Tuesday, 19 September 2017

In most respects today was a fairly quiet day, with a few nice oddities thrown into the mix. However, the standout highlight in terms of migration spectacles was some excellent visible migration of hirundines. Chief amongst these were 896 Swallows, with 89 House Martins and five Sand Martins thrown in for good measure. 16 Grey Wagtails, 20 "alba" Wagtails, three Skylarks and a Merlin also passed over, while it was a good day too for Finches, the 95 Goldfinches, 21 Chaffinches, five Siskins and four Lesser Redpolls were a mixture of birds lingering on the island and passing through. It was a similar story with Meadow Pipits, of which 218 were logged today, many of those heading out to sea or passing over Pen Cristin, but others lingering around the island. A bit of Carrion Crow movement was also logged; six headed south over the South End in the morning, doubling back just a few minutes later. Five that headed north from the North End towards the Llyn Peninsula at dusk were making a more concerted attempt to leave the island!

On the land, both the Wryneck and the Barn Owl remained for their fourth and third day respectively, the highlights of a modest selection of new arrivals was a Pied Flycatcher trapped and ringed at Nant and a juvenile Yellow Wagtail that pitched in near the South End hide in the morning. Otherwise most totals were a bit lower than yesterday, with 111 Goldcrests, 34 Robins, 19 Stonechats and 12 Chiffchaffs the commonest migrants. Seven Blackcaps, two Whitethroats and singles of Willow Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher were all else that could be mustered up. Around the coast, increases were noted in the number of Rock Pipits and White Wagtails, with 35 and 22 seen respectively.

Wryneck- Ephraim Perfect; Ephraim's Bird Blog

Out to sea there were two main highlights, both off the South End. Early in the morning, a nice Black-throated Diver headed West, just the second record of the year. More unexpected, given the flat calm conditions, was a juvenile Long-tailed Skua passing close inshore at around mid-day, most unusual! Two Pomarine Skuas were also seen, including one adult with spoons. A little bit of early morning duck passage was again noted, with seven Wigeons and 23 Common Scoters, and three Grey Herons heading west past the South End Hide were a bit odd. Otherwise, most of the interesting sightings were amongst the Kittiwake flock, with the total for this species numbering 3132 today. Scanning through them picked out most of the 13 Arctic Skuas, three Great Skuas, 24 Black-headed and nine Common Gulls and seven Sandwich, six Arctic, three Common and three "Commic" Terns.

The most interesting wader sightings were singles of Knot and Purple Sandpiper roosting on the Narrows at high tide. Otherwise there seemed to have been a bit of a clearout, with lower totals of 43 Curlews, 28 Turnstones and ten Redshanks. Five Dunlins, four Whimbrels and a Snipe were the best of the rest.

Monday, 18 September 2017

A clear and calm night saw a considerable reduction in the numbers of many migrants compared to yesterday. However, a fair variety of species were still to be seen. Lingering on were the Wryneck at Ty Pellaf, the Treecreeper retrapped at Cristin and the Barn Owl around Nant. The most common grounded migrants were 112 Meadow Pipits, 111 Goldcrests, 41 Robins and 20 each of Chiffchaff and Stonechat. Some diversity was supplied by six Blackcaps, one Willow Warbler, four Wheatears, three Spotted Flycatchers, two Song Thrushes, 12 White Wagtails, 18 Goldfinches and three Lesser Redpolls. Meanwhile, overhead 98 Swallows were the only Hirundines on the move, with 53 "alba" Wagtails, 17 Grey Wagtails, 16 Ravens, three Skylarks and a Buzzard also moving through.

On the sea, the standout highlight was three Shovelers heading west off the South End in the morning; there are fewer than 30 records of this species for Bardsey! Two Wigeons and seven Common Scoters were also on the move, while the Kittiwake flocked numbered 3200. As usual, a few interesting species could be picked up amongst them, today including 133 Black-headed Gulls, 22 Common Gulls, three Sandwich Terns and one Pomarine, nine Arctic and six Great Skuas. 225 Razorbills and 43 Gannets were recorded today too, while Manx Shearwaters numbered a pitiful six. The only other seabird of note was an Arctic Tern in Henllwyn.

55 Turnstones, 53 Curlews, 39 Oystercatchers and 14 Redshanks comprised the bulk of the waders recorded today. Four Snipe were also flushed up from wet areas in the lowlands, there were singles of Dunlin and Whimbrel on Solfach, and the first Common Sandpiper in some time was on the South End.
we haven't got many photos from recent days to show you, so enjoy one more of the bird of the autumn so far!
Ephraim Perfect; Ephraim's Bird Blog

Sunday, 17 September 2017

With weather as favourable as it was today, you're almost guaranteed to get a decent days migration in September on somewhere like Bardsey. While it didn't necessarily feel very busy today, interesting birds arrived and passed through in a reasonably steady stream throughout the day, resulting in the most diverse roll call of the autumn to date.

The most obvious arrival was of Goldcrests, with 178 and probably a lot of turnover from the similar number recorded yesterday. Birds appeared to arrive throughout the afternoon, with for example 60 on Nant Mountain at about 13:00 mostly filtering into the Plantation. Meanwhile several island scarcities were seen, including a Barn Owl at Nant, two Treecreepers at Cristin (where it was ringed) and the Plantation, and Mistle Thrush and the lingering Wryneck from yesterday on the Mountainside. Warblers were better represented than in recent days, although only a very modest 13 Chiffchaffs were recorded, with other species being 11 Blackcaps, five Whitethroats, four Willow Warblers and singles of Sedge and Garden Warbler.
Treecreeper trapped and ringed at Cristin

72 Robins were ticking all over the island, with 17 each of Wheatears and Stonechats gracing the island too. The first hints of finch passage came with totals of 129 Linnets, 39 Goldfinches, 11 Chaffinches (a definite arrival given the tiny numbers resident on the island) and a single Siskin. A single Collared Dove lingered on, while 39 Carrion Crows may well have included some arrivals, and a party of nine Ravens headed south along the Mountainside. Other overhead passage was also strong, with 164 Swallows, 62 House Martins, 278 Meadow Pipits, 53 "alba" Wagtails, 26 Grey Wagtails, six White Wagtails and seven Skylarks among the passerines passing through the island. A minimum of five Kestrels were also seen, with one lingering and four heading north over the Mountain, and three Sparrowhawks, a  Merlin and a Buzzard also passed through.

Several of the waders seen today were also noted "vis-migging", including a Golden Plover that flew up the Narrows and landed on Pen Cristin, and all of the days seven Dunlins. Other species seen on a good day for diversity were 57 Curlews, 33 Turnstones, nine Redshanks, eight Ringed Plovers, six Whimbrels, three Snipes and a single Knot. Two Teal briefly in Solfach were also notable.

