Friday, 14 October 2016

Although it was a fairly quiet day there were some new arrivals present on the island which kept the day interesting. The Radde's Warbler found and then trapped the previous day was spotted briefly on the side of the mountain above the Plantation and down into Nant Valley  skulking through the dense bracken there before disappearing again. A small group of five Coal Tits were trapped and ringed at the Plantation then proceeded to spend the day restlessly moving in the tops of the pines, noisily calling to each other. Normally an annual bird but not in great numbers aside from years where influxes take place, as happened last season. Yellow-browed Warblers were again present, four individuals spent the day in various locations around the island, one of them later being trapped in the Withies. Accompanying them amongst the vegetation were reasonable numbers of other warblers, five Blackcaps, 15 Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler, 51 Goldcrests and a smart Firecrest which was found in the Heligoland Trap in the observatory garden.

Handsome female Firecrest
Female Firecrest and male Goldcrest for comparison
A Ring Ouzel hid amongst the bramble patches in the Lowlands and although not in any outstanding tallies thrushes amounted to 18 Blackbirds, a Fieldfare, five Song Thrushes and five Redwings. Robins totalled at 36, still a respectable amount but numbers possibly trailing off slightly over the past few days, whilst 16 Stonechats, two Wheatears and a steady finch passage with 53 Chaffinches, two Siskins, five Goldfinches and two Lesser Redpolls mostly passed overhead. Water Rails, one in the Observatory garden, two in the Withies and one in the Green Lane were heard, a Skylark passed overhead heading north, a flock of 41 Starlings roamed through the Lowlands and 40 Meadow Pipits, 25 Rock Pipits, three Grey Wagtails, and three Pied Wagtails were also seen.

The extremely elusive Barn Owl was still present as new fresh feathers were found around the Plantation, some of the outbuildings close by were checked for any signs but none were present, perhaps for now the dense pines of the Plantation are its preferred roost. A pair of Sparrowhawks continued to hunt and occasionally tussle together around Nant, meanwhile a Kestrel preferred the grassy Lowlands and the mountain slopes, a Merlin was present on the South End, two Peregrines, possibly one of the breeding pairs, soared high over the North End and two Little Owls were also logged.

Barn Owl feather
Wader numbers continued to fluctuate day to day, Oystercatchers being the most numerous at the moment today numbering 34. At high tide counts of 32 Turnstones, six Redshanks, and two Whimbrels resided around the Narrows. Elsewhere three Common Snipes and 29 Curlews were seen.

Smalls numbers around the coasts were counted and very little passed by the island off shore. Gannets and Razorbills were present in small numbers, a Wigeon, 16 Mallards and two Common Scoters were the only wildfowl noted and gull-wise four Black-headed Gulls, seven Common Gulls, two Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 12 Herring Gulls, four Greater Black-backed Gulls and 156 Kittiwakes were seen

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