Sunday, 16 July 2017

A much improved day on yesterday, with a fair amount around. Most obvious by their presence was the largest (and rather early) arrival of Willow Warblers of the autumn, with 22 around the usual hotspots of the Plantation, Withies and Obs Garden. A single Blackcap may well have been new in as well, as was a Lesser Redpoll in the Wetlands.

Willow Warbler
It was perhaps little surprise that a "Flying Ant Day" corresponded with a good day for Hirundines; 41 Swallows, 15 House Martins and 14 Sand Martins were all good counts for the time of year, with the Sand Martins clearly starting to move in numbers already. Also predating on these ants were 16 Swifts, our highest count since mid-June, and some 300 Herring Gulls and a Black-headed Gull. It was a good day for Gulls generally, the first six-species day for months with the first Common Gull of the autumn. This first-summer was roosting amongst the growing numbers of Kittiwakes on the tip of the South End, with 169 counted here and 192 logged in total today.

Out to sea all that was of note was a single flock of 90 Common Scoters that flew south at 21:35. We had one count of 80 on July 7th, but if memory serves us correct this is the highest count of the year so far. Otherwise the Sea was quiet all day, even the Auks are now in very low numbers offshore, reflecting the nearly barren cliffs which most have left for the open ocean. Meanwhile, on the Narrows a limited selection of waders included six Curlews, four Common Sandpipers, three Redshanks and two Whimbrels.

It was only a few weeks ago that we had our first ever record of Early Bumblebee (Bombus praetorum), so for five individuals to be discovered at Ty Pellaf today was intriguing! Clearly they are more than just transients to Bardsey, though given Bumblebees have not been closely monitored in the past it's uncertain whether colonisation recent development or not. Otherwise a fairly moderate selection of insects was seen today; 55 Six-spot Burnets were on the wing and a Hummingbird Hawk-moth was at Ty Pellaf, while the first Agriphila straminellas of the year were on the wing. Several dipterids and hemipterids were collected from the North-west fields, but no attempts to identify them have been made yet, and we'll probably send most of them off to the county recorder for confirmation before we hear anything else.

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