Thursday, 26 May 2022

A windy start called for a hopeful seawatch which unfortuanly produced only a few Gannets inamgonst 100's of Manx Shearwaters. The day was spent mainly catching up on odd jobs and data entry.

Manx Shearwater  © Ed Betteridge

The day ended with another successful Manx Shearwaters walk to Nant with twelve new birds being ringed. 

Strimmer fixing © Ollie King

Other birds logged included: Collared dove, eight House Martins, a Chiffchaff, two Willow Warblers and seven Spotted Flycatchers. 

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Another quiet day of birding on the Island as strong westerlies continued to blow. The avian highlights were five Spotted Flycatchers and a Collared Dove seen at Cristin. In the Wetlands, the migrant moth Rush Veneer was sighted, which was new for the year. 

Stonechat © Ed Betteridge

Most the afternoon was spent carrying out more work on both Manx Shearwater productivity and population census projects.  

Nant in the evening © Ollie King

Other migrants seen today were 11 Swallows, two House Martins, four Willow Warblers, two Chiffchaffs, five Whitethroats, and two Feral Pigeons

Kittiwake with nesting material © Ed Betteridge

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

A calmer day saw a mobile Whinchat first seen in the Lowlands before being seen to the south of Cristin. Alongside this, four Spotted Flycatchers remained across the Island. 

Whinchat © Ed Betteridge

The afternoon was spent visiting a Chough nest on the East Side where 4 chicks were colour ringed. Alongside this an adult Kittiwake, an adult Guillemot, 10 adult and four pullus Razorbills where ringed. The breeding season is in full swing with many young Razorbill and Guillemots noted as well as the first Kittiwake eggs. 

Chough chicks © Ed Betteridge 

Kittiwake adult © Ollie King

Razorbill chick © Ed Betteridge

Other birds seen today included a Grey Heron, a Collared Dove, three Feral Pigeon. two Sand Martins, 17 Swallows, 2 House Martins, eight Wheatears, eight Sedge Warblers, two Whitethroats, two Chiffchaffs, three Willow Warblers and two Siskins.

Monday, 23 May 2022

Westerlies made for little new arrival to the Island today, however some birds made their way over despite the winds. A male Redstart heard singing at Nant was the avian highlight of the day (below is a short snippet of the song recorded with some Willow Warbler at the end!), as well as two Rooks that flew high over Cristin. 

The afternoon was spent continuing work on the Manx Shearwater census, giving us more good views of the seabird colonies round the East Side. Later on, Steve and Emma arrived back at the Island along with Joel, our new volunteer who's helping out with the census work. Welcome Joel!

Sedge Warbler © Ollie King

Other bird highlights of the day were a Buzzard, four Spotted Flycatchers, three Willow Warblers, three Chiffchaffs, three Whitethroats, nine Sedge Warblers, two Sand Martins, 36 Swallows, and seven House Martins

Rush Veneer © Ed Betteridge

Swallows on the wire © Ollie King

Sunday, 22 May 2022

Fog, drizzle and strong south-westerlies resulted in little turnover from yesterday; even with the weather brightening up late afternoon. Three Spotted Flycatchers were still at Nant and a Ringed Plover was on Solfach. At Cristin a new female Blackcap and male Whitethroat was caught in the Heligoland.

Shag © Ed Betteridge

One of at least two Great Black-backed Gull nests on the Island © Ed Betteridge

Other birds seen today included a Whimbrel, seven Wheatears, eight Sedge Warblers, two Willow Warblers and a Chiffchaff.

Saturday, 21 May 2022

Today was another quiet one for birding, with overcast skies that cleared in the afternoon. The highlights were a Kestrel that hovered over the mountain above Cristin, a Collared Dove in the Cristin Withy, and five Siskins throughout the day. Other bird totals were six Spotted Flycatchers, five Sedge Warblers, two Whitethroats, three Willow Warblers, two Chiffchaffs, two Sand Martins, 39 Swallows and five House Martins

Spotted Flycatcher © Ollie King

 Willow Warbler singing at Nant © Ollie King

The Manx Shearwater census kicked off today, completing the first square of the season! The census will show us the current population size of the colony on the Island, and this year we are carrying it out on the southern half of the East Side. We count all burrows present within a 100m square, and record whether there is any response to song playback.

View of Solfach  © Ollie King

Friday, 20 May 2022

 A bit of a quiet day bird wise on the Island with the only real birds of note being five Spotted Flycatchers all of which were at Nant. Also at Nant was the second Common Blue butterfly of the year.

