Friday, 30 May 2014

It was a beautiful day of very mild temperatures and dazzling sunshine, although the hoards of scarce migrants arriving on the east coast don't quite seem to have made it into Wales yet. Nevertheless, there are plenty of breeding birds around to keep the obs staff busy, in particular recording the Manx Shearwater productivity and breeding bird census. There have been Chough chicks to ring, and plenty of passerine chicks to be keeping a note of.

In terms of the day's bird news, the Marsh Warbler continued its complex vocalisations in Cristin Withy, often luring the unsuspecting male Whitethroat in with its uncanny imitation of the bird's own song-flight. The two immature Grey Herons continued to tour around the island; singles of Buzzard and Sparrowhawk drifted over the mountain; two Swifts flew over Nant, and five Lesser Redpolls kept the Goldfinches company at Cristin.

The male breeding Wheatears are looking very pale at the moment, strikingly different to the odd Greenland-race birds which have been seen in the last week 
The first Wheatear chicks have been emerging from burrows in the last few days 
Barn Swallow- the steady stream of migrant birds has all but dried up now. Any birds seen around the island at the moment are the island's breeding birds, in particular the males, as the females are currently incubating in their respective sheds 
A male Linnet taking a bath

Moth trapping has been somewhat more entertaining in the last week, due to the phase of the moon, and also the settled weather. The first Brown Rustics, Small Angle Shades, Common Swift, Green Carpet and Ruby Tiger have been trapped in the last few days. In the gardens, the caterpillars of Yellowtails, Northern Eggars and Six-spot Burnets have been noted, which will be emerging as adults in the next few weeks.
Due to the very calm weather, and the abundance of Thrift all around the coast, a brief survey for day-flying micro moths was made this afternoon. There was no sign of the hoped-for Thrift Clearwings, although Diamond-back Moths (above) and Lobesia littoralis (first since 2009) were seen in small numbers around the thrift patches
Three Brown China-marks were seen during the day in the wetlands- a curious record, considering that there have been just five previous records on Bardsey, the last of which was in 2010. However, this species is readily seen by day, particularly in damp areas, and so why there have been so few records previously is anyone's guess 
Three Ruby Tigers turned up in the Cristin Withy moth trap, which is the highest number caught in in a single trap on Bardsey for at least 10 years
Flies are very a similar fashion to many arthropods, these beasts have compound eyes. Unlike human eyes, these are made up of thousands of individuals receptors (similar to our lens) called ommatidia. Since each ommatidium is a functioning eye in itself, a thousand of them together enable a very broad (almost 360 degree) field of vision. However, since flie's eyes are immobile, flies cannot focus, and are thus very short sighted (less than a few yards)

Blue-tailed Damselflies have become more apparent around the wetlands in the settled and sunny conditions recently. Flight of this species is generally restricted to sunny weather, when the flight muscles in the thorax are sufficiently warm.  
Male Blue-tailed Damselfly
An immature female Blue-tailed Damselfly, which appears to be feeding on the skin out of which this individual has just hatched. Interestingly, the females of this species can occur in one of five forms: with blue, pink, violet and pale brown forms, along with another pale brown form which lacks the ante-humeral stripe
Gorse Shield Bugs have also been more prevalent in recent days 


  1. Your photography is superb and the macro work is amazing. Loved seeing the Linnet bathing. Fantastic flight shot of the Wheatear and I loved seeing the young of that bird as i had never seen one before. Let me know if you crossed the bridge today with me!. Have a wonderful weekend.