Wednesday, 18 October 2017

With the winds switching to easterly overnight, it was no surprise but nontheless very welcome to have a busy day's birding on all fronts. It was highlighted by a Great White Egret that headed south down the South End, before doubling back and returning North. This is the fifth ever record for Bardsey, following singles in October 1990, July in 1998 and 2006, and August 2015.

While it's been almost possible to take them for granted in some recent years, the three Yellow-browed Warblers today were our first since late September, and carried with them the real promise of a siberian waif, which sadly never materialised. Other Warblers were just 13 Chiffchaffs and two Blackcap, while Goldcrests increased to 66, with three Firecrests seen amongst them. It was probably the busiest day for Thrushes of the whole autumn, with 136 Redwings including one overhead flock of 102, and grounded totals of 42 Blackbirds, 32 Song Thrushes and two Mistle Thrushes. An arrival of Chats included 56 Robins, seven Stonechats and three Wheatears. Meanwhile, 160 Starlings made them the commonest migrant of the day.
Yellow-browed Warbler, Ephraim Perfect; Ephraim's Bird Blog

Overhead there was also plenty of action during the morning. The best day's finch passage of the year, numberwise, featured 118 Chaffinches, five Bramblings, 79 Goldfinches, 61 Siskins, 30 Linnets and seven Greenfinches mostly overhead or moving swiftly through the island. 87 Skylarks and 93 Meadow Pipits made them the other two commonest diurnal migrants. Wagtails are now well past their peak, but 22 "alba" Wagtails and six Grey Wagtails still trickled through overhead, as did six Swallows, as we reach the tail-end of hirundine migration. A single party of 15 Rooks headed south over the South End, while high totals of 46 Magpies and 31 Carrion Crows strongly suggested corvid migration was taking place. In particular, several groups of Carrion Crows passed south over the Mountainside, while one group of eight restless Magpies were flying around the very tip of the South End, presumably trying to find the courage to cross the sea! A few other odds and ends rounded off the day's landbird migration; four Reed Buntings were present, Rock Pipits increased to 41, Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Great Tits had both increased to two, three Water Rails, three Sparrowhawks and two Merlins were around, and a Grey Heron passed south over the South End. All in all, one of the busiest day's passage so far this autumn!

The only seawatching done today was an hour and a half off the South End early on. It was pretty good, but logging land migrants had to eventually take priority on a good day like today. Gull passage was impressive, with 520 Black-headed Gulls, 465 Kittiwakes, 37 Mediterranean Gulls and 11 Common Gulls. Additional highlights were a Great Northern Diver, two Great Skuas and an Arctic Skua. 540 Razorbills were logged but just 40 Gannets, however a noticeable passage of 63 Shags and 37 Cormorants took place. Seven Common Scoters and seven Guillemots were the only other sightings of note.

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