Wednesday 17 July 2024

 It was another warm, sunny day with a light southerly breeze. 

The day saw the first small arrival of Willow Warblers, with a total of seven recorded around the island heralding that autumn migration is well underway! Other highlights were two Curlews along the West Coast and a Kestrel hunting over the Mountain. 

The first Willow Warbler of the autumn was ringed at Cristin, trapped in the heligoland trap along with a juvenile Stonechat. A pair of Swallows have been busily flying in and out of the Observatory tool shed to feed their young, and their brood of five chicks were also ringed. 

Kicking off autumn migration ringing with the first 'autumn' Willow Warbler of 2024! © Kate Fox
Swallow chick © Kate Fox

Tuesday 16 July 2024

It was a lovely sunny day with moderate north-westerly wind, a stark contrast to the day before. 

The days highlights came in the form of a single Swift over the Mountain and a flock of 41 juvenile Starlings on the South End. There were also a total of five Dunlins, four Curlews, a Redshank and three Common Sandpipers

Part of the Starling flock around the Lighthouse © Kate Fox

Monday 15 July 2024

Light easterly winds and heavy rain was the theme of the day, with some torrential rain showers inundating the tracks with huge puddles. 

It was very quiet on the bird front, with the highlights being 17 Curlews roosting on Carreg yr Honwy, a Redshank and a Common Sandpiper on the Narrows and a Chiffchaff in the garden at Cristin. 

Lovely weather for ducks! © Kate Fox

Saturday 13 July 2024

It was a beautiful warm day with a light north-westerly wind. 

The wader highlights were two Dunlins, a Redshank and seven Turnstones on Solfach, and a total of two Common Sandpipers and four Curlews. A Swift flew over the mountain calling, and a Whitethroat and Chiffchaff were seen in the garden at Cristin. 

Turnstone © Kate Fox
Today we also welcomed a new volunteer, Jeanne, who will be with us for three weeks on a university work placement from the University of La Laguna.
Jeanne (and Moss the dog) out doing census on the Narrows © Kate Fox

Friday 12 July 2024

The hatching of the second Ringed Plover brood added some excitement to the day, with two freshly hatched chicks seen guarded by their ever alert parents! The fledgling from their first brood was also close by.

Other waders included a Dunlin on Solfach, a Curlew along the West Coast, and a total of two Common Sandpipers. There were also two adult Black-headed Gulls over the Narrows, and a Kestrel hunting on the Mountain.

Another Manx Shearwater ringing session around the Narrows and South End last night produced 87 new birds and 73 retraps. 

Juvenile Ringed Plover on the Narrows © Kate Fox

Stunning sunset at the South End! © Kate Fox

Thursday 11 July 2024

The weather was similar to the previous day, with persistent misty rain all morning clearing up in the mid afternoon, although a shift to a force six northerly wind kept it feeling fresh. 

The days highlights were three Black-headed Gulls (a juvenile over the North end and two adults around the Narrows), a Sandwich Tern off the South End, and a Swift over the mountain. Also of note were four Sand Martins around Henllwyn - likely to be the birds on territory however their activity has been inconsistent lately. 

Other birds included a Grey Heron hunting around the Narrows and two Feral Pigeons over the mountain. 

Last night the team spent a few hours ringing Manx Shearwaters around the Narrows and the South End. In total 35 new birds were ringed, and 60 birds were re-trapped, including one individual which was originally ringed as an adult on 20th July 1988 making it at least 37 years old!

Ringing Manx Shearwaters © Kate Fox

Wednesday 10 July 2024

 It was a wet and windy start to the day, with driving misty rain that felt like it would never stop owing to changing forecasts, but come the evening the weather cleared up into beautiful sunshine. 

The highlights of the day were a Cuckoo bombing it south over the Wetlands, and five Black-headed Gulls, with a first-year bird looping above Solfach and four adults around the North End. Wader passage continues, with 22 Curlews, a Redshank, seven Turnstones and a bumper count of 11 Common Sandpipers were seen. The breeding Ringed Plovers remain on the Narrows, alert and showing signs of attempting a second brood while the colour-ringed juvenile from their first brood is still hanging around. 

Juvenile Black-headed Gull over Solfach © Kate Fox

Tuesday 9 July 2024

It was a humid, overcast day on Enlli, with a slight southerly wind. 

There was a small arrival of waders, with two Dunlins, two Redshank and six Common Sandpipers on Solfach, along with 20 Curlews and two Turnstones on Carreg y Honwy. A flock of 35 Common Scoters flew south along the West Coast. Other birds included a Sparrowhawk and Goldfinch at Ty Pellaf. 

Many Stonechat pairs are keeping busy raising their second broods © Kate Fox

Monday 8 July 2024

Calm weather with warm sunny spells saw nine Swifts feeding over the Mountain with an unseasonal Whinchat between Cristin and Ty Pellaf and a Common Sandpiper at the North End. A trip around the East Side saw seven more pulli and six adult Kittiwakes ringed alongside three Shag chicks ringed and a few more larger chicks colour ringed.

