Thursday, 9 December 2010

2010 in pictures
A summary of some of the highlights of yet another cracking year on Bardsey. Thanks to all who have contributed during the year

January and February saw just Ben on the island

Mediterranean Gull (C) Ben Porter

Knot (C) Ben Porter
                  Little Gull (c) Ben Porter 
Purple Sandpiper (c) Ben Porter
Redshank (c) Ben Porter
Curlew (C) Ben Porter
Fulmar (C) Ben Porter

March Saw the return of Obs staff
Red Kite (C) Ben Porter
14th record for the island
Jack Snipe (C) Ben Porter
Reed Bunting (C) Ben Porter
                                                          Black Redstart (c) Ben Porter
Chiffchaff. Steve Stansfiled top, Richard Brown bottom
Willow Warbler (c) Richard Brown

The first Great Northern Diver of the year was seen feeding west of Solfach.
(c) Ben Porter
Little Owl (c) Richard Else

Grasshopper Warblers (c) Richard Brown
Lesser and Common Redpolls (c) Steven Stansfield
Two Mute Swan spent the day at sea, moving swiftly in the tides before flying short distances. Manx Shearwater, Gannet, Razorbill and Fulmar were all visible in the same scope view (c) Richard Brown
Merlin (c) Richard Brown
Blackcap (c) Richard Brown
Wheatear (c) Steve Stansfield
                           Several Common Redpolls were trapped and ringed again this morning - the
two above are at the paler end of the spectrum.
(c) Steven Stansfield
Hen Harrier (c) Steve Stansfield
 Ring Ouzel (c) Richard Brown
House Sparrow (c) Steve Stansfield
White Wagtail (c) Steve Stansfield
A 'proper' Lesser Redpoll (c) Steven Stansfield
Red Kite (c) Steve Stansfield
White Wagtails (c) Steve Stansfield

A good net round at Cristin(top row) Common Whitethroat, Grasshopper Warbler and Common Redstart.
Below Willow Warbler and Blackcap
(c) Steve Stansfield
Hooded Crows are rare in Wales. There were four recorded on the island today (c)Ben Porter 
Ringed Plover (c) Richard Brown
The majority of the fifteen Blackcap to the north of the island showed a yellow dusting to the feathers around the base of the bill (c) Richard Brown
16 Whimbrel (above) were dotted around the coast (c) Ben Porter
2nd-summer Yellow-legged Gull. Among nearly 400 large Larus around Solfach this individual eventually caught the eye. In flight the large black band on the fifth primary (counted outwards from the secondaries), supports the identification. Top (c) Richard Brown, bottom (c) Ben Porter.
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 first Whinchats of the year were seen today; one was in the Southend gorse whilst another was present in the wetlands. Top (c) Ben Porter, below (c) Richard Brown
Blackcap (c) Ben Porter
Chamomile Shark (c) Richard Else
Turnstone (c) Steve Stansfield
An Orange-tip was seen visiting the gardens of the Island today  (c) Ben Porter
Dunlin and Ringed Plover (c) Steven Stansfield
Sedge Warbler (c) Steve Stansfield
Today's male Eastern Subalpine Warbler (c) Steve Stansfield
Campion (c) Richard Else
Turtle Doves (c) Steve Stansfield
Spotted Flycatcher(top), Black Redstart (bottom). (c) Richard Brown
Blue-headed Wagtail (c) Richard Brown
Golden Oriole (c) Steve Stansfield
Nut-tree Tussock (c) Richard Else
Two of the four Ringed Plover chicks were ringed today (c) Richard Brown
Common Rosefinch (c) Steve Stansfield

