Monday, 12 March 2012

11th to 12th March

In extremely calm, albeit overcast conditions, 13 Goldcrests, a Chiffchaff and a Reed Bunting were the most notable new arrivals around the coast on the 11th. The first Hooded Crow and Rook of the year flew overhead with a single Jackdaw and 13 Carrion Crows, whilst 36 Meadow Pipits, a Great Tit, nine Chaffinches and Siskin were also seen flying high over the island. With the very settled weather continuing into the 12th, the first real arrival of migrants this year took place, with birds trickling through all day. The highlight was the first Northern Wheatear of the year that was found near the Schoolhouse in the afternoon, whilst new passerine-migrants all over the rest of the island included a Skylark, 172 Meadow Pipits, two Song Thrushes, two Redwings, a Fieldfare, nine Stonechats, six Chiffchaffs, 25 Goldcrests and two Reed Buntings. A Chaffinch, one Greenfinch and five Siskins flew overhead with a single Jackdaw, whilst a flock of five Golden Plovers and a Lapwing were seen on the South End late on in the afternoon.

In terms of non-avian sightings, a pod of five Harbour Porpoise were seen off the South tip on the 11th, with a further two surfacing off the West side of the South End on the 12th

The first Wheatear of the year was a lovely-looking male
 Chiffchaffs were scattered around the island's gorse patches and withies. Most of the birds bore a feature named 'pollen hornes'-a small patch of pollen which sticks to the feathers around the base of the bill. The birds usually acquire these when feeding on the nectar of flowers during migration in regions such as the Mediterranean. This suggests that these birds are 'true' migrants and not just individuals that have overwintered in North Europe.
 Reed Bunting
At least nine of the 13 Stonechats seen on the island on the 12th were immigrants
The weather conditions were perfect for moth trapping on the night of the 11th-a total of 32 moths were trapped near Nant Withy, which included seven firsts for the year: 10 Spruce Carpets, two Red Chestnuts (lower), two Brindled Pugs, four Hebrew Characters (above), five Common Quakers, an Early Thorn and an Early Grey

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