Tuesday, 13 May 2014

An excellent day of migrant passage saw a fresh north-west wind in the early hours dropping throughout the day, and allowing the rapid movement of passerines through and over the island. The slightly more noteworthy arrivals today were highlighted by a Cuckoo, a male Yellow Wagtail and three Common Redstarts. Sedge Warblers and Spotted Flycatchers arrived en masse, with an estimated 90 of the former and 39 of the latter. Smaller numbers of other warblers included a Grasshopper Warbler, 19 Whitethroats, six Blackcaps, 10 Chiffchaffs and 37 Willow Warblers. A constant stream of hirundines over the West Side during the latter half of the day saw 2072 Swallows and 49 House Martins speeding northward (the right direction this time!) between 1200 and 1430.

Spotted Flycatchers featured well today, with a total of 39 individuals representing the highest count so far this year. Spotted Flycatchers winter in South Africa, and their breeding range extends across Europe as far east as Lake Baikal in Russia, then north to Sweden and Finland, and as far south as the Mediterranean

Over 70 birds were ringed during the day, most of which were Sedge Warblers. A total of six Spotted Flycatchers and a handful of Whitethroats were also trapped and ringed:
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Sedge Warbler
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Whitethroat- aged as a first summer by the heavily worn and pointy tail feathers, and the pinky breast gives this bird away as a male
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Male Blackcap 
Juvenile Stonechat
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 A young Robin
The first Drinker moth caterpillars of the year were discovered in Cristin Withy this afternoon. This species gets both its common and scientific name from the habits of these caterpillars, which apparently have a liking to drops of dew 
Bactra lancealana imagos have started appearing in recent days, where hundreds should emerge in the next few weeks. This is one of the commonest moths on the island, with counts reaching into their thousands on still days
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The view from north of the observatory, looking south to Bardsey Lighthouse

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