Firecrest (c) Steve Stansfield
Puffin (c) Richard Else
Puffins at sea around the Gwylans (c) Richard Brown
Perhaps not the cutest of chicks up close...Skylark (c) Richard Brown
The first view of this stunning White-throated Sparrow was as it popped up on a fence at Nant for approximately 5 seconds before disappearing into the Plantation (c) Richard Brown
Whilst searching for the sparrow this Greenish Warbler was heard in song! Although very mobile it eventually found a mist net (c) Richard Brown
This Rose-ringed Parakeet answers to the name of Polly but may apparently go on to supplement a feral breeding population... apparently. (c) Richard Brown (the owner can contact us through this blog)
A minimum of 24 Thrift Clearwing were recorded today. (c) Richard Brown
Six-spot Burnets seem to have been recent colonists of Bardsey, only appearing in any number in the last few years. 2010 has already been the best year ever for this species on the island. Burnet moths exhibit a good example of aposematic colouration: their bold black and red markings provide a warning to potential predators that the insects do not make a pleasant meal. Photographs (c) Richard Else
First heard at 2300 hours two nights ago, this Grasshopper Warbler continued to sing throughout last night and into this morning. Yet another photo of a bird on a barbed wire fence. (c) Richard Brown

Robins have had a turbulent past as a breeding species on Bardsey, indeed they were absent in 2004. They recolonised the following year and the four pairs present in 2010 is the best they've done since. Productivity is again excellent with all pairs currently having fledged two very inquisitive broods (c) Richard Brown
The predator-free Welsh Islands are vital to the world population of Manx Shearwater. Approximately 2000 are seen most days at the moment. (c) Richard Brown
Swallow (c) Richard Brown
Little Egrets and a Gannet (honest) (c) Richard Brown
Little Egrets (c) Ben Porter
It was the distinctive smell which led to the discovery of this Storm Petrel (c) Richard Brown
Sedge warblers(top), Grasshopper warblers (middle) and Willow warblers (bottom) were seen in numbers all over the island today (c) Ben Porter
This Melodious warbler in the lighthouse garden was the highlight of another good day. 
(c) Ben Porter
By far the most dramatic sight of the day was this spectacular roll cloud that swept low over the island during the afternoon. A relatively uncommon form of Stratocumulus, a Roll Cloud or Arcus is a long tube-shaped cloud, detached from any other cloud, that appears to roll across the sky on a horizontal axis. In coastal situations they are usually created by the movement of a cool sea breeze. Picture (c) Richard Else

The Shanny is a common fish in shallow water around the island. This is another animal that can change its colour to match its habitat. Pictures (c) Gwyn Stacey
Good numbers of Common sandpiper have been recorded around the island's coast 
(c) Ben Porter
The Drinker. 2010 has been a record year for this species. Most records refer to the males, which come more readily to light, but females such as this one occasionally turn up in the moth traps and can sometimes be found resting by day. The name 'Drinker' comes from the caterpillar's supposed habit of drinking dew drops.
Pictures (c) Richard Else
One of the highlights of the year so far was the discovery of this Lesser Horseshoe Bat roosting on the staircase carpet of Ty Nesaf. They typically live in sedentary colonies so the events leading to the arrival of this first for Bardsey are unclear. (c) Richard Brown
Eight Black-tailed Godwits (top) had joined the Curlew (bottom) flock later on in the day.
(c) Ben Porter                                          

Polly still adds a splash of colour to a cloudless day.Pictures (c) Steve Stansfield

Pied Flycatcher(top), Willow Warbler(bottom).(c) Steve Stansfield
Canary-shouldered Thorn (c) Ben Porter 
This is one of two Migrant Hawkers that were seen in the new plantation today.
(c) Ben Porter
Knot (c) Steve Stansfield 
Sanderlings (c) Steve Stansfield
Shag (c) Steven Stansfield
 Swallow (c) Steve Stansfield 
Manx Shearwater and Balearic Shearwater (c) Steve Stansfield
Sandwich Tern (c) Steve Stansfield
Juvenile Kittiwake (c) Steve Stansfield
Arctic Tern (c) Ben Porter
Sanderling (c) Ben Porter
Many young Swallows were taking time out before continuing their migration to South Africa (c) Steve Stansfield

