Saturday, 17 April 2021

The weather was warm and sunny with more southerlies, though migration was still slow. The final breeding bird survey covered the west side of the mountain and involved finding some paths through the dense Gorse. A female Linnet carrying some nest material and discarded Dunnock egg were the only confirmed signs of breeding. 

Sunrise from Pen Cristin

Ringing was slow at Cristin this morning with only nine new birds. Sam did catch an adult female Greenfinch, which are relatively uncommon on Bardsey. Since adding the baffles to the final panel of the Heligoland trap, its productivity has increased significantly and a Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff were both extracted at the same time. 

Female Greenfinch

A female Merlin was seen on the Mountain this morning and again at the North End this afternoon. Eight Sand Martins and 11 Swallows were seen today with possibly the first returning Swallow calling from the roof of Lloft Plas. Wheatear numbers were still high with 11 seen across the island.

With the continued warm weather the sheltered cliffs at the South End are becoming colourful with flowering Thrift, Sea Campion, Spring Squill and Sea Mayweed.

Thrift and Sea Campion

Birds today: one Sparrowhawk, one Buzzard, one Merlin, one Grey Plover, 13 Whimbrels, one Curlew, 14 Turnstones, eight Sand Martins, 11 Swallows, three White Wagtails, 11 Wheatears, six Blackcaps, four Chiffchaffs, six Willow Warblers, four Jackdaws, two Rooks, one Chaffinch, one Greenfinch, 11 Siskins, 17 Goldfinches, 12 Lesser Redpolls.

Ringing Totals: Greenfinch 1, Great Tit (1), Goldfinch 1, Blackcap 4, Lesser Redpoll 1, Willow Warbler 2, Chiffchaff 2.

Friday, 16 April 2021

It was yet another sunny day with some gentle southerlies keeping the temperature nice and warm. The morning was far quieter in the way of Willow Warblers and Blackcaps, but there was still a good amount of finches visiting the feeders. Mainly Lesser Redpolls, Siskins and Goldfinches.

Stuart carried out day two of his breeding bird survey, today he covered the south end of the island, amongst the breeding birds were several Greenland Wheatears. Waders included a Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Purple Sandpipers, Snipes, Whimbrels, Curlews, Redshanks and Turnstones, all around the Narrows and South End.

Grey Plover on the South End

The birds of the day included a Hooded Crow which flew north down the middle of the island and a Buzzard which flew north over the mountain getting mobbed by gulls as they tend to do here.

Ringing took place at Cristin, but it was not as productive as it has been in the last few days, but there were some nice male Siskins and Lesser Redpolls amongst those caught.

Birds today: one Grey Heron, one Buzzard, one Ringed Plover, one Grey Plover, 24 Purple Sandpipers, two Snipes, three Whimbrels, five Curlews, two Redshanks, 15 Turnstones, one Collared Dove, seven Sand Martins, nine Swallows, nine White Wagtails, 25 Wheatears, three Blackcaps, four Chiffchaffs, three Willow Warblers, one Rook, one Hooded Crow, four Chaffinches, 18 Siskins, 15 Goldfinches, 47 Linnets and 10 Lesser Redpolls

Thursday, 15 April 2021

The warm weather continued once the sun made its way over the top of the Mountain. A southerly wind in the morning assisted with the arrival of migrating birds. Sam opened the mist nets in the Observatory garden with the majority of the catch being finches including Siskins, Goldfinches and Redpolls. 26 new Blackcaps and 19 new Willow Warblers were also ringed. 

Male Siskin

Stuart completed the first breeding bird survey of the year and covered the northwest of the island, including the West Coast, Wetlands and North End. This started at sunrise and all the singing birds were noted on a map. Four breeding bird surveys are undertaken during the year, each consisting of three days work to cover the whole island. The first is completed in April, with another in May and two in June. Wrens and Meadow Pipits make up the majority of the breeding birds, other than the seabirds on the East Side. 

