Monday, 9 April 2018

The island was shrouded in an eerie mist as we led the second guided wildlife walk of the year. It came down in waves, one minute we could see down to the Lighthouse then the next we had to squint to see 10 metres in front of our faces. Participants had to imagine Razorbills rafting offshore or Peregrines swooping on the mountain above, but it gave us a chance to appreciate & study some of the non-avian aspects of Bardsey wildlife such as mosses, liverworts, lichens and flowering plants.

Birds noted on what was a fairly quiet day included four Fulmars, 26 Manx Shearwaters, two Sparrowhawks, a Buzzard, a Merlin, two Peregrines, a Water Rail, just 34 Oystercatchers, seven Snipes, a Whimbrel, a Curlew, a Collared Dove, two Little Owls, the Great Spotted Woodpecker, five Swallows, a House Martin, a White Wagtail, three Stonechats, ten Wheatears, a Fieldfare, 16 Blackcaps (a bit of a clear out after yesterday), 46 Chiffchaffs, 11 Willow Warblers, 19 Goldcrests, four Chaffinches, a Siskin, two Goldfinches, 27 Linnets and a male Bullfinch trapped at the observatory.

Other wildlife included two Peacocks that became active when the sea fret cleared and five Harbour Porpoises that passed by in the Sound. Five Dark Sword-grass were trapped overnight in the moth trap, proof that the current southerly winds are not just a source of migrant birds but also migrant lepidoptera!

Billy proposing to one of the guests on the cheap - with a sprig of one of the island's most abundant mosses, Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus.

When the mist did eventually part there was a spectacular cloud inversion. This weather phenomenon occurs where cold air becomes trapped below warm air, becoming saturated and condensing into cloud. Cardigan Bay became a blanket of cloud, with only the highest tops of the Llyn Peninsula peaking through in the distance.

Dark Sword-grass is one of the most common immigrant moth species to arrive in the UK from mainland Europe. It breeds regularly, although moths that turn up this early in the season are usually wanderers from the continent. 

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