Tuesday, 8 April 2014

A gradual clear out of migrants over the last few days has left the island somewhat bare of noteworthy species. On a day of brisk westerly winds, a small amount of seawatching yielded with 22 Gannets, 91 Manx Shearwaters, a Common Scoter, a Puffin and nine Fulmars. Two Snipe were flushed from the wetlands; a Merlin terrorised some six Wheatears and 55 Meadow Pipits on the South End; and a Whimbrel gathered amongst the Oystercatchers at high tide.

This stunning Merlin narrowly missed one of the island's breeding Wheatears on the South End, where it has been seeking out unwary migrants for the last few days. Merlin populations declined substantially in the UK over the last two centuries, largely through the use of DDT. However, since its ban, populations have almost doubled in the UK, and this species was moved from the red to amber list in 2002. The name 'Merlin' comes from esmerillon, which is the old French name given to this species.
Goldcrest numbers have gradually decreased on the island, as the migrant birds have moved out. A handful continue to feed in the conifer trees at Cristin and Nant

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