Meadow Pipit

A lot of birds were passing through this morning with the first Whitethroat of the year at Ty Capel and a Grasshopper Warbler reeling on the West Coast. A single Redwing was seen in the gorse on the North End. The first Stock Dove was also briefly seen flying north along the West Coast. A total of 11 species of wader were seen today with the Grey Plover remaining on the South End, eight Purple Sandpipers, a Whimbrel and the first Dunlin of the year on the Narrows and a Common Sandpiper on Solfach.

Birds today: 13 Gannets, one Grey Heron, one Sparrowhawk, one Buzzard, one Merlin, one Ringed Plover, one Grey Plover, eight Purple Sandpipers, one Dunlin, four Snipes, one Whimbrel, one Curlew, three Redshanks, one Common Sandpiper, 12 Turnstones, one Stock Dove, two Collared Doves, one Skylark, one Sand Martin, three Swallows, one Redwing, one Grasshopper Warbler, one Whitethroat, 42 Blackcaps, nine Chiffchaffs, 52 Willow Warblers, five Jackdaws, two Rooks, five Chaffinches, 21 Siskins, 13 Goldfinches, 41 Linnets, 10 Lesser Redpolls

Ringing totals: Siskin 13, Goldfinch 11, Redpoll 9 (1), Blackcap 26, Willow Warbler 19, Chiffchaff 5, Goldcrest 1

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

 It was another productive day for birding and ringing today, once again there were Willow Warblers singing in the garden first thing in the morning, which is always a gorgeous sound to hear. The weather was flat calm in the morning, perhaps a very slight south-westerly, later in the afternoon it turned to a slightly chilly northerly.

Bright sunshine over the island today

Cristin and Nant were busy with Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs, many were singing and calling, but otherwise, they were simply seen in the conifers. Blackcaps were the other warbler seen in large numbers, but a welcome addition to the Bardsey year list came in the form of a Grasshopper warbler which was heard singing above Cristin and later caught and ringed.

Grasshopper Warbler ringed at Cristin

Wheatears were on the move in the mid-morning, dozens were seen across the island between 11:00 and 13:00, but by the late afternoon, there were barely any to be seen in the Lowlands. Hirundine passage continued to be slow with just a handful of Swallows and Sand Martins seen throughout the day.

There was some variety with the waders again today. The Grey Plover was on the South End as it was yesterday and it was accompanied by five Whimbrels that were all feeding on the grass. 

Sunset over the West Coast

Birds today: Fulmar, one Buzzard, one Merlin, three Peregrines, Grey Plover, one Snipe, five Whimbrels, two Redshanks, six Turnstones, one Collared Dove, eight Sand Martins, five Swallows, one White Wagtail, three Robins, one Grasshopper Warbler, 18 Blackcaps, 26 Chiffchaffs, 88 Willow Warblers, three Goldcrests, one Rook, five Chaffinches, 13 Siskins, 28 Linnets, 26 Goldfinches.

Ringing totals: Goldfinch 4, Siskin 7, Goldcrest 2, Willow Warbler 39, Chiffchaff 10, Blackcap 11, Grasshopper Warbler 1, Stonechat 1, Robin 1 (1), Wren (1).

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

With a slight southerly wind, there was a dramatic increase in bird numbers across the island today. The temperature was also a lot warmer in the sunshine compared with recent days. A total of 58 Blackcaps, 139 Willow Warblers and 32 Chiffchaffs were counted across the island, with the most birds recorded in the Observatory Garden and at Nant. The nets in the Observatory garden were opened early and almost 100 new birds were ringed up to midday. The majority of the catch was attributed to Willow Warblers and Blackcaps. A male Stonechat was also ringed, which is the first of the year. 

Male Stonechat

A Sandwich Tern was seen by Stuart and Sam hunting off Solfach in the afternoon and a winter plumage Grey Plover and a Whimbrel were at the South End. Seven White Wagtails were seen on Solfach, foraging in the seaweed with three Rock Pipits and five Turnstones.

Sandwich Tern

The first Cuckooflower was seen flowering in the Wetlands today whilst setting up the mist nets in the Withies. It is said to flower at the same time as the Cuckoos arrive, which should be in the next few weeks.


