx Shearwater burrows were checked once again for their weekly measurements, many are starting to grow their juvenile plumage now and moulting out of their fluffy down.
Later in the afternoon there was a football match on the Narrows between almost everyone on the island, which was good fun although definitely left some of us hobbling our achey bones around around afterwards!

Birds around today include: two juvenile Peregrines, two Kestrels, one Sanderling, six Dunlins, 26 Curlews, two Whimbrels, 10 Redshanks, three Common Sandpipers, one Turnstone, four Black-headed Gulls, three Sandwich Terns and one White Wagtail

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Today the weather started with some overdue heavy rain much wanted by us and the observaroty to re-fill our well a little but not ideal for the guests first full day. The weather soon cleared up and from mid-day it was dry and warm.

The biggest change seen today was in the number of waders, at high tide solfach and the narrows held 25 Dunlin, seven of which were  juveniles, four Common Sandpipers, 12 Redshank, 36 Turnstone, two each of Ringed Plover and Purple Sandpiper and a single Sanderling. Also a notable increase in Rock Pipits with a whopping 36 on the narrows alone.

A few things were seen moving past the west coast including three Black-headed Gulls, six Sandwich Tern, a bird that is becoming regularly seen offshore now, and over the mountain two Kestrels were hunting and a Sparrowhawk moved through.

Grass emerald

Our first Ruby Tiger of the year

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Today was incredibly calm, leaving the sea almost as flat as it can get around Bardsey. Notable birds today were five Mediterranean Gulls and 13 Common Scoters that were seen in small a couple of small flocks and some single individuals, mostly males. There were two Ringed Plovers and 24 Dunlins today too. during an evening dazzling session one Dunlin was seen down on Solfach with a thermal imaging camera and was then caught along with four Wheatears.

Wader numbers remained reasonably high; 11 Whimbrels, 29 Curlews, 22 Redshanks, one Green Sandpiper, three Common Sandpipers and seven Turnstones.

Other birds around include: 89 Linnets, 8 Chaffinches, three Cormorants, 261 Herring Gulls, 118 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and six Sandwich Terns.

Friday, 2 August 2019

Today the weather was clear, warm and calm all day and temperature rocketed up into the mid 20's in the early afternoon.

A mornings walk produced the only birds of the day really with a Crossbill over the wetlands, a lone Golden Plover over the wetlands too, a brief Green Sandpiper the dropped into Gareth's pond, and a count of 15 Sedge Warblers throughout the wetlands.

Elsewhere Wheatear numbers were up to 17 with more juvenile appearing, two Robins were caught at the observatory and nant which is a noteworthy sighting, and 73 Swallows cruise over the pools generally heading south through the island. Waders again were in good numbers with a single Snipe, Whimbrel, Ringed Plover, and Common Sandpiper as well as 11 Redshank and four Dunlin.

Oystercatchers fighting over there places

A fresh looking Wheatear in the evening sun                                         Lewis Hooper

Thursday, 1 August 2019

A calm and sunny morning gave Bardsey a passing view of a Cory's Shearwater! It was seen by Paul Massey flying north along the west coast at 8:45, giving just the one view. Definitely motivation to start more seawatching.

The first Manx Shearwater chicks were ringed today, starting with the sample burrows. So far just the South End plot has been ringed, but over the course of the next two weeks they will all get done.

More Willow Warblers on the move today, although we're still not reaching huge numbers, there were 28 recorded today, including eight that were trapped at Cristin. But, with 18 Sedge Warblers in the withies, and a Grasshopper Warbler caught at Cristin, there must have been movement through the island.

Grasshopper Warbler

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Today the wind picked up from the west and some light rain in the morning gave a different feel to the day.

A seawatch in the morning produced a few good birds, Manx Shearwaters numbered almost 500 per hour and along with them there were 16 Kittiwake, five of which were juveniles, 5 Sandwich Terns, a single Common Tern and two Golden Plover, the first two of the autumn.

Elsewhere the mountain held two Kestrels and a Buzzard, the first juvenile Dunlin was seen on solfach with eight Redshank and 48 Rock Pipits. Warblers numbered five Sedge, five Common Whitethroat, nine Chiffchaff and 18 Willow Warblers.

