Sunday, 20 October 2019

This was a day for autumn migration, the winds have swept round from a southerly to a 15mph north-easterly, and as if someone had turned the tap on, birds began to appear. The biggest differences were in the finch and thrush numbers, all of a sudden days went from a handful of finches to the 1484 Chaffinches that were recorded today. The coniferous trees in Cristin garden were alive with Greenfinches, Siskins, Goldfinches and Bramblings. Redwings flew over throughout the morning, Fieldfares were also 'chacking' in the morning as they moved in small flocks over the island.

Other nice bonus birds were one Hooded Crow, ten Long-tailed Tits, one Coal Tit, five Mistle Thrushes, one Ring Ouzel and a Treecreeper! With the addition of these two thrushes, Bardsey had records of all the northern Europe thrush species.
Redwing 

Today's migration totals: one Woodcock, 1187 Black-headed Gulls, 558 Razorbills, one Collared Dove, 63 Skylarks, 71 Meadow Pipits, 26 Robins, 17 Blackbirds, 14 Fieldfares, 17 Song Thrushes, 158 Redwings, five Mistle Thrushes, one Ring Ouzel, one Yellow-browed Warbler, 26 Goldcrests, 184 Jackdaw, 67 Carrion Crows, 373 Starlings, 20 Bramblings, 22 Greenfinches, 189 Siskins, 124 Goldfinches and four Reed Buntings.

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Today the wind switched around to the north. This meant we got less rain than we had been getting, birds started to move through but there was more of a chill in the air giving a real late autumn or even winter feel.

Some of the highlights of the day included a small flock of Twite heard briefly in the lowlands, this is a year tick and a reasonable good bird on Bardsey. Other good birds included four Woodcock being flushed from various areas around the island, six Little Gulls seen heading south down the west coast over doubled our year total of this species and our first tit species for a while was seen and heard in the garden at Cristin, a Coal Tit.

One of the main changes felt today was the increase in thrushes and finches. Numbers included 43 Goldfinch, 18 Siskin, 17 Chaffinch, 89 Redwings, and eight Song Thrush. These numbers are a huge increase on what we have been getting and is a sign of the season progressing. More numbers seen in various places included 22 Starlings, 40 Goldcrests, four Chiffchaffs, four Blackcaps, a late Wheatear that was scrutinised, 17 Stonechats, 34 Robins, a single Grey Wagtail, 36 and 26 each of Rock Pipit and Meadow Pipit, 20 Skylarks, three Mediterranean Gulls, five Wigeon, and singles of Peregrine, Merlin, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard. Waders on the beach included 38 Turnstones and 22 Redshank.

Sparrowhawk
 

Friday, 18 October 2019

Another rainy day, which, along with the 20mph southerly wind, made birding quite hard going. Signs of autumn came in the form of two Redwings and two Siskins. Each day flocks of Starlings are now seen around the island, with 40 recorded today.

A nice addition was an early morning Barn Owl that was seen in the dim light of the morning by one of the guests flying over and around Cristin, they roost in a box up the track at Nant.

Other birds around include: four Chiffchaffs, one Blackcap, one Song Thrush, 22 Goldcrests and 18 Goldfinches.
Roosting Oystercatchers on Henllwyn

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Once again the rain poured today. after a spell of dry weather throughout the summer and into the autumn we were praying for rain, we are wishing we hadn't been!

