Saturday, 1 February 2014

January 29th
The beginning of this period saw a change in the wind direction: an east wind brought a chillier feel to the day, although this did little to change the species composition on the bird front. The flock of Kittiwakes returned to their usual spot, with a total of 95 birds feeding between The Narrows and Carreg Yr Honwy, along with one Black-headed Gull.

A Greater Black-backed Gull battling it way through the spray past the South Tip

January 30th
Some calm weather on the 30th gave a chance to take a bit of breather, before the storms began to roll in again in the ensuing days. The chilly easterlies encouraged a few slightly different species onto the island: three Teals were seen in Henllwyn in the early hours; a Mediterranean Gull and seven Common Gulls were amongst the Kittiwakes off The Narrows; and a Woodcock was flushed from some Gorse bushes near Plas.

There have been some good candidates for Scandinavian Rock Pipit amongst the usual island birds. This particular bird was amongst a flock of 30 or so Rock Pipits which were feeding near the boathouse. This bird possesses a very strong supercilium, cleaner streaking and paler-toned underparts.

January 31st
With winds gusting over 80 kph, coupled with heavy rain, it was very difficult to any birding on the last day of January! Needless to say, a handful of birds endured the conditions, with a small number of waders and gulls congregating around  The Narrows at high tide: a Dunin was amongst some 55 Oystercatchers, 50 Curlews and five Turnstones, whilst 11 Lesser Black-backed Gulls sheltered behind a gorse bush with six Greater Black-backed Gulls.

Unfortunately, the recent storms have exacerbated the situation around The Narrows in terms of Chough-foraging sites. Solfach and Henllwyn have been completely stripped of any seaweed, leaving the Choughs to find food around the banks, and on the mountain. 

February 1st
Gale force winds and a 10.2 metre high tide meant that waves once again crashed over the banks of The Narrows, causing further erosion and deposition of debris on the tops of the banks. Avian wildlife was restricted to non-passerines, with the smaller residents of the island well and truly hidden away in any sheltered spots inland. A good gathering of 185 Herring Gulls was noted at high tide, with 42 Kittiwakes and 70 Guillemots battling their way southward out to sea. Seven Purple Sandpipers and a Whimbrel were amongst the usual suspects in terms of waders.

 Large waves once again battered the banks of The Narrows, and took a large amount of sediment away from the beaches.
 Some impressive-sized waves were also crashing all around the island, particularly on the West Side (above) and over Carreg Yr Honwy
 Greater Black-backed Gull (top) and Herring Gull (lower) above high seas
A small passage of Guillemots included some 70 birds flying South in loose flocks

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