Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Today was a much calmer day with the wind still in the west with a touch of north at times. It rained on and off but the showers were light and passed over quickly. A good first day for the young birders was to come.....

The day started out like any other, seawatching was a priority, the nest were opened and 5 new Willow Warblers were caught. With a steady flow of the usual suspects out to sea as well as a few skuas, things were going well. Next thing, a medium sized seabird comes in from the north which immediately caught then attention of people. Watching it intently all other passing birds were ignored for the time being. It was slightly larger than a Manx Shearwater, it had a slate grey coloured mantle, slighty darker upper wings, and the underside showed a gleaming white belly contrasting with dark underwings.... "FEA'S PETREL, THERE'S A FEA'S PETREL HEADING SOUTH!" Suddenly the adrenaline started pumping, but the next task was to get as many people on it as possible. Luckily it was picked up quite far north and so in the end the bird was on view for nine minutes between 08:25-09:34. Most of the people present, including all staff and most of the young birders managed to see it! The bird slowly made its way south as it was overtaken by Gannets, Kittiwakes and Manx Shearwaters. It was gliding effortlessly, banking up on the occasion, not flapping once. What a surreal sight as this rare petrel species that breeds in small colonies around Madeira and Cape Verdes headed south off the west coast of Bardsey, only the second record for the island.
Day totals for sea watching from 06:30-10:45 included three Common Scoter, 319 Manx Shearwater, one Fea's type petrel, 278 Gannets, 16 Fulmar, three Arctic Skua, eight Great Skua, 123 Kittiwake, 147 Arctic Tern, nine Sandwich Tern, and singles of Whimbrel and Sanderling.

The rest of the day was filled with a walk around the narrows and south end at high tide giving some good wader number such as 60 Turnstones, two juvenile Sanderling, four Dunlins, eight Redshank, four Whimbrel, 57 Curlew and singles of Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, and Purple Sandpiper.
Ringed Plover                                 Lewis Hooper 
Juvenile Sanderling                                   Lewis Hooper

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