Kittiwake adult  © Kate Fox

Kittiwake chick  © Kate Fox

Another attempt at catching adult gulls at night saw a further 17 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and six Herring Gulls caught included two Herring Gulls ringed as chicks in 2002 and another one from 2019 and 2018 respectively. 

Head and bill being measured to help sex birds © Ed Betteridge

Herring Gull  © Kate Fox

Lesser Black-backed Gull © Kate Fox

Sunday 7 July 2024

Waders continue to pass through with eight Common Sandpipers a good count for this time of year alongside three Curlews, three Redshanks and three Turnstones.  A Sandwich Tern was in Henllwyn with two Grey Herons at Traeth Ffynnon and a Sparrowhawk hunting the Mountain. 

During the evening the first attempt at Storm petrel ringing, in Nant Valley due to wind, produced eight new birds and a single retrap with a handful of Manx Shearwaters also ringed. Also seen was an Elephant Hawkmoth at Nant, only the third Island record of the colourful moth. 

Storm Petrel © Ed Betteridge

Saturday 6 July 2024

The day started with heavy showers and a moderate westerly wind, before clearing up into a bright afternoon.

It was quiet on the migrant front, with the highlights being 13 Curlews roosting on Carreg yr Honwy and a Common Sandpiper on the Narrows and a Kestrel hunting over Pen Cristin. The day was marked with the fledging of the fifth brood of Choughs on the island this year as two youngsters were seen tentatively taking to the sky with their parents. 

The team said goodbye to Ewan, who has been working hard helping out around the Observatory for the past month. Not for long though, as he will be back with us for the autumn! Today also saw the arrival of Phoebe Moss, our new Marine Mammal Project Science Officer who will be spending the next couple of months monitoring marine mammals from the Island as part of an exciting new project, before continuing her work on the mainland. 

Chough © Ed Betteridge

Friday 5 July 2024

During the night a trip out dazzling around the North End was rather more productive then could have been predicted. In total 27 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 15 Herring Gulls and two Great Black-backed Gulls were caught! This included two retrap Lesser Black-backed Gulls ringed in 2003 and 2019 with all now fitted with colour rings.  

Elsewhere the first juvenile Willow Warbler of the year was in the garden at Cristin.

Great Black-backed Gull © Lauren Evans

Lesser Black-backed Gull © Lauren Evans

Herring Gull © Lauren Evans

Thursday 4 July 2024

With limited bird migration staff again took advantage of this and spent the night ringing Manx Shearwaters around Nant and the North End. In total 166 new birds and 178 retraps were caught alongside three juvenile Oystercatchers and a surprise adult Lesser Black-backed Gull.  

Birds today included three Common Sandpiper and two Redshanks around the Narrows with two juvenile Goldfinches on Solfach. 

Manx Shearwater © Ed Betteridge

Lesser Black-backed Gull © Ed Betteridge 

Wednesday 3 July 2024

Waders are continuing to pass through with most thought to be failed breeders. This included 22 Curlews, a Whimbrel, three Redshanks and two Common Sandpipers around the Narrows. Other birds included a Grey Heron, a Kestrel, a Sparrowhawk and a juvenile Chiffchaff.        

During the evening a productive night saw 180 new Manx Shearwaters and 80 retraps caught at Pen Cristin alongside an adult Oystercatcher and three Herring Gulls

Herring Gull © Ed Betteridge

2nd Summer Herring Gull © Ed Betteridge

Tuesday 2 July 2024

July is notoriously quiet for migrating birds with two Common Sandpipers, 13 Curlews, two Redshanks and a Sparrowhawk the only birds of note. The afternoon was spent ringing a brood of Rock Pipits at Bae Felen around the East Side of the Mountain before ringing two more Shag broods and colour ringing a few more Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gull chicks. 

Some late Lesser Black-backed Gulls are still hatching! © Ed Betteridge

A strikingly dark Lesser Black-backed Gull chick © Ed Betteridge 

Manx Shearwater with chick in one of the caves © Ed Betteridge

One of four baby Rock Pipits colour ringed © Ed Betteridge

Monday 1 July 2024

The month started with a windy day with some rain showers and little bird news apart from three Curlews at Pen Cristin and a Sparrowhawk in the Wetlands. 

During the evening a trip out Manx Shearwater ringing produced 94 new birds and 60 retraps around the North End as well as three adult and seven juvenile Oystercatchers and a retrap Carrion Crow ringed along the West Coast a month ago. 

Oystercatcher © Ed Betteridge

Juvenile Oystercatcher © Ed Betteridge

Sunday 30 June 2024

On what might be on of the last days ringing seabirds around the East Side saw three more Kittiwake chicks ringed with many low down nests seemingly empty presumably due to large tides. Also ringed included a few more Puffin and Pufflings, a couple more Guillemot chicks, three adult Fulmars, five more Shag broods and more gulls. Two Common Sandpipers were also seen around the East Side. 

