Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Bird News- 28th to 31st December

December 28th
A lovely calm day made for pleasant birding, with a few passerines showing themselves in the island’s gardens and Withies. Two Song Thrushes were seen around the farm, 25 Starlings flew overhead, and three Stonechats were seen in the Hay Fields. Out to sea, a first-winter Little Gull tagged along with the Kittiwake flock, whilst 14 Purple Sandpipers huddled together on the rocks in Henllwyn at high tide. The female Sparrowhawk continued to hunt prey around the island: in the morning, she managed to take down one of the resident Blackbirds, only for one of the Peregrines to dive down and steal the catch. Later in the afternoon, the Sparrowhawk managed to catch a Starling at Ty Pellaf.

Above: the roosting flock of Purple Sandpipers huddle together on the rocks in Henllwyn at high tide, gleaming in the late afternoon sunlight

December 29th
Loose feeding flocks of Kittiwakes and Black-headed Gulls were seen around the island’s coast on the 29th. The flocks were closer in than usual, which allowed the finding of an adult Mediterranean Gull, yesterday’s 1st winter Little Gull, and eight Common Gulls. Elsewhere, a Water Rail was heard calling in the withies, and a Gannet flew over the Narrows.

Up to 20 Magpies have been seen at the North End in recent days

December 30th 
After a deluge of rain overnight, the wind picked up from the north west, giving the day a distinctly fresh feel. On the bird front, a lovely pair of Wigeons stopped off in Henllwyn for a brief while mid-morning, before being spooked by one of the Peregrines. A Whimbrel was seen amongst the usual flock of around 50 Curlews, whilst one each of Jack Snipe and Common Snipe were flushed from the Ty Pellaf Wetlands. A Merlin was seen flying East over Henllwyn, with a Peregrine in hot pursuit, although the former took shelter amongst the boats at Cafn, sending the Peregrine off to trouble the local Ravens instead.

Turnstone- a small number have been seen around the Narrows in recent weeks

December 31st
In increasingly breezy conditions, a small movement of Kittiwakes out to sea saw 128 passing the island's coast in loose flocks. A handful of auks also passed by, whilst two Snipe were flushed from the Ty Pellaf Wetlands.

There have been some impressive haul-outs of Grey Seals in recent days. Over 300 were counted around the coast of the Narrows and South End on Sunday

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