Wednesday, 27 September 2023

Today saw Storm Agnes hit with strong winds and driving rain. The morning was slightly calmer and allowed for some census to be completed. Steve heard a brief Sparrow call twice in Plas Garden and on trying to locate the bird Ed saw a BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER fly low along the mountain side south into a gorse bush. The bird then continued into the front garden of the Observatory and was lost to view. Five minutes later the bird was showing on and off still in the front and was seen searching for food as it ran up branches on the trees, rather Nuthatch like; the more showing, active behaviour was suggesting this might be a new bird. The bird then flew into the back garden and was in the bush at the entrance of the Heligoland trap. Ed and volunteer Lola quickly reacted and the bird was caught; this confirmed it was a new unringed bird, this time a young male. 

Black-and-white Warbler © Ed Betteridge 

Black-and-white Warbler © Ed Betteridge 

Elsewhere, the weather meant birds were thin on the ground with a Firecrest in Cristin garden the only real other thing of note. 

Tuesday, 26 September 2023

Strong south westerlies continued to dominate and saw little arrival of migrants. An adult Arctic Skua went south with a vocal Chaffinch around Cristin and Nant. Other totals included two Swallows, 20 Goldcrests, three Chiffchaffs, three Blackcaps and a Song Thrush.  

Sparrowhawk © Ed Betteridge

Monday, 25 September 2023

The wind calmed only slightly today but clear sunny skies certainly improved the weather. The highlights of the day were eight Pink-footed Geese were seen flying high north-east off the North End and three Curlew Sandpipers which flew south along the West Coast. A mid-morning push of seabirds of the West Coast saw two Balearic Shearwaters, a Little Tern, 36 Sandwich Terns, 34 Common Terns, and 37 Arctic Terns go south; with a Little Gull off the South End. 

Other birds of note were 171 Gannets, seven Manx Shearwaters, three Purple Sandpipers, a Grey Wagtail, a Song Thrush, two Wheatears, five Blackcaps, four Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler, 37 Goldcrests and five Goldfinches 

Lots of sea foam being sent onto the South end © Ed Betteridge 

Stonechat © Ed Betteridge 

Sunday, 24 September 2023

The weather today was rather dire, with strong winds and heavy rain, the majority of the day was spent doing computer work inside. However, this didn't stop a few birds being caught in the Heligoland trap including a young male Sparrowhawk, a Goldcrest and two Chiffchaffs. A Collared Dove and Blackcap were at Cristin with a Dunlin on Henllwyn. 

Sparrowhawk © Ed Betteridge

Saturday, 23 September 2023

 The winds dropped overnight to a light north-westerly which was picking up during the afternoon to a strong south-westerly which meant for an rather early changeover. There was clearly some arrival with 12 Goldcrests, two Chiffchaffs, a retrap Firecrest from Nant, eight Blackcaps and a Chaffinch was ringed in the morning during changeover with a few more Chaffinches overhead marking the first 'real' arrival of this species of the autumn. 

With news of more Nearctic passerines arriving to UK shores we headed out on census to hopefully find another! A Great Spotted Woodpecker and Reed Bunting were new in to the Withies with nine Buzzards circling over the mountain. However, things took a different turn when Steve has a brief view of a BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER in Plas Withy!! The view was too brief to confirm if the bird was ringed or not and quickly vanished into the undergrowth. The bird then became very skulky and was heard calling a few times in 2 hours hunting. Finally, the bird was seen running along the boardwalk before running into a mist net! Now it was confirmed that this was a different unringed bird! The bird was again a 1st year female. 

Black-and-white Warbler © Ed Betteridge
Black-and-white Warbler © Ed Betteridge
Black-and-white Warbler © Ed Betteridge

Other totals total included seven Common Scoters, three Dunlins, four Ringed Plovers, a Black-headed Gull, a Collared Dove, 19 White Wagtails, 33 Goldcrests, 19 Robins, six Chaffinches, two Siskins, a Rook, seven Ravens, and five Skylarks

Buzzard © Ed Betteridge

Friday, 22 September 2023

The wind turned to north-westerly and brought a good Leach's Petrel passage off the West Coast with five south after a blank last year. Alongside these were 1436 Kittiwakes, three Little Gulls, 17 Arctic Terns, 94 Sandwich Terns, 10 'Commic' Terns, nine Guillemots, 832 Razorbills, two Great Skuas, 19 Arctic Skuas, 12 Common Scoters, 28 Manx Shearwaters and 170 Gannets

