Tuesday, 17 September 2019

A brisk northerly today. A seawatch produced a Leach's Petrel and a 2nd year Pomarine Skua which chased Kittiwakes around in view of some of the guests. Manx Shearwaters have all but totally moved on at this stage. It's amazing how the island can be crawling with them one month, and the next month it can take several hours to count eight on a seawatch.

Choughs are flocking now, many can be seen feeding together on Solfach.

A large triangle of nets has been put up in front of Cristin today in the hope of catching Meadow Pipits in the coming couple of days, hopefully the weather will stay as calm as it is forecast to allow ringing to take place.

The Isabelline Wheatear has not been seen today, so the chance to watch this bird may have come to an end, but it did put in a good show for seven days.

Other birds around today include: one Reed Bunting, 155 Linnets, five Goldfinches, one Siskin, 20 Chaffinch, four Ravens, nine Chiffchaffs, one Blackcap, one Whitethroat, one Song Thrush, 29 Wheatears, 16 Stonechats, 15 Grey Wagtails, 13 House Martin, 48 Skylarks, one Little Owl, 15 Sandwich Terns, 701 Kittiwakes, 26 Black-headed Gulls, 45 Curlews, one Dunlin, one Purple Sandpiper, three Ringed Plovers and one Sparrowhawk.

Monday, 16 September 2019

Today was calm and sunny with wind from the west swinging to the north still giving a cold feel. It is becoming more evident that the summer is gone and winter is not far off now.

Birds seemed to be fairly thin on the ground today, there was an increase in Chiffchaffs seen both at the farm and at nant with 35 in total, Northern Wheatears put in a good show with 23 plus the Isabelline still on the narrows. Waders around that area saw little improvement with 42 Turnstones, 12 Redshanks, a single Dunlin and two Golden PloversMeadow Pipits were seen in abundance at time with 154 on the island. Some of these Meadow Pipits were caught on the beach using a tape lure which proved very productive and pipits seem to come to the tape from all directions.

Elsewhere there were 12 Robins, 173 Linnets plus a single Goldfinch, 31 Magpies, four Blackcaps, singles of Kestrel and Buzzard, two Sparrowhawks and five Common Scoter.

Golden Plover
Isabelline Wheatear 

Sunday, 15 September 2019

There were gentle westerlies overnight that carried on throughout the day. The bird of the day was a juvenile (pale-bellied) Brent Goose which lingered around the Narrows during the morning. 16 Chiffchaffs were caught at Cristin along with four Robins, two Blackcaps and six Goldcrests. The portable heligoland trap was put up on Solfach for the second time this season, and caught five Rock Pipits almost immediately! Not a bad bonus considering it was being put up for use later in the week. The pipits were fitted with darvic rings as well as the usual metal BTO rings.
Portable Heligoland on Solfach
Rock Pipit caught in the heligoland

Other birds around today include: two Sparrowhawks, one Buzzard, one Peregrine, 13 Ringed Plovers, two Golden Plovers, three Whimbrels, 60 Curlews, 18 Redshanks, one Greenshank which flew onto Gareths Pond and later Solfach, 37 Turnstones, one Skylark, 50 Rock Pipits, six Grey Wagtails, 21 White Wagtails, 13 Wheatears, 20 Goldcrest and 118 Linnets.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Today was the change-over day, the weather was calm so the guests were off and a new set arrived.

Birding was limited to the morning and the evening but still a few bits were seen including a good amount of visual migration from the south end in the morning. Some good totals were counted including some variation. Meadow Pipits were clearly on the move with 272 counted throughout the day but mostly in the morning, there were 13 Grey Wagtails, 61 White Wagtails, 21 House Martins, 45 Swallows, four Sand Martins, and a years high count of ten Skylarks.
Other good counts and oddities seen heading south included 34 Black-headed Gulls, a single Common Sandpiper very high, two Dunlins, three Snipe, two Golden Plover, and eight Shelduck, not a bird that usually turns up at this time of year.