Meadow Pipit(bottom) for comparison to the Tree Pipit(top two). (c) Steve Stansfield. (note the stronger flank streaks, orangey legs and longer hind claw)
Cuckoo (c) Ben Porter
The hoarse, croaky call of Sandwich Terns could be heard all around the coast today. 
(c) Ben Porter
The Storm Petrel nest that was found earlier in the year was revisited yesterday for its tiny, downy occupant to be ringed. (c) Richard Else
Two Migrant Hawkers were seen in the morning. (c) Ben Porter
Melodious Warbler (c) Ben Porter
Tree Creeper (c) Ben Porter
Two Lapland Buntings fed on the maritime heath throughout most of the morning. 
(c) Ben Porter
The highlight of the day though was this Convulvulus Hawkmoth(top) that was caught in the moth trap on the top of the mountain. Even though it was a very worn specimen, its impressive size and shape made up for it. A Lime speck Pug(bottom, only the second record for the island) was also amongst the 400 other moths caught today. 
This Barn Owl spent most of the day perched in the back of Nant Withy. (c) Ben Porter
This Ortolan Bunting was the rarest bird of the day, seen around the Limekiln in the afternoon. (c) Ben Porter
 Melodious Warbler (c) Steve Stansfield.  Note the typical Hippolais steep sloping forehead on the lower image.
A handful of the Willow warblers today were of the cold grey northern form P.t.acredula like this one. (c) Steve Stansfield 
Some of the Spotted Flycatchers are still sporting juvenile 'spots'. (c) Steve Stansfield
             Pied Fycatcher (top) and Spotted Flycatcher (bottom). (c) Ben Porter
One of the Melodious Warblers present in the back Garden this morning (c) Steve Stansfield
Five Lapland Buntings remain on the Maritime Heath. (c) Ben Porter
Spotted Flycatcher (c) Steve Stansfield
Meadow Pipit (c) Steve Stansfield
Grey Heron (c) Steve Stansfield
Arctic Skua (c) Steve Stansfield
Bar-tailed Godwits (c) Steve Stansfield
Grasshopper Warbler. (c) Ben Porter
Sandwich Terns (c) Steve Stansfield
Fulmar and Sandwich Tern (c) Steve Stansfield
Kittiwakes (c) Steve Stansfield
Balearic Shearwaters (c) Steve Stansfield
Arctic Skua (c) Steve Stansfield
Great Skua eating Manx Shearwater. Two Great Black-backs and a Leach's Petrel watch on! (c) Steve Stansfield
Sooty Shearwater (c) Steve Stansfield
Sabine's Gull (c) Steve Stansfield
Leach's Petrels (c) Steven Stansfield
Common Rosefinch (c) Steve Stansfield
Hummingbird Hawkmoth (c) Steve Stansfield
Melodious Warbler (c) Steve Stansfield 
Sighting of the day the Red Arrows display team training aircraft in a nine aircraft diamond. (c) Steve Stansfield
Reed Warbler (c) Ben Porter
Melodious Warbler (c) Steve Stansfield
Normal Wheatear (c) Ben Porter
Albino Wheatear (c) Ben Porter
Chiffchaffs (c) Steve Stansfield
 Today's moth highlights included a Pink-barred Sallow(top) in the withies, a few Black Rustics(bottom) at the obs and a couple Brindled Ochres at the lighthouse. (c) Ben Porter

