Sunday, 20 July 2014

As autumn creeps ever closer, avian movements are becoming more obvious and one or two noteworthy species are beginning to turn up on the island. The star of the show on the 19th had to go to the fleeting Kingfisher which spent part of the aftrernoon in Solfach. This is the 19th record for Bardsey, after the last was seen very briefly in a gully near the Lighthouse in September 2009. After the thick fog had lifted somewhat on the 19th, a handful of waders were seen, which comprised a Ringed Plover, a Purple Sandpiper, five Dunlins, a Snipe, two Whimbrels, seven Redshanks, a Greenshank and five Common Sandpipers. Two Mediterranean Gulls passed over Henllwyn, a Grey Heron was seen on the South End, and five Swifts and a Sand Martin flew south.

A persistent bank of fog lay over the island throughout much of the day on the 20th, only disappearing towards the mid-afternoon. A juvenile Willow Warbler at Nant, is now the fifth of its kind to arrive on the island, although we can expect to see these arriving in their hundreds in the following month or so. Two Sandwich Terns were seen in Solfach, and a Whimbrel was present here too.

The family of Little Owls on Pen Cristin have been showing fantastically well for visitors in recent weeks. After remaining so conspicuous for three months (so much so that there were just one or two sightings of them up to May), the adults and two juveniles have been giving great views in the mature gorse bushes around Pen Cristin 
The last few broods of Wheatears have been fledging in the last few days 
Juvenile Peregrine Falcons from the two pairs on the island have been getting to grips with their power of flight, terrorising the fledged Chough chicks, Oystercatcher flocks and Ravens around the island
 There are plenty of Six-spot Burnets still on the wing- alive (top) and dead (bottom)- feeding on the Thistle heads and Hard head flowers along the trackside. The numbers, however, are much lower than last year, with just 20 records a day at the moment.

The conditions at the moment are perfect for moths: warm, humid and no wind. This, coupled with the low cloud cover and moonless nights, have brought a vista of new species and decent hauls to the moth traps and day-flying censuses. The highlights from the moth traps, in island terms, have included the first Light Emerald for Bardsey, the second Minor Shoulder-knot for the island, and the first Zeiraphera isertana and Aspilapteryx tringipennella for Bardsey! In addition to these scarcities, a brilliant find on the wild thyme on the slopes of Pen Cristin was this Tebenna micalis...
Tebenna micalis is a scarce immigrant from Southern Europe, that can become temporarily established in certain areas. The distribution maps for this species show few records straying into North Wales, and a scan on the North Wales Lepidoptera database indicates that there is just one previous record in North Wales. This species feeds on Common Fleabane, which is a very common plant on Bardsey
Marbled Green 
Zeiraphera isertana
Aspilapteryx tringipennella

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