Out to sea it was generally very quiet. However, 5650 Kittiwakes were off the South End, and searching through these was how almost all the interesting seabirds of the day were picked out; 83 Black-headed Gulls, 36 Common Gulls, 26 Sandwich Terns, seven Arctic Terns, 26 "commic" Terns, nine Arctic Skuas, four Great Skuas and two Pomarine Skuas. Otherwise 24 Common Scoters moving through was the only sighting of note on a very quiet days seawatching.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

With calmer conditions and a hint of North-east in the wind, it wasn't too much of a surprise to at last get some passage on the land today. Most obvious amongst a good selection of new arrivals were 182 Goldcrests, with a couple seemingly in every tree and gorse bush (and the odd individual even in sea caves around the coast), on the best day for this species this year so far.

There were also 71 Robins, again the largest arrival of this species in 2017 on Bardsey. On the ground, other migrants were represented by 234 Meadow Pipits, 27 Chiffchaffs, four Willow Warblers, nine Blackcaps, nine Wheatears, two Spotted Flycatchers, 21 Goldfinches, a single Collared Dove and, in one of the day's highlights, a fine Wryneck that showed well on the Mountainside between Cristin and Ty Pellaf. Overhead there were 62 Swallows, 30 "Alba" Wagtails, 17 Grey Wagtails, nine Ravens, two Skylarks, two Kestrels and a single Buzzard.

The BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER was still on the South End in the morning, last seen at about 10:45. An attempt to refind it with the incoming guests in the afternoon was unsuccessful, and it is presumed to have migrated onwards; it had already been seen flying strongly out to sea once in the morning before returning. It was also a decent day for wader diversity, with the best species being a single Golden Plover on the South End and a very approachable young Bar-tailed Godwit on the Narrows. Otherwise 65 Oystercatchers, 28 Turnstones, 24 Curlews, nine Redshanks, four Whimbrels and singles of Dunlin and Snipe were noted.

On the sea, very little was moving, a total of 40 Common Scoters being the days most notable sighting. Otherwise there was another adult Little Gull, 34 Black-headed Gulls, two Common Gulls and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull, two Arctic and two Great Skuas, 29 Sandwich and five Arctic Terns and just 33 Manx Shearwaters and 22 Gannets noted. It's also now the time of year when Grey Seal pups are popping out all over the coastline.

Friday, 15 September 2017

With the predominantly westerly airflow over the past week, Obs staff had been hoping, too optimistically we thought, for a nice neararctic wader to kickstart the autumn. With a quiet day for seawatching, we'd even walked all the grassy fields around the island hoping to find one! The glory, however, was taken by two guests staying at Cristin, who reported to us a very tame wader, which they described as a "small Whimbrel", being only a bit larger than a Dunlin, with a very short bill and straw-yellow legs. We all had our hunches, and to everyone's delight their description was spot on, at about 16:00 we confirmed the sighting as a first-winter BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER! It continued to delight the small group of birders currently present on the island for the rest of the day, and could be very approachable. A selection of some of the best photos are below.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper (www.ephraimperfect.co.uk)

Before the excitement of the rarity, however, it had been a pretty quiet day. Out to sea, there had been a little bit of passage off the South End, although 910 Kittiwakes were the only species moving in remotely large numbers. A nice flurry of Tern passage and the odd gull was also seen, with 33 Arctic Terns, 29 Sandwich Terns and two each of Common, "Commic" and Little Terns (the fourth and fifth of an excellent year), 23 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, one Black-headed Gull, one Common Gull and one Little Gull. Otherwise seven Canada Geese were the highlight, with 94 Gannets, 47 Manx Shearwaters, 38 Gannets, 11 Common Scoters and four Arctic and two Great Skuas the best of the rest. One of two Kestrels seen during the day also headed out to sea over the South End.

Other waders for the day were represented by 54 Curlews, 28 Turnstones, 11 Redshanks, a good count of eight Whimbrels, two Snipes in the Wetlands and singles of Dunlin, Purple Sandpiper and Ringed Plover. On land it was even quieter, with 56 Goldcrests, four Chiffchaffs and the first four Starlings in a while on land, 12 White Wagtails on the South End and the Narrows, and eight Grey Wagtails through overhead.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Today was another productive day out to sea, while not quite scaling the heights of our fantastic seawatch on the 11th, a very good selection of species were seen. Highlights were another nine Leach's Petrel and a brilliant total of six Sabine's Gulls. The big movers were 5200 Kittiwakes, 2063 Manx Shearwaters, 893 Razorbils and 113 Gannets, while there was a good passage of terns featuring 80 Arctic Terns, 54 Sandwich Terns, four Common Terns and a Little Tern, our third record of the year. It's always a fine day for seawatching when four skua species are had, although numbers were more modest today; 14 Arctic Skuas, nine Great Skuas and singles of Pomarine and Long-tailed Skua. The other highlight was an adult Little Gull off the South End, while the supporting cast were 27 Common Scoters, ten Guillemots, three Black-headed Gulls, two Common Gulls and a single Grey Heron, heading west off the South End.

On the land there had been a small arrival, with a bit more of an autumnal feel to some of the new species. 55 Goldcrests, 23 Chiffchaffs, 20 Robins and 18 White Wagtails were the commonest species, with 22 "Alba" Wagtails, three Grey Wagtails and a single Sand Martin through overhead. There were two each of Blackcap and Wheatear, and singles of Skylark, Spotted Flycatcher, Collared Dove and Water Rail, the latter two the first records of the autumn. A good day for falcons saw three Peregrines, two Kestrels and a single immature Merlin recorded.

A very quiet day for waders, with the exception of an arrival of 58 Curlews. 15 each of Redshanks and Turnstones and three Whimbrels were all that was on offer otherwise.

Rosy Minor, Ephraim Perfect; Ephraim's Bird Blog 

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Another fine day on Bardsey where, once again, seawatching stole the show. Despite conditions not quite being ideal, a further nine Leach's Petrels were seen today, mostly in the afternoon. Five Sabine's Gulls, two Little Gulls (the first of the year), a Little Tern, a Black Tern and four Long-tailed Skuas were the other highlights of another fine day at the office, with a very good back-up cast were also recorded. With five Common Gulls and three Black-headed Gulls joining the regular species, Bardsey had an eight-gull-day for the first time this year. 30 Lesser Black-backed Gulls moved south through the island too, while as in most recent days, Kittiwakes were the most abundant bird; a grand total of 11,362, the highest count this year, was recorded.

