Sunday, 23 April 2017

Despite not feeling all that busy, today turned out to be a pretty reasonable day, with good numbers of some of the expected migrants, a few oddities and some firsts for the year all appearing. Chief among the migrants were Wheatears, numbering 174, and 71 Blackcaps. Many Greenland-bound Wheatears of the race "leucorhoa" were seen today, with considerable numbers passing along the mountain ridge, and several even seen on vis-mig! It's been a very good week for them so far, and today was the first occasion we've had anything like a sizeable arrival of Blackcaps. 26 were ringed in Cristin garden, comprising nearly half of the total number of birds caught here. 

It was a boon day for Thrush/Chat diversity too, the highlights being the first four Whinchats of the year, all well-marked males, and two Ring Ouzels on Pen Cristin. In addition there was a female Redstart in the Obs garden, and singles of Song Thrush and Fieldfare recorded. Several Stonechats were in areas that seemed outside of the invisible boundaries our resident pairs adhere to, so it's tempting to assume a bit of migration on their part as well. 

The stunning male Ring Ouzel at Ty Pellaf this afternoon

A fine day for Warblers generally, although the magnificent Willow Warbler passage of late couldn't be sustained, just 61 were counted today (although we're aware a fall of 61 constitutes a sizeable arrival for many locations!). 16 Whitethroats, 14 Sedge Warblers, 13 Chiffchaffs and nine Grasshopper Warblers constituted pretty decent Warbler passage, while three Goldcrests were also noted. 

194 Swallows made them the commonest overhead migrant by far, 25 Sand Martins and 16 Sand Martins also moved through, while 19 Lesser Redpolls and six Siskins constituted reasonable finch passage. Two Tree Pipits passed overhead, with another remarkably singing from a treetop in Ty Capel! There were also two Rooks heading south, and one of the day's highlights was a Short-eared Owl flushed from the mountainside, then spiralling higher and higher til finally lost from view. The Hooded Crow was again seen in the North-west fields, a season high of 21 White Wagtails were on Solfach and the West Coast, and two Collared Doves were knocking about. 

Out to sea was very quiet, three Black-headed Gulls heading south the only sighting of note. Wader diversity was again good, with 16 Whimbrels, eight Ringed Plovers, eight Purple Sandpipers, six Dunlins, five Curlews, three Common Sandpipers and a Redshank, almost all concentrated around the Narrows. 

The last few days have also been notable for our first Moorhen and Mallard broods of the year, one brood of nine on Pwll Cain on the 19th was down to just three by today, while six newly emerged ducklings were in the Wetlands today too. Two downy Moorhen chicks are currently hopping about the Front of the Obs Garden, mother in tow! 

A warm and sunny day resulted in good numbers of butterflies on the wing, 16 Green-veined Whites were counted, along with an excellent three Speckled Woods at Nant. Normally a mega rarity on Bardsey, a spate of recent sightings suggest a local emergence at Nant, after a record-breaking arrival last autumn. A welcome arrival to the islands Lepifauna! A single Red Admiral was a good sighting today, with few being reported recently.

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