Sunday, 31 August 2014

Western Bonelli's Warbler!

A day of bright sunshine, low winds and high temperatures saw autumn migration step up a gear. At around 11:30 this morning, a very smart Bonelli's Warbler was discovered feeding very actively in the oak trees at the eastern end of the Plantation. After birders had amassed to the site (all four of them), the bird showed very well for an hour and a half, showing off its brilliant white underparts and bright green wings and rump. After the preferred spot for this phyllosc had passed into shadow, the reduction in insect numbers forced the bird to become a bit more active. The Bonelli's Warbler then started working its way around the Plantation, and was last seen on the eastern edge of the New Plantation, where it managed to elude the open mist nets. Thankfully, the bird called three times after becoming more mobile, which allowed it to be identified as a Western Bonelli's Warbler (due to the 'hueeet'-type call, as opposed to the 'chipp'-type call of the eastern). This represents the 8th record of this species on Bardsey, the last of which was in the exact same place just a day later than this in September 2011.

Amongst the more noteworthy species seen today were two Whinchats, a Tree Pipit, a Pied Flycatcher, a Reed Warblera Greenshank and two Arctic Skuas. There were some very good counts of common migrants too, with passerine totals amounting to: one Sand Martin, 62 Swallows, 25 House Martins, 59 Meadow Pipits, two Grey Wagtails, 51 White Wagtails, 25 Robins, 23 Stonechats, three Sedge Warblers, seven Whitethroats, two Blackcaps, 21 Chiffchaffs, 31 Willow Warblers, 32 Goldcrests and six Spotted Flycatchers.

Western Bonelli's Warbler

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