Saturday 18 May 2024

After a sunny start first thing, thick fog smothered the island for the rest of the day, with strong northerly winds blowing the vapour across creating very atmospheric scenes. 

Although this made birding at any distance tricky, the fog did result in a good variety of waders on Solfach. Ten Ringed Plovers shared the beach with two Sanderlings, three Whimbrels, ten Turnstones, a peak count of 33 Dunlins, and the highlight was a partial breeding-plumage Grey Plover. The Wetlands also saw a new kid on the block in the form of an immature male Sparrowhawk

Grey Plover © Ed Betteridge
Dunlins and Sanderlings on Solfach © Ed Betteridge

There was a small arrival of Wheatears on the South End bolstering numbers among the breeding pairs, with a total of 11 birds seen there. Following the excitement of the day before, other migrant passerine totals were back down to just three Sedge Warblers, three Whitethroats, three Chiffchaffs, two Willow Warblers, as well as a Blackcap and a Spotted Flycatcher which were both ringed at Cristin. There were also a few finches around, with a Goldfinch, a Siskin and two Lesser Redpolls around the garden at Cristin. 
Spotted Flycatcher © Ed Betteridge
In other news, the Raven family were seen on Solfach, with both fledglings gaining confidence in the sky with each day! The Manx Shearwater productivity monitoring is also well underway with many of the study burrows across the island already occupied with adults on eggs. As the first eggs were found on the 4th May, we are anticipating the first chicks to hatch around mid June. 

Manx Shearwater egg being incubated, seen with the endoscope © Kate Fox

Carrion Crow nest © Ed Betteridge

The first Early Marsh Orchid of the year in the fog © Ed Betteridge

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