Yellow-browed Warbler (c) Ben Porter
Sabine's Gull (c) Ben Porter
          Great Tit (c) Ben Porter
Greater spotted Woodpecker (c) Ben Porter
Hen Harrier (c) Ben Porter
Firecrest (c) Ben Porter
Ring Ouzel (c) Ben Porter
Pied Flycatcher (top) and Spotted Flycatcher (bottom) (c) Steve Stansfield
Firecrest (top three) and Goldcrest (bottom) (c) Steve Stansfield
Whinchat  (c) Steve Stansfield
Blackcap (c) Steve Stansfield
Reed Warbler (c) Steve Stansfield
Long tailed Tits arrived during the night. (c) Ben Porter
Yellow-browed Warbler (c) Ben Porter (upper) & Steve Stansfield (lower)
Red sword Grass and Red-green Carpet (c) Ben Porter
Pale Pinion: another species that has been added to the Bardsey list in the last week.
(c) Richard Else
The Brick: the first specimen of this species for the island was trapped at the lighthouse last week, but there have been several further records in the last few days.
(c) Richard Else
Western Conifer Seed Bug: this spectacular animal was discovered in the garden of Ty Bach last week. It is an American species that was accidentally imported to Europe in the 1990s and has been turning up in the UK in the last few years. This is apparently the first record for North Wales. Picture (c) Richard Else
Whooper Swans (c) Ben Porter
Snow Bunting (c) Ben Porter
Merlin (c) Ben Porter 
                Ty Pellaf and Donogoch gardens are shaping up to be a particulary good spot for House Sparrows this autumn. Three more were seen there this morning. (c) Ben Porter
 Pied Flycatcher at Ty Nesaf (c) Richard Brown
      It's been an amazing year for Reed Warblers (c) Richard Brown 
But Redstarts have been very thin on the ground (c) Richard Brown
The rocks above Cristin are the best place to catch up with Ring Ouzels (c) Richard Brown 
Easily confusable with Gannets at long range, well, sort of, five Whooper Swans headed for Ireland (c) Richard Brown
Young Knots are also very approachable (c) Richard Brown 
A Barn Owl had found its way into one of the barns at the farm. (c) Ben Porter
A few Bramblings made the most of the seeds left in the sunflower heads at Ty Pellaf today. (c) Ben Porter
Although only worth the same as two House Sparrows in the autumn bird race, this stunning Pallas's Warbler is one of the autumn highlights so far. First found in Ty Nesaf garden, she later moved to Nant Withy where she was trapped and ringed. A shorter wing and tail suggest the sex. (c) Richard Brown; Below (c) Steve Stansfield

Finches continue to feed on the sunflower seeds at Ty Pellaf. Goldfinch(top), Chaffinch(bottom). (c) Ben Porter
  Reed Bunting. (c) Ben Porter
This Feathered Thorn found on the north side of the mountain was another addition to the island's list. (c) Ben Porter 
Starling (c) Ben Porter
            Two Short eared Owls spent most of the day in the wetlands. (c) Ben Porter
Brambling (c) Ben Porter
 Blackcap (c) Ben Porter
Snow Bunting (c) Ben Porter
Glaucous Gull (c) Ben Porter
A female Blackcap at nant enjoyed the last of the blackberries. (c) Ben Porter
The same Black Redstart was feeding behind Ty Pellaf again today. (c) Ben Porter
Pallas's Warbler. (c) Ben Porter
Short eared Owl. (c) Ben Porter
first-winter Grey Phalarope(c) Richard Brown
The waders decided to feed in the shallow pools formed by the millimetres of rain that fell throughout the day. Redshanks(top two), Turnstone(bottom). (c) Ben Porter
A couple Wigeons spent the day feeding with the Mallards. (c) Ben Porter
 Brambling. Pictures (c) Ben Porter
Little Egret. (c) Ben Porter
This Common Rosefinch was a good find by assistant warden Richard Brown and Giselle Eagle. (c) Ben Porter

December- cold temperatures continued with a few birds being pushed out to the milder coast to survive.
After arriving to paddle into their usual lagoon for the night, the Mallard flock was found to contain two slimmer, paler-looking birds that, on closer inspection were revealed to be Pintails. (c) Ben Porter
A Mistle Thrush fed with the waders in the Donogoch fields for a short while this afternoon. (c) Ben Porter
 Typically told by it's smaller size and lack of pale bands on the wings, this Stock Dove, though a bit drab, was a first for this year. Pictures (c) Ben Porter
One Grey Plover remained today. (c) Ben Porter
Dunnock, Golden Plover, Buzzard and Golden Plover. (c) Richard Brown 
 Bittern. A good record for Bardsey with only two previous records. (c) Ben Porter
Golden Plover (c) Ben Porter 
Lapwing (c) Ben Porter

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