2001 Razorbills, 1260 Manx Shearwaters and 322 Gannets were the next most numerous species, while it was a good day for Terns. Alongside the above-mentioned species 61 Arctic, 63 Sandwich, four Common and three "Commic" Terns passed through. It was another excellent day for Arctic Skuas with 36 seen, and ten Great Skuas in addition. 73 Guillemots was the highest count since the breeding season, and two Puffins off the South End were a late record. Finally, nine Common Scoters passed through in the morning.

On the land, the highlights were a Firecrest at the Plantation and the lingering Ring Ouzel. Very little quantity of birds was recorded, with 38 Goldcrests, 19 Chiffchaffs, 19 Robins, two Blackcaps and a Goldfinch on land, three Grey Wagtails and a Merlin overhead and 26 White Wagtails around the coast. The most interesting waders of the day were two Golden Plovers that passed through out to sea, as did almost all of the day's 22 Dunlins. On the land, two Purple Sandpipers were a nice surprise for island residents taking part in the weekly guided walk, with other species logged being 21 Curlews, 19 Turnstones, 15 Oystercatchers, seven Redshanks and five Ringed Plovers. It was the first day in several months that not a single Whimbrel was to be seen!

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

After the incredible feats of the 11th, today was always likely to be something of an anticlimax. Nontheless, a decent day's seawatching was had, and in slightly calmer conditions an arrival of migrants was noted on land to keep observers entertained.

Offshore the big four were in decent numbers, especially Kittiwakes, with a huge northbound passage off the South End comprising most of the 9683 recorded today. Razorbills continue their steady autumn passage, with 1158 logged today, while our counts of 250 Manx Shearwaters and 193 Gannets were down on yesterdays impressive passage. Skua numbers were also down, although 15 Arctic Skuas, nine Great Skuas and a Pomarine Skua is nontheless a respectable total. The two most unusual species of the day were a Little Egret heading North out of the Sound, and a single Leach's Petrel early in the morning off the North End. Otherwise, sea passage featured 33 Sandwich Terns, three Arctics and two Commons, 53 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 20 Common Scoters, a Guillemot and a Diver sp 

Overhead passage hotted up a bit today, and included a year's best 33 Grey Wagtails, 24 "Alba" Wagtails, and a single Sand Martin amongst a very modest passage of Swallows that barely reached double figures. Three Kestrels today included two that flew out over the South End, with at least one returning some ten minutes later, while a Buzzard over the South End was presumably thinking of doing the same. A Merlin was over the Mountain, but one of the most notable sightings was a party of 27 Ravens that headed south, attempting to cross the Irish Sea before quickly suffering a change of heart. The day total of 29 was the highest count since 52 seen on 4 Oct 2011.

A brilliant passage of 132 White Wagtails was logged today, with up to 67 together on Solfach. 98 Meadow Pipits were also counted around the South End and the Lowlands, with the first Lapland Bunting for the autumn seen and heard briefly over the Narrows, and the first two Goldfinches for over a week also logged. In the bushes, there had been an overnight arrival of 88 Goldcrests and 30 Chiffchaffs, but otherwise little could be gleaned; 18 Robins, five Blackcaps, singles of Whitethroat and Willow Warbler and the lingering Ring Ouzel around the Obs were as good as it got.

After several days where waders put in a good showing, today's total was limited to routine fare. 38 Curlews and 21 Turnstones were the only species to reach double figures, with otherwise just five Redshanks, four Ringed Plovers, two each of Whimbrels and Purple Sandpipers and a single Dunlin.
Dunlin - Ephraim Perfect; Ephraim's Bird Blog

Monday, 11 September 2017

Today saw Bardsey engaged in an inter-island bird race against Bird Observatories from across Britain and Ireland. We'll need to finalise our counts (and are still hoping for a calling Little Owl!), but will update with our final total once we've sorted it out tomorrow. However, it just so happened to coincide with one of the most remarkable days seawatching in the Observatory's long history. Two records were broken, with some other fantastic counts being recorded.

The commonest species of the day were 8462 Kittiwakes, 1526 Manx Shearwaters 1162 Gannets, the latter being the fourth highest day total in the history of Bardsey. However perhaps the most remarkable totals from today were 70 Arctic Skuas and 57 Great Skuas, both of which smashed their previous island records of 50 and 39. Six Pomarine Skuas and two Long-tailed Skuas were also logged, the latter being an addition to the year-list. In addition, the island was graced by a magnificent 38 Leach's Petrels, giving all obs staff and volunteers, and several guests, the chance to catch up with one of our most elusive seabirds. Many passed close inshore, giving lucky observers brilliant views, and today was undoubtedly one of the ornithological highlights of the year so far. A selection of photos or some of the petrels is below.

One of the 1162 Gannet seen today

The other highlights of the day show an excellent range of diversity and quality. Quality came from our first Black-throated Diver of the year, a Sooty Shearwater, a Storm Petrel, the first Grey Phalarope of the year and five Sabine's Gulls. Razorbill numbers continue to grow, with 711 logged today, and 10 Guillemots amongst them. Terns on the move included 63 Sandwich Terns, 18 Arctic Terns, four Common Terns and a single Commic Tern, while other species logged included 61 Fulmars, 38 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, three Black-headed Gulls and five Common Scoters. Four Harbour Porpoises and a single Risso's Dolphin were also offshore.

Amongst an excellent selection of waders were several recorded only on seawatching, namely four Ruffs, six Golden Plovers and four Bar-tailed Godwits. Otherwise 58 Curlews, 45 Oystercatchers, 43 Turnstones and 16 Redshanks were good counts, with six Ringed Plovers, five Dunlins, three Whimbrels and singles of Purple Sandpiper and Snipe.

On such a day, landbirds were relegated to the bottom of the pecking order. 33 Goldcrests were around, while warblers featured just nine Chiffchaffs, two Blackcaps, one Whitethroat and one Willow Warbler. 39 Rock Pipits and 18 White Wagtails were around the coast, and in the bushes there were also 13 Robins, two Wheatears and a Spotted Flycatcher. A Skylark on the North End was also the first record of the autumn.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Another good day's seawatching was had today, though numbers of most species were down on yesterday. 468 Kittiwakes, 247 Manx Shearwaters and 241 Gannets moved through, with Razorbill passage now becoming a sustained feature of the autumn, 175 were tallied today. 48 Common Scoters passed through on a good day, joining them were five Wigeons, a belated addition to the 2017 yearlist. 19 Sandwich Terns were the other main feature of sea passage, while Skuas numbered 11 Arctic Skuas, three Great Skuas and a Pomarine Skua. Three Mediterranean Gulls, a Red-throated Diver and a Balearic Shearwater finished off a good day's totals.
Gannet, Ephraim Perfect; Ephraim's Bird Blog

The regular waders were in low numbers today, but there were quite a few interesting sightings. 30 Bar-tailed Godwits and a single Black-tailed Godwit passed south off the North End in the afternoon, with three more Ruffs and most of the days 16 Whimbrels and 15 Dunlins also logged while seawatching. Five Purple Sandpipers, a Common Sandpiper and a Lapwing were all notable on the Narrows. The regulars came to 18 Oystercatchers, 11 Turnstones, nine Curlews, six Ringed Plovers and a single Redshank.

