Thursday, 15 May 2014

A night of calm and cloudy conditions encouraged a large movement of migrants to take place, and the settling of some low cloud and light drizzle in the early hours meant that the island was crawling with new arrivals by the break of dawn.

Spotted Flycatchers occupied virtually every stretch of fencing on the island- a scan of the surroundings from any one point would yield at least 15 perching in prominent positions, and the constant subtle movement of birds through the island meant that an estimated 284 birds were logged by the end of the day.

Aside this dominant force, there was a host of other migrants accompanying, most numerous of which were Sedge Warblers and Whitethroats, with 126 and 137 logged respectively. Updated numbers will appear later, once various counts and figures have been brought together...slightly more noteworthy species included two Cuckoos, a Redstart, five Whinchats, two Pied Flycatchers, two Garden Warblers and a Reed Warbler.

A total of 1470 Swallows moved northward over the island after 0900, although prior to this a flock of about 120 were grounded underneath a layer of thick fog; a Grey Wagtail, 11 Swifts, five Sand Martins and 175 House Martins also added to the day's visible migration, whilst a large resurgence of Wheatears saw a respectable figure of 134 amassed..

All that was lacking from a fantastic day of birding was something a little different, although it appears that the Calf of Man and Skokholm have stolen all of our Subalpine Warblers!

Spotted Flycatchers were literally everywhere on the island, from the rocky shoreline of the coast, to the gorse on the top of the mountain. Fence lines were certainly the preferred perch though! Today's estimate of 200 birds is the highest day-total of this species for over seven years- 55 was last year's highest. In fact, a total of 129 in August 2005 is the last time numbers came anywhere close to today's 
 Left to right: Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher and Willow Warbler

It was an excellent day for ringing: the nets around Cristin were opened at 0520, and by 10 am about 100 birds had been ringed. By the end of the day, just under 200 had been trapped and ringed, including 20 Spotted Flycatchers, a Garden Warbler and plenty of Whitethroats
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Comparison between a dingy first summer Whitethroat (upper), and a male 1st summer or adult bird (lower). Note the size difference is mainly to do with the positioning of the birds! (c) Steve Stansfield
We have caught a total of three Goldcrests in the last week- all have been female birds, and each one has had a brood patch (score BP3), which indicates failed breeding attempts (c) Steve Stansfield
The first Pied Wagtail chicks have fledged at Ty Pellaf. The top image shows the fledglings yesterday evening, with the lower image taken just 20 hours later!
Oystercatchers are currently incubating on nests all around the coastline, trying to keep their locations as cryptic as possible! (C) Steve Stansfield

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A couple of landscapes from today: Top, the conditions which grounded many hundred of migrants on the island in the early hours, which gave way to clearer skies in the afternoon (lower), which may well encourage a large clear out tonight

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ben All great shots and a fascinating post. great to be able to see the birds so close and to have the information about them.