Arctic Skua © Ed Betteridge

Sandwich Terns © Ed Betteridge

Elsewhere, a large female Merlin hunted the West Coast, a Garden Warbler was at Nant, two Purple Sandpipers were at the North End, three Golden Plovers on the South End and totals of 26 Goldcrests, 12 Blackcaps and three Chiffchaffs

Garden Warbler © Ed Betteridge

Thursday, 21 September 2023

 After an arrival of American passerines to the West Coast of the UK yesterday we woke in anticipation as to what the wind may have brought in. The day started with light sea passage off the West Coast with an adult Arctic Skua, 12 Sandwich terns, an Common Tern, a Common Scoter and 220 Gannets south. The nets where opened at Cristin and caught a Swallow, six Goldcrests, four Blackcaps and two Robins

However, things took a slightly different turn when Ed trapped a BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER in the net behind the the Heligoland trap. Panic set in as Steve the warden was birding up at Nant out of radio range. A quick run up meant Steve was on the way; the bird was ringed and identified as a young bird. This is a first for Bardsey and only a second for Wales and 18th for Britain; as well as being the first to ever be trapped! After important measurements were taken the bird was released and was seen for around five minutes before it vanished into the garden never to be seen again! 

Black-and-white Warbler © Steve Stansfield

Black-and-white Warbler © Steve Stansfield

Black-and-white Warbler © Steve Stansfield

Rain out to the West towards Ireland brought a good movement of Swallows mid-morning with 1483 east from the sea in a few hours alongside 43 House Martins! A notable arrival of chats and accentors saw 64 Robins, 40 Stonechats tow Whinchats, and 44 Dunnocks including four that flew south out to sea. A Firecrest was still at Nant with a Lapland Bunting over south. Two Red Kites toured the Island mid-morning. 

Other totals included a Golden Plover, eight Dunlins, two Whimbrels, six Skylarks, 267 Meadow Pipits, five White Wagtails, 22 Blackcaps, four Chiffchaffs, 47 Goldcrests 12 Rooks and two Siskins

Comma © Ed Betteridge

Red Kite © Ed Betteridge

Wednesday, 20 September 2023

The wind continued from the south-west and was rather quiet off the West Side early morning with the South End producing a Great Skua, seven Arctic Skuas, 468 Razorbills and 242 Kittiwakes. However, mid-morning passage picked up of the West Coast with two Pomarine Skuas, three Arctic Skuas, 1190 Kittiwakes, a Sabine's Gull, seven Little Gulls, 11 Arctic Terns, four Sandwich Terns, and 522 Razorbills south. 

Other totals today included seven Dunlins six Purple Sandpipers, three Whimbrels, six Ringed Plovers, a Common Gull, a Sand Martins, three White Wagtails, six Chiffchaffs, two Willow Warblers and ten Goldcrests

The last weekly growth rate Manx Shearwater left! © Ed Betteridge

Tuesday, 19 September 2023

Strong south-westerlies made for a rather dire day on Bardsey. The sea off the South End produced two Fulmars, 369 Manx Shearwaters, two Storm Petrels, 106 Gannets, a Common Scoter, a Great Skua, 18 Arctic Skuas 175 Razorbills and 331 Kittiwakes. It was very quiet away from the sea with Saturday's Garden Warbler being retrapped in the Heligoland trap and a Grey Wagtail of Solfach.  

After dark for the second night running a Common Sandpiper, Turnstone and Dunlin were caught at the same time however the highlight was an immature Grey Heron caught in the Wetlands!

Grey Heron © Ed Betteridge

Common Sandpiper © Ed Betteridge

Monday, 18 September 2023

Strong winds came blowing from the west and pushed some southbound seabirds towards the Island; these included a juvenile Roseate Tern, a Pomarine Skua, 13 Arctic Skuas, nine Arctic Terns, 12 Common Scoters and a Red-throated Diver. A Sanderling joined the waders in Henllwyn with a juvenile Mediternean Gull in Solfach. 

Passerines had increased in the 'calmer' weather with two Firecrests, 27 Goldcrests, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Garden Warbler, five Blackcaps, six Willow Warblers, 27 Chiffchaffs, a Grasshopper Warbler, a Redstart, a Skylark and 264 Linnets.

