Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Strong south-westerly winds veering to the north-west can produce the best seawatching conditions from Bardsey and, with just such weather predicted the previous night, an early start was made in the north hide. As hoped, the day turned out to be the best day of the year so far for observing seabird passage with a wide variety of species heading south in high numbers. Leach’s Petrels began passing close by early in the morning and continued to move through all day, with 72 having been seen by the evening. Good numbers of skuas passed by all day, with totals coming to 39 Great Skuas, 29 Arctic Skuas, three juvenile Long-tailed Skuas and a juvenile Pomarine Skua. A sizeable movement of terns and small gulls included two Sabine’s Gulls, two Little Gulls and six Black Terns amongst 700 Kittiwakes, 740 Common Terns, five Arctic Terns, 62 Sandwich Terns and 11 Black-headed Gulls. 26 Balearic Shearwaters and 11 Sooty Shearwaters were found amid 756 Manx Shearwaters and 63 Fulmars, two Red-throated Divers flew by and a Grey Phalarope was seen briefly late in the afternoon. Other birds during the seawatch included 450 Gannets, 15 Common Scoters, two Wigeons, a Tufted Duck (in island terms, easily the rarest bird of the day), two Black-tailed Godwits, ten Sanderlings, five Golden Plovers and a Puffin.

Interesting birding was not entirely confined to sea passage though, and those who spent the afternoon checking the gardens around Nant found the only real ‘rarity’ of the day in the form of a Common Rosefinch near the Chapel. The Wryneck was also seen again and a Barn Owl was discovered after dark. Other migrant landbirds were fairly thin on the ground, but included a couple of Reed Buntings, eight Goldcrests, eight Blackcaps, six Chiffchaffs, two Willow Warblers, a Whitethroat, a Sedge Warbler and two Grey Wagtails.

Great Skuas (c) Steve Stansfield
Sabine's Gull (c) Steve Stansfield

Sooty Shearwater (c) Steve Stansfield
Great Skua eating Manx Shearwater. Two Great Black-backs and a Leach's Petrel watch on! (c) Steve Stansfield

Leach's Petrel (c) Steve Stansfield

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