Time in the field was limited today and the main bulk of it was spent entering ringing data into IPMR and getting on with the end of year report work. Numbers mostly came from the narrows in the morning, Gareth moving around some sea weed enticed some gulls to come and feed along with some waders too. Some 150 Herring Gulls were seen feeding in the surf and on the beach including individuals of all ages. A hand full of Lesser Black-backed Gulls joined the group as well as a least 15 Black-headed Gulls too. Turnstones were feeding in the disturbed seaweed with around 25 on the beach and Redshanks numbered six. Elsewhere there were a handful of Goldcrests at the observatory and at nant, two Song Thrush were still at nant, a Merlin was seen at plas and on the south end, a small Starling flock of 20 birds were mobile around the island and finches included just a few Chaffinches with five each of Goldfinch and Siskin at the plantation.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Too windy to open the nets this morning, but by no means a bad weather day. Movement was recorded around the island, a walk up to the plantation yields Redwings (27 recorded) and Siskins (6 recorded). Out to sea, 419 Black-headed Gulls, 39 Common Gulls, 432 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 447 Kittiwakes, one Pomarine Skua, one Great Skua, one Great Northern Diver one Sooty Shearwater and 28 Mediterranean Gulls were recorded.

More land birds include one first for the year which came as a double, with two Woodcocks that were seen at Cristin and in the Withies. A Jack Snipe, Common Snipe and a Lapwing were also recorded. For the second day in a row, a Woodlark was heard over the farm but was not seen today, unfortunately. 36 Rock Pipits were recorded today and some of our darvic ringed birds have remained so far, keep a look out for white darvics with black letters.
Rock Pipit on Solfach with the darvic
the ring 'AAP' can then be read in the field 

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

A gap in the weather meant for more migration today! Some of the strongest Skylark passage for many year was noted during the morning with over 788 birds flying over, with 646 of them passing over the south end of the island, amongst the larks was a single Woodlark  at Ty Pellaf quite rarely in the day. 

One of the many hundreds of Skylarks

There were also 495 Meadow Pipits flew south, along with two Richard's Pipits over South End. Rock Pipit numbers increased with up to 37, including two migrating south off the South End. 
Meadow Pipit
Migrating Rock Pipit

There were two Ring Ouzels on the mountain, and 31 Redwings and 15 Song Thrushes were logged. 

Redwing
Ring Ouzel

There were also a good number of finches moving, with 142 Siskins around the Plantation and the Observatory, and 144 Chaffinches counted. There were also 64 Goldfinches and 67 Linnets. The first real corvid passage was noted too, with Crow, Rook and Jackdaws numbering 54,54 and 44 respectively.  

Over the course of the last week, a walk around the island would produce Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs, but now it really feels like some variation is arriving!  It really feels like autumn has arrived now. 
Merlin close encounter
Photo: Lewis Hooper
There were many notable birds today but the highlights of the day had to go to nineTufted Ducks which are less than annual on Bardsey and two female House Sparrows, the 2nd and 3rd of the year. 









Monday, 14 October 2019

The calm weather today meant that ringing was possible for the first time in a week! The break in the weather also meant that the variety of species shot up in comparison to the last seven days or so. There were more finches in particular, including: 98 Chaffinches, one Brambling, two Greenfinches, 11 Siskins, one Goldfinch, one Crossbill, 27 Linnets and one Lesser Redpoll.

A seawatch produced: 435 Black-headed Gulls, 23 Common Gulls, 279 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 156 Herring Gulls, 225 Kittiwakes and 40 Razorbills.

Skylarks could be heard and seen passing overhead throughout the day, and a total count of 145 was recorded, along with 138 Meadow Pipits, two Grey Wagtails, three White Wagtails, 12 Redwings, ten Song Thrushes, three Ring Ouzels and a Swallow
Ring Ouzel
Birds of the day  have to be a Wryneck outside Carreg Bach, four Lapland Buntings! All in all a pretty good day, and it's about time some movement got underway.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Today the rain poured....and poured....and poured even harder from 5am until 1pm. It rained so much there was rivers flowing down every slope and even into the warden's house! Luckily it did clear up and turned into a reasonably nice evening.

During the rain everyone was cooped up inside but the garden was alive with Chaffinches, 60 at least calling away as well as a single Crossbill heard calling briefly and five Redwings.

