Monday, 17 July 2017

A busy and birdy day, which several observers commented felt like the first proper day of migration! Overhead was where movement was most evident. We've been blessed with an above average year for those scythe-winged sky demons, the Swifts, and 137 were logged heading north today. Amongst them were a steady stream of Hirundines, concentrated mostly between 10:00 and 13:00, with 44 House Martins and 41 Sand Martins logged. Swallows were also clearly on the move, with 68 logged today, although a good chunk of that total will also have been resident birds, and their presence makes the true numbers passing through harder to detect. Also noted overhead were singles of Grey Wagtail and "Flava" Wagtail, a Buzzard over the Mountain and a Kestrel over the South End.

Willow Warblers were down a bit on yesterday, but an excellent 17 were still logged, alongside a young Blackcap in the Withies. Six Chiffchaffs and 10 Sedge Warblers were probably all resident birds, with the only suspected arrivals being a Siskin calling over the Obs and a single Lesser Redpoll trapped in the Withies, with probably the same bird roaming the island calling for much of the morning.

Post-breeding buildup of Kittiwakes continues to be one of the biggest features on the sea, with 200 roosting on the South End in the morning and another 154 logged offshore today. Several parties of Common Scoters at either end of the day totalled 38, with decent counts of regular species including 1349 Manx Shearwaters, 62 Shags and 41 Gannets. A single first-summer Common Gull was again amongst the Kittiwakes on the South End. Meanwhile, conspicuous by their absence were the auks, with almost all of the Guillemots, Razorbills and Puffins having left the island, daily log now sees all three species just creeping into double figures! It was only three days ago that the season high of 169 Puffins was logged, and their sudden absence in the days since on both the East Side and while seawatching has been especially apparent, just ten were seen today.

A decent spread of waders was again on the South End and the Narrows today, with 16 Curlews, 13 Redshanks, seven Common Sandpipers, five Whimbrels, two Turnstones and a Dunlin. Some active migration was seen amongst them, including a party of five Redshanks south off the South End early in the morning and the Dunlin coming in/off here shortly afterwards.

A sunny day brought out another strong showing from the islands lepidopera. The second Dark Green Fritilary of the year (only the second and third records since 2005) was found on Pen Cristin mid-morning, while almost as rare this year was a Small White at Ty Pellaf, a species that has declined almost inexplicably on Bardsey in recent years. Red Admirals had increased to 52, with an excellent 63 Graylings, mostly counted on the East Side. Five Peacocks was the first time double-figures have been counted in recent months, and only the third record of their second late-summer emergence, while five Small Coppers was also the best count for at least a few weeks. Six Small Tortoiseshells was another good showing, while a Hummingbird Hawk-moth was on the East Side. An interesting bee noted nesting at Ty Pellaf was Willughby's Leafcutter Bee (Megachile willughbiella), possibly the first record for the island. The Obs Moth trap was fairly quiet, with the most notable feature being Uncertain/Rustic aggregates accounting for a decent proportion of the total trap for the first time this year. However, a Dark Spinach caught at Ty Nesaf was only the second island record.
Hummingbird Hawk-moth; © Ben Porter

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