Friday, 19 May 2017

Mid-May has so far been a very muted affair for migration, and carried on in a similar theme today. A rarity or two can't be too far away! It certainly seems unlikely we'll quite match the spring of 2017, when Blyths Pipit, Eastern Subalpine Warbler, Black Kite and Ortolan Bunting had all been found by now! But with a list of late May/early June rarities to get any birder drooling, there's still every reason to hope we can pull something good out of the bag.

With goregous weather and not much migration today, a good amount of time was spent working in the Seabird Colony. Choughs were seen at several nest sites removing faecal sacs, a sure indicator of chicks in the nest. Shags are looking well grown in almost all nests checked now, with a handful of late eggs still to hatch. Our first three clutches of Herring Gulls have hatched over the last couple of days, while all the other seabirds are starting to settle down for what we hope will be another productive season.

The migration monitoring that did happen today revealed another strong movement of Manx Shearwaters, 1161 were seen, almost all off the West Coast early in the morning. We also recorded modest totals of 183 Razorbills, 72 Guillemots, 56 Kittiwakes and 31 Gannets moving offshore. Visible passage overhead was limited to just 111 Swallows, 17 House Martins and two Sand Martins, plus two unseasonal sightings in a Rook over the Mountain and a Skylark south off the South End.

A Knot on the Narrows was the highlight of a small selection of waders, which also comprised seven Whimbrels, four Curlews and singles of Sanderling, Dunlin and Turnstone.

Finally, grounded migrants were once again sparse, but there was a little bit more diversity today. At least one or two of the 14 Sedge Warblers seen today were probably migrants, while five Whitethroats were new in. Nine Spotted Flycatchers, five Chiffchaffs, five Lesser Redpolls, two Willow Warblers and singles of Blackcap and Garden Warbler were also noted.

On the Butterfly front, sighting of the day was our first Common Blue of the year, on the wing at Carreg Bach. Buff-tip and Galium Carpet were the highlights of just four moths caught in the Obs trap, both firsts for the year though.

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