Friday, 14 August 2015

It has been a busy few days on the island, as autumn really starts to kick off with the settling of weather conditions. Low winds and a mix of cloud cover has brought some good arrivals of migrants- both passerines and non-passerines- over the last few days, with some great numbers recorded yesterday in particular. The next week looks set to stay calm and largely clear, so we are looking forward to seeing what arrivals will come our way.

Beginning with the highlights since the 11th- Great Crested Grebes have made something of a surprise appearance! On the 12th, a single individual flew east through the sound, which was followed by a flock of five (!) flying south past the West Coast on the morning of the 13th! After over 12 years of no sightings, to suddenly have three records in two years is rather unprecedented! In other news, singles of Ruff and Greenshank were seen on the 14th, the former of which is new to the year list, whilst a Greater Spotted Woodpecker arrived on the 13th, and remained through to the 14th. Another noteworthy visitor was that of a Short-eared Owl on the 14th, which is just the second of the year- a bird was flushed from the West Side, before flying around Pen Cristin.

Onto the more common species of migrants...Willow Warblers have finally eased into the triple figures, after a long period of below-average counts. The last three days have seen 49 on the 12th, 80 on the 13th, and 344 on the 15th. Blackcaps, Garden Warblers, Whitethroats, Sedge Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests have also been steadily increasing in number, with tallies from the 13th comprising five Whitethroats, two Garden Warblers, one Blackcap, four Chiffchaffs and three Goldcrests. Singles Grasshopper Warblers were seen on the 12th and 14th, with a Tree Pipit on the 13th and Common Swifts over on the 12th and 13th. Spotted Flycatchers featured well in yesterday's arrival, with 34 representing the highest figure for sometime. Hirundine movements have been very strong on the clearer days, with not as many seen on the 14th; 243 Swallows on the 13th and 74 House Martins on the 12th were the highest totals from this period.

On to the waders- the New Moon is creating some reasonably high tides at the moment, which in turn is bringing a brilliant host of waders to the shores of The Narrows. The aforementioned highlights have been accompanied by the following selection of species (maximum daily figures): 12 Ringed Plovers, one Sanderling (13th), 19 Dunlins, four Whimbrels, 38 Curlews, seven Redshanks, 28 Turnstones and three Common Sandpipers.

A Kestrel has been lurking around the island in recent days

Willow Warblers have finally broken into triple figure counts, with over 60 trapped and ringed on the 14th too

Violet Ground Beetle

The dark nights have resulted in some big moth catches, with almost 400 in one of the heath traps yesterday, and nearly 800 between the three

Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing

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