Birds today: one Fulmar, seven Gannets, one Grey Heron, 17 Shelducks, two Buzzards, one Ringed Plover, one Grey Plover, one Whimbrel, one Curlew, nine Turnstones, one Sandwich Tern, one Collared Dove, four Swallows, ten White Wagtails, 21 Wheatears, 58 Blackcaps, 32 Chiffchaffs, 139 Willow Warblers, one Rook, 19 Siskin, 13 Goldfinch, one Chaffinch, two Lesser Redpolls

Ringing totals: 11 Goldfinches, two Lesser Redpolls, one Stonechat, 23 Blackcaps (one retrap), 46 Willow Warbler, ten Chiffchaffs (one retrap)

Monday, 12 April 2021

The weather was far more consistent today, there was a brief shower at around 0800 which put a stop to ringing. From then on it was sunny and cool all day, with a slight breeze from the southwest.

Ringing was quite productive in the morning to say how short the session was, Blackcaps made up the majority of the catch. 

Waders today included a Ringed Plover, Redshanks, Whimbrels, Turnstones, Curlews and the first Bar-tailed Godwit of the year was seen on Henllwyn which was a good bonus!

Whimbrel on the Narrows

Ringed Plover on Henllwyn

A flock of 30 Goldfinches descended on the garden in the late morning, other than this were one Siskin, three Chaffinches, 20 Linnets, one Lesser Redpoll. Hirundine passage is still yet to kick-off as once again a small amount passed over, two Sand Martins and only five Swallows were had today.

Birds today: eight Fulmars, two Gannets, one Sparrowhawk, one Ringed Plover, one Bar-tailed Godwit, three Whimbrels, two Curlews, seven Redshanks, 25 Turnstones, 155 Kittiwakes, two Sand Martins, five Swallows, 34 Meadow Pipits, one White Wagtail, six Wheatears, seven Blackcaps, three Chiffchaffs, three Chaffinches, 34 Goldfinches, three Siskins, 20 Linnets, one Lesser Redpoll.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

The weather was very changeable today. The majority was calm with blue skies but every few hours the wind picked up and there would be a brief hailstorm. There was often a flurry of bird activity after the hail stopped with 18 Willow Warblers, 6 Chiffchaffs and 4 Goldcrests across the island. The small movement of Swallows continued throughout the day.

Storm arriving over the North End

The first Slow Worms of the year were recorded today in the Observatory garden including a large male under a corrugated tin.

Male Slow Worm

Birds today: 24 Fulmars, 7 Manx Shearwaters, one Grey Heron, one Sparrowhawk, one Ringed Plover, one Whimbrel, five Redshanks, four Turnstones, one Sand Martin, ten Swallows, one White Wagtail, six Wheatears, seven Blackcaps, six Chiffchaffs, 18 Willow Warblers, four Goldcrests, one Rook, two Chaffinches, seven Siskins, 13 Goldfinches, 53 Linnets

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Yet another glorious day was gifted to us. Saturdays are usually changeover days, but as only one side of the Obs is open we have found ourselves with an empty week. Fiona Bithell has come on to the team though, she'll be volunteering for the next two weeks. 

The nets were opened at Cristin in the morning as the northerlies made it too windy to open at Nant. Willow Warblers made up the bulk of the catch but there were other migrants in the mix too (details below).

It was a fairly usual day, Wheatears were most abundant on the Narrows, a Barn Owl that was at Nant last night was hoped to be in the nest box, but we had no luck today. The highlight of the day was a Ring Ouzel that flew across the mountain just above the Obs and into the mountain gorse. 

Wheatear on the Narrows

Swallows were passing over the island today, still just a trickle and not as many as yesterday, but given the northerlies which picked up in strength over the course of the day, this is to be expected. A Sand Martin on the Narrows and two House Martins on over the mountain made up the rest of the hirundine passage. Other migrants include the White Wagtails that have been building slightly in numbers in the last two days. They were flycatching on Solfach today.