After dark, what might be the last Manx Shearwater ringing session saw a further 28 which put the annual total over 2000! This is only the second time this milestone has been reached after 2253 were ringed in 2003 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Observatory. This was followed by a trip dazzling around the Narrows and the Wetlands which produced a Purple Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper, a Turnstone, two Dunlins, a Snipe and four Ringed Plovers

YBOF Volunteer Myles with his first Manxie © Ed Betteridge

Turnstone © Ed Betteridge

Snipe © Ed Betteridge

Sunday, 17 September 2023

After non-stop rain overnight there was little arrival despite the strong easterlies. However, the sea had different ideas and was quite busy off the South End with many birds going along the east coast into the wind. A total of 40 Arctic Skuas, three Long-tailed Skuas and three unidentified Skuas were seen from the South End with most heading east into the wind after Kittiwakes. The highlight however, was a Cory's Shearwater that flew west off the South End mid-morning. Other birds moving on the sea included two Bar-tailed Godwits, two Whimbrels, 117 Common Scoters, an adult Little Gull, five Common Gulls, 187 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, two Yellow-legged Gulls, two Sandwich Terns and 450 Razorbills. Mid-morning an Osprey went south out to sea along the West Coast with another early afternoon close pass the South End hide!

Osprey ©  Steve Stansfield

Away from the sea 12 Teals were in Solfach, a Skylark was on the South End, a Firecrest still at Nant, a Spotted Flycatcher still at Cristin and a total of 122 Swallows, 18 Wheatears, 21 Robins and three White Wagtails.

Grey Seal pup © Ed Betteridge

Saturday, 16 September 2023

North-easterly winds were not ideal for migration and produced little turnover. A Red Kite off the North End was only the second of the year with a Garden Warbler and two Blackcaps being trapped at Cristin. 

Elsewhere, a male Wigeon was in the Wetlands, a Golden Plover went over the South End, a Chaffinch and Firecrest was at Nant, the Spotted Flycatcher was still at Cristin and three Mediternean Gulls were off the West Coast or Solfach.

Garden Warbler © Ed Betteridge

Friday, 15 September 2023

A brisk southerlies produced a decent passage off the West side with122 Common Scoters, 10 Arctic Skuas, a Long-tailed Skua, a Great Skua, 16 Sandwich Terns, a Common Gull and 16 Razorbills. A Firecrest was in Cristin garden with a total of 28 Goldcrests. The Wryneck was again still around the south side of Cristin. A build up of Swallows around Cristin saw seven trapped and ringed alongside a rather unexpected Greenland Wheatear

Greenland Wheatear © Ed Betteridge

An Oystercatcher was caught in the Heligoland trap on Solfach © Ed Betteridge

During the evening a trip out dazzling produced two Greenland Wheatears, two Ringed Plovers and a Snipe with 92 Manx Shearwaters being ringed with the first Jack Snipe of the autumn being seen.

Greenland Wheatear © Ed Betteridge

Thursday, 14 September 2023

The wind went to westerly and saw a small movement out to sea with six Arctic Skuas, a Sandwich Tern, 19 Common Scoters, three Common Gulls and four Arctic Terns. The Wryneck was still around Cristin with the female Great Spotted Woodpecker still at Nant. The two ringed Reed Warblers were still in the Withies. 

Other notable birds included a Teal, a Buzzard, a Kestrel, a Purple Sandpiper, a Grey Wagtail, three White Wagtails, 35 Wheatears, a Spotted Flycatcher, 22 Goldcrests, 16 Goldfinches and two Siskins

A Long-eared Owl feather was found near Nant! © Ed Betteridge

Most Manx Shearwater chicks are ready to fledge now! © Ed Betteridge

Wednesday, 13 September 2023

The winds returned to easterlies and brought another arrival during calm condition early morning. The Wryneck was still around and made it into one of the nets at Cristin; the first to be ringed since 2014! A mobile Great Spotted Woodpecker was new in and covered most of the Island. A Barn Owl was flushed out of the Withies with five Skylarks, 41 'Alba' Wagtails, five Grey Wagtails and a Siskin over. 

