Wednesday, 17 March 2010

The new moon and murky weather of last night provided a perfect opportunity to dazzle waders on Solfach. Both Redshank and Oystercatcher were ringed and a retrap Oystercatcher proved to be one of last year’s young. A Manx Shearwater flew low over the narrows with another over the farmer as he checked his flock.

The fog horn woke some of the lighter sleepers at 4am and, coupled with the conditions, suggested that birds may be attracted to the lighthouse. An early morning check found a Blackcap, three Chiffchaff, and a few Redwing sheltering in the South End Gorse. At the Observatory the first Chiffchaff of the year to be trapped was in the garden heligoland. It exhibited the characteristic pollen horns indicative of feeding in warmer climes and was thus not a bird that had overwintered in Britain. Elsewhere on the island a smart Black Redstart remained, the first Grey Heron for several weeks visited the central ponds, and the first Wheatear of the year was in the North West Fields.

Chiffchaff with pollen horns (c) Richard Brown

It has surprised a few of our readers that Ben has regularly recorded up to five Whimbrel during the winter months, and that such overwintering is an annual occurrence on Bardsey. Indeed this species usually winters on African shorelines and in some areas of Southern Europe. Perhaps even more surprising were the territorial pair suspected of breeding locally in 1999 and proven to do so in 2000. This area of North Wales was thus the only place in the Western Palearctic where this enigmatic wader could be seen throughout the year. 

Up to five Whimbrel have been recorded during the winter (c) Richard Brown

No comments:

Post a Comment