Saturday, 20 August 2016

Extremely strong winds battered the island throughout the day making census difficult as much of the wildlife sheltered out of sight.

The Long-eared Owl was still resided in one of the Withies and continued to provide some fantastic views of this secretive species. Small numbers amounting to 20 Meadow Pipits, 16 Rock Pipits, 10 Pied Wagtails and 166 Linnets braved the blustery grasslands. Stonechats numbered just six today and doted the fence lines whilst only one Wheatear was seen the whole day. This trend continued further inland where only nine Wrens were logged, a species which is normally quite easily counted upwards of fifty each day. A Sparrowhawk, single Robin, two Goldcrests, two Chaffinches, two Goldfinches were the only other passerines seen.

Despite the weather conditions, waders happily fed and roosted around the coast. Oystercatchers, mostly around the southern parts of the island numbered 63, a Sanderling pottered about the grassy Narrows as a combination of high tide and strong winds meant there wasn't much beach left. Meanwhile two Ringed Plovers, a Purple Sandpiper, eight Dunlins, five Whimbrels, 40 Curlews, 11 Redshanks, two Common Sandpipers and 38 Turnstones were seen elsewhere.

Numbers of Gulls continued to drop, although some passage was still evident. Lesser Black-backed Gulls numbered 40 whilst 152 Herring Gulls, 12 Greater Black-backed Gulls and 127 Kittiwakes were present.

The winds pushed a few birds from the sea closer in with 23 Fulmars, 517 Manx Shearwaters, 88 Gannets and two Common Scoters were seen.

Not surprisingly Lepidoptera counts were down as two Green-veined Whites, two Red Admirals, two Painted Lady's and one Meadow Brown were blown about. A Migrant Hawker also zipped around in the shelter of the Observatory garden during the day.

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