Friday, 14 May 2021

With calm winds forecast both Sam and Stuart were up early to open mist nets. An early morning rain and slow morning instead encouraged them to head out to complete census. A female Pied Flycatcher was ringed at Nant by visiting ringer Steve Hughes. A few Chiffchaffs and a female Linnet were ringed in the Observatory garden.

The assistant warden team planned to visit the Chough nests at the South End and West Coast in the late morning, however this was slightly delayed by the presence of a stunning Woodchat Shrike below the Observatory. It was found shortly before by Steve Hughes and provided good views for all that saw it. 

Woodchat Shrike

After calming themselves down Sam, Stuart and Megan continued to the South End to get to the nest site there. On the West Coast, Stuart used his climbing experience to set up a safety rope and was able to reach this usually hard to reach site.  

It is a good year so far with four large and healthy looking chicks (or pullus) in both nests. Each pulli is fitted with a metal BTO ring as well as an individual colour ring combination for example grey over metal on the left leg and black over red on the right leg. The colour ringing scheme is used across North Wales and increases the understanding of the population dynamics and movement of these rare breeding birds. With seven pairs breeding on Bardsey this year it is expected that the three other accessible nests will be ringed.

Sam ringing a Chough chick

The Woodchat Shrike was still present when returning from the West Coast and its presence was made clear by the Common Carder Bee skewered on some barbed wire. This classic shrike behaviour is used to store food when too much is caught. Whilst migrating it is thought to be more instinctive than necessary unless it plans to stick around for the next week!

Common Carder Bee impaled on barbed wire by the Woodchat Shrike

Birds today: five Gannets, nine Ringed Plovers, 10 Purple Sandpipers, two Dunlins, 10 Whimbrels, six Curlews, 12 Turnstones, one Skylark, three Sand Martins, 56 Swallows, 26 House Martins, four Sedge Warblers, three Whitethroats, three Blackcaps, 12 Chiffchaffs, one Willow Warbler, one Pied Flycatcher, one Woodchat Shrike, 23 Siskins, 12 Goldfinches, two Lesser Redpolls

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