Wryneck © Ed Betteridge

A good arrival of Wheatears saw 117 logged with most being 'Greenland' type. A Firecrest was at along with a Redstart with a Spotted Flycatchers at Cristin. Nine Golden Plovers went over the South End with 11 White Wagtails on Solfach and a Common Scoter south. Other notable totals were 101 Swallows, 28 Robins, 43 Goldcrests, four Willow Warblers, nine Chiffchaffs and 157 Meadow Pipits.

Redstart © Ed Betteridge

Tuesday, 12 September 2023

A strong northerly wind brought rain showers during the day. A Knot went over the Narrows with a Golden Plover and Tree Pipit on the South End. The Purple Sandpiper was still on Solfach with eight Dunlins and five Ringed Plovers. Off the West Side an Arctic Skua and Sandwich Tern went south. The Wryneck was still around the School house with a total of three Spotted Flycatchers, two Whinchats, a Redstart, three White Wagtails and a Cuckoo logged.

Whinchat © Ed Betteridge

A further five Ringed Plovers were trapped last night including an adult (left bird) © Ed Betteridge

Monday, 11 September 2023

The Wryneck was still around the School House with a young male Redstart between here and Ty Pellaf. Nant was the busiest location with a Barn Owl, 16 Chiffchaffs, three Willow Warblers, three Blackcaps, 11 Goldcrests and two Firecrests with a Firecrest, a Blackcap, four Chiffchaffs and five Goldcrests being ringed. The juvenile Cuckoo was still around the Withies with the Wigeon still in the Wetlands. A total of six Grey Wagtails went over. 

A Short-eared Owl was on the Mountain above Cristin were in spent some time flying around being mobbed by Magpies and Hirundines. Three Teals were new in on Solfach with eight Knot flying north along the West Coast.

Light drizzle mid-morning brought a good passage of migrating hirundines with 692 Swallows, 340 House Martins and a Sand Martin heading north over the Narrows then the Mountain.  

Wryneck © Ed Betteridge
Short-eared Owl © Ed Betteridge

Sunday, 10 September 2023

Strong easterlies continued, the day started well with the second Spotted Redshank over the South End; apart from this year the last was 16 years ago! Ringing at Cristin was highlighted by a Spotted Flycatchers with two Reed Warblers being caught in the Withies. A Whinchat was on the South End with a total of 18 Grey Wagtails over. Out to sea off the West Coast a flock of 30 Bar-tailed Godwits went south. The Wigeon was still in the Wetlands. 

Spotted Flycatcher © Ed Betteridge
During the afternoon the second 'good' bird of the day was found when a Wryneck appeared behind the School House. The bird proved to be a bit elusive and mobile however, was seen well a few times. Other birds today included a Water Rail, a Kestrel, two Golden Plovers, a Sandwich Tern, a Collared Dove, a Siskin, a Lesser Redpoll, 27 Goldcrests, five White Wagtails, 121 Meadow Pipits and six Wheatears.

Wryneck © Ewan Turner

An adult Magpie was a surprise catch in the Lowlands © Ed Betteridge

Six Ringed Plovers were dazzled during the evening © Ed Betteridge

The fourth Large Ranunculus for Bardsey was caught in the moth trap © Ed Betteridge

Saturday, 9 September 2023

The easterly winds continued with a bit of southerly making it another nice warm day. A Wigeon was on Pwll Gareth with four Golden Plovers of the South End. The Narrows area held a Purple Sandpiper, 15 Ringed Plovers, eight Dunlins and a Common Sandpiper. Four White Wagtails were still on Solfach with a Spotted Flycatcher at Cristin. The day ended with a Short-eared Owl on the South End after dark.

Purple Sandpiper © Ed Betteridge
Wigeon © Ed Betteridge

Friday, 8 September 2023

Ringing at Cristin during the morning produced the first three Grey Wagtails and a Song Thrush to being ringed this year alongside a Garden Warbler, eight Goldcrests and three Chiffchaffs. A further six Grey Wagtails went over. 

Grey Wagtail © Ed Betteridge 

Garden Warbler © Ed Betteridge 

A Whinchat was in the Wetlands with two Reed Warbler in the Withies and a Spotted Flycatcher at Cristin. A Collared Dove was at the North End and Robins totalled 22. A Purple Sandpiper was in Solfach with a Common Gull there and along the West Coast and a Snipe on the South End. An increase in Goldcrests saw 36 logged.

Common Gull © Ed Betteridge 

The 14th Delicate for Bardsey was in the moth trap © Ed Betteridge 

Vestal © Ed Betteridge