Wednesday, 10 June 2009


After a very quiet but pleasant cloudy morning in which few notable birds were found, showers began to arrive and a miserable afternoon appeared to be on the horizon. The precipitating clouds however, were not without silver linings: small migrant birds, amongst them a couple of gems, moving ahead of the rain were forced to descend upon the island to take shelter. The best of these arrived first, in the form of a female Hawfinch that landed in the observatory garden and furtively proceeded to feed in the top of the sycamore. In the hope of catching the bird, mist nets were erected, but it promptly flew off towards Nant. Just minutes later though, an Icterine Warbler (the third of the spring) was discovered (by the same serendipitous observer as the previous two), and had soon caught itself in the nets that had been set for the finch. Between showers, the nets were kept open in case the hawfinch or any other new bird was still lurking around the garden. As luck would have it, the finch suddenly reappeared flying across the lawn – and dropped straight into a mist net. It was ringed and an admiring assembly of visitors were treated to in-hand views of the magnificent bird as it repeatedly attempted to clamp the observatory warden’s fingers between its colossal mandibles. The bird had a very pronounced brood patch and was presumably a wandering failed-breeder.

Other, less spectacular birds brought down by the rain included a Pied Flycatcher, a Common Redstart, a Common Whitethroat and a Blackcap. A Sand Martin also passed through during the day.

A couple of migrant Diamond-back Moths were found amongst a good number of commoner day-flying species.

1430 update.............. The Hawfinch found a net!

11am update.............
Surprise bird of the day to start with came in the robust form of a smart Hawfinch in the back garden at Cristin. The bird sat in the Sycamore and then moved south through the garden. Whilst looking for the bird, 'Icy/manxy Steve' radioed to say thet there was another Icterine type warbler in the bush above our back door! As we were opening the nets to trap the Hawfinch this became a very nice 'bycatch'....the third Icterine Warbler of the spring, all trapped and all found in the field by the same lucky observer! A Pied Flycatcher and Common Redstart were the only other birds of note (if we needed any!) . Invert news - a Diamond-backed Moth was seen on the narrows (photos to follow...).
Icterine Warbler at Cristin
10 June 2009 (c) Steven Stansfield
Diamond-backed Moth
10 June 2009 (c) Richard Else

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