Wednesday, 29 June 2022

We are now in a quite part of the year for migration with little passing through; breeding highlights today included the first Song Thrush in a while, 37 Linnets (most this year juveniles) and a Storm Petrel still incubating an egg in one of our artificial nest boxes.

Part of the afternoon was spent finishing off on any Razorbill and Guillemot chicks around Bae Felan and ringing a few more Shags and Herring Gull. This resulted in finding the first Kittiwake chicks of the year at the Zawn.

Kittiwake © Ed Betteridge

The early evening was spent catching moths using hand nets around Nant; this turned out to be rather successful with 33 species being caught! Highlights included four Brussels Laces (1st was recorded last year!), Yarrow Plume (3rd record), three Sandy Carpets and the first Drinker moths of the year.

Brussel Lace © Ed Betteridge

Yarrow Plume © Ed Betteridge

Monday, 27 June 2022

Today was the start of the measuring and weighing of the Manx Shearwater chicks to monitor their growth rate. Alongside this a short trip to the North End resulted in a few more seabirds being ringed including the 200th Shag chick for the year! 

The left-hand Shag became the 200th to be ringed this year! © Ed Betteridge

Birds were quite with two Curlews being the only birds of note. 

Goldfinch © Ed Betteridge

Last night, after the rain had stopped, a walk around the Narrows and Ty Pellaf produced 40 new Manx Shearwaters alongside nine retraps. However the highlight of the night was catching an adult Oystercatcher on the Narrows; this became the second to be ringed this year. 

Sunday, 26 June 2022

Strong southerlies and showers produced some arrival to the Island with a Golden Plover on the South End, three Redshanks, three Curlews, and a Black-headed Gull on Solfach. The winds brought in many of the Island's breeding seabirds close in at the North and South End, resulting in 1153 Manx Shearwaters, 48 Gannets, eight Fulmars, 53 Kittiwakes, 47 Guillemots, 75 Razorbills, 55 Puffins, 13 Shags and 6 Cormorants

Puffin © Ollie King

Manx Shearwater © Ollie King

Most of the day was spent catching up on desk work, inputting ringing and breeding bird data.

Saturday, 25 June 2022

A windy day on the Island resulted in the boats being cancelled! This resulted in most the day being spent inputting data. Breaks from this were had to drive the Heligoland trap which produced  a fresh juvenile Willow Warbler plus a juvenile Whitethroat and Dunnock. The only birds of note were 14 Curlews around the Narrows.

Juvenile Willow Warbler © Ollie King

During the evening we headed back around the buildings to ring more Swallows chicks around the Island with 15 chicks from three broods ringed. 

Swallow chick © Ed Betteridge

Older Swallow chick © Ed Betteridge

Friday, 24 June 2022

A fairly quiet day again on the Island for birding but waders were still trickling through on their return passage, with 10 Curlews and a Redshank seen on the Narrows. The highlight of our day however was finding the new brood of Ringed Plovers that we knew had hatched a few days ago, so we managed to find and ring three chicks! 

The morning was spent carrying out one of the last Breeding Bird Surveys of the year. Currently, it looks to be a good year for Stonechats with juveniles popping up everywhere across the Island! The last square of the Manxie census for this year was also completed today - many thanks to all the volunteers who helped complete the project, a solid effort from all involved. 

Later in the afternoon, further Swallow nests were checked for chicks around the Island, and a brood of five Swallow chicks were ringed at the Boathouse.

Swallow chick © Ollie King

Clouds engulfing a sunset © Ollie King

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Today we headed back to the Gwylan Islands, however, this time we visited both Ynys Gwylan Fawr and Ynys Gwylan Bach! 

Ynys Gwylan Bach © Ollie King

Perhaps the most successful part of the time on Ynys Gwylan Bach was ringing 46 Guillemots included catching birds ringed as chicks in 1987, 1996 and 2001! We also finished off the rest of the Shag colour rings, with a final total of 128 colour ringed this year! We also colour ringed another five Great Black-backed Gulls.