Another early Ring Ouzel, the second of the autumn, was the highlight of a scattering of migrants on the land. 66 Goldcrests, 20 Robins and 19 Chiffchaffs were the most numberous species, while other warblers numbered just four Willow Warblers and two each of Whitethroats and Blackcaps. 20 White Wagtails were around the Narrows, with four Wheatears scattered around and two Spotted Flycatchers. Overhead eight Grey Wagtails were the only migrants on the move.  

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Seawatching was, for the most part, the order of the day today, with a good selection of species. It was a pretty good day for skua passage, with 13 Great Skuas, nine Arctic Skuas and five Pomarine Skuas heading south, plus one distant Skua sp. Our first Leach's Petrel of the year also headed south past the North End, seen well by two observers in the morning. A Little Tern south off the North End was also our first record this year of a less than annual species. There was a sustained southbound passage of 1952 Kittiwakes, 680 Manx Shearwaters, 487 Gannets and 294 Razorbills, our largest counts of the autumn so far for the latter two species.  There was also an obvious passage of 44 Sandwich Terns, with five Arctic Terns also logged. Other species logged on a good day for diversity included 48 Fulmars, 12 Guillemots, nine Black-headed Gulls and two each of Common and Mediterranean Gulls.

Also noted on seawatching were our first six Ruffs of the year heading south, the highlight of a small selection of waders that also included a Golden Plover in the North-west Fields. The best of the rest of a modest selection were 16 Redshanks, three Curlews, five Dunlins and a Whimbrel. Meanwhile two decent raptors were noted, a female Merlin in/off at the South End on a very stormy morning, and the third Osprey of the year headed south over the Mountain when it calmed down in the afternoon.

By about 16:00 the stormy fronts had moved through the island, and it was clear that a decent selection of passerines had been grounded. 48 Goldcrests and 42 Chiffchaffs were the bulk of passage, with just four Willow Warblers, thus marking it as the first day of autumn where Chiffchaff was the commoner species. A good count of 14 Blackcaps was also logged, with two Whitethroats and a Sedge Warbler the rest of the species logged. 17 Robins and two Wheatears were the only chats grounded, with 18 White Wagtails also present. Overhead 29 alba Wagtails and four Grey Wagtails moved through.

Little Owl, Ephraim Perfect; Ephraim's Bird Blog

Friday, 8 September 2017

A stiff south-westerly breeze for most of the day hampered any real hopes of passerine migration, but a decent passage over the sea was noted. There was a near constant stream of 1695 Kittiwakes, 598 Manx Shearwaters and 372 Gannets made up the bulk of passage, while in higher than usual numbers also were 40 Sandwich Terns and 32 Cormorants. All three Skuas were logged, with three Great Skuas, two Pomarine Skuas and a single Arctic, plus one unidentified skua sp. Making up the rest were 25 Fulmars, 34 Razorbills, three Guillemots, three Common Scoters and a Common Gull.

an impressive weather front moving through the island mid-afternoon

Not many waders were to be seen, with the highest numbers being 26 Dunlins, all in parties heading south over the coast. 21 Oystercatchers, 12 Curlews, ten Turnstones, eight Redshanks and singles of Ringed Plover and Whimbrel were also noted.

Passerine migration was very modest today, overhead there were 42 Swallows, four Grey Wagtails and a single Siskin. On Solfach, Rock Pipits had increased to 30 and there were 25 White Wagtails around, while a very limited selection of warblers and other species were present; 20 Goldcrests, five Willow Warblers, four Chiffchaffs and two each of Whitethroat and Blackcap all that could be mustered up.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Today was one of the quietest days for some time on Bardsey, with little of note to report. Out to sea very modest totals were logged, with just 46 Manx Shearwaters, 28 Kittiwakes, 26 Gannets and 20 Razorbills logged, while three Great Skuas, two Commic Terns and five Fulmars offered a splash of diversity. Waders logged on this quiet day were just 40 Curlews, 15 Oystercatchers, 14 Ringed Plovers (12 of them heading south), and seven Turnstones.

On land the highlight was a single Tree Pipit at the Plantation. Goldcrests numbered 48, with 14 White Wagtails, 15 Robins, two Spotted Flycatchers and a single Wheatear also noted. Rock Pipits had increased to 34, with the sum total of warblers just five Chiffchaffs, two Willow Warblers and a Blackcap. Overhead, eight Grey Wagtails passed three.
Tree Pipit- Ephraim Perfect; Ephraim's Bird Blog

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Strong north-westerlies generally produce good seawatching off Bardsey, and it proved the case again today, with a fine selection of species seen. Some of the larger counts are partially incomplete, as Mark, who counted off the North End for much of the morning, had to leave the island in the evening with his dog for a last-minute trip to the vet! We'll get full totals on the blog as soon as we can, but for now the numbers are as follows. One notable feature is a resurgence in Manx Shearwater numbers, perhaps as a result of many youngsters now fledging and taking to the Irish Sea? In total 900 Manx Shearwaters, 750 Kittiwakes and 172 Gannets made up the bulk of passage, with the largest Razorbill movement of the autumn so far also logged, as 95 moved south past the South End in two hours. A four-auk day was also achieved, always a good sign, with 19 Guillemots, a single Puffin and one of the days highlights being a Black Guillemot off the North End. Five Arctic and two Pomarine Skuas were logged, while terns featured with 11 Sandwich and three Arctic Terns, and the first Black Tern of the year off the North End. The other notable seawatching highlight was two Sooty Shearwaters in the morning, with other bits logged including 23 Fulmars and seven Common Scoters.
one of our young Manx Shearwaters, currently very close to fledging age
On land a bit of overhead passage was had, with 86 Swallows moving south, alongside 17 "alba" Wagtails, 10 Grey Wagtails and a single "Flava" Wagtail. Sparrowhawks increased to three, with probably the same two Kestrels again hunting over the mountainside. Meanwhile 122 Linnets were on the South End and the Narrows, with improving weather in the afternoon triggering a notable arrival of White Wagtails, 80 were seen including 45 in a single group on Solfach. 50 Goldcrests were again recorded, along with a fairly limited selection of Warblers, just 15 Willow Warblers, eight Chiffchaffs, three Whitethroats and two Blackcaps, unsurprising given a night unconducive for nocturnal migration. Robins had decreased to 14 and just three Spotted Flycatchers were seen today, with no other passerine migrants noted.

