Sunday, 13 May 2018

I was going to dedicate tonight's blog post to the wildflowers that are currently blooming across the island, but any plans for that were quickly thrown out the window this morning when the radio call came out from a very excited warden exclaiming "there's a Black Kite over Pen Cristin now!". It was quickly gaining height as it soared against a clear blue sky but lingered long enough over the mountain for all birders on the island to enjoy distant but satisfying views of this fantastic rarity, and the fourth record for Bardsey. The bird finally drifted back towards the mainland at around 13:30, but weather conditions continued to look ideal for encouraging wandering birds of prey across to the island. Hopes were high for more raptor activity and late in the evening we were further rewarded with a stunning male Hen Harrier which treated us to mouth-watering views as it glided straight over the Observatory and down towards the Lighthouse before doubling back and quickly returning to mainland Wales.

Everything else seemed to pale into insignificance today, although it was hard to ignore the steady but constant passage of Swallows moving through the island with a minimum of 217 noted, and a Coal tit at Ty Nessaf was an unseasonal oddity. Other birds today included two Fulmars, 16 Manx Shearwaters, 44 Gannets, a Grey Heron, a Sparrowhawk, eight Buzzards, two Peregrines, a Whimbrel, a Curlew, 30 Puffins, the two Collared Doves, two Little Owls, three Swifts, seven Sand Martins, 30 House Martins, five Stonechats, 23 Wheatears, six Sedge Warblers, two Whitethroats, four Blackcaps, 14 Chiffchaffs, six Willow Warblers, a Firecrest, two Spotted Flycatchers, three Rooks, four Chaffinches, a Siskin, 30 Goldfinches, 28 Linnets and seven Lesser Redpolls.

All four records of Black Kite on the island have come within the past nine years. Today's bird comes three days later than the last individual which drifted over the mountain on 10th May 2016.

Ephraim happened to be on the mountain when it first appeared, finding himself in a prime position to capture the Black Kite in 4K resolution! Technology, eh?

They don't come much more special than a Hen Harrier. This is the first individual since one on 5th October 2016, and the first adult male since 30th May 2015.

On any other day this Firecrest ringed at Ty Nessaf might have stolen the show!

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