Spotted Flycatcher © Ed Betteridge

Other birds today included: a Whimbrel, a Feral Pigeon, 25 Swallows, eight House Martins, six Wheatears, five Sedge Warblers, six Whitethroats, a Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaffs and 5 Willow Warblers. 

Gannet © Ed Betteridge

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Shifting winds and clear skies made for a small turnover in avian life on the Island. A Whinchat was spotted in the Wetlands during one of the Breeding Bird Surveys in the morning, which was new for the year and brought the Island's total to 117. A Reed Warbler was heard delivering its steady, rhythmic song from Cristin Withy, and a Siskin flew over Pen Cristin.

Whinchat © Ollie King

Purple Sandpiper © Ollie King

The afternoon was spent working further on the Chough monitoring and the Manx Shearwater productivity projects at the North End of the island. 

Manx Shearwater with its egg. An endoscope is used as part of the productivity project © Ollie King 
Puffin © Ed Betteridge

Other bird highlights for the day were a Black-headed Gull, a Common Gull, six Sand Martins, 60 Swallows, 18 House Martins, nine Whitethroats, three Spotted Flycatchers, six Willow Warblers, four Chiffchaffs, and a White Wagtail still at Solfach. 

Common Gull © Ed Betteridge

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

A quieter day bird wise on the Island; with the afternoon spent strimming and mowing around Cristin. Birds of note included a Garden Warbler still at Nant, three Whimbrels and a Collared Dove at Plas.

Stonechat © Ed Betteridge
Juvenile Robin © Ed Betteridge

Other birds today included a Ringed Plover, two Purple Sandpipers, a Curlew, a Feral Pigeon, a Swift, five Sand Martins, 25 House Martins, 118 Swallows, 13 Wheatears, two Chiffchaffs and a Willow Warbler.

Southern Marsh Orchid © Ed Betteridge

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Rain delayed any birding for most of the day whilst strong south-westerlies kept blowing through. However, later in the afternoon the winds calmed and the rain stopped resulting in a small fall of birds. As Ollie had just reached Nant, a Golden Oriole was seen flying south towards Cristin, which Ed then picked up as it dropped into the Withies! A Cuckoo was also found as we tried to re-find the oriole, and the Firecrest was heard singing again the plantation.

Golden Oriole © Ed Betteridge

Golden Oriole and Cuckoo © Ollie King

Other bird highlights for the day were 25 Spotted Flycatchers, four Whimbrels, a Curlew, a Common Sandpiper, 11 Turnstones, 12 Purple Sandpipers, 11 Dunlins, 40 Swallows, seven House Martins, a White Wagtail, 10 Willow Warblers, three Chiffchaffs, five Whitethroats and six Sedge Warblers

Firecrest © Ollie King

Monday, 16 May 2022

A good arrival of birds across the Island saw a total of 91 Spotted Flycatchers being recorded alongside a singing Firecrest and a Tree Pipit at Nant, a Hobby along the West Coast and a Redstart above the Abbey. An increase in waders saw 22 Dunlins, seven Ringed Plovers, a Curlew, two Whimbrels, 12 Turnstones, three Purple Sandpipers and two Common Sandpipers being logged.

Firecrest © Ed Betteridge 

Redstart © Ed Betteridge 

The highlight of the day however, went to a Striped Hawk-Moth found in the North End Gorse by Ollie who was able to catch it and bring it back to the Observatory in his hat! This represented the first record for the Island! Other migrant Lepidoptera today included the first Painted Lady, Silver Y and Diamond-Backed moth of the year.

Striped Hawk-Moth © Ed Betteridge 

Striped Hawk-Moth © Ed Betteridge 

Other birds recorded today included 20 House Martins, a Goldcrest, five Chiffchaffs, ten Willow Warblers, 19 Whitethroats, a Blackcap, a Garden Warbler, 22 Sedge Warblers, 11 Wheatears and a White Wagtail.

Mallard with ducklings © Ed Betteridge 

Sunday, 15 May 2022

A drop in wind speeds and a swing to easterlies made for a small arrival of a range of species. The highlight of the day was a male Hobby that flew low over the water across Henllwyn, and was constantly mobbed by Oystercatchers! Wader number increased to 10 Ringed Plovers, eight Dunlins, two Curlews, six Whimbrels and two Turnstones. Corvids also made their way over to the island with three Jackdaws and three Rooks recorded. Hirundines were also still moving through with 45 House Martins, 62 Swallows and six Sand Martins being logged.

