Monday, 24 April 2017

Strong northerly winds hampered any hopes of much passage today, with just low numbers and a few minor oddities seen. Given the marvellous passage we've been treated to recently we can't grumble too much, but today was certainly a slow-down compared to recent events.

Grounded migrant totals were very modest, though a male Ring Ouzel that remained at Pen Cristin provided some wow factor. 55 Willow Warblers, 19 Chiffchaffs, five Goldcrests, three Blackcaps and a single Whitethroat were recorded in the bushes, ten White Wagtails were counted on Solfach and two Siskins were in the Plantation. 20 Wheatears were scattered mostly across the Narrows and Pen Cristin, with at least two of the subspecies Leucorhoa bound for Iceland or Greenland (or maybe even Baffin Island!).

20 Goldfinchs and two Lesser Redpolls was a modest return for finch passage, while save a brief spurt of activity early in the afternoon, hirundines were hard to come by, 39 Swallows, four Sand Martins and a single House Martin were logged. A Grey Wagtail South over Nant at least provided some quality, with this species much more associated with autumn movements than  spring ones on Bardsey, and this being only the fifth of the year so far. Passerine wise, the Hooded Crow again in the North-west Fields was the only other sighting of note.

Sea passage was up with the strong winds, including a strong southbound passage of 100 Guillemots,  18 Razorbills and 61 Manx Shearwaters in an hour and a half first thing in the morning. Two Black-headed Gulls were loafing in Henllwyn at 09:00, with two Puffins off Pen Cristin early in the afternoon. Waders were represented with 13 Turnstones, eight Whimbrels, five Dunlins, two Ringed Plovers and two Curlews. Finally, and definitely in the category of "little things that only get exciting when you've been on Bardsey for five weeks", our resident first-summer Grey Heron was joined, briefly, by a spanking adult today! After five weeks of counting presumably the same bird every day, this was a welcome change for two surprised observers.

Since it was blowing a bit of a hoolie overnight, Moths were understandably reluctant to venture anywhere near the garden moth trap, intrepid singles of Angle Shades and Hebrew Character all that could be found. One Peacock, showing considerable fortitude, was observed battling the winds over Ty Pellaf, the only Butterfly logged all day. The first Palmate Newt for the year was, however, found in Nant Well, one of the few definitive signs of spring on a day when the dominant weather systems seemed to come straight out of the Arctic!

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