Guillemot ringed in 1987! © Ollie King

Great Black-backed Gull © Ed Betteridge

Some more time was spent catching Puffins with some success! As a team 17 adults Puffins and 20 Pufflings were ringed. Another highlight of the trip was hearing a brief call from a Storm Petrel! The location of the nest site was confirmed by smelling their musty smell however none were viewable. 

Puffin © Ollie King

Mallard nest © Ollie King

Birding highlight of the day was more Swift over Cristin first thing with at least 13 at once.

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Some migrants, especially waders, seem to be already on the move again as today saw a Curlew, three Dunlins and a Redshank seen on the Island. A Black Guillemot off the South End was the highlight of the day, where 14 Swifts were also seen screeching away high in the sky. A Red Kite was also seen over the east side of the Mountain.

Dunlin © Ed Betteridge

More project work was carried out today with another Breeding Bird Survey completed, as well as a square of the Manx Shearwater Census. After that, we headed round to Seal Cave with the aim of catching and ringing Fulmars. Thanks to Patrick's adept noosing, we managed to ring 5 of them! These were the first Fulmars to be ringed since 2014, and the highest annual total since 1991 (where they ringed 7)! 

Fulmar © Ed Betteridge

Fulmar © Ollie King

Some more migrant lepidoptera were recorded today with a Painted Lady, two Hummingbird hawk-moths and two Silver Ys. 

Sunset afterglow © Ollie King

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Today we returned to Ynys Gwlyan Fawr to continue the seabird monitoring and ringing on the island. The trip was a huge success with 15 Shags, 19 Great Black-backed Gulls and 13 Herring Gull all colour-ringed. We also ringed a couple more Cormorants and some more Puffins!

Puffin family © Ed Betteridge

Great Black-backed Gull © Ed Betteridge 

Back on Bardsey the only birds of note were 36 Swifts logged during the day which included a single flock of 32 birds!

Monday, 20 June 2022

Today saw a small influx of migrant lepidoptera to the Island with a range of day-flying moths and butterflies, including a Bordered Straw, three Hummingbird hawk-moths, a Rush Veneer, and three Painted Ladys. Bird movement stayed fairly quiet, with a Siskin and Lesser Redpoll all that were of note.

Bordered Straw © Ollie King

Most of the afternoon was spent finishing off another grid square of the Manx Shearwater census, which is showing roughly the same increase in burrow numbers of ~30%! Once the square was done we came back round to the Obs and started the first monitoring work on the Manxie chicks, where we take weight and wing length measurements once a week to monitor their growth rates. At the moment the chicks are tiny fluffballs! 

Weighing a young Manxie chick © Ed Betteridge

Manxie chick © Ollie King

Manxie chick © Ollie King

Sunday, 19 June 2022

 Today started in the early hours at the North End trying to catch Storm Petrels! This turned out to be quite successful with 16 new bird and six retraps in a couple of hours before the wind picked up along with a few Manx Shearwaters. 

Storm Petrel © Ed Betteridge

Mid-day we headed back out to check for tag birds and removed another tag. Whilst checking the marked burrows we were extremely surprised to find our first fluffy Manx Shearwater chick of the year!

Part of the afternoon was spent helping Gareth prepare Stella for the arrival of Cattle tomorrow!

The boat is now ready for the cows!

Saturday, 18 June 2022

We are now seeing the first failed breeding waders passing through the island with the first Redshanks of the 'autumn' alongside a few Curlews and an additional Ringed Plover on Solfach. Other birds recorded included presumed migrant Chiffchaff at Cristin, two Collared Doves and the Siberian Chiffchaff still.