Puffling © Ed Betteridge

Puffin © Ed Betteridge

Shag chicks with colour rings © Ed Betteridge

A rather cute Kittiwake chick, one of three in the nest with this one too small to ring © Ed Betteridge

Friday 28 June 2024

Last night staff and volunteers went out of a nocturnal survey. This started with ringing six Wheatears, two Mallards, a Common Sandpiper, two Oystercatcher chicks and a juvenile Ringed Plover before a short session on the South End for Manx Shearwaters saw a bird caught that was originally ringed in 1987!

Avian life was quiet with four Curlews and a Kestrel the best from census before more gull chicks were colour ringed at the North End. 

Common Sandpiper © Lauren Evans

Female Mallard © Ewan Turner

Juvenile Wheatear © Ewan Turner

Herring Gull chick © Ed Betteridge

Thursday 27 June 2024

The highlight of the day was the first Mediterranean Gull of the year which was among a big feeding flock off the West Coast. There were also two four Black-headed Gulls off the North End, two Curlews on the Narrows, and two Goldfinches were seen in the Wetlands. 

In the afternoon the team went out to ring a brood of Swallows, and ringed a juvenile Oystercatcher at the North End. 

Swallow © Ed Betteridge

Oystercatcher © Ed Betteridge

Wednesday 26 June 2024

Clear skies saw the largest Swift passage of the year with 36 hawking over the mountain. Waders are still moving through with a Whimbrel, 19 Curlews, two Redshanks and a Common Sandpiper logged. Three Sandwich Terns were on Carreg y Honwy with two Grey Herons still around the Narrows. 

Today also saw Emmanuel Jatta from Kartong Bird Observatory in The Gambia! He is currently touring the UK and has already been to Skokholm Bird Observatory. Unfortunately, it was a flying visit having only four hours on the Island but this was still long enough to help weigh the Manx Shearwater chicks and join a boat trip around the Island.  

Emmanuel with a Manx Shearwater chick © Kate Fox
The afternoon was spent monitoring the Shag nests around the Southern half of the East Side with a few more broods big enough to ring. Also ringed was a few more Guillemot chicks, a brood of Great Black-backed Gulls and the first Kittiwake chicks.

A rather cute Kittiwake chick © Ed Betteridge

A Shag with a curved bill! Despite this the chick seems to be growing well being similar size to its siblings © Ed Betteridge 

Tuesday 25 June 2024

Ten Common Scoters passed the West Coast, a Lapwing flew north and three Curlews were seen on the Narrows. A Grey Wagtail flew over the North End gull colony in the afternoon, and 11 Swifts passed over Cristin. 

The long-staying Grey Heron was joined by another individual on the Narrows, a Collared Dove was bobbing along the rooves at Ty Pellaf along with a Starling, and a Sparrowhawk was mobile around the island with a cloud of chattering Swallows in its wake. 

In the afternoon the team continued their seabird monitoring work, colour ringing several more Shags and gull chicks, as well as ringing seven new adult Fulmars bringing the total to 12 new birds and two retraps, and the final Razorbills of the season. A total of 586 Razorbills have were ringed this year comprising of 180 adults and 406 chicks plus 20 re-rings of old adults with worn rings. This has beaten the record of 481 last year and 325 in 2010!

The final Razorbill chick ringed in 2024! © Kate Fox

Fulmar © Ewan Turner

Monday 24 June 2024

As expected bird migration is very limited at this time of year. Despite it only just about starting to feel like summer, 'autumn' has already started for some birds with more, presumed, failed breeding waders on the move including 17 Curlews and three Redshanks. Perhaps the same four Black-headed Gulls were in Solfach from the other day with 14 Common Scoters south off the West Coast and a total of eight Swifts over.    

The afternoon was mainly spent colour ringing Gull chicks at the North End. In total, 41 were colour ringed including six Lesser Black-backed Gulls putting the annual total on 30; beating the 2019-2022 total of 20.  

Herring Gull with colour ring © Ed Betteridge

A rather cute Lesser Black-backed Gull chick © Ed Betteridge
The moth trap is starting to pick up with more species daily including this True Lovers Knot
© Ed Betteridge

Sunday 23 June 2024

Birding was rather slow with very little migration; a Curlew was on the South End, four Starlings were at Ty Pellaf and a Lesser Redpoll went over Pen Cristin. 

During the afternoon seven adult Fulmars were caught, this included two birds already ringed, one ringed in the same site in 2022 and another from 2006 which was not ringed on the Island! Also ringed was the last few auk chicks with many now fledged. 

Fulmar © Kate Fox
Guillemot © Ed Betteridge

One of three adults ringed today © Ewan Turner

The first Kittiwake chicks of the year! © Ed Betteridge