Thursday, 13 July 2017

Another fine day to be out, with a rather pleasing amount of movement already happening. The obvious highlight of the day was a female Marsh Harrier heading low and south along the West Coast and off the South End at 11:45. A little bit of a spurt of raptor movement resulted in a Kestrel and a Buzzard also moving through today. Also overhead, 17 House Martins was a significant increase that doubtless included some movement, with two each of Sand Martins and Swifts passing through too.

On the sea, the highlight was an Arctic Tern around Solfach, one of only a few seen all year so far. ten Black-headed Gulls and 21 Common Scoters moved through in addition, with 1013 Manx Shearwaters probably an underestimate of the true numbers gathering offshore in the evening. Three Harbour Porpoises were the only other maritime sightings of interest.

Today perhaps marked the start of proper wader migration, with a fine mix of species seen, mostly around the Narrows. These included 14 Redshanks, ten Curlews, six Common Sandpipers, five Whimbrels, two Turnstones, a single Dunlin and the first Sanderling of the autumn.

Sanderling with Dunlin on Solfach (

Just one Willow Warbler was present today, in Nant Withy, with increases to 30 Starlings and 14 Goldfinches the most notable sightings amongst a small spread of arriving passerines. Singles of Lesser Redpoll and Siskin were heard calling as they passed overhead, whilst a Robin at Pen Cristin was far enough away from the three known haunts of breeding/over-summering birds to perhaps be a locally dispersed bird from the mainland. Finally, there were a few more odds and sods to report. Ten more Storm Petrels responded to tapes as we completed our census of the Scree slope this morning, while a single Grey Heron was watched coming in/off on the East Side at 07:30.

It was a quiet day for insects, apart from a strong showing of 29 Red Admirals. A Swallow-tailed Moth was the only highlight of a fairly quiet moth trap at Cristin, the first one trapped here so far this year (and a reasonably scarce species on the island, with only 50 or so previous records but small numbers every year recently).

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