Wednesday, 10 February 2016

What a difference a day makes. It started clear, calm, crisp and got progressively hotter as the sun moved higher in the sky, staying that way until the day was seen out with a very spring like feel.

Today was even warm and bright enough to warrant bringing out one of these
Moving through the wetlands towards the narrows, Robins and Wrens sang, marking their territories. Three Stonechats searched for food from the fence lines and two Common Snipe, a Song Thrush and three Meadow Pipits made up the numbers at the start of census. As the end of the wetlands was approached leading to the narrows a very stocky pale looking gull appeared 150 meters or so away above Solfach, the beach. On raising optics to get a closer look at the bird it was now immediately clear that this was a first winter Glaucous Gull, which gave very brief but awesome views as it gained some height and headed south away from the narrows and towards the south end. There have been a few records over the past couple of years of this species, our second largest gull just behind the Greater Black-backed Gull, Arctic and northern European breeder.

On the narrows the usual large flock of Oystercatchers and Curlews was present along with seven Redshank, 18 Turnstones, three Shelduck, two Mallards, three Shags, ten Rock Pipits, two Pied Wagtails and 66 Grey Seals, some of which had been pushed up on the grass above the normal haul out by the high tide. An extra surprise was a female or immature Merlin which whizzed across the narrows skimming the low walls and banks as it headed northwards.

The south end was rather quiet in comparison with only a handful of Oystercatchers, Grey Seals, Rock Pipits, two Choughs, four passing Black-headed Gulls and an adult Common Gull to bolster the numbers. However an adult Peregrine poised on one of the banks just south of the lighthouse was a welcome sight. Sadly no sign of the Glaucous Gull though.

Although very little else was seen over the rest of the island, a male Sparrowhawk working its way through the gorse on the side of the mountain, a loan Woodpigeon, two Goldcrests and a Blue Tit, it was a pleasure to watch four Ravens displaying over the northern end of the mountain most of the day, occasional being harassed by a resident Peregrine. Signs of the approaching season of these early breeders.

474 Guillemots, a single Razorbill, two Kittiwakes and two Harbour Porpoises were spotted off the west coast.

Although the day felt very spring like it was quite a surprise to see a Painted Lady flit across one of the gardens and settle on some of the hedgerows before moving off and disappearing althogether. Very early migrant or an individual woken out of hibernation by the warmth the day brought?

No comments:

Post a Comment