The wader highlight was undoubtedly the first Little Stint of 2017, a species not seen every year on Bardsey. This individual headed south with a group of Dunlin close into the North End mid-morning. Otherwise just the regulars were seen in mostly lower numbers than yesterday, with 28 Turnstones, 21 Oystercatchers, 15 Curlews, eight Dunlins, six Redshanks, six Ringed Plovers and two Whimbrels.

A limited selection of non-avian sightings were seen today, for example just four moth of two species (Large Yellow Underwing and Sqaure-spot Rustic) were in the Cristin moth trap! 27 Red Admirals and 15 Painted Ladies hinted at a bit of migration, while four Risso's Dolphins were off the North End in the afternoon.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

The 5th started raining, windy and generally rather unpleasant on Bardsey, with very little coverage of the island during the morning. However, by around 13:30 the weather had improved considerably, and when rain and fog turned to a calm, sunny afternoon it felt like something rare was there to be found! Sadly it didn't quite turn out to be, but a good spread of migrants were noted.

On land, the commonest migrants were 106 Linnets, 82 Meadow Pipits and 55 Goldcrests, while a decent selection of Warblers were noted. 42 Willow Warblers, 21 Chiffchaffs, six Blackcaps, three Whitethroats and two Sedge Warblers were seen, with the highlight a single Garden Warbler trapped in the Obs garden in the evening. 25 Robins, 12 Spotted Flycatchers and ten Wheatears were also grounded, with four White Wagtails on the Narrows, and the first Reed Bunting of the autumn at the Plantation. Overhead passage was limited to 104 Swallows and 53 House Martins. Two each of Kestrels and Sparrowhawks were again seen.

Out to sea the highlight was, unusually, an Osprey heading south at about 14:00, the second record of the autumn and the year. The heaviest day of Manx Shearwater passage in quite a while saw 1240 logged, alongside an excellent 392 Gannets, and 401 Kittiwakes. A few Skuas were seen, with two Pomarines, one Great Skua and one unidentified skua sp. heading south during the afternoon, while a little bit of gull passage saw 132 Herring Gulls and 38 Lesser Black-backed Gulls head south. Other sightings during the day included 19 Razorbills, four Guillemots, 17 Fulmars, four Sandwich Terns, four Common Scoters and the single Red-throated Diver lingering in Solfach.

Oystercatchers finally approached a respectable count again, with 65 presumably indicating a bit of passage. 20 Curlews and ten Redshanks were also seen, with the day's most notable wader sighting an adult Knot in Solfach. Seven Turnstones, five Ringed Plovers, four Whimbrels and two Dunlins made up the rest. 
Turnstones, Ephraim Perfect; Ephraims Bird Blog

Finally, an excellent day for Painted Ladies was had, with a minimum of 49 seen. A Small White, a very scarce species on the island nowadays, may well have also been an immigrant, as was a Migrant Hawker at Ty Pellaf. Also notable were four suspected Agonopterix subpropinquella's caught in light traps at Cristin and the Withies. They'll need to be sent off for confirmation but would, if confirmed, be the fourth to seventh records of this species for Bardsey, following three seen in 1998! 

Monday, 4 September 2017

On a mostly wet and windy day, there were a few signs of migration flickering into life, but precious little different could be found. Strong winds can often be good for seawatching, but the mist that kept coming and going seriously hampered our chances. In spite of this, the third Storm Petrel sighting from a seawatch this year was made on the South End in the afternoon, but other highlights were very limited; 261 Manx Shearwaters, 30 Gannets, three Razorbills, three Sandwich Terns and four unidentified Skua sp., three of which were considered likely to be Pomarine, and one sighting so distant and brief that the observer couldn't even hazard a guess as to species.

87 Linnets and 47 Goldcrests dominated the sightings on land; while phylloscopus Warblers were in reasonable number, with 29 Willow Warblers and 24 Chiffchaffs. Other warblers seen, almost all around Nant, were seven Blackcaps, three Whitethroats and two Sedge Warblers, with other grounded migrants amounting to 16 Robins, seven Wheatears, four Spotted Flycatchers and three White Wagtails. A short burst of overhead passage occurred mid-morning, when eight Grey Wagtails and three Sand Martins passed through, while 46 Swallows were logged throughout the day.

Seven Grey Herons today was the highest total of the year, including a party of four going out to sea over the South End. A few raptors were noted despite the weather; two Sparrowhawks and two Kestrels have probably been lingering for a few days, while singles of Merlin and Buzzard were new in. Meanwhile on the Narrows, Turnstones had increased to 47 and Redshanks to 15. Other waders noted were 16 Curlews, seven Ringed Plovers, five Dunlins, three Whimbrels and five Purple Sandpipers, the latter the first sightings for a couple of weeks.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

A wet, windy and generally unpleasant day on Bardsey saw staff focused on catching up with paperwork for most of the day. Nontheless, a handful of interesting sightings were gleaned from a combined four hours seawatching in the morning and early afternoon. 169 Manx Shearwaters, 128 Kittiwakes and 127 Gannets  moved offshore, with 28 Razorbills and 22 Fulmars the only other notable counts. The highlight was a first-winter YELLOW-LEGGED GULL off the South End, surprisingly just the sixth record for Bardsey. Two Shelducks moving south were also the first record since the breeding birds departed in early July, and with slim pickings like today, contributed the days second biggest surprise! Other birds passing offshore were a single Great Skua, three Guillemots and two Common Scoters, with a Red-throated Diver again lingering offshore.

Turnstones were the only waders to have increased in number noticeably, with 40 seen today. There were also 12 Curlews, seven Whimbrels, six each of Ringed Plovers and Dunlins and three each of Oystercatchers and Redshanks, alongside three Grey Herons on the Narrows. A single Snipe was also in the Wetlands.

