Friday, 16 June 2017

Mid-June can be a slightly confusing time of year, as you try and work out whether the handful of new arrivals are tardy spring migrants or the vanguard of autumn! That was definitely the case today, with several birds likely to fit each category. Among good candidates for late spring migrants were a single acredula type Willow Warbler in the Withies, and two Turnstones heading North. Meanwhile, three Starlings, 10 southbound Sandwich Terns, two Curlews and an extremely dapper breeding plumage Golden Plover on the South End were much more likely to be early autumn migrants and failed breeders. To complete the picture, three Whimbrels included one colour-ringed bird that has been resident on the island since September 2016! Presumably a first-summer that couldn't be bothered to migrate.

Meanwhile, a couple of other arrivals like a Black-headed Gull North through the Narrows, a Kestrel on Pen Cristin, a Lesser Redpoll in the Plantation and three Collared Doves roaming the island were harder to categorise, and could easily relate to early post-breeding dispersal or failed breeders from the near mainland.

The highlight of extensive work around the East Side, including ringing plenty of Guillemot and Razorbill chicks, was a Storm Petrel found in a nest burrow. Several areas positively reeked of their "old book" smell, and hopefully our survey work planned for the next few weeks will shed some more light on the size of the current breeding population.
Ruby-tailed Wasp, © Ben Porter

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