Friday, 2 March 2018

As the icy grip of the "beast from the east" took hold on the island, temperatures plummeted lower still and a generous dump of snow on the island overnight and throughout the day made for an interested mornings census. The most bizarre record of the day was seven Shovlers, the 26th record for the island, observed feeding on a small pond in the Wetlands. Although mostly frozen over,  a small area had not quite succumbed to the big freeze allowing them to feed happily as the snow continued to fall. A flock of nine Teals were also present along with ten Mallards added to todays wildfowl count.

A quite unusual record and rare species of Wildfowl for Bardsey Island, seven Shovlers feeding on a mostly frozen pond in the Wetlands
A Merlin had joined the frey, harassing everything in sight as it cruised the island, some Golden Plovers succumbing to its tallons, the remains of which would be found over the coming days. Tallies of Golden Plovers and Lapwings, 60 and 33, had dwindled slightly and as the conditions harshened and the ground firmed up under frost it was clear that a lot of birds were unable to feed and had turned to seeking shelter behind anything they could find. A pair of Ringed Plovers prevailed and were joined by a single Dunlin whilst the most considerable sightings in terms of numbers were the presence of gulls around the Narrows which were clearly gorging themselves on something unknown along the tide line. These included six Black-headed Gulls, 20 Common Gulls, a Lesser Black-backed Gull, 350 Herring Gulls and two Greater Black-backed Gulls. A pair of Mistle Thrushes were the only other species of note.

The whole spectacle highlights how much at the mercy of the weather living organisms on this planet can be, but equally as impressive is the resilience of species to cope with the worst conditions and still prevail.

No comments:

Post a Comment