Friday, 13 December 2013

The three weeks of dry conditions came to an end on the 12th, with drizzly rain settling over the island, driven in by the strong southerly winds. However, it was a fantastic few days for birds, considering both the time of year and conditions. The biggest surprise came on 12th, when Rachel stumbled across a Barn Swallow, which was flying around in the veritable shelter of the gullies in Nant Valley. This is a rather impressive record, considering that the latest ever record of Barn Swallow on Bardsey was the 21st of November, 1989!! A few thrushes scattered around included two Redwings, a Song Thrush and Blackbirds.

The 13th saw a small movement of seabirds off the west side, which included one Fulmar, a Gannet, Kittiwakes, Auks, Common Scoters, and, best of all, two Velvet Scoters. These are the first of the year, and represent the 19th record for Bardsey. As well as this pleasant surprise, the juvenile Barn Swallow from yesterday had re-located to Henllwyn, where it hawked for insects along the bank. A rather puzzling find later on in the day was that of a Barn Swallow back in the lower end of Nant Valley...surely not a second bird?!

The Barn Swallow that first arrived yesterday, looking very out of place as it hawked for insects along Henllwyn. This is the latest record by almost a month, and is a bit worrying, considering it should be in its wintering grounds of South Africa by now. Recent reports in the UK have included two in Dorset on the 9th, and singles in Clyde on the 5th, over the Great Orme and in Aberdeenshire on the 3rd.
some images of the underside of the Swallow


  1. Sorry to ask this question, but has American Barn Swallow been ruled out? Just worth considering I reckon. Not sure how you would tell from the above image, but if you have a photo of the underside, then maybe doable.

  2. Hi Brett! No worries, it certainly made us think twice when it turned up too!! I am trying to upload an underside shot for you, but our internet is playing shows a black, unbroken breast band, which I believe is a good feature for 'normal' Barn Swallow.