Once the staff managed to get out it was clear some things had been grounded in the weather with a very good count of 20 Blackcaps in various spots. Other highlights included a Yellow-browed Warbler in Plas Withy along with a late Willow Warbler too. Two Barn Owls seen by the new Trust Wardens in the evening was also a good island record and the starlings that has been non-existent up until now came in number with a day count of 263. Our first Jack Snipe of the autumn was flushed from some wet grass (all the grass was wet after the amount of rain we had!) and birds of prey were of note with a single Merlin and two each of Sparrowhawk and Peregrine.


Other counts of note from half a day’s birding included three Little Owls, four Goldfinches, 29 Magpies feeding on seaweed, 45 Goldcrests, ten Chiffchaffs, four Song Thrushes, 18 Robins, five Skylarks, 14 Turnstones, and four Common Snipes.

Record shot of the Yellow-browed Warbler

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Today the weather was much calmer than it has been and we even saw the sun for a length of time during the day.

Birds were on the move in the morning however with it being change over day full advantage could not be taken of this but some counts of birds over the observatory as well as a few counts from some guests staying on who were out included 42 Skylarks, six Song Thrush four Jackdaw, an impressive 11 Raven over the mountain, two Greenfinch, a rare bird this year, 15 Siskins, 16 Goldfinch and the highlights a Lapland Bunting and our First Snow Bunting seen flying though the narrows.

Soon enough the new guests were settled in and everyone was in the field, highlights included a Crossbill over the farm and a Firecrest at nant. Birds of prey put in a good showing with two Sparrowhawks, and two Peregrines as well as single of Merlin and Kestrel. More counts included a single Grey Heron still, three Common Scoter, three Snipe, 64 Curlews, a single Great Skua, 18 Mediterranean Gulls, three Sandwich Terns, two late Swallows, 77 Meadow Pipits, 39 Rock Pipits, a single Grey Wagtail, 14 Robins, eight Chiffchaffs, 34 Goldcrests and a increase to 25 Choughs

Turnstone

Friday, 11 October 2019

Today was fairly windy from the west again and with a few showers through the day.

Some showers in the morning kept people in but with a scope out the window a Great Northern Diver was picked up heading south past the west coast. Throughout the day Skylarks were on the move with a total of 53, Meadow Pipits numbered 32 and they were also seen to be moving with some individuals seen coming in off the sea.Wader numbers had increased a little and some more variation was welcome with a single Sanderling the first for a while along with two Purple Sandpipers, a single Dunlin and Snipe, five Golden Plovers, ten Redshank and a good count of 47 Turnstones. Some gull passage offshore included 11 Black-headed Gulls, two Mediterranean Gulls and 62 Herring Gulls

Other interesting totals included some finches: 97 Linnets, 16 Goldfinch, six Siskin and six Chaffinch. Chough were up to 18, there were 14 Stonechats, 25 Robins, 27 Rock Pipits, and single of Kestrel, Peregrine and Sparrowhawk.   

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Another day of strong westerly winds, there felt to be ever so slightly more movement around the island though. A flock of 20 Goldfinches was recorded at Nant and Cristin and few small flocks of Meadow Pipits were around the grassy areas on the island, yet only 36 were recorded, so they are in modest numbers during this time of year. A Lapland Bunting was the highlight of the day, seen briefly on the West Coast.
Linnets on the roof
Other birds around include: 15 Robins, one Blackcap, two Chiffchaffs, five Goldcrests, four, Chaffinches, one Siskin, one Skylark, four Pomarine Skuas, three Great Skuas, one Long-tailed Skua, one Arctic Skua, 42 Curlews, one Golden Plover, one Kestrel, one Sparrowhawk, 25 Mallards, one Grey Heron and 12 Manx Shearwaters.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Today was a much continuing theme of how the week has been. The wind blew from the south west and there was showers throughout the day.

In avian news, little had changed. The Golden Plover was still on the south end of the island, Kittiwakes were present off the coast with over 100 off the south end and more passing the west coast throughout the day. Wheatears were present too with seven in all around the island, a reasonable number for this time of year, and although the Linnets seem to have disappeared Goldfinches have started to move in in small numbers. 

