Tuesday, 18 August 2015

It has been a great few days on the island, with some exciting sightings ranging from dragonflies to birdlife. The weather has been stunning: low winds varying in direction from the east around to the south west have rarely exceeded 15mph, whilst temperatures have commonly strayed above 20'C, helped by the clear, blue skies and sunny conditions.

There have been some quite unusual sightings in the last few days...by far the scarcest in avian terms was that of a very distant Great White Egret on the 16th, which slowly made its way south-west at a distance of over a mile off the West Side. This is just the third record for Bardsey Island. Equally exciting was the discovery of a female Banded Demoiselle on the South End in the afternoon of the 17th, which is a new species for Bardsey! Other notable sightings included a Black Guillemot off the West Side on the 17th, an Arctic Tern on the 15th, and an adult Pomarine Skua on 18th. Mediterranean Gulls joined the gatherings of larger Larids to feast on the emergence of flying Ants during the calm weather, with a single on the 15th, two on the 16th, and another one on the 17th. The female Ruff remained in Solfach until the 16th, and a Green Sandpiper was heard on the night of the 17th. Single Hooded Crows were seen on the mountain on the 16th and 18th, whilst other passerine sightings included a  Song Thrush on the 17th, single Whinchats on the 16th and 17th, a Yellow Wagtail on the 15th, and singles of Tree Pipit and Grey Wagtail on 18th. In other news, Risso's Dolphins have been seen almost daily, with as many as nine present (16th).

Commoner migrants have struggled in numbers since the large arrival a few days ago. Hirundine passage has been stronger, though, with number building to 227 Swallows and 51 House Martins on the 17th, plus two Sand Martins on the 18th. A Garden Warbler on the 18th was amongst the largest arrival of warblers during this period, with 59 Willow Warblers noted around the island, along with a Blackcap, four Chiffchaffs and three Goldcrests. Five Spotted Flycatchers on the 15th decreased to just one on the 16th, and none thereafter. Waders have been a big feature in the last few days, with high tides following new moon encouraging plenty onto the coast of the Narrows, the star of the show being the female Ruff (staying until the 16th). Particularly high counts have comprised 10 Ringed Plovers on the 16th, 25 Dunlins on the 15th, three Bar-tailed Godwits and a Whimbrel on the 17th, 32 Curlews on the 16th, 11 Redshanks, six Common Sandpipers and 12 Turnstones on the 17th.

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On the nights of the 16th and 17th, we carried out some Storm Petrel ringing at the North End. The results were great: 12 new birds and three controls, whose origins are uncertain, but oddly enough were all part of the same ring string as each other!

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The stunnign Banded Demoiselle

Female Ruff

Chinese Character

Grey Heron in front of Bardsey Bird and Field Observatory

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