A colour ringed Rock Pipit 

One of the two Grey Herrons today

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Cloudier today, with small patches of rain around midday. A juvenile Cuckoo flew from Ty Pellaf into the withies in the early morning. Along with this, three Mediterranean Gulls flew south over Solfach, and a Black-headed Gull was sitting with the Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls just off the South End.

The first Tree Pipit and Pied Flycatcher of the Autumn was seen at Nant, hopefully quite a few more will be moving through Bardsey in the coming days and weeks.

It was another decent day for waders, 10 Common Sandpipers, one Dunlin, two Snipe, six Whimbrels, 34 Curlews, eight Redshanks, six Turnstones and one juvenile Ringed Plover were seen throughout the day.

Monday, 29 July 2019

Today was a stunning day, blue skies an the wind soon calmed leaving the sea flat calm.

The offshore action stole the show today with dolphins being easily seen as the breached from the calm water. A minimum of nine Risso's Dolphins were seen off the south end and up the west coast, always a crowd pleaser and great to see them coming back to spend the autumn here as usual. Also, two smaller dolphins were picked up heading south together, the fins were smaller and as they got closer one was regularly breaching showing a beaked appearance making these Bottle-nosed Dolphins.

In some avian news there had been a small clear out, a juvenile Cuckoo was still around, Meadow Pipits and Rock Pipits had increased slightly with 52 and 41 each. Swallows and House Martins are starting to show some movement too with 52 and 14 of each as well as just four Sand Martins in with the flocks. A single Kestrel was at the south end of the island as well as a Sparrowhawk with something in its talons in the middle of the island, the first one seen for a while.

Oak Eggar from a few days ago

One of several Peacock butterflies today, some of which were seen heading off the island heading out to sea south

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Sunny and breezy once again, and the first full day for some of our birding guests this week. An early walk down to the narrows produced a decent count of 16 Whimbrels, plus 41 Curlews out on Carreg yr Honwy. Linnets are starting to flock together now, up to 60 can be seen together.


It's the tail end of the breeding season for most of the seabirds on the East Side, however the Kittiwakes are still on chicks (although a lot are practically juveniles) and so a count of Kittiwake nests and juveniles was finished off today. Viewing the cliffs from the water reveals quite a few nests that can't be seen from the land, so we now have a full count.

Other birds: one Sandwich Tern, one Cuckoo, seven Swifts, five Whitethroats, nine Chiffchaffs, 22 Willow Warblers, four Goldcrests, five Chaffinches and the Shelducks still have their chick.

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Today was only half a days birding due to the guests change over. but the weather was warm and fairly calm allowing for some good counts in the evening. The arrival of some 'birdy' guests means there will be more coverage over the coming week.

The main change today was the number of juvenile Willow Warblers on the ground, a count at the plantation saw an increase to 12 individuals but the real surprise was a walk around the gorse at the south end produced 17 birds! The days total was 31, our first autumn 'fall' and it has provided some motivation for the start of autumn migration. 

Passerine numbers were slowly increasing else where too, Linnet flocks were forming up the coast and on the narrows with a good count of 92 today, Meadow Pipits and Rock Pipits numbered 28 and 23 respectively and seven Wheatears were counted including a few smart looking birds in places we don't normally see them, migrants perhaps?

Wader numbers are still fairly constant with 17 Turnstones, five Common Sandpipers, 11 Redshanks, 20 Curlew, 14 Whimbrel, a single Snipe up the west coast and two Purple Sandpipers in the small wader flock.

Turnstones on the rocks

Willow Warbler in the evening sun

Friday, 26 July 2019

Today was hot, in many places around the UK record temperatures were being recorded. Bardsey experienced a south west breeze which made things a bit more bearable.

Three Gannets were feeding at Solfach in the late morning, providing some nice close views, although it must be said that it didn't look as if they were having much success! They moved on within half an hour...
Four Grey Herons flew around South End before landing at the rocks south of Solfach, three of them were immature birds, presumably in their second calendar year, the fourth was an adult.
Somehow the Shelduck pair at Solfach are still holding onto their single duckling, although it is at least two and a half weeks old it's so small that it looks as though it could have hatched yesterday!