Unsurprisingly, migrant passerines were very few and far between. Nine Goldcrests and five Wheatears were scattered about, with the total sum of other sightings being singles of White Wagtail, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. Overall, a very quiet day!

several Angle Shades moths have begun to emerge in the last week or so on Bardsey; Ben Porter, The Island Naturalist

Saturday, 2 September 2017

With it being a busy changeover day, coverage of Bardsey was limited today, and many species were doubtless under-recorded. That being said, for the time that we were able to get out and about, it definitely felt a lot quieter than in recent days. The one exception was seawatching, where a productive watch in the early evening saw seven Arctic Skuas, three Pomarine Skuas and a single Balearic Shearwater logged, mostly heading south, alongside 52 Manx Shearwaters and 51 Gannets. 83 Lesser Black-backed Gulls south over the Mountain in the morning, the first day of strong passage in a little while. The only other sightings of note on the sea were a Red-throated Diver off Solfach, plus six Common Scoters and two Sandwich Terns south down the West Coast, possibly the lingering individual present for over a week now. At least five Risso's Dolphins were also lingering offshore today, giving excellent views.

Staff and Guests, including a research party from Whale and Dolphin Conservation, watching a pod of Risso's Dolphins from Cristin

Very poor numbers and diversity of waders were noted today, 19 Turnstones, 22 Curlews, 14 Oystercatchers, four Whimbrels, three Redshanks and a single Snipe all that was recorded.

Meanwhile it was similarly quiet on land, with Warblers restricted to eight Willow Warblers, seven Chiffchaffs, six Blackcaps, three Chiffchaffs, two Whitethroats, two Sedge Warblers and Willow Warbler. 96 Linnets, 36 Goldcrests, 21 Robins, 17 White Wagtails, five Wheatears, two Spotted Flycatchers and  were the only other migrants noted on a poor day. Two of Kestrels and three Sparrowhawks were also still present. A good count 16 Grey Wagtails were logged overhead, plus a single Tree Pipit and a decent hirundine passage of 151 Swallows and 19 House Martins.

Friday, 1 September 2017

September began with another fine day's birding on Bardsey, as migration finally begins to gather some pace. As in most recent days, most movement was logged on land. Today's most numerous migrants were 270 Linnets and 206 Meadow Pipits, both showing obvious increases, and the highest count for either species this autumn. 83 White Wagtails also passed through the island, with 69 Goldcrests the best count of a good early autumn passage so far. Also recorded in excellent numbers today were 45 Grey Wagtails through overhead, our highest total so far this year. Overhead passage was well represented, with 235 Swallows, 85 House Martins and a single Sand Martin, 20 Alba Wagtails, six Tree Pipits and an excellent total of six Flava Wagtails, plus a single Yellow Wagtail seen on the ground. A warm and sunny afternoon encouraged a burst of raptor passage too, with three each of Buzzards, Sparrowhawks and Kestrels, two Peregrines and, best of all, two Hobbies passing south along the West Coast. Nine Ravens were again seen thermalling over the Mountain.

In the bushes, Warblers were low in numbers but in decent diversity, with 24 Willow Warblers, 14 Chiffchaffs, six Whitethroats, four Sedge Warblers, four Blackcaps and two Grasshopper Warblers. A single Firecrest also remained in the Plantation, with 12 Spotted Flycatchers, 21 Robins, 17 Wheatears and two Whinchats also logged. A Wryneck on the mountainside above Plas may have been yesterdays bird relocating, and was seen briefly but well by a couple of observers.

Manx Shearwater chick- Josie Hewitt

Waders were low in number but with quite a few interesting sightings amongst them. The only notable count was 19 Redshanks, with Oystercatchers and Curlews  numbering just 20 and 13 respectively; the latter species in particular seems to have passed its peak migration. The other regulars were represented by seven Ringed Plovers, six Turnstones, four Dunlins and four Whimbrels, while a single Common Sandpiper on Solfach was the first for over a week. Singles of Curlew Sandpiper and Greenshank also moved south through the island on a good day for wader diversity.

Seawatching was again quiet today, with 1169 Kittiwakes the only large count, however one of the highlights of the day was a first-winter Sabine's Gull in amongst them. Otherwise just 52 Gannets, 48 Razorbills and 43 Shags provided some noteworthy numbers. Other species logged were a paltry 16 Manx Shearwaters, plus 13 Black-headed Gulls, 11 Fulmars, six Sandwich terns, four Arctic Skuas and a single Common Gull.

Non-avian sightings of any note were quite few and far between. 25 Red Admirals and three Painted Ladies were the only real signs of immigration, while a season high of 10 Speckled Woods were recorded at Nant. Cetaceans recorded today were eight Risso's Dolphins and a single Harbour Porpoise.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

A fine selection of grounded migrants was noted on the final day of August, while numbers were generally unspectacular there was an excellent diversity of species recorded. The three commonest migrants tallied were 143 Linnets, 140 Meadow Pipits and 100 White Wagtails, with 71 alba Wagtails also seen. In the trees and scrub there had been arrivals of 64 Goldcrests, 45 Willow Warblers, 34 Chiffchaffs and 25 Robins, with an entertaining mix of other species highlighted by an elusive Wryneck around the Obs garden. Nine Whitethroats, nine Blackcaps, four Sedge Warblers and a single Grasshopper Warbler were the best of the Warblers on offer, while 18 Wheatears, four Spotted Flycatchers and singles of Firecrest and Whinchat, the latter the first of the autumn, were also logged. Also of note, and quite possibly indicative of arrivals of both species, were counts of 22 Stonechats and 17 Dunnocks, though both totals are within the margin where very thorough recording of the islands resident birds could account for them.
juvenile Wheatear, Ben Porter; benporterwildlife.wordpress.com

Overhead it was also pretty busy, with 171 Swallows, 63 House Martins, 14 Grey Wagtails, five Tree Pipits and a single Sand Martin moving through. Clear skies encouraged a good selection of raptors to be recorded today, with three each of Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Peregrine and singles of Merlin and Buzzard.

The sea recieved limited attention today, but enough to reveal that little was on the move. Five Arctic Skuas south were probably the highlight, while 36 Common Scoters south was also our best passage for a few weeks. Otherwise modest totals of 106 Manx Shearwaters, 56 Gannets, 32 Shags, 28 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 18 Fulmars, ten Razorbills, two Sandwich and one Arctic Tern and a single Black-headed Gull were logged, while four Risso's Dolphins was the only cetacean sighting.

