Tuesday, 1 April 2014

A night of low cloud cover and mist kept a good variety of migrants on the island, and encouraged many more to make landfall in the early hours. By far the highlight of the day did not make itself known until the late afternoon. First seen flying low over the seaweed-covered rocks of the Narrows, a Stone Curlew remained around the Narrows and the west side for the rest of the afternoon. Views were rather fleeting, with the bird remaining very shy, although this handsome wader gave good views as it headed northward along the island's coast.

In other news, a large passage of finches in the morning saw over 120 Goldfinches flying over Cristin in flocks of up to 82 birds. On top of these, a total of ten Siskins, 21 Lesser Redpolls and two Greenfinches were recorded, along with the year's first Common Redpoll, trapped at Cristin. Further visible migration comprised nine Sand Martins and two House Martins.

The first Sedge Warbler of the year arrived prematurely overnight, with one seen in the New Plantation in the early morning. This is six days earlier than the previous earliest ever arrival date (7th April in 2011). An excellent total of other warblers amounted to 60 Chiffchaffs, 36 Willow Warblers, 17 Goldcrests and eight Blackcaps. Wheatears began moving through in reasonable numbers by the afternoon, with just over 30 seen on the Narrows and South End alone.

A Red-breasted Merganser, two Merlins, and five Ringed Plovers were also noted, the former of these being the first of the year.

This Stone Curlew made for a fantastic start to April, considering that there have been just three previous records on Bardsey, the last of which was in 1992. 
A good number of finches were trapped during the morning rush, with totals comprising 33 Goldfinches, five Siskins, 17 Lesser Redpolls and a Common Redpoll (above). This first-winter Common Redpoll (top) was a very nice addition to the day- compare to a smaller and browner Lesser Redpoll (on the right in the lower image)
There was some cracking male Lesser Redpolls amongst the finch flocks!

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