Other birds include: one Buzzard, eight Purple Sandpipers, one Dunlin, 10 Whimbrels, 32 Curlews, six Redshanks, four Common Sandpipers, nine Turnstones, eight Black-headed Gulls and three Sedge Warblers.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Today the UK saw one of the hottest days every recorded and although the west coast didn't get the heat like the east coast did we still felt the heat! It was blue skies and sunshine all day and the temperature got up to 26oc but was kept down by the wind coming in from the south west.

A walk around the plantation in the morning was productive with an increase to eight juvenile Willow Warblers, four juvenile Chiffchaffs were being fed by their parent and the first Spotted Flycatcher of the autumn was a nice addition.

In keeping with the theme of the past week the waders again put in a good show with the Curlew flock at high tide being a theme, today there were 51 counted. The rocks along the narrows are a good place for the waders at high tide and one small flock included nine Redshank, six Whimbrel, 16 Turnstone, two Common Sandpipers, and two Sanderling. 

Chiffchaff family                             Lewis Hooper

Bright lemony juvenile Willow Warbler

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

The weather was slightly cooler today, which it must be said was quite welcome, as walking round the island is a bit nicer when you have a cool breeze! Heavy cloud rolled in about midday and the bird censuses produced good numbers of waders with a high count of 59 Curlews, nine Redshanks, 11 Whimbrels, nine Common Sandpipers, 10 Turnstones, 11 Dunlins, six Purple Sandpipers, one Sanderlings and 59 Oystercatchers. One Mediterranean Gull was seen flying past west coast along with three Black-headed Gulls. The Little Owl was once again making its presence known at the top end of Nant Valley!
The chicks are getting big! This one is three weeks old

Meadow Browns have been getting hard to count recently as there are so many!

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

The misty cool start to the day quickly cleared as the sun got up and it turned into a scorching hot day.

Birds of note on the island were still a good flock of Linnets making up 49 birds, four juvenile Willow Warblers still at nant along with the Goldcrest family which are always very vocal but are becoming harder to see. Whitethroats were up to eight, a few more fresh looking birds turning up in odd places, perhaps migrants.
In the evening the temperature was just right to be sat outside enjoying the calm sea, but this was soon interrupted by an eruption of flying ants pouring out of every crack in every wall and taking off in their hundreds into the air, quite a sight. This was soon followed by the screaming sound of Swifts high above clearly taking advantage of the situation, the flock was estimated at around 65 birds along with 30 Swallows.

In non-avian news a good range of butterflies were out today including, Painted Ladies, Red Admirals, Small Tortoise Shells, Meadow Browns, Peacocks , Common Blues, Small Coppers, Green-veined Whites and Large Whites.

Common Blue

Meadow Pipit 

Monday, 22 July 2019

It was pretty windy today, with gusts up to 40mph coming from the south west. It was also slightly on the wet side in the morning too, but once that had cleared it was time to start checking Manx Shearwater burrows to so how many pairs had succeeded in hatching an egg and raising a chick.

so far, the productivity of the Bardsey Manx Shearwaters is just over 70%, there is only one egg left which may or may not hatch. All the others at this stage are either failed at the egg/early chick stage, or are still raising chicks.

Whitethroats have bred successfully on the island this year, this morning one juvenile bird flew into the ringing hut whilst a staff member was int there and was ringed, slightly unexpected but good nonetheless.
Juvenile Whitethroat
Birds around include: 1006 Manx Shearwaters in an hour seawatch, 50 Gannets, five Puffins (and a distinct total lack of other auk species), three Shelducks, one Peregrine, one Ringed Plover, one Dunlin, one Redshank, six Curlews, one Whimbrel, one Common Sandpiper, one Mediterranean Gull and two Swifts.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

The start of some stormy weather this week was felt this evening when the wind really started to pick up from the south-west, for the most part however the day was dry and warm with a breeze throughout.

The main news from today came from a trip around the east side to evaluate how the breeding birds are doing, namely the Kittiwakes. 91 juvenile Kittiwakes were counted from various nest sites, most of which were almost fully grown and three juveniles were even seen fledged from the nest! Some estimate counts of other juvenile birds were also made, at least 35 juvenile Shags were seen, some sporting some fresh darvic rings out on this year, 110 juvenile Herring Gulls and 63 juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gulls were also rough counts.

