Monday, 7 March 2016

Today the rest of the wardening team returned to the island from their wintering grounds on the mainland. With more eyes in the field a full census of the island is now possible each day, and hopefully some exciting sightings too!

Early morning started with reports of fantastic views of a Sparrowhawk displaying over and around the plantation and with a pair seen occasionally this season already a breeding attempt could possibly be just around the corner. A mixture of Gulls, mostly Herring Gulls but also couple of Lesser Black-backed Gulls soared over the colonies at the north end whilst below a Goldcrest moved through the plantation, Song Thrush was seen and Wrens, Robins and Dunnocks burst into song.

Through the lowlands and withies a Common Snipe burst out from the long grasses, four Mallards now paring up occupied one of the ponds and the watery areas in one of the withies, along the west coast eight Curlews took flight and small flocks of Meadow Pipits dotted the fields with the occasional individual starting to sing. A Blackbird residing in the withies had a close call with a Sparrowhawk. As it attempted to leave the safety of the withies it was spotted, the Blackbird promptly returned to cover with the Sparrowhawk crashing through the vegetation behind it just avoiding its talons by a whisker before escaping! Six Linnets and the odd Moorhen were also seen.

Around the Observatory garden a pair of Stonechats flitted about the gorse, a single Blue Tit rattled off its calls from the trees and a Goldcrest picked around the pines as two Ravens and a gang of six Carrion Crows moved around the island.

Throughout the day Little Owls called from around the island, behind the observatory and down in the Lowlands. In other "owl news" a lucky observer was granted extremely close view of a Barn Owl at roost in the nest box up at Nant, seemingly undisturbed by human presence in continued to rest. Excitingly the owl was wearing a ring and is most likely the individual ringed in the previous autumn!

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