Thursday, 1 May 2014

It was a day of very changeable weather conditions: morning broke to low cloud settled over the island, and this quickly turned into heavy drizzle; by midday, this had cleared away to expose clear blue skies and made for quite mild temperatures, but a chilly northerly wind in the afternoon was accompanied by drifting fog patches over the island.

Despite the promising conditions in the early hours, May got off to a rather slow start. The number of new arrivals, mainly in the form of warblers, barely made it into double figures, and this was a similar story with birds visibly migrating overhead. Some more noteworthy sightings during the day included a Lesser Whitethroat in the wetlands, a Golden Plover over the South End, a flock of 14 Purple Sandpipers in Solfach, and a Tree Pipit over the North End.

Other migrants included 31 Whimbrels, nine Dunlins, 10 Sand Martins, 46 Swallows, eight House Martins, 31 Wheatears, two Grasshopper Warblers, 13 Sedge Warblers, six Whitethroats, four Blackcaps, five Chiffchaffs and 17 Willow Warblers.

In other news, a Barn Owl has been reported by visitors in one of the out buildings at the North End for the last two weeks or so. A check yesterday evening revealed that there is indeed a Barn Owl in residence, which seems a little odd considering there were no signs at all during the winter months. This could well be set to stay for the summer, and would be the first to do so for many years.

A lovely flock of between 14 and 21 Purple Sandpipers have been frequenting the rocks to the west of Solfach. Many are almost in full summer plumage.
Did you know? The Purple Sandpiper has the northernmost winter range of any shorebird. Purple Sandpipers breeding in high-arctic Canada may migrate through Greenland and Iceland, to winter in Europe.
Wheatear numbers have remained high for the last week, although are beginning to drop as the passage of migrant Greenland-race birds begins to decrease
This interesting geometrid was taken from the Nant Withy moth trap this morning. It looks most similar to a May Highflyer, which have a dizzying array of different variations in form. There are no previous records on Bardsey

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