Sunday, 12 March 2017

Today was a fine example of not just migration but how at the mercy of the weather wildlife can be when moving to their breeding grounds. The morning, as the day before, was dominated by thick fog and drizzle over the mountain an amazing spectacle of 172 Chaffinches, 200 Starlings, the first Sand Martin of the year and a portion of the 269 Meadow Pipits logged darted back and forth along the mountain ridge as the dense conditions halted their migration. Below, throughout the rest of the island, signs of movements were also evident however lesser so. The first Wheatears of the season, a male on the South End and then later in the day a second male and female at the northern end of the island. A number of Wagtails were also on the move as a Grey Wagtail heading north over the Narrows, six Pied Wagtails and nine Alba Wagtails were noted. Elsewhere a few thrushes were new in, four Fieldfares and nine RedwingsChiffchaffs were still present but in lesser numbers, four, and six Goldcrests and a Goldfinch were seen.

A good selection of raptors were on show and consisted of a female Sparrowhawk cruising the mountainside, the long staying Common Buzzard, a Merlin and a pair of Peregrine Falcons. Meanwhile around the Narrows and the South End eight Common Snipes resided on a small pool beside the Lighthouse, a pair of Shelducks and eight Mallards were dotted about and 113 Oystercatchers, 14 Purple Sandpipers, a Whimbrel, eight Curlews, 12 Redshanks and 22 Turnstones were recorded.

Although it was great to see the "firsts" of particular species this year the highlight of the day was watching a Grey Seal munching on a freshly caught Eel. It spent most of the time stripping the skin off the flesh as the Eel periodically thrashed about. Unfortunately further around Henllwyn a freshly born pup was found dead along the shoreline, an extremely late birth which has occurred on the island the last few springs. A hibernating Small Tortoishell was seen inside the Schoolhouse.

Grey Seal feasting on an Eel, potentially a Congar Eel based on the size

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