Elsewhere on the island the Isabelline Wheatear was still around the Narrows with ten Northern Wheatears around too, 178 Linnets were counted mostly in large flocks, nine Robins were in various gardens, waders around the narrows included 27 Turnstones, 16 Redshanks, 64 Curlews, two Whimbrels, a single juvenile Black-tailed Godwit, and six Ringed Plovers.

Raptors also put in a bit of a show with two Peregrines, and singles of both Buzzard and Sparrowhawk.

Meadow Pipit heading south

White Wagtail heading south



Friday, 13 September 2019

 There have been regular sightings of Rosso's Dolphins in the past few days
 Good numbers of Goldcrests have begun to arrive on the island
 Up to 30 have been seen at Nant
 The island's breeding Stonechats have been augmented with migrants over the past week or so
 Some like this male are looking rather dapper
 At least nine Buzzards were seen over the mountain 
and several Sparrowhawks have been seen passing through the island in the past week or so

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Today was the worst day of the week weather wise. There was low cloud all day, rain at various intervals and a strong wind from the south west that kept any new arrivals to the island, both by air and boat, off the cards.

The Issabelline Wheatear was still around the Narrows, braving the weather with a handful of Northern Wheatears.

Also around the Narrows waders numbers had dropped in the most part with 46 Turnstones, six Redshanks, five Whimbrel, three Dunlin, a single Purple Sandpiper and seven Ringed Plovers.

Passerines around the shrubbed areas were hard to come by but counts included eight Chaffinch, 12 Goldcrests, five Willow Warblers, four Chiffchaffs, a single Blackcap, nine Robins, 14 Rock Pipits, 30 Meadow Pipits and a good count of 155 Swallows mostly heading north onto the peninsular.

Juvenile Ringed Plover

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

The weather today started with a brisk south-westerly gusting at 33mph. However it calmed down by midday and westerlies lasted until the evening. The Isabelline Wheatear was the star bird, spending most of the day near Solfach giving close views.

Isabelline Wheatear -  Steve Stansfield

Photo: Steve Stansfield

Showing the tail pattern which differs slightly to Northern Wheatears       Photo: Steve Stansfield


Other bird news was decent, some highlights were: two Sparrowhawks, one Kestrel, one Peregrine, nine Ringed Plovers, one Purple Sandpiper, three Dunlins, one Whimbrel, 51 Curlews, four Redshanks, 57 Turnstones, one Great Skua, one Black-headed Gull, two Sand Martins, two Grey Wagtails, two White Wagtails, one Whinchat, 13 Stonechat, one Garden Warbler, 18 Goldcrests and 113 Linnets.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Today the weather started out not so good with strong winds from north west in the morning and some spots of rain. By mid-day it had cleared up and turned into a good day, as well as a good days birding.

To skip straight to the highlight of the day, and perhaps the autumn. Just before mid-day a strange wheatear was seen at the south end of the island by one of our guests. After looking at some of their photos it looked like a good candidate for an Isabelline Wheatear, with an overall pale colour especially noticeable on the mantle, on the coverts and on the face. The face Pattern was very plain, it looked of a reasonable size and long legged, and most strikingly seem to have a thick black terminal band on the tail. The bird was searched for but was not found again. A few hours latter another party went out in search and one of our assistant wardens split off in another direction and stumbled across the bird, finally everyone could get into it. What a striking bird it was! After some more examination including seeing the pale under-wings, relatively paler primaries and secondaries and the tail pattern it was confirmed as Bardseys third Isabelline Wheatear!

Although all other sightings were over shadowed, other birds around the island included three Spotted Flycatchers, still a good count of 29 Goldcrests, nine Willow Warblers, 12 Chiffchaffs, 10 Blackcaps, singles of Garden Warbler, Common Whitethroat, and Reed Warbler, 21 Northern Wheatear, still high numbers of Robins with 18, 37 White Wagtails, three Grey Wagtails, 76 Meadow Pipits, four Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plovers, and some birds of prey including our first Merlin of the autumn, singles of Kestrel and Buzzard and two Sparrowhawks