White Wagtail

Birds today: one Red-throated Diver, one Grey Heron, one Sparrowhawk, one Buzzard, one Peregrine, 90 Oystercatchers, five Snipes, one Whimbrel, four Curlews, five Redshanks, seven Turnstones, one Sand Martin, 12 Swallows, two House Martins, 51 Meadow Pipits, five White Wagtails, one Robin, 23 Wheatears, one Ring Ouzel, one Redwing, 15 Blackcaps, 11 Chiffchaffs, 18 Willow Warblers, one Rook, six Chaffinches, three Siskins, nine Goldfinches, 58 Linnets and two Lesser Redpolls.

Friday, 9 April 2021

The weather finally warmed up today and it it felt like Spring had returned. With little wind, the nets were opened at Cristin and Nant and a good number of migrant birds were arriving throughout the day. The main species ringed were Goldfinches as well as Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers and Goldcrests. The highlight was Swallows with 30 seen across the island. 

The Mountain / Mynydd Enlli

The first Mallard ducklings were seen today with ten on Pwll Cain. We were a bit worried when only one was seen late morning and there was a hungry Grey Heron seen in the vicinity. Fortunately all were present and correct at 5pm. Ben was working up at Nant when he spotted a Ring Ouzel on the Mountain above the Plantation. It is expected that more of these secretive thrushes will arrive later in the month. On the West Coast, Stuart was mistaken for a female Chough and was displayed to in act called 'umbrellaing'. This involves a lot of calling and wing shaking. 

Grey Heron


Birds today: 15 Common Scoters, one Merlin, one Buzzard, one Peregrine, one Common Snipe, five Purple Sandpipers, two Whimbrels, one Curlew, five Redshanks, two Common Sandpipers, 13 Turnstones, 200 Kittiwakes, 74 Puffins, 14 Razorbills, one Sand Martin, two House Martins, 62 Swallows, eight White Wagtails, 24 Wheatears, one Ring Ouzel, 12 Blackcaps, 11 Chiffchaffs, 19 Willow Warblers, ten Goldcrests, two Jackdaws, seven Siskins, ten Goldfinches and 45 Linnets

Thursday, 8 April 2021

The wind swung round to the south-east today which made the temperature a bit more bearable, immediately off the bat were more Goldfinches both in the garden, Nant and the North End. However, once again there was a distinct lack of Wheatears and Meadow Pipits.

The Ravens at Barcut are rearing four chicks, yesterday it seemed as though three were in the nest but another look today showed otherwise. A little recce was undertaken today to see if the nest would be safely accessible for ringing. 

In the afternoon, Stuart and Sam spent some time searching for marked Manx Shearwater burrows, this job can be frustrating if the sheep have been knocking posts over etc. but this time around it only took a matter of minutes to find the posts in each section.

Birds today: two Fulmars, 2500 Manx shearwaters, two Gannets, four Cormorants, one Grey Heron, one Sparrowhawk, one Merlin, one Peregrine, one Whimbrel, four Curlews, three Redshanks, six Turnstones, one Collared Dove, four Swallows, 41 Meadow Pipits, two Robins, four Wheatears, one Blackcap, four Chiffchaffs, two Willow Warblers, 25 Goldcrests, two Rooks, two Chaffinches, ten Siskins, 88 Goldfinches, 46 Linnets.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

It was still cold with the wind still strong and from the Northwest. It was mostly dry with the odd hail shower. The visibility was so good that from the top of the Mountain you could see all the way round from Anglesey in the North to Pembrokeshire in the South. There was also views back inland to the snow capped peaks of Snowdonia.

View towards Snowdonia from the Mountain

Sam and Stuart went out around the mountain to check on the Manx Shearwater productivity burrows. These are marked by a red post and individually numbered. As you would expect, many are worn after the winter and will need repainting. Whilst around the East Side they checked on a Raven nest and found it had four chicks. These will hopefully be ringed if anyone is brave enough to climb down to them...

Raven nest

The strong winds were still putting a limit on the number of migrants on the island. Two Bullfinches were in the Withies, 37 Goldfinches were at the North End and at least one Siskin flew over the Mountain. A total of 11 Goldcrests were recorded and five Wheatears.