In the evening everyone on the island (23 people) were invited up to Cristen for a big curry night. It was a nice social event, getting everyone together not long before the end of the season. One of the best things about island life is the community feel, people will help each other at the drop of a hat and with no questions asked and you see a kind of generosity that is lost in most larger communities and city's. It was a huge success with everyone full to the brim with curry, various pudding and of course various drinks to wash it all down.


Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Today was nicer than the forecast was predicting, Bardsey still experienced a rather brisk westerly, but the sun was out for most of the day... Except for one short, sharp downpour in the early evening!

The birds were quiet today, these winds don't appear to be favouring the migrants very much. Goldcrest and Chiffchaff numbers were a bit lower than previous days with just 13 of the former and nine of the latter.
Robin in the Wetlands

Seawatches throughout the day produced: 347 Kittiwakes, one Arctic Tern, 11 Sandwich Terns, one Great Skua, two Artic Skuas, one Pomarine Skua, seven Common Scoters, 319 Gannets, two Manx Shearwaters and a Fulmar.

Shag at South End

Wader passage is coming to an end, on and around Solfach today were ten Turnstones and 24 Oystercatchers, but on South End 55 Curlews were recorded and three Snipes in the Lowlands.
A Magpie hitching a ride

Monday, 7 October 2019

Today the rain poured in the mourning and the wind blew all day, not the nicest weather to be out birding.

The day was filled with office work and chipping the recently cut withy beds in the lowlands and wetlands. The few birds seen consisted of two new Starlings in, still a single Firecrest at the observatory with 18 Goldcrests around the island, 10 late House Martins and two Swallows, a Flock of 25 Black-headed Gulls that had one o the three Mediterranean Gulls of the day in with them, singles of Great Skua and Pomarine Skua offshore,  Singles of Peregrine, Sparrowhawk and Merlin, a single female Wigeon still, and perhaps the bird of the day a Lapwing around the narrows. This species was a former breeder but due to the change in land use over the years it has since gone and is now a fairly scarce site limited to the spring and autumn/winter. 

The wind seem to have no let off at the moment but who know what us to come....


Seals are still pupping with over 40 now on the island including twins (!!) which is a first record for Bardsey

Sunday, 6 October 2019

A 25mph north westerly swept Bardsey today, but the sun did come out in the. A brief morning seawatch produced: 110 Gannets, two Common Scoters, two Arctic Skuas, 2 Pomarine Skuas, one Great Skua, 13 Mediterranean Gulls, 33 Black-headed Gulls, 469 Kittiwakes, three Arctic Terns and 414 Razorbills.

Pied Wagtails

Some variety came in the form of Common Gull which was seen on the West Coast, two Sand Martins at North End and two Little Owls around Carreg Bach. Other than that it was really just business as usual. Each night Redwings can be heard passing over, but only a couple have actually been seen on the ground this autumn.
Sparrowhawk in Nant Valley

Goldcrest and Chiffchaff numbers took a dive today, this is most likely just due to the weather making them harder to record. Today just 15 Chiffchaffs and 25 Goldcrests, a third of what was recored yesterday.

Other birds around include: 26 Goldfinches, 10 Chaffinches, one Whitethroat, three Blackcaps, 20 Stonechats, three Wheatears, 17 Robins, 55 Curlews and 22 Rock Pipits.
Grey Seal pup on Solfach

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Today was yet another change over day that didn't go ahead as planned and so the guests were here another day, whether they liked it or not. The day was generally overcast with a medium strength south easterly wind and intermittent showers throughout falling most heavily in the evening.

A few birds seemed to be on the move with finches including eight Siskins and 39 Chaffinches being increases, two Reed Buntings were heard going over Pen Cristen in the morning along with four Grey Wagtails and nine Skylarks. At nant there seemed to be more smaller birds around too with good counts of two Firecrests, 82 Goldcrests, 40 Chiffchaffs plus in the evening a Yellow-browed Warbler.

