Sunday, 30 August 2015

Next Generation Birders on Bardsey - week overview

Apologies once again for a lack of daily updates- it has been another fairly manic week, with lots of different activities taking place and many hours spent scouring the island and sea for birds. For the duration of the Next Generation Birder's stay on the island, we were competing against a similar group which had visited Skokhlom bird observatory for this week. The challenge was to see which island team could record the most number of bird species in the five days from Monday to Saturday. Suffice to say that we were immensely pleased to have recorded a total of 100 species this week! The 'NGBs' managed a respectable total of 94, which just 10 species ahead of what #teamskok managed at 84 species. A great effort by both!

It has been a brilliant week, despite the windy conditions which meant that we couldn't use mist nets on many of the days. Seawatching provided some great sightings and also Bardsey records, such as yesterday's Knot passage. I shall attempt to write something of a week round-up, starting from Wednesday...

The Obs and NGB team 

Wednesday 26th
A breezy day with bight sunny skies saw a good amount of sea passage noted, including 31 Fulmars, 2681 Manx Shearwaters, 281 Gannets, a Great Skua, two Black-headed Gulls, 493 Kittiwakes, 12 Sandwich Terns, and three Razorbills. Wader counts have gradually been building over the week as we approach the high spring tides. Numbers logged on the 26th comprised one Ringed Plover, three Purple Sandpipers, eight Dunlins, a Snipe, four Whimbrels, 26 Curlews, four Redshanks, one Common Sandpiper and 30 Turnstones. Singles of Collared Dove and Little Owl inland were noteworthy, but passerine migrants were thin on the ground: two Sand Martins, 19 Swallows, four House Martins, four White Wagtails, 10 Wheatears, one Sedge Warblers, two Willow Warblers and four Goldcrests were recorded.

There have been plenty of Canary-shouldered Thorns in the moth traps

Thursday 27th
A slower day for sea passage saw figures much lower than the 26th, but some quality wader passage included a Grey Plover, eight Knots, nine Bar-tailed Godwits and 10 Whimbrels; the single Teal remained, and a flock of 24 Common Scoters flew south. Singles if Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard represented the day's raptors. A single Sand Martin and six House Martins flew overhead, along with a Grey Wagtail; three White Wagtails were present in Solfach, 14 Stonechats and seven Wheatears were scattered around the island, whilst two Blackcaps, three Willow Warblers, one Chiffchaff and eight Goldcrests were the day's warbler counts. A good odonata sighting comprised both a male and female Migrant Hawker lurking in the shelter of the gardens, whilst a Northern Eggar was also seen flying around

female Migrant hawker

Friday 28th
Another breezy day dominated by clear skies and a brisk westerly wind meant that sea-watching took up most of the day's birding efforts. These were rewarded with some great records: a single Red-throated Diver, 43 Fulmars, 1571 Manx Shearwaters, a Balearic Shearwater, 147 Gannets, a Golden Plover, a record island count of EIGHTY ONE Knots, eight Sanderlings, 10 Dunlins, seven Whimbrels, one Pomarine Skua, two Arctic Skuas, nine Sandwich Terns, two Common Terns and 150 Commic Terns. Aside the passage, other wader counts comprised 38 Curlews, five Redshanks, one Common Sandpiper and 42 Turnstones. Noteworthy passerines included two Skylarks, two Sand Martins, 13 White Wagtails, 19 Stonechats, 22 Wheatears and one Sedge Warbler. Some good records of migrant lepdioptera comprised three each of Hummingbird Hakmoths and Silver Ys. In the evening, a Barn Owl was seen at the Plantation at dusk, after some feathers were discovered here a few days earlier.

Little Owl

Saturday 29th
The day of departure for the week's visitors saw calmer winds prevailing during the day. This slight change in conditions did not, however, encourage a significant arrival of migrants. On the contrary, passerines were still in short supply.

Out to sea, counts of 50 Fulmars, 82 Gannets and 688 Kittiwakes were noted, along with single Arctic and Great Skuas, and a good gathering of waders around the Narrows included 41 Oystercatchers, three Ringed Plovers, three Purple Sandpipers, two Dunlins, one Snipe, 15 Curlews, seven Redshanks, one Common Sandpiper and 48 Turnstones. A single Grasshopper Warbler was new for the week, and a slight increase in other warbler numbers saw two Blackcaps, seven Chiffchaffs, two Willow Warblers and four Goldcrests. In other news, the year's second CONVOLVULUS HAWKMOTH was found (yet again!) in the Heligoland trap at the observatory. The is the first time that more than one has been recorded in a year since 2004! Also of worthy mention was that of a smart Turnstone trapped in on Solfach in the afternoon.

there have been some big gatherings of Kittiwakes recently

Grey Seal bull

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