Isabelline Wheatear

Monday, 9 September 2019

Today started off with a 19 mph NW wind making ringing impossible. Instead some withy cutting took place. A lot of the willow in the withies has been getting so tall and thin that that the nets for catching birds are becoming unproductive. So an afternoon spent cutting down some of the larger trees should help thicken and shorten the vegetation giving more feeding opportunities to the birds.
Ringed Plover - Solfach                  Lewis Hooper

Birds around today include: 35 Curlews, one Greenshank, one Whimbrel, one Mediterranean Gull, 12 Great Black-backed Gulls, 15 Ringed Plovers, two Peregrines, one Grey Heron, one Grey Heron, one Common Scoter and one Snipe


Sunday, 8 September 2019

Today the weather was flat calm, with low cloud throughout the day.

With the calm weather the opportunity was taken to do some ringing both at the observatory and in the withys and it soon became apparent there were birds around! Goldcrests especially were filling the nests joined by Robins and smaller numbers of Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps. A couple of Grey Wagtails were heard going over as well as a Skylark and a few snipe flushed from the wetlands; a good variety of migrants! Throughout the day over 100 birds were ringed, the highest this year so far.

Elsewhere things started to hot up when news of a Goshawk seen over the mountain got out. This is a very good record for the island and after seeing some photos and a member of staff seeing it in the evening it was confirmed! It proved to be a good day for birds of prey in the end too with singles of Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Peregrine and Kestrel all seen.

 By the afternoon some totals started to be put together with Goldcrests providing the most obvious improvements in numbers with a day total of 92 birds! Other warbler numbers included 13 Willow Warblers, 19 Chiffchaffs, 14 Blackcaps, three Whitethroats, and singles of Garden Warbler and Reed Warbler. More totals of migrants included five Spotted Flycatchers, 16 Wheatears, a big increase to 20 Robins, 21 White Wagatils, five Grey Wagtails, 60 Meadow Pipits, two Tree Pipits over the observatory, 144 Swallows, a years high count of five Skylarks, a single Greenshank, three Snipe and 12 Ringed Plovers. A very good day!

It wasn't over yet either. An evenings walk around the south end produced a Lapland Bunting in with a small Flock of Meadow Pipits. A bird that was on the cards with there being a few around north Wales, but always a nice bird to see and hear.

Lapland Bunting With a Meadow Pipit

Goshawk


Saturday, 7 September 2019

Today was calm enough for a boat to arrive with a light north westerly wind throughout. Cloud rolled through over the island but generally it was clear and warm.

Bird of the day was a Red Kite that flew over the mountain at 11:00 just as the new guests had arrived. Lower count of Curlews today with nine recorded. Other waders include: three Whimbrels, three Redshanks, 33 Turnstones and 13 Ringed Plovers.
Juvenile Ringed Plover dazzled on Henllwyn - Photo: George Dunbar
 Another Grey Wagtail was heard over Cristin which is the second in the last few days. Willow Warblers dropped to 18 records, also around were: 14 Chiffchaffs, 31 Goldcrests and six Spotted Flycatchers.

Friday, 6 September 2019

The morning was breezy and a seawatch produced two Pomarine, 475 Manx Shearwaters, 42 Gannets, five Shags, one Cormorant and seven Common Scoter. After the threat of rain subsided at around 11:00 the staff went to extract Manx Shearwater juveniles from burrows in order to ring them. All but a few have lost their downy plumage and will soon fledge, the vast majority of adults have already started their migration and the nights are quiet once again.
Manx Shearwater chick taken a few days ago, one of the fluffy ones
An old manxy skeleton, this one was likely prey to a Peregrine which has crunched the keel
15 Ringed Plovers, three Sandwich Terns, 11 White Wagtails, one Garden Warbler, 24 Goldcrests and two Spotted Flycatchers were notable sightings. A dazzling session starting at 23:00 yielded two juvenile Ringed Plovers, and 8 Manx Shearwaters juveniles too.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Today the wind was again from the north-west giving a chill to the air. It was the first day for a few days that the boat came and with it came the return of one of the assistant wardens after his holiday.