Birds of note elsewhere included our first three Redwings of the auutumn, two Song Thrush, 26 Robins, 12 Dunnocks, 38 Rock Pipits, 87 Meadow Pipits, a single Great and Pomarine Skua, 40 Turnstones, singles of Snipe and Golden Plover, two Merlins still, two Sparrowhawks and a female Wigeon.

Golden Plover that has been staying on the south end 

Firecrest at nant 

Friday, 4 October 2019

Today, the light North-Westerly winds in the morning produced very cool conditions which dropped later creating a warmer, more summer-like day.

The winds in the morning produced ideal weather for a sea-watch as birds are pushed closer into the coast: 4 Manx Shearwaters, 2 Arctic Skuas, 2 Great Skuas, 130 Gannets, 4 Common Scoters, 22 Mediterranean Gulls, 92 Kittiwakes, 2 Sandwich Terns, 1 Arctic Tern and 67 Razorbills.

At this time of year, a gull flock begins to build up off the Southern end of the island which will reach up to 30,000 birds later in the year. A small flock has already started to form which currently contains 500 Kittiwakes, 6 Common Gulls, 8 Mediterranean Gulls, 24 Herring Gulls and 6 Black-Headed Gulls.

Robin. George Dunbar . 

Once the North-Westerly wind dropped, some overhead passage was seen and 6 Skylarks, 3 House Martins and 1 Reed Bunting - only the third of the autumn - flew over.  Later in the evening, after dark, the first Redwing of the autumn flew over the Observatory, heading South.

Some grounded migrants were also seen today with 24 Robins, 20 Chiffchaffs and 35 Goldcrests on the island and 1 Common Sandpiper was seen on the Narrows as well as a single Golden Plover on the South End along with a juvenile Merlin.


Thursday, 3 October 2019

Strong southerly winds and rain today which persisted throughut the day into the evening. The weather generally made it a day to get on with office work for the most part. Despite this, there were at least three Firecrests on the island and some Merlins were putting on a show too, with two seen once again.

Wader numbers were similar to previous days: one Snipe, 34 Oystercatchers, one Whimbrel, 51 Curlews. An hour seawatch produced 73 Mediterranean Gulls, 57 Black-headed Gulls, one Common Gull, 43 Kittiwakes and 42 Razorbills.


Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Today was surprisingly calm, the calm before the storm perhaps as 'Lorenzo' moves in across the Atlantic in our direction.

There were a real mix of birds around today, good records came with a Black Guillemot in the early morning past the west coast and a reasonable amount of bird caught at the observatory as the nets were opened. The best counts after this came from the south end where a feeding flock of gulls had formed. Counts from the south end included 694 Kittiwakes making up the bulk of it, eight Common Gulls, 442 Black-headed Gulls (the highest count of the year by far), 33 Mediterranean Gulls including lots of adults, a single adult Sabines Gull was a nice find in amongst them and this many gulls attracted a few skuas with two Great Skuas and a single Arctic Skua around too. 

Walks around the island also produced some good counts, most birds flying over with four Lapland Buntings (a good year for them), two Reed Buntings, eight Goldfinches, 21 Chaffinches, nine Rook and three Jackdaws (birds we haven't had since spring),  35 Goldcrests, ten Chiffchaffs, an impressive 17 Wheatears, 27 Robins, two Grey Wagtails, 22 Skylarks, two each of Merlins and Sparrowhawk, a single female Wigeon and now up to three Grey Herons.

Large female Sparrowhawk caught at the observatory

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Another calmer day in amongst this very turbulent weather pattern that we are experiencing at the moment. A quick look out to sea saw the first Great Northern Diver that we have seen for months. Wigeons are also starting to pass through the, eight more were recorded today.

Merlins are providing regular views at the moment, they are frequently seen chasing passerines such as migrating Meadow Pipits as they arrive in off the sea! Quite brutal, but an efficient hunting tactic.