Some of the classic lepidopteran migrants also had a good day, with 30 Red Admirals, 13 Painted Ladies, three Silver Y's and a Hummingbird Hawk-moth on the wing. The moth trap was very quiet apart from a Delicate, the eighth record for Bardsey and first since 2014. Seven Speckled Woods was the highest count of the year, including one at the Obs, away from the main colony at Nant.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

The highlight of today was probably the early morning seawatch, a fine variety of species were logged despite the fairly calm conditions; a North-westerly breeze definitely helped though. It was the best Skua day so far this season with 11 Arctic Skuas, an excellent eight Pomarine Skuas and two Great Skuas while following their typical late summer lull Razorbills are on the increase, 47 seen today being the first sign of autumn passage this year. Other highlights were 16 Black-headed Gulls, 17 Sandwich Terns, one Common Tern and a good count of 47 Common Scoters, with the highest counts coming from 58 Shags, 259 Manx Shearwaters 109 Gannets and 809 Kittiwakes,

Wheatear - Elliot's Birding Diaries
Elsewhere in wader news numbers appeared to be building back up again today with five Whimbrels, 65 Curlews, 18 Redshank, 14 Turnstones, three Ringed Plovers, 36 Dunlins (almost all heading south offshore) and 35 Oystercatchers. The most interesting species were all passing through though, with the second Curlew Sandpiper of  the year heading south offshore with, oddly, a group of Curlews, and two Black-tailed Godwits north off the South End; in the theme of odd carrier species they were tagging a group of Oystercatchers! A Knot that passed overhead through the South End restored sanity, order and some sort of decency by choosing a more conventional trio of Dunlins as its travelling companions.

Rounding it all off with grouned passage migrants, where the three commonest species were Linnet (135), Meadow Pipit (133) and White Wagtail (63). 31 Willow Warblers, 25 Chiffchaffs, eight Whitethroats, two Blackcaps and a Sedge Warbler were recorded, with an arrival of 45 Goldcrests and at least three Firecrests amongst them. It was also a good day for Wheatears and Robins, 31 and 20 seen respectively, while one Siskin, one Starling and four Spotted Flycatchers were the best of the rest. 163 Swallows, 57 House Martins, 17 Grey Wagtails and eight Tree Pipits moved through overhead, while three Sparrowhawks and two Kestrels patrolled the island, and the first Raven passage of the year was logged, with a group of nine thermalling over the mountain.

Firecrest - Josie Hewitt Photography

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Another day here on Bardsey with more signs of winter on its way with birds continuing to pass through. Out at sea today we were graced with the sight of one Red-throated Diver,  22 Fulmars, one Large Shearwater sp (most likely Great!), seven Razorbill, 74 Gannets, three Arctic Terns, three Sandwich Terns, two Commic Terns, one Great Skua, two Pomarine Skuas, 11 Arctic Skua, 687 Kittiwakes, 21 Common Scoters, and 21 Black-headed Gulls.

Gannet - Harry King

 Waders have seemed to of died down in recent days with today's counts coming in at a pretty low score: 35 Oystercatchers, two Dunlin, one Redshank, six Whimbrel, 34 Curlews and six Turnstones.

Convolvulus Hawkmoth - Elliot's Birding Diaries
One thing which was noticed today was raptor passage, with the star bird going to a Red Kite north over the plantation this morning representing the islands 23rd record; with other raptors including five Sparrowhawks, including one group of three heading north over Ty Pellaf, one Buzzard and three Peregrines.

Red Kite - Elliot's Birding Diaries

Grounded migrants included a high count for the year of 110 White Wagtails, plus 100 Linnets, 42 Willow Warblers and 24 Goldcrests as the most abundant species. 11 Spotted Flycatchers was a good count, while also recorded were 20 Robins, 16 Chiffchaffs, five Whitethroats, three Blackcaps, two Sedge Warblers and, to add a bit of quality, two Redstarts and a Firecrest at the Plantation, both first records for the autumn. Overhead passage was light, but totalled three Sand Martins, 84 Swallows, 34 House Martins, two Tree Pipits and three Grey Wagtails.

In non-avian news, not one but two Convolvulus Hawkmoths where discovered today, one on the obs trap and another at Pen Cristin. These two bring the years total to nine, time will tell if we can beat last years record total!

Sunday, 27 August 2017

All told, a pretty slow day, with most of the interesting highlights on land. The most notable count of the day was an excellent 86 White Wagtails, our highest of the season with an obvious afternoon arrival on the South End and the Narrows. 26 Goldcrests also represented a significant arrival, but warbler totals were  very modest, with 12 Willow Warblers and three each of Chiffchaff and Whitethroat all that was seen. Other grounded migrants were represented by 134 Linnets, 112 Meadow Pipits (also a decent increase), eight Robins, six Wheatears and a single new in Song Thrush at Nant. Overhead 18 House Martins were the only sighting of note.

Rock Pipit - Elliot's Birding Diaries 

It was similarly quiet out to sea, indeed totals of 34 Kittiwakes and nine Manx Shearwaters were absolutely pitiful! With almost all adult Manxies having left the island now, it seems our peak counts for the year are behind us. 105 Gannets and 196 Herring Gulls were the only noteworthy counts out to sea, with a little bit of low-key variety also noted; 11 Black-headed Gulls, two Razorbills, one Guillemot, three Common Scoters and the lingering Red-throated Diver again being seen.

Stonechat - Elliot's Birding Diaries 
Waders were reasonably well represented, with the day's highlight perhaps the Green Sandpiper that spent much of the afternoon in the Wetlands but was only seen sporadically, the third record of the year. A Common Sandpiper on Carreg Yr Honwy was the first record for over a week, as was a Purple Sandpiper also present there. A single Sanderling was also notable, with counts for the regular species of 64 Turnstones, 61 Curlews, 21 Dunlins, 12 Whimbrels and 11 Redshanks.

Non-avian highlights included an unusual Speckled Wood  on the West Coast, the only sighting this year away from the newly established colony at Nant. Five Painted Ladies were also seen, but little else of note.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

A pretty quiet day on the island with only a small scattering of migrants today with star of the show being a Great Shearwater that pasted alongside the boat crossing Bardsey Sound as visitors made their way to the island in the morning. Elsewhere in sea news we had four Sandwich Terns, one Razorbill, 60 Kittiwakes, 205 Herring Gulls, 29 Manx Shearwaters, two Fulmars, 40 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and two Arctic Skuas.

Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula) - Elliot's Birding Diaries 
Waders today were low in both quantity and quality with only ten Curlews, four Whimbrels, six Redshanks, five Turnstones and three Ringed Plovers.

Other migrants for the day consisted of 29 Linnets, one Spotted Flycatcher, seven Goldcrests, 1 Willow Warblers, four Chiffchaffs, one Blackcap, two Sedge Warblers, one Grey Wagtail, one flava Wagtail sp, one Reed Warbler, 14 House Martins, 100 Swallows and rounding it all off was a single Hobby that bolted over the Ty Pellaf  reed bed whilst out ringing the Swallows as they came into roost.

