Friday, 18 September 2009


It's not often we get to start with such a word and I'm sure that when Richard gives a full update later he will find some other similar word to start with.

Wow indeed. A particularly memorable morning began with an unsuccessful attempt to relocate the Paddyfield Warbler, although the efforts did result in the finding of a Barred Warbler in Nant Valley. As observatory staff were arriving to see it, the news broke of a Kingfisher on the South End. A Kingfisher!!! Without waiting to see the Barred Warbler, a hasty jog was made the length of the island to see the blue and orange Bardsey mega-rarity, but in vain – the bird had already vanished. A few birders arrived on the first boat of the day hoping to see the Paddyfield Warbler and, on being told of its disappearance, made their way to the north end of the island to see the consolation prize Barred Warbler. Frustratingly, this too had apparently moved on. Was their twitch to the island to be completely fruitless?

Amazingly, and emphatically, no. Those that had made the trip across were treated to the fantastic spectacle of a flock of ten Glossy Ibises arriving from the north, circling for a few minutes above the north hide, and then drifting south along the west coast and over the heads of the failed kingfisher-seekers by the lighthouse – a sight arguably even better than a Paddyfield Warbler.

Glossy Ibises: the first record for Bardsey. Pictures (c) Steve Stansfield

Besides the eclectic trio of vagrants, a fairly good supporting cast of commoner migrants was also on the island. At least one Lapland Bunting was present, along with 57 Wheatears, three Redstarts, a flava Wagtail, 139 Chiffchaffs, nine Willow Warblers, five Whitethroats, two Blackcaps, a Grasshopper Warbler, five Goldcrests, five Spotted Flycatchers, a Song Thrush and 42 White Wagtails. 19 Grey Wagtails, six Tree Pipits and 185 Meadow Pipits were counted overhead in the morning, while a few finches also appeared including 14 Goldfinches, a Redpoll, a Siskin and a Greenfinch. Two Common Sandpipers were on the coast, as were the Little Stint, two Golden Plovers, a Lapwing, a Knot and a Ringed Plover.
The unusual Acrocephalus Warbler from earlier in the week appeared in a mist net in the afternoon, and proved to be just as puzzling in the hand as it was when it was skulking in the undergrowth. Measurements all pointed towards Reed Warbler, but its colouration was certainly very unusual. The possibility of a hybrid is being considered.

"Reed" Warbler (c) Steve Stansfield

Normal looking Reed Warbler in September last year
(c) Richard Else

1 comment:

  1. Steve - I have never seen a Reed with this colouring - it looks much more like a Marsh....

    Steve (Hughes)