The regular flock of Curlews was seen once again, 59 were counted today. At low-tide they favour Carreg Yr Honwy, but during high tide they come to the shore and onto the grass at South End too.

A Common Sandpiper was on Solfach all afternoon, being very silent and skulking. There were also six immature Common Gulls around the Narrows and South End, both of these species have similar looking American counterparts but they were double-checked!

Other Birds around include: one Short-eared Owl, 13 Skylarks, 170 Swallows, six Grey Wagtails, 19 White Wagtails, 53 Robins, 23 Stonechats, five Song Thrushes, 41 Chiffchaffs and 68 Goldcrests.

Monday, 30 September 2019

Today after some northerly winds that had come across the country we had high hopes. the wind was down and so the change over took place two days later than schedule. The rain then set in in the afternoon and was set to stay throughout the evening and into the night.

During the little time in which people managed to get out however some amazing totals were collected including huge numbers of common migrants heading south in the small window of opportunity.
The highlights of the day included the Buff-bellied Pipit still on the west coast. It was seen by one of our guests just a little further north than where it has been. Shortly after this the first two Yellow-browed Warblers of the year were found in the withys and at the farm. This little Siberian vagrant is becoming increasingly more common and a year without one now has become the oddity. Next a flock of gulls heading south down the west coast had two Egrets with them, one of which much larger than the other. The larger one could be idenified as a Great White Egret but the small was not seen well enough. In addition to these oddities there were also a few scarcities including four Lapland Buntings all heard in various places, a Pied Flycatcher at the observatory, along with a Firecrest and a Lesser Whitethroat too.

During this short window it become obvious that common migrants were making their way through the island with high counts of Meadow Pipits, swallows and Skylarks all being seen and heard. A venture onto the mountain behind the farm saw a host of migrants both streeming over and grounded by the rain as it moved in. Some of the best counts were made up of 496 Meadow Pipits, 858 Swallows and 102 Skylarks with additions including 13 Siskins, 28 Chaffinches, 57 Goldcrests, 51 Chiffchaffs, five Blackcaps, four Song Thrush, 32 Stonechats, 43 Robins, three Grey Wagtails, 27 White Wagtails and small numbers of waders; a single Snipe, six Purple Sandpipers and two Golden Plover.

One of the Yellow-browed Warblers

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Bardsey has experienced several days of strong south-westerly winds which had just about swung round to north-westerlies yesterday.

Account of the Buff-bellied Pipit:
Just after lunch, Lewis Hooper and I decided to go birding together for no apparent reason. Credit to Lewis actually, because this late into a season of living on a small island, most people will do all they can to avoid any contact with me. Much less go on a walk of all things! Never-the-less, I would be glad of this decision in the coming hours.

We walked up to Nant and checked the Plantation, quietly hoping a Barred Warbler or some such thing would hop out. However, it was blowing a gale and after twenty or thirty minutes we came to the startling conclusion that there wasn't much there, so we headed down to the coast. We walked along North End. Lewis was sticking a bit closer inland than me, we did see a Golden Plover which is a decent bird for the island, so we were fairly happy with that small something. Lewis then got onto some Kittiwakes on West Coast that were circling erratically 100m or so out to sea, but one of them was just a bit further away and acting a bit more erratically than the others, almost looking like a Sabine's Gull. It was frustrating, the wind made it hard to stay fixed on the bird and the light kept catching its back in a way that made it look distinctly dark... It then flew upwards, turned its back towards us, perfectly displaying just how much of a Kittiwake it was. Perfect...

