Friday, 12 August 2016

It was eyes to the sea for the most part of today as strong winds hit the island from the south west. A good run of cetacean sightings during the past weeks continued today with an excellent sight of two Bottlenose Dolphins and a single Risso's Dolphin amongst the swell off the west coast. An outstanding count of 15,541 Manx Shearwaters was reached today, with a large part of these seen off the South End in the afternoon. Add to this 14 Fulmar, 95 Gannets, an Arctic Skua and two Great Skuas, 350 Auks, too distant to identify on the hazy horizon, five Bar-tailed Godwits traveling south down the west coast, and a good smattering of gulls including one Mediterranean Gull, five Black-headed Gulls, 58 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 371 Herring Gulls, 52 Greater Black-backed Gulls and 707 Kittiwakes made for interesting censusing.

Another ringing session overnight was rewarded with 13 new Storm Petrels ringing along with four re-traps, birds already wearing rings.

One of the worlds smallest seabirds, the Storm Petrel
Belonging to the order of seabirds the Procellariiformes, the Storm Petrel, along with the others in this group come equipped with tubular nostrils on top of their bills where they expel excess salts from their body in the form of a salty liquid snot

Along the coast Grey Heron numbers had increased from two to three, two Adults and a juvenile. Highlights of waders included a Green Sandpiper which flew over Nant, a Lapwing put in an appearance on the South End whilst 38 Oystercatchers, five Whimbrels, 33 Curlews, six Redshanks, a Common Sandpiper and 19 Turnstones were also logged.

Inland census was made difficult as the wind whipped around much of the vegetation on the island in the afternoon. Even so a smart Wood Warbler around the Plantation was a treat amongst the more regular Phylloscopus warblers of which four Willow Warblers and three Chiffchaffs were seen today. Linnet numbers were up with 223 forming small flocks throughout the island with 40 Meadow Pipits and six Pied Wagtails. Surprisingly no Wheatears were logged today but six Stonechats, three Blackbirds, a Sedge Warbler, Blackcap, two Goldcrests and one Chaffinch made up numbers on a fairly quiet day.

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