The continued north-westerly winds gave provided good seawatching again in the morning. Yet another Leach's Petrel was seen heading south along with good numbers of Sandwich Terns, 214, and Kittiwakes, 2589. Other totals from the seawatch between 06:30-11:30 included 472 Auks, 35 Arctic Terns, three Great Skuas, nine Arctic Skuas, two Pomarine Skuas, five Common Scoter, 341 Gannets, 172 Manx Shearwaters and 40 Fulmars.

Elsewhere on the island the number of common migrants were small. New birds in included a Grey Wagtail over the observatory in the morning, a Snipe flushed from the rocks on the narrows, a large increase in White Wagtails to 49 now, a Song Thrush was seen feeding on the Elder berrys at nant and Robins were up to eight.  With these winds we were not really expecting any more than this. More totals included a single Spotted Flycatcher, 14 Willow Warblers, five Blackcaps, 41 and 34 each of Rock Pipit and Meadow Pipit, 51 Swallows, 72 Turnstone (they are starting to decrease now), nine Redshank, 53 Curlews, a juvenile Peregrine over the mountain with a Common Buzzard

Common Buzzard                Lewis Hooper

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Today was cold with winds from the North-West that were strong throughout, strengthening further in the late afternoon into evening.

Winds were perfect to bring through a good wave of autumn seabirds and they didn't disappoint. The first Leach's Petrel of the year flew South in the morning and a further 2 were seen later in the day from the North End. The first Sabine's Gull was picked up in the early afternoon amongst a flock of Kittiwakes, clearly showing the size difference between these two similar species.
Other highlights from the day came from the evening, when skuas started pouring through over the sea, totalling 16 Great Skuas, 13 Arctic Skuas and 7 Pomarine Skuas - all seen in under two hours.

The day's sea-watch totals came in at: 2502 Manx Shearwaters, 1518 Kittiwakes, 1027 Gannets, 159 Auk sp., 19 Arctic Tern, 24 Arctic Skua, 21 Great Skua, 7 Pomarine Skuas, 3 Leach's Petrels and 1 Sabine's Gull.

Elsewhere on the island, 1 Spotted Flycatcher was at Nant along with 15 Goldcrests, 4 Willow Warblers and 2 Chiffchaffs.

George Dunbar Seawatching

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Today the wind picked up from the south west once again, giving a breezy day that didn't get to cold but some mist and rain came in giving a wet feel to the evening.

The guided walk went ahead today and a select few braved the wind and we headed out. A Whinchat with the Stonechats at the farm was a nice migrant, but the real highlight came from the beach where the first seal pup of the season had been born. The small pup, covered in blubber and fur, was nestled in a small in-cove scratching its belly as it looked at us, looking back at it, without a care in the world. Two were found today, which over the coming weeks will turn into over 50!


There was little else of interest but other counts included  a Kestrel, four Robins, nine Ringed Plovers, three Dunlin, two Sanderling, nine Redshank, and 76 Turnstone.

Seal Pup
  


Monday, 2 September 2019

Today the wind was again from the south west but was very light in the morning, there was a chill to the air and a spot of rain in the evening.

The nets were opened and it was quickly evident that Goldcrest and Willow Warblers were more abundant than they have been, total day counts were 30 Goldcrest and 24 Willow Warblers. Chiffchaffs were also more numerous than they have been with 11 seen, mostly around the observatory and nant, also with a nice Reed Warbler at nant too, the second of the autumn.

The narrows again held the most numbers with 93 Turnstones, seven Ringed Plover, five Dunlin, eight Redshank, three Whimbrel, 59 Curlew and singles of Purple Sandpiper and Sanderling.

Goldcrest seen feeding on the rocks                                    Lewis Hooper

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Today, winds swung round to the North-West, making it feel chilly all day.

The North-Westerly winds gave the opportunity for a sea-watch in the hope of some proper Autumn sea passage starting: 663 Kittiwakes, 247 Manx Shearwaters, 175 Auk sp, 123 Gannets, 37 Fulmars, 25 Dunlin, 18 Sandwich Terns, 8 Arctic Terns, 7 Common Scoters, 3 Arctic Skuas, 3 Great Skuas and 1 Little Gull. 

