Sunday, 18 April 2010

Afternoon update
A Red Kite was seen over the Obsevatory Garden in the afternoon. At least 8 Grasshopper Warblers were heard singing and a Ring Ouzel was seen above Nant. More Redpoll issues were forthcoming this morning with several birds showing features of Mealy Redpolls being trapped. Yesterday's House Sparrow was trapped and ringed in the garden (second in successive years). The new portable helgoland trap on the beach caught its first birds (DunlinWhite Wagtail and Meadow Pipit)

Red Kite (c) Steve Stansfield

I have Just Spoken to Tony Cross of the Welsh Kite Trust and copied the wording below almost verbatim from their website. "The photo above is of a tagged Red Kite which was present on Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel from Mid-March for at least a week and a half. The tags clearly show that the bird is one of those sent to Co. Wicklow in 2007 as part of the Welsh Kite Trust's ongoing re-introduction project with the Golden Eagle Trust. This bird was though to be one member of a pair showing interest in breeding last year so it is a major surprise that it has turned up back on this side of the Irish sea" (

House Sparrow (c) Steven Stansfield

Up to 12 Dunlin were present on Solfach (c) Richard Brown
Common Sandpiper joined Turnstone, Dunlin and Ringed Plover feeding on Solfach (c) Richard Brown

A 'proper' Lesser Redpoll (c) Steven Stansfield

Common Redpoll (c) Steven Stansfield

Over the past week (and in fact last spring) we have been luring redpolls into the obs garden trapping area for ringing. Common (mealy) Redpoll is thought to be a rare bird in Wales and is consequently a species that requires a full description to be submitted to the Welsh Records Panel. So far this spring we have trapped ten or more birds looking like the one directly above (showing fairly broad pale to white wing bars, pale rump and white tramilne in to the birds' mantle, white ground colour to the flanks, a looking face and general frosty appearance). Very few of the birds we have trapped and ringed have looked like the picture of the Lesser Redpoll (above). The upper Redpoll we are very happy with as being a Lesser, with its dingy brown face, dark mantle and rump and buff wing bars (just like they are supposed to!), but we are beginning to wonder why Bardsey has this apparent spring passage of what, on the face of it, appear to be Common Redpolls. Comments on the topic are welcomed either in the comments box or directly to Steve (email

As if birds in the hand weren't bad enough, field encounters are inevitable. This smart male undoubtedly shows characteristics of flammea. The nape and edging to the ear coverts have a very 'frosted' feel. The mantle shows distinct white tramlines and the rump had a white base colour diffused with the pink of a male and with limited streaking. The wingbar, although buff on the outer greater covert edges, is bright white on the inner greater coverts. The edges to the median coverts are also white. The buff flanks and bib typical of cabaret are lacking (c) Richard Brown

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