Hobby © Ed Betteridge
Other migrant highlights were nine Spotted Flycatchers, nine Sedge Warblers, three Whitethroats, five Lesser Redpolls, and a White Wagtail
Spotted Flycatcher © Ollie King

Most of the afternoon was spent working on the Manx Shearwater census and productivity projects, as we mapped out survey squares on the East Side, and searched for more occupied burrows with eggs. Whilst we were round there, the first Green Tiger Beetle of the year was seen, as well as a Small Copper.

Manx Shearwater productivity post © Ed Betteridge

Green Tiger Beetle © Ollie King

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Today was the Global Big Day so Obs staff decided to try to see how many species could be seen (alongside changeover and chough monitoring on the East Side!). A total of 51 species where managed with the stand out highlight being a ringtail Hen Harrier distantly off the East Side! Today also saw an arrival of Spotted Flycatchers with 13 across the Island alongside two Sandwich Terns along the West Coast and the Garden Warbler still at Nant. 

Hen Harrier © Ed Betteridge

Spotted Flycatcher © Ed Betteridge

A trip around the East Side of the Island saw yet more activity in the seabird colonies with many Kittiwakes nest building, more Shags hatching, newly fledged Rock Pipits and the first Herring Gull chicks of the season. 

Herring Gull chicks © Ed Betteridge

Other birds seen today included a Curlew, two Whimbrels, eight Purple Sandpipers, a Turnstone, a Dunlin, a Ringed Plover, 30 Puffins, a Feral Pigeon, two Collared Doves, three Sand Martins, six House Martins, 20 Swallows, 14 Wheatears, a Song Thrush, five Whitethroats, four Blackcaps, six Willow Warblers and two Chiffchaffs.

Feeding frenzy off the East Side © Ed Betteridge

Friday, 13 May 2022

Another day of breezy south-westerlies produced little species turnover, which made for a quiet day's birding. It was fairly slim pickings in terms of highlights today, however some small hirundine passage was noted with 52 Swallows and six House Martins.  

Wren nest building © Ollie King

Other species seen were three Whimbrels, a White Wagtail, a Grey Heron, four Sedge Warblers, four Whitethroats, and singles of Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Spotted Flycatcher

Soggy Chough! © Ollie King

A short sea-watch from the South End hide resulted in 500 Manx Shearwaters feeding in a large flock offshore, five Gannets, two Fulmars, a Whimbrel, and 20 of both Razorbill and Guillemot. The strong winds made for some great views of all the seabirds, as some cut across the land right infront of the hide!

At Cristin, the vegetable garden out the front had a bit of a makeover with a good amount of weeding. It's now planted out with various vegetable seeds in the ground, so we're hoping for a good crop! 

Thrift at the South End © Fiona Bithell

Thursday, 12 May 2022

A breezy day with strong south-westerly winds resulted in little arrival; a Spotted Flycatcher and Garden Warbler were at Nant and a the first Curlew in a while went along the West Side.

Purple Sandpiper © Ed Betteridge
Many Oystercatchers are now breeding across the Island and time was spent finding many of their nests around the West Coast gorse. 

Oystercatcher nest © Ed Betteridge

Other birds included two Whimbrels, two Purple Sandpipers, two Swifts, Collared Dove, three Chiffchaffs, four Willow Warblers, two Blackcaps, five Whitethroats, six Sedge Warblers, 14 Wheatears, 52 Swallows, four Sand Martins and a White Wagtail.

A 'bird's eye' view of Bardsey © Andy Purcell

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Continuing south-westerlies accompanied a reasonable passage of Hirundines today, with 169 Swallows, 4 Sand Martin, nine House Martins and 12 Swifts. A new addition to the Island's year list was sighted, which came in the form of a Bar-tailed Godwit, bringing the total up to 115. The Blue-headed Wagtail was seen again at the North-west Fields, and two Hooded Crows flew across the West Coast. 

Bar-tailed Godwit © Ed Betteridge 

Other migrant totals were nine Whitethroats, seven Sedge Warblers, two Common Sandpipers, three Whimbrels, six Chiffchaffs, two Willow Warblers and a Siskin

The work on the mesh and the steps for the Heligoland trap was finished today - the lads have done a fantastic job! Many thanks to the Sandwell crew.

Steps in progress © Fiona Bithell

The finished product! Many thanks to John, Mick and Ross (L to R), and to Andy for organising everything © Fiona Bithell 

Work for the Manx Shearwater productivity project began in the afternoon, which aims to show the number of successful pairs. Further Chough monitoring work was also done at the South End.

A peaking sun behind the Mountain © Ollie King