Birds today: 35 Manx shearwaters, 33 Gannets, one Grey Heron, one Buzzard, one Peregrine, one Snipe, one Whimbrel, two Redshanks, five Turnstones, one Black-headed Gull, five Puffins, one Collared Dove, 76 Meadow pipits, five Wheatears, one Song Thrush, five Chiffchaffs, seven Goldcrests, one Chaffinch, one Siskin, 37 Goldfinches, two Bullfinches, 18 Linnets

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

The wind across the whole of the UK was arctic today, up in Scotland, snow was falling as though it were the middle of winter. Even here we were pummeled with hailstones in the early morning and the wind stung any exposed skin. 

A freezing cold South End just before the sunrise over the mountain. 

Sam and Stuart decided to seawatch from the South End hide first thing in the morning, in the hope of seeing a skua of any kind. But unfortunately, efforts went largely unrewarded with views of common seabirds only, Manx Shearwaters, Gannets, Kittiwakes and Common Scoters. Despite this, it was an eventful walk, not often does it hail on Bardsey... Plus, a Peregrine perched just in front of the hide, offering great views.

Peregrine on the South End

Curlews and Turnstones made up the waders on Henllwyn, as well as Oystercatchers, of course. presumably because of the wind, warblers were not recorded today, but a Goldcrest was singing in the Plantation. Similarly, Wheatears were also in short supply with just three recorded all day, all of which were on the Narrows. And a lone Swallow flew north past Pen Cristin.

Birds today: 18 Fulmars, 23 Manx Shearwaters, 31 Gannets, 11 Shags, four Common Scoters, five Curlews, 9 Turnstones, one Swallow, 13 Meadow Pipits, 11 Rock Pipits, eight Pied Wagtails, one Robin, three Stonechats, six Wheatears, one Song Thrush, four Chiffchaffs, six Goldcrests, two Chaffinches, four Goldfinches and 13 Linnets

Monday, 5 April 2021

The blue skies were deceptive today with a 30mph wind from the north and the temperature dropping to 4⁰C! There was even a sprinkling of light hail over Pen Cristin this afternoon. After keeping busy yesterday it was good to catch up with some office work including inputting our ringing data into the online system. 

Llŷn Peninsula from the North End

The windy conditions made the daily census difficult with most birds finding somewhere sheltered. Four Swallows were seen struggling north and the a Ringed Plover was on Solfach. The upside of the wind is that seawatching has improved with a Red-throated Diver, a Black-headed Gull, 39 Gannets, 15 Manx Shearwaters and 25 Kittiwakes flying close to the coastline. 

Closer to the ground, Sam counted four Green Tiger Beetles at the South End. Ben Porter, who is a previous Bardsey resident, found some Sea Stork's-bill on Pen Cristin. It is a small and difficult to spot plant species mostly limited to coastal areas in Wales, Cornwall, Devon and the East coast of Ireland. 

Green Tiger Beetle

Sea Stork's-bill

Birds today: one Red-throated Diver, nine Fulmars, 15 Manx Shearwaters, 25 Gannets, one Merlin, one Ringed Plover, one Purple Sandpiper, one Jack Snipe, three Curlews, two Redshanks, one Black-headed Gull, 25 Kittiwakes, four Swallows, four Wheatears, one Blackcap, one Starling, 24 Linnets, one Lesser Redpoll.

Sunday, 4 April 2021

 After a curry night the night before it would have been nice to have a lie-in, but the weather was simply too good to miss, especially given that it isn't due to last! A barely noticeable breeze starting in the north and swinging to the south in the afternoon was the only hitch. It was blue skies and sunshine, otherwise. 

There wasn't much activity in the garden first thing, just a few Blackcaps and Phylloscs flitting about in the leaves. Willow Warblers were singing in the withies and Wheatears were singing all over the island, including the East Side. A House Martin was present at Nant first thing in the morning, but it was a very quiet day for hirundines in all. A small number of Siskins and Goldfinches could be heard passing overhead sporadically throughout the day. It seemed like the kind of day a large raptor would sneak through the sky, two Sparrowhawks, two Peregrines and a Merlin were the best that was on offer though. 

