Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Migration has pretty much ground to a halt now, and the island's residents and observatory staff are beginning to take their summer holidays. Ben, who has been keeping the blog updated since the start of the year is off to Kenya for a while and over the next month all the obs staff will be leaving the island for their summer breaks, starting with Steve and Emma next week.

Bird news over the past week has been in short supply, though the breeding birds are doing well. Stonechats are fledging their second broods, many young Meadow Pipits, Wheatears, Linnets, Dunnocks and Robins are clearly visible.

 Wheatear amongst Thrift
Meadow Pipit

Swallows are in good numbers in the barns and out buildings with many of them having broods of four or five young. Willow Warblers have nested at three sites on the island and Common Whitethroats have five broods of young on the wing. 

One of the breeding male Whitethroats
There are at least three pairs of Sedge Warblers feeding young
Sedge Warbler
The Ringed Plovers on Solfach have fledged their young and one was seen flying about yesterday.

Ringed Plover

 Skylarks have a brood of five young in a nest on the west coast. The seabirds are doing fairly well too. Many of the Razorbill chicks have already fledged, Shags have some massive young still on ledges.


Many of the Guillemot chicks are ready to leave the ledges in the next few days with their fathers and the Kittiwakes are all sitting on eggs.


The two pairs of Peregrines have young on the wing and several of the Chough broods are fledging (though numbers of young were quite low).

The 16,000 pairs of Manx Shearwaters are all taking turns in incubating their eggs. The young should be hatching within the next few weeks. The number of hours of darkness at the moment means that the nights, even though it is approaching new moon, are very quite with the exception of the noisy Oystercatchers.

Manx Shearwater

Further updates will of course be added during the summer. Ben will continue writing the daily round up when he returns in early July. But if we do get that mid-summer Mega there will be photos galore we hope and a full write up to read...roll on the Rock Bunting!

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