Saturday, 13 August 2016

A juvenile Marsh Harrier spotted during the morning was harried and harassed by corvids down the west coast. It alighted briefly when it spotted some carrion on the ground but was soon moved on by a group of Carrion Crows.
Other raptors seen today included a male and female Sparrowhawk, two Kestrels over the mountain and a Peregrine Falcon over the farm. Disappointingly both pairs of Peregrines failed to raise any young this season and have since been extremely elusive or have briefly left the island. Hopefully they will be more successful next breeding season.

Sparrowhawk stalking the Linnets around Nant
Reasonable passage again at sea amounted to 2,753 Manx Shearwaters, 54 Gannets, 10 Fulmars, 12 Common Scoters and a single Sandwich Tern. An Arctic Skua and a Great Skua were spotted off the west coast heading south as well as a flock of six Bar-tailed Godwits, a species which has been recorded multiple times in the last week. Gull numbers logged have risen over the past few weeks as birds pass through the island and roost in clumps around the island, today was no exception with good numbers present again. The most interesting concerning two colour ringed Kittiwakes picked out of the 950 seen today. Black-headed Gulls numbered 12, whilst other counts came to 56 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 286 Herring Gulls and 38 Greater Black-backed Gulls.   

Passerines were fairly thin on the ground today. The Wood Warbler was present for another day, and spent its time flitting around the eastern end of the Plantation. Other Phylloscopus warblers today included four Chiffchaffs and 20 Willow Warblers. A couple of Blackcaps and Goldcrests, 12 Stonechats, mostly the resident pairs and their young, and 16 Wheatears towards the southern end of the island were noted. Linnet numbers were down on yesterdays count but a respectable 186 were still recorded along with 55 Meadow Pipits, 11 Rock Pipits, eight Pied Wagtails and hirundines numbering 55 Swallows and eight House Martins.

Not the greatest image but the only one obtained of the Wood Warbler as it flitted restlessly amongst the trees at the Plantation
Oystercatcher numbers have taken a tumble over the past weeks as birds presumably leave the island. Counts of over one hundred were common place during the breeding season as the island holds a healthy breeding population, the count was 45 individuals. Accompanying these were three Whimbrel, 23 Curlews, three Redshanks, two Common Sandpipers and 23 Turnstones.

The first Hummingbird Hawk Moth of the season feeding in one of the gardens around Nant
Using its extremely long proboscis to sip nectar from flowers
Other Lepidoptera news came in the form of nine Large Whites, 58 Green-veined Whites, two Common Blues, 11 Red Admirals, three Painted Ladies, one Small Tortoiseshell, 11 Peacocks, 34 Meadow Browns, and eight Northern Eggars scattered around the island.

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