Sand Martin (Riparia riparia) - Josie Hewitt Photography 

Friday, 25 August 2017

The sea kicked up a good range of birds throughout the day with 45 Gannets, 205 Manx Shearwaters, 61 Common Scoters, one Arctic Skua, one Pomarine Skua, 15 Black-headed Gulls, two Sandwich Terns, two Common Terns, ten Razorbills, one Guillemot, two Puffins, one Red-throated Diver and most surprisingly of all a Tufted Duck!

Next we've got our waders, of which numbers seemed relatively low compared to recent counts, yet they were still out and about with 29 Oystercatchers, two Ringed Plovers, 49 Dunlins, five Whimbrels, 32 Curlews, 17 Redshanks, 28 Turnstones and highlight of the day being an adult Curlew Sandpiper moulting into its winter plumage that flew in close along the south end this morning amongst a flock of Dunlins.

Meanwhile other migrants for the day included two Sparrowhawks, 70 Swallows, 66 Meadow Pipits, ten House Martins, one Grey Wagtail, one Little Egret, 37 White Wagtails, ten Robins, eight Wheatears, three Whitethroat, three Blackcaps, 11 Chiffchaffs, 34 Willow Warblers, nine Goldcrests, six Spotted Flycatchers, one Pied Flycatcher, one Siskin, 192 Linnets and one Long-eared Owl.

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) - Elliot's Birding Diaries 

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Another enjoyable day on Bardsey. While the numbers of migrants passing through remain pretty modest, there was a fine variety of species to keep us busy today.

The day's highlight was, undoubtedly, a fairly distant CORY'S SHEARWATER off the West Coast late morning. While not a brilliant view, this is an excellent bird for Bardsey, and was an island tick for Steve after 20 years here! In comparison, the highlights from the South End of singles of Balearic Shearwater and Black Guillemot seem a bit tame, but were nontheless good reward for two hours seawatching here this morning. The support cast was quite low on numbers, but high on diversity. The usuals logged were 750 Kittiwakes, 495 Manx Shearwaters and 133 Gannets, while gull passage through the island was particularly noticeable. 154 Lesser Black-backed Gulls headed south, with many of the 117 Herring Gulls logged today being amongst them. 48 Black-headed Gulls was the largest count of the autumn so far, mostly in small parties heading south offshore, and a single Mediterranean Gull was also off the South End early on. The extended roll-call for today also includes nine Arctic Terns, five Sandwich Terns, two Pomarines, one Arctic and one Great Skua, five Fulmars, three Common Scoters and a four-auk day, with nine Razorbills and singles of Puffin and Guillemot alongside the aforementioned Black Guillemot.  The only cetaceans noted today were two Harbour Porpoises.

Dunlin (Calidris alpina) - Harry King

Meanwhile it was a pretty modest day for waders, 37 Curlews, 34 Turnstones and 25 each of Oystercatchers and Dunlins provided the numbers, and amongst them were just 13 Redshanks, four Ringed Plovers and three Whimbrels.

Grounded migrants were, again, more impressive in terms of diversity than sheer numbers. Yesterday's Wryneck was seen briefly above Ty Capel, while the most notable arrivals were significant increases to 16 Chiffchaffs, 15 Goldcrests and seven Whitethroats. 20 Willow Warblers were logged in total, with other warblers being three Sedge Warblers and singles of Blackcap and Reed Warbler, with 14 Robins, four Wheatears and three Spotted Flycatchers the highlights of chat movement. The 21 Stonechats logged today was also a notable increase on recent days, and may well have included the first few migrants of the autumn. Around the Narrows and the South End there were also 67 Meadow Pipits, 17 White Wagtails, 95 Linnets and a single Goldfinch that was new in.

White Wagtail (Motacilla alba) - Eliot's Birding Diaries
Overhead passage was reasonably modest, with 165 Swallows, 40 House Martins and a good count of 15 Sand Martins, plus nine unassigned "Alba" Wagtails. However a good number of migrant insects were logged, such as 28 Red Admirals, eight Painted Ladies, six Silver Y's and one Migrant Hawker. A good count of six Speckled Woods was made at Nant, with other notable sightings being seven Small Coppers, six Small Tortoisehsells and a Common Blue.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Late August is normally pretty good on Bardsey, and after a very slow start to the autumn it's finally starting to deliver. Today was kicked off with three Sabine's Gull scattered along with west coast this morning with two summer plumaged adults and a 1st winter bird being picked out amongst the Kittiwakes. The sea was, in fact, very busy, with stacks of Kittiwakes (2758 counted), plus healthy counts of 1090 Manx Shearwaters and 119 Gannets. There was also a fine variety of species logged out to sea, headlined by the strongest tern passage of the year; 93 Arctic Terns, 37 Common Terns, 70 "Commic" Terns and three Sandwich Terns. Also logged out to sea were ten Common Scoters, 11 Whimbrel, two Bar-tailed Godwit, three Fulmars, six Black-headed Gulls, two Common Gulls, one Mediterranean Gull, seven Razorbills and singles of Puffin, Red-throated Diver and Arctic Skua. 77 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were also on the move today, in small parties moving south through the island.

Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus) - Elliot's Birding Diaries
Next up, in wader news one Greenshank was picked up on call at 05:50am over the obs whilst on net rounds, meanwhile one Lapwing was flushed from the north end at 02:36am. Meanwhile an excellent 90 Curlews were logged, alongside 22 Oystercatchers, five Ringed Plovers, 18 Dunlins, 35 Turnstones, 16 Whimbrels (11 already mentioned as seen on seawatches) and 11 Redshanks.

Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) - Elliot's Birding Diaries
And on land, it was another decent day of passage, highlighted by a Wryneck and a Great Spotted Woodpecker, both around the Nant area. Overhead there were 230 Swallows, 34 House Martins, two Sparrowhawks and a single Flava Wagtail, with 20 White Wagtails on the Narrows. 11 Wheatears and nine Robins were seen, while it was a modest day for Warblers, with Willow Warblers numbering just 16, plus four Goldcrests and singles of Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler and Reed Warbler. 108 Linnets were also logged today.

Wryneck (Jynx torquilla)- Elliot's Birding Diaries
Another two Convulvulous Hawk-moths were found today, one in a moth trap at Ty Pellaf and one in the Obs Heligoland Trap. Five Painted Ladies and eight Red Admirals were on the move, with a single Speckled Wood around the Nant area. The blooming Bell Heather on the Mountain is proving irresistible to Bees, with a huge count of 182 Common Carder-Bees on our monthly transect today. The only mammal-related sighting of note today was three Common Dolphins off the West Coast.