Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The day got off to an excellent start at 0730, with the island’s 10th ever Iceland Gull seen amongst a flock of large gulls over the South Tip; this first-winter bird remained around the southern end of the island for the rest of the morning. At around the same time, the year’s first Little Egret flew out of Henllwyn, flying along the South End, before having a brief haggle with the Iceland Gull! The Turtle Dove remained on the island, residing above Ty Pellaf for the majority of the day.

Low cloud cover and light drizzle overnight resulted in a small attraction occurring at the Lighthouse in the small hours- some 60 Manx Shearwaters and 40 passerines (Wheatears, Blackcaps and phylloscs) were recorded. By morning, a good number of warblers and other common migrants were passing through the island, with counts amounting to: one Tree Pipit, 66 Wheatears, three Grasshopper Warbler, one Lesser Whitethroat, one Whitethroat, 22 Blackcaps, 58 Willow Warblers and 27 Chiffchaffs. A minimum of 83 Swallows sped southward over the island, perhaps heading to Ireland (as opposed to the mainland), and these were joined by three Sand Martins and one House Martin.

In other news, singles of 'Northern' Ringed Plover and Whimbrel were trapped and ringed overnight. The latter of these was fitted with colour-coded Darvic rings, as part of our colour-ringing project on this species. Coincidently, one of last year's colour-ringed Whimbrels actually appeared on the island midday, which we had ringed on the 28th April 2013.

A few mist nets were opened throughout the day, with just over 30 birds finding their way into them. Some of the highlights are shown below...(all images (c) Steve Stansfield)
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After the first Lesser Whitethroat arrived yesterday, this smart bird was trapped and ringed at the observatory mid-morning
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We have had two 'proper'-looking Mealy Redpolls this year, although we continue to catch birds which just don't seem to fit either (as has been the story in the last few springs). Take the top bird here, for example: large white wing bars, and a generally frosty look were somewhat intermediate, and a wing measurement of 72mm places it well inside the range for Lesser Redpoll. Compare the top bird to a normal Lesser Redpoll (lower)
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Some Northern-looking Willow Warblers were also trapped: being noticeable larger in the hand, and looking somewhat greyer, almost like acredula birds
Twenty Manx Shearwaters were collected (alive) from the compound around the lighthouse in the morning; each bird was fitted with a ring, before being released at dusk. Above: some of the island visitors watch on as Steve rings one of the Manx Shearwaters

Conditions were perfect for moth trapping last night: low cloud cover, very little wind, mild temperatures, and a waning moon...the result was a decent catch in the moth traps, with around 25 caught at nant. This included the year's first V-Pug and Marbled Coronet...
Marbled Coronet 
Spruce Carpet

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