Friday, 18 July 2014

It was an excellent couple of days on the island, with mixed weather conditions encouraging the first notable movement of southward-going migrants on the 18th. A calm and clear day on the 17th saw three Little Egrets flying south along the West Side in the early hours, which were followed by a further two birds later on. The first Black-tailed Godwit of the year similarly sped southward over the South End, whilst a Buzzard, two Grey Wagtails, 17 Swifts and a Sand Martin were also seen overhead.

Thunderstorms and some impressive lightning strikes were coupled with very strong easterly gusts overnight on the 18th, with temperatures barely dipping below 20'C. A steady trickle of hirundines and swifts over the island throughout the day saw a total of 12 Sand Martins, 23 House Martins, 40 Swallows and 11 Swifts logged. Two bright juvenile Willow Warblers at Cristin and Nant would seem to be migrants, whilst wader movements during the day involved a Ringed Plover, two Snipe, five Dunlin, a Sanderling, three Whimbrels, three Common Sandpipers and a Lapwing.

Armed with a new catch box (after the previous one was washed away with Solfach hide overwinter), the portable Heligoland trap was set up on Solfach on the 17th, with the aim of catching some of the Rock Pipits, Wheatears and Pied Wagtails which have been feeding on the beach...
Two Wheatears have been trapped and ringed so far, both juveniles such as this bird 
Six Rock Pipits have been trapped and fitted with colour rings as part of our on-going project into their winter dispersion on the island and further a field (as well as shedding some light on the origins of the birds which arrive during winter time and look very much like littoralis birds 
This Emperor Dragonfly-now about the fifth so far this year- was discovered on Pen Cristin on the 17th, happily munching away on an unfortunate bee. 
Linnet (top) and Meadow Pipit (lower) in the early morning light 
This lucky Pied Wagtail fledgling managed to procure a massive female Northern Eggar, which it then spent ten minutes trying to tear to bits and digest 
Endotricha flammealis

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