Sunday, 14 May 2017

With fairly strong south-westerlies and a clear sky, it was a gorgeous day to be out, but unsurprisingly migrants were thin on the ground. However, the strong winds obviously stimulated a bit of movement out to sea. The biggest movers were 325 Guillemots, 319 Manx Shearwaters, 314 Kittiwakes and 286 Razorbills, with 32 Gannets, 17 Fulmars and 17 Puffins also noted. 18 Common Scoter south in the morning was the largest party seen in several weeks, while an overdue first Arctic Skua of the year was also off the South End, evidently attracted by a flock of some 220 Kittiwakes offshore.

Mid-May is tends to be past the peak for almost all summer migrants, with the notable exception of Spotted Flycatchers. Thus, 28 today was our season-high so far, but apart from 12 Sedge Warblers and 11 Lesser Redpolls (and at least some of the former, possibly some of the latter, will be staying around for the summer now), no other grounded migrants even broke double figures! The back-up cast, modest as it was, featured eight Willow Warblers, seven Chiffchaffs, four Whitethroats and a Blackcap, plus some modest quality in the form of two Redstarts (one a smart male) and a Reed Warbler.

For most of the day, hirundine passage was more of a trickle than a stream, but a burst activity between 13:00 and 14:00, featuring over three birds per minute, meant the final day total for Swallows was 356. 64 House Martins, eight Sand Martins and a single Swift moved through alongside them. The only other migrants noted overhead were a Flava Wagtail over the Wetlands, and a Hooded Crow that did a circuit of the South End before heading back towards Pen Cristin.
Meanwhile wader diversity has really taken a dive of late, alongside the ever-present Oystercatchers just 14 Dunlins, nine Turnstones, seven Whimbrels and two Curlews were noted today.

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