Magpie adult with fledgling © Ed Betteridge

The moth trap last night excelled beyond any expectations with a Small Mottled Willow (7th record) and a Grey Arches (2nd record). Other moths caught included Dark Sword Grass, three Rusty Dot Pearl, a Buff arches, the Shark and a Sandy Carpet

Small Mottled Willow © Ed Betteridge

Grey Arches © Ed Betteridge

Buff Arches © Ed Betteridge

Friday, 17 June 2022

A breezy south-westerly turned into a misting afternoon across the Island. Birds totals remained similar to recent days with the addition of a Collared Dove on the South End, a Swift over the Wetlands and of course the Siberian Chiffchaff remained at Nant.

The afternoon was spent along the more sheltered north coast ringing yet more gull chicks alongside a few Razorbills and Puffins. Time was spent fitting more darvic rings to the gulls chicks with a total of 27 Herring and 5 Lesser Black-backed Gulls colour ringed.

Puffin © Ed Betteridge

Lesser Black-backed chick © Ed Betteridge

Thursday, 16 June 2022

A few signs that autumn is not too far away, with 10 Curlews on Carrag Howny, three Black-headed Gulls in Solfach and two Swifts along the West Coast. Also seen today was the Siberian Chiffchaff still for its 20th day!

We welcomed Kevin Clements today, who is volunteering at the Obs until next Wednesday. The afternoon was spent ringing the gulls in the North End, 72 Herring Gulls and 11 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were ringed including 14 that were also colour ringed. 

Lesser Black-backed nest © Ed Betteridge

Herring Gull chick © Ed Betteridge

The evening was spent along the West Coast ringing Manx Shearwaters with 43 birds ringed and 33 retraps caught. Alongside this two Oystercatchers chicks were also caught!

Manxies © Steve Stansfield

Oystercatcher chick © Steve Stansfield


Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Flat calm conditions were perfect for the first trip out to Ynys Gwylan Fawr of the year; this was the first time since mid-march assistants Ed and Ollie have left the Island! The main aim of the trip was to survey the breeding seabirds including counting over 700 Puffin holes! 

Looking towards Ynys Gwylan Bach and Bardsey! © Ed Betteridge

After the counts were completed we focused on ringing the seabirds. We were able to ring an astonishing 82 Shag chicks of which 50 also had a colour ring or darvic added. We also spent time ringing Great Black-backed Gull and Herring Gulls chicks including being able to darvic five Great Black-backed Gulls that were big enough. 

Colour ringed Great Black-backed Gull  © Ed Betteridge

We ended the trip try our luck with catching Puffins; this worked 'well' with 11 birds being found (7 adults, 4 pufflings). During the trip we also saw some signs of Autumn with a few Swifts and Curlews heading over.

Puffin  © Ed Betteridge

Puffling! © Ed Betteridge

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

The weather continued to bless us with warm, clear skies. During the morning another successful guided walk was done with 18 guests taking part! Birding highlights included a Lapwing on the South End, six Swifts, 51 Common Scoter south along the West Coast and of course the Siberian Chiffchaff still non-stop singing at Nant.

Guests looking for seabirds © Ollie King

Other birds seen today included three Dunlins, three Curlews, two Turnstones and a Collared Dove. Ringing at Cristin in the morning produced a new Chiffchaff and the first juvenile Dunnocks and Blackbirds of the year.

Linnet © Ed Betteridge

The afternoon was spent completing more of the Manx Shearwater census with over 500 burrows counting between three of us! We then had to return to Cristin to deploy four more Manx Shearwater tags in the hope to learn more about the lives of these fascinating seabirds!

Manx Shearwater with tag © Ollie King

Monday, 13 June 2022

A warm, sunny day across the Island saw a Dunlin go over the South End, a Collared Dove and the Siberian Chiffchaff still at Nant and a Sand Martin over the Lowlands. The afternoon was spent completing more of the Max Shearwater census before heading down into Bae Felan to ring more Auk chicks before the leave.

Guillemot Chick © Ed Betteridge

First Herring Gull of the year to be colour-ringed © Ed Betteridge