After that disappointment (not to knock Kittiwakes too much), Lewis said he would go a bit more inland again. He disappeared, and I pottered along the coast. I took a look inside each geo as I came to it, the first had nothing, the second, though, had a pipit at the bottom right next to the sea.
Even from 30 metres away, without bins it was different looking. The borders to the tertials and greater coverts were so much paler than the Rock Pipit I was expecting to see. I was looking at this bird for thirty seconds and by the time it hopped out of sight I had successfully forgotten what on earth a Rock Pipit/Water Pipit/Meadow Pipit/every kind of Pipit looked like, and I was just about losing my mind!
Lewis must have seen me scratching my head and crying into my binoculars from across the field because he had started to walk over to me. When he arrived I asked him what he thought of this pipit, he looked with his bare eyes and said "probs just a 'rockit', isn't it?" (paraphrasing slightly). I said "yeah, but it's weird...", he took a quick photo of it from across the geo and zoomed in, then he looked up at me, back to his camera screen, then back at me and exclaimed "mate, what is going on, your'e making me forget everything I know!". I was happy to hear this because now he was in my world! It flew back at us and he got a picture of its face, thank goodness! It was NOT a Rock Pipit and NOT a Water Pipit, no way on earth, I simply refused to believe it!
After a couple more minutes he asked; "are we both thinking the same thing? What are you thinking it is?", I said " a B...", he nodded along, and I finished "a B-b Pipit". He was happy to hear this and we spent about ten or fifteen minutes thinking of reasons why it wasn't a Buff-bellied Pipit. Lewis had the Collins app on his phone and everything was adding up! Dark legs that have a dark red tint when viewed closely, less streaked mantle and crown, pale lores, buff underparts etc... This was getting exciting!

I radioed Steve; "Steve Obs, Steve Obs, this is Sam", "Go ahead Sam", "hi, I'm down on the West Coast opposite Carreg with Lewis and we've got a really dodgy looking pipit, I don't want to get too excited but it looks pretty good for Buff-bellied..!". The next thing I heard was Steve radioing George (Dunbar) saying "George, grab my 'scope!!"

They arrived ten minutes later, Lewis showed Steve his photos, and he was pretty happy with them. We all saw the bird again, me, Lewis, Steve, George and Kevin (Clements). Steve then said the very satisfying words: "that's a first for Wales, Lewis". What Brilliant moment, the second 'rare moment' I've shared with Lewis, and although not as 'mega' or as good looking as that warbler in May, this felt much better than 'finding' the bird dangling in a net!

Sam Prettyman 2019
Photo: Steve Stansfield

Look how pale the pale parts are, especially the bright white T6!
Photo: Steve Stansfield

Photo: George Dunbar

Photo: George Dunbar

This photo REALLY makes it look dodgy! The face looks very open and pale, as well as the mantle.
Photo: Lewis Hooper

Great full view.
Photo: Lewis Hooper

With that going on it was all too easy to overlook the other birds, which include: Wryneck, Long-tailed Skua, four Arctic Skuas, 20 Goldcrests, 40 Linnets, seven Stonechats, 65 Meadow Pipits, 56 Curlews, 24 Turnstones, four Redshanks, four Whimbrels, one Purple Sandpiper, two Sanderlings and three Golden Plovers.


Saturday, 28 September 2019

Today the wind blew at around 35mph from the south west. The ideal weather for seawatching seems to be with wind from the west but normally with some north in it but today was an exception.

Seawatching was the main focus all day with some amazing counts noted. First of all some of more more interesting and obscure species included our first Long-tailed Skuas of the year with three juveniles seen in all, a single distant juvenile Sabines Gull was picked out between the Kittiwakes, a single Leach's Petrel headed south too as well as our first Ruff of the year.

In addition to these there were some pretty spectacular counts and variety of species, the list comprises of 226 Manx Shearwaters, 1002 Gannets, 31 Common Scoter, 31 Golden Plover, a single Pomarine Skua, 24 Arctic Skuas, 24 Great Skuas, 1006 Kittiwakes, 37 Sandwich Terns and a massive 2760 Razorbills. Not a bad days seawatching and i am sure there will be more days like this to come.

Arctic Skua                                                 Lewis Hooper

Great Skua (Bonxie)                               Lewis Hooper