Saturday, 3 September 2016

The day started with a bit of a bang with news from the South End of a Buff-breasted Sandpiper. Originally flushed from rocks on the west side, it flew south and landed right on the southernmost point of Bardsey. There it showed well to two observers before taking flight just as the rest of the wardening team arrived. Despite thorough looking the bird never re-appeared. This becomes the fourth record for the island, though amazingly the first since one graced the North-west Fields 36 years ago to the day in 1980.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

Intense wader coverage due to the aforementioned rarity resulted in a decent haul of three Ringed Plovers, nine Knots, six Sanderlings, nine Curlew Sandpipers, one Dunlin, one Snipe, two Black-tailed Godwits, five Whimbrels, 27 Curlews, 15 Redshanks, one Common Sandpiper, and 90 Turnstones. With massive numbers of Curlew Sandpiper in Britain this autumn it unsurprising Bardsey has clocked up a few, but few could predict our sixth record in two weeks considering none had been seen in three years previously! 

By mid-afternoon the wind speeds had increased to 50+ mph leaving passerines well and truly hidden. Sea-watching was the only realistic option and rewarded eager eyes with one Sooty Shearwater, four Balearic Shearwaters, 982 Manx Shearwaters, 37 Fulmars, 142 Gannets, 17 Common Scoters, two Arctic Skuas, one Mediterranean Gull, and three Sandwich Terns. Asides, one Tree Pipit, six Grey Wagtails, 24 Goldcrests, and one Teal made an appearance.

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