Sunday, 31 January 2016

Although the strong winds continued today, and will continue for the foreseeable future, the island has seen much of the local rain pass us by, or fortuatusly come during the night to the delight of the inhabitants.

The swell of the past few days, which had left views from the north hide lacking as you tried to peer over a passing wave before the next arrived seconds later, had subsided slightly so a walk across the north end and to the hide in the northwest corner of the island made a change. Small groups of Auks continued to be active out at sea with some spectacular views of winter plumaged Guillemots bobbing just in front of the hide and periodically diving under before returning to the surface five or so meters away. Although beautiful looking birds anyway in plumage during the breeding season there is something quite striking about them in winter plumage as their facial pattern becomes paler and more contrasting. In total, 48 passed in the morning along with seven Razorbills. Divers, when seen in recent weeks from the north end, have been tending to fly west through the Bardsey sound, presumably from  waters south of the Llyn peninsula to the east of Bardsey, and head out west before settling on the sea, today was no exception. Two Red-throated Divers did exactly that, generally alighting quite some distance out although one individual later on decided to venture closer prompting a few seconds of great views before disappearing in the swell.

Whilst scanning the sea close in a Grey Seal was picked up floating just in front of the hide, on closer inspection with the telescope a mass of tentacles could be seen protruding from its mouth, the suction pads along the underside of the "legs" and hole in the centre of the body where the mouth parts are situated could be seen clearly as the seal continued to feast on the Cephalopod! Seconds later a number of Kittiwakes, of which 14 passed by, were soon harassing the seal and it disappeared out of sight.

Other notable sightings was a small pod of three Porpoise heading east through the Bardsey sound, three Common Scoter and two Fulmar.

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