Monday, 3 March 2014

March 1st

The numbers of some passerines were noticeably higher than in previous weeks- early signs that spring must be on its way! A count of 49 Meadow Pipits was the highest of the year so far; larger numbers of Wrens, Dunnocks and Robins were apparent around the island, with many males singing out over their proposed territories. A small number of finches seen in the morning included 19 Linnets, a Goldfinch and the first two Greenfinches of the year, whilst a minor corvid passage consisted of 28 Carrion Crows, a Hooded Crow, six Jackdaws and six Ravens. Singles of Merlin and Sparrowhawk were seen around the coast and along the mountainside respectively; two Goldcrests in the island's gardens included one at Cristin and one at Nant. A Red-throated Diver was the most noteworthy bird seen passing by out to sea. A Little Owl was seen near Ty Pellaf during the night.

There have been plenty of male Blackbirds singing on territory around the island in the last few days
Manx Shearwaters usually choose to arrive back on the island during March's new moon. The new moon at the moment may just be a little too early for the iconic birds to return onto the island. However, Manx Shearwaters have been heard as early as the 1st of March (in 2005).

March 2nd

It was back to rather miserable weather on the 2nd, with strong south-westerly winds accompanied by driving rain for much of the day. To suit the downcast mood of the weather, birding was also rather depressing: in conjunction with reports from all across the UK's shores, many seabirds were found dead on the island's beaches, having died of starvation and exhaustion during this winter's stormy weather. A low-tide count of Henllwyn and Solfach revealed a total of 15 dead Razorbills, 1 Guillemot and three Shags (two of which were adult birds). 

In terms of living birdlife, a small movement of birds out to sea included 14 Common Scoters, eight Kittiwakes and 15 Guillemots. The pair of Ringed Plovers remained on the The Narrows, whilst six Purple Sandpipers flew around Henllwyn at high tide. A female Sparrowhawk was seen on the hillside above Nant, and a Water Rail was heard in The Withies.

The constant storms of this winter have severely affected huge numbers of seabirds. The numbers of dead seabirds washing up in France have numbered over 20, 000. More information can be found hereherehere, and here. Above: one of about 12 dead Shags recorded since December
 The usual pair of Ringed Plovers have returned to the island after their winter's absence. Hopefully they will succeed in raising a brood of chicks this year, which they failed to do last year. This ringed male (above) has returned to the same area for the last three years at least.
The Ringed Plover's adopted pose when two Ravens come careering overhead!

March 3rd

A beautiful day with clear skies and calm winds saw a scattering of slightly different birds around the island: the first Kestrel of the year was seen in Traeth Ffynnon; the Hooded Crow was amongst a few Carrion Crows near Solfach; and four Ravens spent the day flying around the island in pursuit of one and other. 

An unfortunate Raven spent the day being pursued ravenously (excuse the pun...) around the island by one of the breeding adults. The new arrival certainly looked somewhat more ragged by the end of the day, having frequently lost feathers to the pursuer. 
This smart Kestrel was the first of 2014

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