At this time of year, Wheatears are both passing through and setting up territories on Bardsey

An East Side visit was in order today as the weather is about to turn nasty. The Chough pairs need to be monitored before a given date, and the bad weather in the forecast could push this date to the limit. Luckily the trip today was very productive and a total of seven nests are thought to be active on the island. This might increase as it is still relatively early in the season...

Shag nests were also checked for eggs and a preliminary colony count was taken. Most that are on nests at the moment are only on two eggs, some on one and others are yet to lay any. 

Shag with three eggs, the only three-egger of the day, clutch sizes usually range from 3-5

Stuart inspecting dead Manx Shearwaters for rings (top) and checking contents of two Shag nests (bottom)

Kittiwakes at Little Kit colony

Birds today: four Fulmars, six Gannets, 10 Shelducks, two Sparrowhawks, one Merlin, two Peregrines, two Curlews, 11 Turnstones, one Collared Dove, three Sand Martins, six Swallows, one House Martin, 105 Meadow Pipits, 30 Rock Pipits, one White Wagtail, 23 Wheatears, eight Blackcaps, 10 Chiffchaffs, five Willow Warblers, 21 Goldcrests, four Great Tits, 19 Choughs, one Rook, three Starlings, two Chaffinches, five Siskins, 21 Goldfinches, one Lesser Redpoll and 53 Linnets.

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Another beautiful sunny day on Bardsey.  A northerly wind increasing through the afternoon did not allow the temperature match the clear blue skies. Following the relaxation of lockdown in Wales we welcomed our first day visitors and overnight guests to the island. Unfortunately we have said a brief farewell to our long-term volunteer, Megan as she heads back home to Belfast to see her family. 

The day started off calm with Sam opening the nets at the Observatory and Stuart heading north to Nant. A female Bullfinch was ringed at Nant and some common migrants ringed at the Observatory including Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, Blackcaps and Goldcrests

Female Bullfinch

There were eight species of wader recorded across the island today including one Sanderling and one Ringed Plover on Solfach. See if you can find them in the photo below! A Greenshank was recorded on the South End and a Hooded Crow was seen from the Observatory in the afternoon as it flew north.

Sanderling and Ringed Plover

Birds today: one Sparrowhawk, two Buzzards, one Kestrel, one Merlin, one Sanderling, one Snipe, one Ringed Plover, one Greenshank, six Redshanks, three Turnstones, 15 Woodpigeons, two Collared Doves, two Skylarks, seven Sand Martins, eight Swallows, one House Martin, 111 Meadow Pipits, 45 Wheatears, one Fieldfare, one Redwing, seven Blackcaps, eight Chiffchaffs, two Willow Warblers, nine Goldcrests, one Hooded Crow, one Starling, 13 Siskins, three Lesser Redpolls, 26 Linnets, one Bullfinch

Friday, 2 April 2021

 A beautiful day today, with blue skies and sunshine from morning to evening (although it was overcast until 08:00...). The nets were opened at Cristin and remained open until 12:30, the nets at Nant were opened very briefly early on, but it was slightly on the breezy side and nothing was caught. 

The morning sun hitting the lighthouse

Ringing at Cristin was a success, though, the highlights being two Lesser Redpolls. And a good catch of Goldcrests, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps definitely made ringing worthwhile! Nant produced small flocks of both Siskins, Lesser Redpolls and Chaffinches. As well as a few Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers and Blackcaps

Willow Warbler caught at Cristin

The Moth trap yielded the first Angle Shades of the year, a nicely patterned moth, to be expected but always a delight. 

Angle Shades

A Buzzard flew over the Narrows in the late morning indicating a steady passage after one flew over yesterday evening, every now and then several pass over the island at once. It turned out to be a decent day for raptor variety with Peregrine, Merlin and Sparrowhawk all making their way onto the day list! Other than raptors, it was a quiet day in the Lowlands, but a small number of Wheatears kept interest up whilst out birding. Two firsts for the year were had too, a Collared Dove at Cristin and a Common Sandpiper on Solfach.

Wheatear with potential nest material in the Lowlands

For the Observatory staff, it was a day of finishing the final touches to the south side of the building ready for the first guests of the year who will be arriving tomorrow.