Visible migration was slow today with 1 juvenile Marsh Harrier and 46 Swallow being the highlight. Grounded migrants on the island had increased on recent days with 74 White Wagtails, 28 Willow Warblers, 17 Goldcrest, 5 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Garden Warbler and 1 Whitethroat.


Convolvulus Hawk-Moth caught in the Obs moth trap was the second of the year.





Saturday, 31 August 2019

Today started off very windy from the west creating a very rough sea! Luckily for the guests after a brief band of rain it calmed dramatically and so boats ran.

It was a hard days birding, with little passing at sea after mid-day and the westerly wind continued to keep migration to a minimum. A Grey Wagtail over the observatory during the introductory talk to our new guest was a good bird this year, but else where passerines were scarce with eight Willow Warblers, five Robins, 179 Linnets and 37 Meadow Pipits. With limited time spent watching the sea some counts included singles of Great Skua and Arctic Skua, 430 Kittiwakes.

Wader numbers were similar to previous days, Turnstone numbered 50, with seven Dunlin, two Sanderling, a single Common Sandpiper
and nine Redshank

Sunset from the observatory 

Friday, 30 August 2019

Today was one of the windiest days we have had in a while, the wind still from the southwest however made things are going with little moving on the sea and little to no chance of seeing passerines.

The main highlight from the day came from the narrows, and mostly solfach. A Knot was a nice migrant found on the beach with another one later seen coming in off the sea at the north end. Turnstones hit a new year high count with an amazing 96 seen around the narrows with five Redshanks, six Dunlin, a single Sanderling, three Whimbrel and two Purple Sandpipers. Other numbers in the mix included 22 Rock Pipits, six Chough and 25 Mallards.

A football match was also organised, a game any referee would have cancelled due to the wind but here on Bardsey that doesn't stop play. Competitive is not the word. After a tight 40 minute game one team came out victorious and was happy to rub it in the oppositions face, with many siblings being on rival teams. A nice way to end another week of guests, for some anyway.

Juvenile Knot 

Choughs, the south end pair this year

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Today was a bright, yet breezy day with winds from the South-West. However, in more sheltered areas, it felt quite warm at times.

A windy start to the day gave good conditions for a sea-watch, although the wind was not in the ideal direction. The sea-watch yielded 802 Manx Shearwaters, 181 Kittiwakes, 162 Gannets, 25 Fulmar and 1 Arctic Skua. 5 Risso's Dolphins were also seen later in the day from the North End.

Numbers of waders on the island are starting to grow, too with 88 Turnstones, 30 Curlew, 35 Oystercatcher, 26 Whimbrel, 3 Sanderling and 2 Dunlin. Choughs are starting to feed down on Solfach with the waders and 15 were counted today.

Rock pipit (left) and Meadow Pipit (right) caught on Solfach.
Most migrants on the island have managed to move on, though 5 Willow warblers and 2 Whitethroat were still present today.

Small Elephant Hawk-moth caterpillar outside of the Obs.





Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Today some rain came in during the morning, but by mid day it had long gone and the sun was out giving hot conditions with a cool breeze from the south.

It was a fairly slow day in terms of migration on the island. The guided walk was well attended with the highlight being the number of Autumn Lady's-tresses that are now appearing in all areas of short grass around the island. These Orchids don't look like the stereotypical orchids of the Dactylorhiza family, they have small flowers formed in a spiral around the stem with a tangle of small leaves protecting each flower. The scientific name Spiranthes spiralis comes from the Greek, 'speira' meaning spiral and 'anthos' meaning flower.

On the bird front not much was new, the withys held nine Willow Warblers along with a couple more at the observatory. Four Robins were of note also as well as some waders that included a single Common Sandpiper, Sanderling and Ringed Plover, 29 Turnstones and six Redshank. A short Seawatch at mid-day did produce the highlight when a brute of a Pomarine Skua powered south through the south westerly wind. 

Autumn Lady's-tresses

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Today was a beautiful day with calm winds and sunshine all day. The light wind was however from the south west proving to be a bit of a blocker in terms of migrants.

