Saturday, 7 April 2018

Changeover day meant we had to say goodbye to Icky Steve and Rob, our two fantastic volunteers who have been great company at the observatory this past week. Steve has completely transformed the LSA hut where our assistant wardens and volunteers usually sleep, applying a new coat of 'mushroom' colour paint (it looks much better than it sounds!), whilst Rob has worked his magic in the garden by digging us some potato and onion patches.

We welcomed the first family of guests to the island for a week's stay, but not before another clean of the observatory that limited the amount of time spent in the field. Today's birds included three Fulmars, six Cormorants, five Shelducks, a Buzzard over the mountain, two Merlins, a Water Rail, 98 Oystercatchers, a Snipe, a Whimbrel, 11 Turnstones, 23 Kittiwakes, two Puffins amongst the increasing rafts of Razorbills and Guillemots, two Collared Doves, six Sand Martins, 13 Swallows, 83 Meadow Pipits, four Stonechats, a Wheatears, a Song Thrush, a Redwing, a mini fall of 50 Blackcaps, 101 Chiffchaffs and 72 Willow Warblers, 38 Goldcrests, two Firecrests, three Blue tits, 11 Chaffinches, one Greenfinch, 19 Siskins, 44 Goldfinches, 30 Linnets, two Bullfinches and a Reed Bunting.

Our freshly dug vegetable patches courtesy of Rob. Thanks Rob! 

The caterpillars of Acleris hyemana feed on heather. It is a common moth in the island's upland habitats. Unlike many species which spend the winter as caterpillars or pupae, this species overwinters as an adult. This individual, presumably recently re-awoken, was flying around the courtyard this afternoon.

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