Birds today: one Gannet, one Sparrowhawk, one Buzzard, one Merlin, one Peregrine, one Purple Sandpiper, one Curlew, eight Redshanks, one Common Sandpiper, 23 Turnstones, one Collared Dove, five Sand Martins, 4 Swallows, 48 Meadow Pipits, two Robins, one Fieldfare, 17 Blackcaps, 16 Chiffchaffs, 19 Willow Warblers, ten Goldcrests, 20 Carrion Crows, six Chaffinches, four Siskins, five Goldfinches, 17 Linnets, five Lesser Redpolls

Ringing Totals: Blackbird 1 (1), Goldfinch 5, Chaffinch 2, Lesser Redpoll 2, Goldcrests 8, Willow Warbler 17, Chiffchaff 12 (2), Blackcap 12 (1), Wren (1)

Thursday, 1 April 2021

The day started with a 16mph wind from the east. There was a slight haze but the sun was shining throughout the day and it was a cool 9 degrees. 

Last night the assistant warden team went out at 11pm to ring Manx Shearwaters. Bardsey is the fourth largest colony of this species in the world. Ten new birds were ringed with 13 retraps. The oldest retrap was first ringed in 1999 making it at least 22 years old. The oldest known Manx Shearwater on Bardsey is thought to be at least 52 years old. This amazing species migrates from the Atlantic Ocean off South America each year back to Bardsey to breed. 

Megan handling her first Manx Shearwater

Stuart ringing a Manx Shearwater

Today was a good day for raptors with a Red Kite seen over the Withies, two Peregrines over the Mountain, a Merlin at the South End and a Buzzard over the Narrows. Hirundines were also on the move with five Sand Martins, three Swallows and the first two House Martins of the year. A few Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers and Blackcaps were seen and 12 Wheatears were recorded across the island.

Red Kite

Birds today: two Fulmars, one Red Kite, one Merlin, one Buzzard, two Peregrines, 118 Oystercatchers, 25 Purple Sandpipers, two Whimbrels, seven Curlews, 25 Razorbills, 16 Woodpigeons, five Sand Martins, three Swallows, two House Martins, one White Wagtail, 12 Wheatears, one Fieldfare, 16 Chiffchaffs, eight Willow Warblers, nine Goldcrests, one Rook, 11 Siskins, nine Goldfinches, 41 Linnets, three Lesser Redpolls

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Today began clear and sunny, but at 0700 a thick fog rolled in and lingered all day bring visibility down to less than 50m at times. Ringing in the morning was quite productive at the observatory, but it died down by 10:00. The bulk of the catch was made up by Willow Warblers and Blackcaps, although not as many as yesterday.

As thick as pea soup, the view of Henllwyn this morning

Wheatears were still trickling through, mainly recorded on the Narrows, but there were single across the island. There were a few different species of finches present in the garden today too, including Linnets, Redpolls, Goldfinches, Chaffinches, Siskins and the first Greenfinch of the year. Linnets were in greater abundance today, 25 were counted across the island which is the high count of the year, but this is expected to rise greatly from now on. 

A Wheatear on Pen Cristin

A nice flurry of finches, with male Goldfinch, Lesser Redpoll and Siskin from top to bottom

Although the fog did make birding difficult and next to nothing was seen out at sea, Willow Warblers, Blackcaps and Goldcrests were heard and seen at Nant, largely around Ty Capel and Nant Withy.

A cloud of mist consuming Cristin in the late afternoon
Sunset from Cristin

Birds today: one Merlin, one Ringed Plover, one Snipe, two Curlews, two Redshanks, 30 Turnstones, two Little Owls, one Swallow, 175 Meadow Pipits, 16 Pied, Wagtails, one Robin, 11 Wheatears, two Song Thrushes, 13 Blackcaps, nine Chiffchaffs, 29 Willow Warblers, three Goldcrests, three Chaffinches, one Greenfinch, seven Siskins, 17 Goldfinches, 25 Linnets and one Lesser Redpoll.

Ringing totals: Willow Warbler 23, Chiffchaff 6, Goldcrest 1, Blackcap 13, Goldfinch 2, Siskin 1, Lesser Redpoll 1