Sunday, 27 May 2012

It was another superb day both in terms of the weather and birds. A Scarlet Rosefinch was found in the withies early in the morning, which was later trapped and ringed at Cristin. A Firecrest was also seen in Cristin Withy, where it spent most of the day feeding and occasionally bursting into song. Two Cuckoos were seen in the withies and at Cristin, a summer plumage Bar-tailed Godwit flew over the Narrows and a probable Hobby flew over the mountain. Hirundine-counts for the day amounted to five Sand Martins, 140 Swallows and 21 House Martins, whilst five Swifts also passed through; warbler-numbers were up from previous days, with 10 Whitethroats, two Garden Warblers, six Blackcaps, nine Chiffchaffs and three Willow Warblers recorded.

 Common Rosefinch. There have been around 75 records of these finches on the island. The last records here were three in 2012- a singing male at Nant on the 31st of May, and then two in the autumn  in September and November
 At least Two Cuckoos were seen. This first summer male was at Cristin in the afternoon. Note the two retained juvenile secondaries on its left wing.
 Mmmmmealy Redopoll??? Well it is a Redpoll, but which flavour? The whiteness below and undertail coverts could even be approaching exilipes, but this is probably a flammea
 Part of a brood of 12 Shelducklings on Solfach
Another good arrival of Spotted Flycatchers was noted today
Firecrests had an awful year on the island last year, with one on in April being the only record of the year. Even this bird was one that had overwintered from the previous autumn (2010), and so its good that two have already turned up this year
A Clouded Silver (above-third for the island) was in the Nant Withy moth trap, along with a Green Carpet, the first Common Marbled Carpets of the year and a Heart and Dart


  1. I'm sort of glad that someone else has Redpoll problems

    Taken this week on Wirral (out of a flock of 30 big grey B********

  2. Jane, you bird looks like many that we have had here this spring, what they are and where they come from is a matter of much debate, but the consensus is that they don't breed in this part of the world!

    The problems are widespread, look at Dungeness BO site, and We bird North Wales blog for more headaches!


  3. That was two differnt ones - and a 3rd looked "not-dissimilar" in photos - in fact the whole flock looked/sounded pretty uniform in terms of size/tone and butch voices.

    I've belatedly done an investigation into wing lengths of Redpolls caught at Red Rocks (1974-86 - when I stopped ringing). None had note worthy rumps, many had wings over 75 and two, inc one female weighed in at 80mm!

    This is a visualisaton showing wing lengths of passage birds v the breeding ones and comparison with biometrics from Svensson.

    Have you seen photos of the birds breeding on the outer Hebs? They defy classification!

  4. Great looking bird Steve.
    Jane - that hebs bird looks like several passing through the Orms this spring. Interesting stuff.

  5. Been looking at wing pointedness as opposed to wing-length. (Ratio of the distance between 1st and 3rd tertials and between the 3rd tertial and the longest primary.

    The Unidentified NW UK birds may not have hugely long wings,but they have extremely pointed ones - here in Yellow. I need more Hebridean ones (just3 in here)

  6. hi Marc and Jane,

    yes these birds do defy current classification, but they looks like the beasts we get here on the west. Maybe they are of a new race/species of redpoll C. hebridensis!!! I has to be the only explanation , other than the hybrid get-out clause! ;-)

  7. I've got Andrew Stevenson on the case - to come up with more photos of the breeders on the outer Hebs. I've spent a few nights now measuring Redpoll photos - Icelandic birds are weird, bimodal distribution of pointy ones and rounded ones. I need to re-do the Russian flammea - the long winged ones are the most eastern birds.

    Anyway - any more photos of these beasts, showing three tertial tips and the primaries in line would be very welcome.