Monday, 15 May 2017

Today was, in a word, horrendous! The winds were gusting to 50mph from the South-west, with torrential downpours to boot. Unsurprisingly, coverage was limited as the observatory staff took the chance to catch up on paperwork. But nontheless, our intrepid bunch did pull a few noteworthy sightings out, even with conditions that were frankly awful.

It will come as little surprise that seawatching yielded the majority of sightings of note. Manx Shearwaters enjoyed (although perhaps that's not quite the right word) their strongest passage of the year so far. It seems likely the gale-force south-westerlies blew thousands into Cardigan Bay which subsequently had to relocate along the Llyn Peninsula, a huge movement heading north off the South End in the morning topped 30 a minute on a short sample count, with 680 in 25 minutes (34 a minute) going south through the North Sound in the afternoon. In total, 2039 Manx Shearwaters were seen today but in all likelihood many more moved through, although not much else was moving. A single Great Northern Diver was notable, as were two Common Scoters. 108 Guillemots, 58 Razorbills and a reasonably high total of 65 Gannets were on the move, with six Puffins also moving south.

Waders included a decent 21 Turnstones, alongside six Whimbrels, six Purple Sandpipers, five Dunlins and one Curlew. It's no surprise passerines were at a premium today, the most numerous migrants being 11 Spotted Flycatchers (two rather foolhardy individuals came in/off at the North End in the afternoon) and nine Swallows! Three Chiffchaffs were also noted, alongside singles of Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler and Collared Dove. A small amount of quality rewarded our persistence, with a Reed Warbler in the Withies and a smart, if bedraggled, male Whinchat on the North End.

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