Saturday, 20 October 2018

It was a stunning day for us to welcome on our final guests to the observatory in 2018. The season has whizzed by, as it so often does, and it feels crazy that from next week onward we'll be looking towards shutting down Cristin for the winter. In the meantime though, there are still migrants to be counted and reports to be written! We inevitably end up spending fewer hours in the field on Saturday changeovers, but there was still an impressive tally of migrants called out at log tonight considering the minimal time we were able to spend birding. The five Whooper Swans that headed east over the mountain whilst we were giving the introductory talk must have been a good omen, as they preceded the first Woodcock of the year that was flushed from the mountain, three Lesser Whitethroats (including an interesting 'eastern' looking bird seen briefly in Ty Pellaf Withy), four Black Redstarts around the houses and the second Richard's Pipit of the autumn that went north over the North-West Fields late in the afternoon. To round the day off, a late Manx Shearwater was seen close in off the South End as were singles of both Arctic and Great Skua.

Other birds logged today included 10 Gannets, a Grey Heron, five Common Scoters, a Sparrowhawk, a Buzzard, four Kestrels, a Merlin, two Peregrines, two Water Rails, a Lapwing, four Snipes, ten Curlews, 14 Redshanks, two Turnstones, 29 Mediterranean Gulls, 110 Black-headed Gulls, seven Common Gulls, 130 Razorbills, a Stock Dove, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, seven Skylarks, three Fieldfares, six Redwings, three Blackcaps, 11 Chiffchaffs, ten Goldcrests, seven Blue tits, three Great tits, 120 Starlings, 14 Chaffinches, three Siskins, 42 Goldfinches, 11 Linnets, three Lesser Redpolls and a roaming flock of 11 Crossbills.

Rush Veneer have been recorded on several occasions in the past couple of weeks. They generally turn up as migrants in autumn, arriving on the same warm southerly winds that carry Saharan dust onto your car's windscreen.

Brindled Ochre is one of the less common resident moths flying at the moment. They're a coastal speciality on here with the larvae feeding on Hogweed and Wild Angelica. This individual was caught by Mark up at Ty Nessaf.

It was a stunner of a sunset. The recently created Pwll Gareth glowed a warm shade of orange in the twilight.

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