In the early hours of the day, a few of the team headed over to Nant Valley to try and catch Storm Petrels again for the last time this year. They were successful, with two birds being caught, one of which being a control (a bird ringed elsewhere).

Passage was less pronounced than in previous days, however it was still evident with 90 Swallows, 4 House Martins and 38 Meadow Pipits passing through the island during the day. Grounded migrants consisted only of 12 Wheatear, 14 Willow warbler and 1 Spotted Flycatcher, the latter of which was at the obs. 

The best siting of the day, perhaps, was saved until later, when a Pod of 23 Risso's Dolphins were seen from the obs feeding close in offshore. They were watched for around half an hour, before they headed off North out of view.

One of two Storm Petrels caught                                     George Dunbar

Dunlin caught on Solfach                                           George Dunbar



Monday, 26 August 2019

The wind changed again today, it was calm still but a slight switch to the south west and clear skies meant a lot of birds had cleared out.

First thing six Grey Herons flew south down the island and a few migrants could be found including singles of Pied Flycatcher, Whinchat, Blackcap and Garden Warbler, eight Goldcrests, 37 Willow Warblers,  and three Spotted Flycatchers. 31 Wheatears were of note around the coast, six Robins was still a good count, White Wagtails were down to just 27 but our first Grey Wagtail of the year went south. Hirundines moved through till with Swallows making up the bulk today, 208 birds were counted heading south throughout the day along with 20 House Martins and six Sand Martins. A Skylark was seen and heard in the lowlands, the first of the autumn, and offshore two Great Skuas, an Arctic Skua and 32 Black-headed Gulls were seen heading south.
Waders were still feeding away on the piles of seaweed in solfach as well as a few small flocks seen heading south today, numbers included three each of Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper and Sanderling, six Dunlin, four Whimbrel, five Redshank, and 40 Turnstones. Also in the bay there were 14 Mallard and a single Teal still.

The real highlight of the day came in the evening as two of our volunteers stumbled upon a Wryneck which flew from the track and perched in some bramble for a brief moment before heading further up into the gorse. Our first of the autumn that was half expected due to a small arrival of this species across the UK in the past two days.


Sunday, 25 August 2019

Today the wind was light and from the east with bands of low cloud moving through creating perfect conditions to drop things in.

Today was one of, if not the best days birding all year. Although nothing spectacular was found there were good numbers of common things and a huge variety of birds around, found by the team who were all out for the vast majority of the day!
The day started with some ringing and from this it was clear there were birds around with Pied Flycatchers at the observatory and nant as well as Spotted Flycatchers and plenty of Willow Warblers. Then at the south end Willow Warblers, Sedge Warblers and the first Whinchat of the day filled the gorse and birds started to pour south in between the waves of low cloud. House Martins were the most abundant with 141 birds heading south in groups in a two hour period along with 70 Swallows and 37 Sand Martins. Alba Wagtails were also on the move with Meadow Pipits with 61 and 97 each flying south. Then more Whinchats started to be found with a day count of seven, a Black Tern and Little Egret went south down the west coast, a strange record of a juvenile Great-crested Grebe was found in nant valley and Tree Pipits were regular, a record day count this year of 30 were seen/heard.

Day totals included a single Teal, a single Collared Dove, six Swift, 44 Sand Martins, 118 Swallows, 196 Meadow Pipits, 145 White Wagtails, 29 Wheatear, 11 Robins, six Sedge Warblers, 17 Whitethroats, a single Blackcap, six Chiffchaff, 169 Willow Warblers, 24 Goldcrests, 11 Spotted Flycatchers and seven Pied Flycatchers.

Pied Flycatcher

One of at least 12 Risso's off the south end



Saturday, 24 August 2019

Today was a calm and clear day with gentle a breeze from the East, making perfect conditions for the beginning of our young birders' journeys home after a fantastic week.

The early hours of Saturday saw the team head down to Nant Valley to attempt to catch and ring Storm Petrels in favourable conditions - and the late night paid off with ten birds being caught. Two of these were already ringed, including one bird that was at least 16 years old!

