Sunday, 31 July 2016

A small movement and heightened activity of gulls was present today, mostly during the morning as 144 Lesser Black-Backed and 244 Herring Gulls noisily circled the mountain, forming small groups around the narrows and a small percentage appearing to head off in a southerly direction off the island. From amongst the groups of roosting gulls a juvenile Yellow Legged Gull was picked out, this fantastic find constitutes only the forth record of this species on the island since recording began and the third to be found in the last three years!

Small numbers moved off the coasts today aside from Manx Shearwaters which again were present in high numbers amounting to 1658, whilst 41 Gannets, two Common Scoter, tour Sandwich Terns and 80 Kittiwakes were seen. There are slowly decreasing numbers of auks as the resident birds leave the island and head out into the open ocean with their young for the winter. A total of five Risso's Dolphins were spotted throughout the day breaking the surface water with their distinctive sickle shaped dorsal fins, a lot more sightings of this fantastic cetacean can be expected over the next month or so as we enter a prime time for spotting them off the coasts of Bardsey.

Numbers of waders around the island have also dropped for the time being but good some sightings none the less. A Lapwing was present around the south end, 42 Turnstones, three Redshanks, 38 Curlews and singles of Ringed Plover, Purple Sandpiper, Whimbrel and Common Sandpiper were noted.

A first winter Mediterranean Gull dabbled off shore at one of the harbours in search of food whilst the ever present pair of adult and juvenile Grey Herons stalked the shallows and rock pools.

Fantastic numbers of moths being attracted to the traps in recent weeks, a nice selection of Garden Tigers, Scalloped Oaks, True Lovers Knots, Crescent Darts, Large Yellow Underwings and Dark Arches above.
Some new arrivals around the island included the first two Grasshopper Warblers of the year trapped and ringed during a mornings mist netting session in the observatory garden. Willow Warbler numbers amounted to 53, of which 29 were also trapped and ringed, four Sedge Warblers, a Whitethroat, four Blackcaps, two Chiffchaffs and three Goldcrests and 113 Linnets were also present. Amongst the resident Swallows, of which 15 were seen, a single Sand Martin and seven House Martins graced the skies above the island.

A few juvenile Blackcaps around at the moment
Juvenile Willow Warbler with its striking yellow underside
One of the 29 Willow Warblers caught in the morning
Juvenile Stonechats are present on the island at the moment in good numbers
This smart individual was caught in the observatory garden

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