Saturday, 1 May 2010

A calm and very pleasant day brought a small number of birds including one or two notables. Garden Warblers had been conspicuously absent this spring, but today, at long last, the species made its belated debut on the 2010 log sheets. How many birds were involved was slightly uncertain, but at least three were found lurking in the various gardens. A Turtle Dove (possibly one of the same birds from a couple of days prior) was in the arable fields and a female flava Wagtail on Solfach was the subject of some debate regarding its likely subspecific identity. 21 Blackcaps were counted, including 11 that were ringed at Cristin, while other warblers included six Whitethroats, seven Sedge Warblers, two Grasshopper Warblers, six Chiffchaffs and 22 Willow Warblers. Hirundine passage switched up a gear or two with 180 Swallows, 16 Sand Martins and 12 House Martins streaming through on their way north. Two Sandwich Terns were near Solfach, the Bar-tailed Godwit was still on the beach, and 21 White Wagtails and 28 Wheatears were logged. A few finches were still on the move in the morning including 15 Chaffinches, 15 Goldfinches, six Siskins, two Greenfinches and a Lesser Redpoll.

A small number of Whitethroat were conspicuous arrivals today, this one moving along the coastal fence-line. The worn brown primaries with snapped off tips indicate that this individual hatched last year (an older bird would have better-quality feathers, darker and less worn in appearance). (c) Richard Brown

Female Yellow Wagtails are notoriously awkward to assign to a race. This bird had a darker crown and ear coverts than may be expected of a typical British bird (flavissima) and the supercilium lacked any yellow tones. It is tempting to think that this may be a Western European flava or a hybrid involving this race. (c) Richard Brown

The pattern of unmoulted coverts suggests this is the same summer-plumage Turnstone that was present earlier in the week. Only six Dunlin remained on Solfach. (c) Richard Brown

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