However the late night didn't deter some of the young birders from being up in the morning to open mist nets at the obs which was rewarded by catching one of two Pied Flycatchers that were around the garden. Other birds seen around the island included three Spotted Flycatchers, four Tree Pipit, four Robins, an increase to 30 Pied Wagtails and two Teal. A Clouded Yellow butterfly was also seen at the North End.


one of two Pied Flycatchers at the observatory

We say goodbye to our young birders until next year

Friday, 23 August 2019

Today was the nicest day of the week, winds were down and evening swinging round to the east, and the sun was out.

It was the last full day for the young birders and so, as it is customary, the bird race was today. Three teams set out to see as many species as possible and try to beat the other teams scores. It turned out to be a good day to do it and lots of new birds were found. Migrants such as Pomarine Skua, Common Gull, Sand Martin and Reed Bunting were seen, birds that haven't been seen much or at all this autumn. At the end of the day the scores were added up and like the quiz it was close! The three teams scored 58, 60 and 60, despite all teams seeing birds that the other teams did not, and so it was a tie!
Hightlights from the day came from all over. The seawatching in the morning was farily producive with Skuas passing at sea and seen flying over the land with seven Arctic and five Great. Terns were moving in the early morning with 30 Sandwhich Terns and 44 Arctic Terns along with four Common Scoter and a single Puffin. Nant and the observatory were far busier than they have been with four Spotted Flycatchers, nine Goldcrests, 30 Willow Warblers, eight Chiffchaffs, a single Garden Warbler, three Robins, a Sand Martin over and a Song Thrush providing some entertainment. Elsewhere there were 144 Linnets, a single Goldfinch, and waders numbered 4 Turnstone, a single Common Sandpiper, five Dunlin, nine Sanderling, eight Knot and four Ringed Plovers.

Two of the three Arctic Skuas seen over the island

Great Skua (Bonxie) at the north end

The BBQ for the young birders last day

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Today was much the same as the week has been, a reasonably strong wind from the west but generally it stayed dry.

The young birders were kept busy again with some ringing on the beach with the portable heligoland trap and some spring traps catching Rock Pipits. In the afternoon some Manx Shearwaters chicks were ringed at the north end with all the young birders searching every burrow they could to find a chick within reach. An activity that is very exclusive to a few places in the UK and so it is a special opportunity for these select few young birders.   

Birds were fairly thin on the ground. Counts from today including varying amount of seawatching and census work included 1173 Manx Shearwaters, 84 Gannets, three Common Scoter, singles of Buzzard and Peregrine, three Ringed Plovers, five Sanderling, four Dunlin, 13 Whimbrel, 65 Curlew, two Arctic Skua, three Great Skua, 139 Kittiwake, six Arctic Terns, a single Robin and Spotted Flycatcher, 12 Wheatear, four each of Willow Warbler and Goldcrest, 27 Magpies and 185 Linnets.

The evening finished with a quiz captained by our three members of staff. Although all the questions were bird related it included different subjects, for example geography, history, general knowledge, latin, as well as the usual identification pictures. Things got very competitive quickly and at the end of 66 answers the scores could not have been closer with the three teams scoring 49, 49 and 50!   

Quiz night!

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

The wind was howling from the south-west again today giving a real chill to the air at times. The rain held off again for the most part with only a few scattered showers.

Seawatching was much quieter today and although it was given a good go, highlights included 14 Arctic Terns, 807 Kittiwakes a single Great Skua, two Arctic Skuas, six Common Scoter and a Bar-tailed Godwit.

After mid-day the team heading down to Solfach to set up the portable Heligoland trap on the beach, mainly to catch Rock Pipits. This was fairly successful with three birds being caught in the Heligoland. Another two were caught in the spring traps that were intended for the Turnstones, but all five left sporting brand new white darvic rings that will hopefully provide information on the moult of these birds.

There were plenty of waders on the beach too with the first juvenile Knot in amongst 31 Turnstones, two Ringed Plovers and five each of Sanderling and Dunlin.

Other birds of note included a single Spotted Flycatcher still, 21 Pied Wagtails, two Tree Pipits, eight Wheatear, 14 Stonechats, and a single Snipe.

Rock Pipit AAC - keep an eye out