Sunday, 16 October 2016
The morning started on a damp note with the forecasted downpour drenching the island until 8am. Upon this break in the rain it became obvious a large movement of seabirds were moving southwards off the West Coast; no doubt linked to the Force 8 South-westerly winds battering the coastline. At 0920, amongst the throngs of Gannets, Auks, and Kittiwakes, a veritable leviathan manifested into view, none other than a BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS! The immature bird loomed over Carreg Yr Honwy heading south slowly with not a flap of its wings on route. A quick radio call meant an observer on the South End picked it up flying close in, watched it linger offshore, and then round the tip of the island. Amazingly, this tremendous bird was seen again off the South at both 1145 and 1250, each time giving brief but good views to a few present. This becomes the first record of Black-browed Albatross for Bardsey (though Albatross sp. were recorded in 1976 and 2005) and only the third record for Wales, following one off Skokholm on 19th August 1990 and an adult off of South Stack Anglesey on 12th February 2005.
Though dwarfed by the aforementioned Albatross further interest at sea summed to one Great Northern Diver, two Sooty Shearwaters, 12 Manx Shearwaters, 183 Gannets, 24 Common Scoters, one Pomarine Skua, three Arctic Skuas, five Great Skuas, two Mediterranean Gulls, 35 Common Gulls, and 15 Guillemots. The two biggest movers put on a spectacle as 4154 Kittiwakes and 3967 Razorbills were logged.
Waders have diminished in recent weeks with two Golden Plovers, one Dunlin, and two Snipes the only obvious migrants seen today. Loitering around the island were four Wigeons, one Kestrel, two Water Rails, one Wheatear, four Song Thrushes, seven Redwings, six Blackcaps, two Yellow-browed Warblers, six Chiffchaffs, 31 Goldcrests, three Firecrests, and one Coal Tit.