Sunday, 30 April 2017

Where to begin! With the north-westerly winds finally declaring a ceasefire, a fine arrival of migrants greeted us today. Numbers were less spectacular than some other falls this spring, with no grounded migrants breaking three figures, but the diversity of birds on offer easily made it the most enjoyable day's birding of the spring so far.

A gorgeous Wood Warbler at Ty Nesaf was one of the main highlights, while also of considerable note were no fewer than eight Pied Flycatchers, four of them cracking males! It was a great day for Warblers generally, ten species being recorded and numbering 96 Willow Warblers, 33 Blackcaps, 13 Chiffchaffs, six Sedge Warblers, four Whitethroats, three Garden Warblers, three Grasshopper Warblers, two Lesser Whitethroats (our first of the year) and a Reed Warbler.

The picks of a fine back-up cast were a male Whinchat one the Narrows, a lovely Ring Ouzel at Pen Cristin and no fewer than six Redstarts, itself another brilliant count by modern spring standards here. One particularly memorable moment came when a male Pied Flycatcher and a male Redstart both obligingly showed themselves from the kitchen window, while the Warden and two Assistant Wardens were waiting for the kettle to boil! Two Crossbills were also seen late in the afternoon in flight over Nant. Other interest on the ground came from 36 Wheatears, seven Collared Doves, seven Lesser Redpolls, four Goldcrests, three Tree Pipits, three White Wagtails and two Siskins. Overhead a strong passage of hirundines featured 249 Swallows, 27 Sand Martins and 20 House Martins.

It was also pretty busy out to sea, with many birds presumably displaced by the stormy weather of late. Totals included 308 Manx Shearwaters, 166 Razorbills, 54 Kittiwakes, 37 Gannets, 29 Fulmars and 23 Guillemots, although the only out-of-the-ordinary passage was a single Sandwich Tern heading south mid-afternoon, and a small trickle of Lesser Black-backed Gulls heading south during the morning, just getting into double figures.

A small mix of waders on the Narrows included 30 Whimbrels, four Turnstones, three Dunlins and a Curlew, with a Snipe flushed out of a small damp patch on the South End. Four Black-headed Gulls were also in Solfach for most of the afternoon.

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