Thursday, 22 June 2017

Waders are typically the first birds to migrate in autumn, and today marked the first occasion since mid-May that good numbers and diversity were recorded on the island. The totals were considerably helped by a half-hour vigil from our volunteer Elliot, who recorded a pretty decent overnight passage between 00:45 and 01:15. Totals for the day were 16 Curlews (11 overnight), six Whimbrel (all overnight), 5 Dunlin (overnight), three Golden Plover (overnight), two Ringed Plover (both overnight), two Redshank (one overnight), two Common Sandpipers and a single Lapwing, seen at more conventional times of day! Another classic sign of early autumn here is a build-up of Black-headed Gulls, the 14 seen today is our highest count since May but represents the tip of the iceberg, with multitudes more due to arrive soon!

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) - © Elliot Montieth
Some Swallow passage was evident today, with the 44 seen including some resident birds and some heading purposefully south through the wetlands. Two Swifts and a single Sand Martin also moved south. The Coal Tit also remained, while it was an interesting day for Warblers. While Blackcap and Sedge Warbler have oversummered in small numbers on the island, a single of the former in Cristin Withy was likely new in, and several extra of the latter were seen, in Plas and Ty Pellaf Withies. As these were singing they could be early failed breeders heading south, or males who've only started to become more active again after incubation, or perhaps even very late first-summers, or birds who failed in their first brood elsewhere on the mainland? All conjecture of course, all we can say with certainty is that numbers have jumped up dramatically in recent days.

A decent day for Leipdoptera was also had, with residents including another three Speckled Woods at Nant, up to 31 Six-spot Burnets, and 17 Brown China-marks around Pwll Cain. Another Grayling was seen, this time in the unusual location of the Heligoland Trap at Cristin! In the Obs trap, a Heart & Club was notable, the most up to date checklist (all records up to 2013) only lists 13 records, with nine of those in 2009. Immigrant lepidoptera were represented by eight Red Admirals, eight Diamond-backs, two Silver Y's and a Painted Lady.

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