Monday, 1 May 2017

Out to sea, the obvious highlight was a Tufted Duck south, just the 31st for the island! Bardsey has a curiously poor track record with many wildfowl considered regular on the mainland, so this was a terrific sighting. For the mainland birder, the Pomarine Skua off the South End mid-afternoon would probably be a bit more exciting, but on here it was somewhat overshadowed by the former species. Another bizarre seabird sighting was a Great Skua, circling over Nant and mobbed by a trail of Gulls late in the morning, til it was lost from view behind the mountain. Other than these, counts from the sea were quite modest, though in all probability this was probably due to lack of attention, more than anything. Half an hour off the South End mid-afternoon produced, among others, 64 Manx Shearwaters, 54 Kittiwakes and 18 Puffins. A flock of 22 Common Scoters also passed south mid-morning, seen past the North End.

Waders weren't in spectacular numbers, but there was surprisingly good diversity. Most unusual was probably a Green Sandpiper, heard calling as it passed over the Lowlands in the afternoon. There was also a Golden Plover south over Nant, a Ringed Plover north along the West Coast, a Common Sandpiper on the Narrows and 33 Turnstones, 23 Whimbrels, seven Curlews and three Dunlins logged in total.

The highlight of the day for a few lucky enough to see it was a gorgeous, if somewhat bedraggled looking Long-eared Owl in the Plantation. It posed very well on a few occasions, and several observers remarked that it looked like a very tired, freshly arrived migrant. A beautiful bird and our first of the year. Meanwhile, songbirds were well represented in diversity, if not necessarily in numbers. Warblers were in much lower numbers and diversity than yesterday, but there were still at least 45 Willow Warblers, 23 Chiffchaffs, 16 Sedge Warblers, nine Whitethroats and eight Blackcaps, plus a Garden Warbler in the Green Lane. Finches were doing well for so late in the season, with 23 Lesser Redpolls, 18 Siskins and 16 Goldfinches logged, plus a bonus highlight of two Crossbills at Nant for one lucky observer.

Three Goldcrests were around, while 21 Wheatears was rather modest compared with recent days, and quite a few of those were probably residents. However, four Redstarts and two Pied Flycatchers entertained observers, and singles of WhinchatRing Ouzel and Fieldfare, the former two cracking males, were logged. White Wagtails passage is starting to wane, with just four seen today, but at least two Scandinavian Rock Pipits were also on Solfach. Two Tree Pipits also passed overhead, alongside a fine passage of 347 Swallows, with 15 House Martins and eight Sand Martins also logged.

On the insect front, six Red Admirals were logged, presumably indicative of a decent arrival on the Southerly airflow. Sadly, this wasn't reflected in the Obs moth trap, which had just three moths of three species (Flame Shoulder, Brimstone and Angle Shades)! However, a fine Least Black Arches in a Moth Trap in Nant Withy was the second record for the island, following one caught here a few weeks ago. Even more notable was a Tree Bumblebee reported by guests from the Garden. This is presumably the first record for Bardsey of this species, which has rapidly colonised much of Southern and Central England over the past decade, and which we were thinking is probably due an occurrence here. Will it be the vanguard of a successful colonisation?

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