Elsewhere the first juvenile Willow Warblers were at nant looking very smart with there fresh plumage, a bright lemon yellow colour. Also, an adult Willow Warbler was seen feeding three juvenile proving the breeding of this species on the island this year, a very good record indeed! a Linnet flock is starting to build on the narrows now, a flock of 40 birds were seen there today feeding on the seeds that get knocked off by people walking through the grass. Some wader counts at high tide included 97 Oystercatchers, a single Dunlin, 12 Whimbrels, 42 Curlews, 11 Redshanks, three Common Sandpipers and 13 Turnstones.

A fledged Juvenile Kittiwake                       Lewis Hooper

Kittiwake nest with that is around average size for juveniles at the moment                       Lewis Hooper

Saturday, 20 July 2019

The wind had picked up over night, and the guests got off to a late departure today. However, by the afternoon it was generally a nice calm day.

A morning hour long seawatch yielded 583 Manx Shearwaters. Wader numbers were still quite strong today with: 52 Oystercatchers, one Dunlin, seven Whimbrels, 22 Curlews, 11 Redshanks, one Common Sandpiper and three Turnstone. A Black-headed Gull was down on Solfach today, moulting through to its non-breeding plumage, losing the dark head feathers.

The Little Owl is still at Nant Valley and squawks very determinedly  at anyone who comes within sight of it, but it does provide good views.

Little Owl                                                    Lewis Hooper
Fledgling Wheatear, still growing its tail                                      Lewis Hooper

Juvenile Stonechat                                                      Lewis Hooper

Friday, 19 July 2019

Today started very differently to what we have been getting used to. The sunshine disappeared and was replaced in the early morning by a downpour of rain and some thick fog which at time was wet to walk through. The rain was on and off for most of the day and the fog didn't clear until the afternoon.

A mornings walk at high tide was again useful for wader counts, although the fog meant you had to get a good look at any waders taking off from the rocks quickly before they vanished into the murk. Our first returning Sanderlings were seen today with two briefly off the south end and another three seen feeding on solfach with two Dunlin. Whimbrels totalled 12, seven Redshank were around along with 11 Turnstone and four Common Sandpipers.

Passerine were still few and far between apart from the usual breeding birds, Rock Pipits tallied 27 today, perhaps a few adults migrating through, and the narrows held lots of juvenile Pied Wagtails and some second brood juvenile Wheatears.

An hours seawatch in the evening from the observatory saw 681 Manx Shearwaters past in an hour, if we get some stronger winds from the west over the coming week we are hoping to get a few more seabirds in the mix.

Juvenile Wheatear

Juvenile Wren

Thursday, 18 July 2019

The wind had picked up just slightly today and was blowing from the west. Wader numbers are building with 15 Whimbrels, seven redshanks, eight Common Sandpipers, five turnstones, three Purple Sandpipers and a whopping 49 Curlews moving between Carreg yr Honwy and South End. Also around were two Mediterranean Gulls, both first year birds.
26 of the flock of 49 Curlews off South End. Adult Curlews undergo a wing moult earlier in the year than Whimbrels (which don't start until around September) which can be a useful ID feature when seen from a distance. Look closely to see that many of these birds are moulting their primaries.

Mediterranean Gull
Other birds around include: one Little Owl, 14 Swallows, 23 Rock Pipits, 12 Pied Wagtails, and 19 Wheatears.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Today started pleasantly with a bit of wind but dry and still warm. The forecast said it was going to be a little windy but dry throughout the day but the Bardsey weather systems had other ideas and the rain started around midday and lasted into the evening as the wind picked up more and more.

Once again the main highlights were the returning waders and a walk around the south end, the narrows and the west coast produced some good totals. Waders included and whopping 45 Curlew, ten Whimbrel, 13 Redshank, 12 Common Sandpipers, five Turnstone, and two Dunlin.

Other birds around the island involved 25 Rock Pipits involving a lot of juveniles on the rocks around the narrows, also the Shelducks are hanging onto their last chick of their latest brood. There were also more juveniles including second brood Wheatears and some young gulls starting the make there way around from the east side of the island to join the gull flocks on the narrows and around pwl cain.

Buff Arches from the other night, first of the year

Beast of the young GBBG!

A nice Wheatear family, this youngster still being looked out for