Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Most of the day was spent working round the East Side again, with the result that good seabird counts were made, but little else was noted. Final tallies for the Seabirds include 67 Shags, 242 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 618 Herring Gulls, 1068 Razorbills, 1308 Guillemots and 58 Puffins. The colony is properly busy now, with many species on chicks and some even having fledged young. Most intriguing are the Shags, and their notoriously protracted breeding season, with many young now fully fledged but some pairs having only just laid eggs! One puzzling sighting was the presence of Shag eggs in two nests that had already fledged young earlier in the season! We're not aware of Shags having second broods, so it seems most likely that other birds have taken over the now-empty nests of the earliest few pairs.
Razorbill with Sandeels, © Ben Porter
While it looks like potentially a poor year for Razorbill numbers compared to recent years, a good number of chicks and eggs were seen, with plenty like the above bringing in healthy portions of Sandeels for their young!

Elsewhere seawatching produced a lower total of 427 Manx Shearwaters. A few hirundines were on the move heading south, among them 45 Swallows, 10 House Martins and a single Sand Martin. We've suspected for a few days that autumn had already arrived, but it's presence was gratefully confirmed with a Curlew heading south out to sea in the evening; traditionally failed breeders of this species are amongst the very earliest of return migrants. Three Whimbrels were also seen, as were three Goldfinches.
A Cinnabar was the highlight of day-flying insects, only the 13th or 14th record for the island, but several have been seen this year already. A Painted Lady  was also seen. Most exciting in the moth trap was what we suspect to be a Feathered Beauty, which would be a first record for the island.

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