Saturday, 25 March 2017

Another quiet day out to sea today with the calm winds pushing little past the island, bar a Red-throated Diver and a Common Scoter. The increase in temperature saw a number of raptors thermalling, including a high count of four Sparrowhawks along with a Buzzard, a Merlin and a Peregrine.

Waders were also building in number with Oystercatchers reaching 121 individuals around the coastlines. Other waders included four Snipes, two Whimbrels, seven Curlews and eight Turnstones. The clear and calm day did allow some of our summer residents to return to the island and three Puffins passed the North End early on among which was a lone Sandwich Tern.

On the passerine front, a reasonable movement continued with a Collard Dove new in, 17 Wheatears, 23 Pied Wagtails, a White Wagtail and three Skylarks scattered about. Following an unusual absence, a Sand Martin and Swallow also passed overhead. The highlights of the day came in the form of two Black Redstarts in the lighthouse compound on the South End, both female types. Also of note were 30 Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler, 89 Goldcrests, a Great Tit, three Siskins, 56 Linnets and a Ring Ouzel!

The first butterflies continued to emerge today with the sun illuminating the island and a Red Admiral and three Peacocks were seen on the wing.

Friday, 24 March 2017

A busy and diverse day for migrants, as the settled weather and gentle easterlies continue to bring decent birding. As per recent days, the same three species were by far the most numerous, with 373 Meadow Pipits, 61 Chiffchaffs and 41 Goldcrests logged. Today also featured probably the best supporting cast of the year so far, with 27 Linnets, 20 Stonechats, nine Wheatears, five Willow Warblers, three White Wagtails and singles of Ring Ouzel, Black Redstart, Skylark and Collared Dove all new in.

Offshore, a lovely drake Eider off Pen Cristin was definitely the highlight, with little else noted on a quiet day for seawatching. Six Snipes were flushed up from the Wetlands, with a Water Rail remaining in the Withies. Two Sparrowhawk and singles of Buzzard, Peregrine and Merlin were all still present, with little else notable birdwise.

However, nine Harbour Porpoise moved through the North Sound in a loose pod. The warm and sunny weather also tempted many insects out, with butterflies including two Peacocks, two Small Tortoiseshells and a Red Admiral, and Bees including the first Common Carder-bee (Bombus pascuorum) of the year. Six Common Quakers and a single Dark Sword Grass made it into the Moth trap.

  Black Redstart at the Lighthouse
The immature Grey Heron on Fenllwyn
one of seven Stonechats on the South End in the late afternoon
Part of the Stonechat 'flock'
Drake Eider off Pen Cristin

Thursday, 23 March 2017

A light but gusty breeze swept across the island today, making conditions calm across most of the island except the east side. Out to sea a few things were noted, among the returning auks were two Red-throated Divers and two Common Scoters.

Inland a Water Rail was still present in the Withies, only giving itself away with its squeal, whilst a Snipe was flushed from the South End. Henllwyn played host to a good selection of waders today, including two Whimbrels, three Curlews, eight Redshanks, a Purple Sandpiper and 20 Turnstones.

Good counts were made of the usual Spring migrants as well, with Meadow Pipits reaching 263, accompanied by a single Skylark. Also present were seven Wheatears today. Most impressive was the boost in numbers of Chiffchaff and Goldcrest with 78 and 104 seen respectively. With them came the years first Willow Warbler as well!

On the other hand, a Hooded Crow along the mountain ridge was a pleasant surprise and eight Siskins were also new arrivals.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

A mostly sunny day, albeit with strong wind, aided a decent showing of regular migrants. 271 Meadow Pipits were once again the most numerous migrant, while 32 Chiffchaffs and 16 Goldcrests, mostly in Nant Plantation, were numerous as you'd expect for this time of year. 11 Wheatears was a good showing compared to recent days, with 13 Blackbirds, three Goldfinch and a single Song Thrush all possibly indicative of a modest arrival.

Out to sea, the only sightings of note were six Manx Shearwaters, two Red-throated Divers and a  single Common Scoter. There was an impressive count of 914 Razorbills returned the cliffs on the East Side, but very few Guillemots by comparison. A Clattering of 22 Chough circling over the Observatory was quite impressive, with birds noted back around several nest sites too.
There was a small increase in the number of raptors on the island, with a third Sparrowhawk and second Buzzard joining the birds already present. Two Peregrines and a Merlin were again noted, the Merlin attempting and failing at least 17 times to pluck from the air one very fortunate Meadow Pipit! Both disappeared from sight after this, so the eventual outcome is unknown.

A modest day for waders yielded 114 Oystercatchers, 13 Redshanks, 11 Turnstones and eight Curlews. A Water Rail was once again heard from the Withies.

The Moth Trap yielded just a single Dark Sword Grass, while both Buff-tailed Bumbleebees (Bombus terrestris) and White-tailed Bumblebees (Bombus lucorum) fed on Willow Catkins in Cristin Withy. Two Harbour Porpoises also gave fantastic views heading south past the East Side in the afternoon.

One of the several Wheatears present today, this one at the North End

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

With winds once again battering the island today, much of our attention was placed out to sea. A small movement of ten Fulmars and two Manx Shearwaters passed by out to sea, with a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers seen flying past the South End in the morning.

Red-breasted Merganser though common across most of the rest of Britains coastline only present a handful of records annually on Bardsey

A good selection of raptors were again present around the island including a Sparrowhawk, a Buzzard, a Merlin, two Peregrines and two Little Owls. A Water Rail was heard “squealing” in the Withies and 14 Stonechats were placed around the island, feeding and holding territories for the breeding season to come. A further four Wheatears were present today, with other migrants totalling ten Chiffchaffs, 12 Goldcrests and two Siskins.

Merlin sheltering from the wind on the South End

Wheatear perched on the Narrows