Sunday, 17 August 2014

With the wind picking up most of the attention has been directed out at sea. So far only one Balearic Shearwater has graced our shores (13th) though several thousand Manxies pass by daily. High counts of waders on the Narrows include 7 Ringed Plover, 5 Whimbrel, 60 Curlew, 36 Turnstone, 3 Common Sandpiper, and 3 Green Sandpiper (14th). Inland, highlights include a flyover Tree Pipit (15th), Garden Warbler (16th), and the first Merlin of the autumn (16th). In cetacean news a showy pod of 8 Risso's Dolphins, including 1 calf, dropped into Henllwyn (16th).

Migrant warblers are still passing through the island and it can't be long before the first Hippolais species appear.

The seabird breeding season is coming to an end with the auk species long gone. A few Kittiwakes still remain but mostly just Fulmar left on the cliffs.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Despite the breezy conditions, it felt quite pleasant in the bright sunshine during the day. With virtually no new passerine migrants inland, the Citrine Wagtail was the star of the show, which continued to feed on the lilly pads of the pond near Ty Pellaf Reed Bed. It gave some great views, feeding alongisde Linnets, Goldfinches and Meadow Pipits, as they came and went for a supply of water.

In other news, four Ringed Plovers, six Purple Sandpipers, 10 Dunlins, 38 Whimbrels, 51 Curlews, six Redshanks and 27 Turnstones represented the day's wader counts. Out to sea, a little over 1000 Manx Shearwaters passed by, along with nine Common Scoters, 15 Fulmars and 62 Gannets.

The Citrine Wagtail appears to be quite at home feeding on the various ponds in the Ty Pellaf wetlands. It is particularly fond of the pond opposite Ty Pellaf, where it spent most of the day feeding on aquatic invertebrates amongst the lilly pads
Meadow Pipit
This Oak Hook-tip was trapped at Nant overnight, which is the 17th new macro moth species for Bardsey this year 
Epinotia nisella

Sunday, 10 August 2014

The 9th saw the south-westerly winds gradually picking up during the day, and so it turned out that few birds were seen passing at sea, and there were hardly any new arrivals inland. A Great Spotted Woodpecker in Cristin garden was perhaps the most unusual sighting of the day, and the juvenile Citrine Wagtail gave fleeting appearances throughout the day. A single Swift out to sea was accompanied by some 3500 Manx Shearwaters in the fading light of the evening.

The weather on the 10th was something of an anticlimax- contrary to the expectations of gale force westerlies and the accompanied hordes of Manx, Sooty and Balearic Shearwaters, light south-easterly winds to start the day increased to just 20mph north-westerlies by mid-afternoon. Several thousand Manx Shearwaters did start moving in the late afternoon, but precious little else was amongst them- most attention during the day was turned to finding the Citrine Wagtail, and trying to introduce this week's visitors to this stunning visitor. In other news, a juvenile female Sparrowhawk was trapped in the observatory Heligoland trap mid-morning; and an agglomeration of waders around the coast included nine Ringed Plovers, eight Purple Sandpipers, two Whimbrels, 31 Curlews, seven Redshanks, a Common Sandpiper and 26 Turnstones.

This very smart female Sparrowhawk found its way into the Heligoland trap at Cristin mid-morning
Although very mobile and difficult to see on the 9th, the Citrine Wagtail settled down somewhat on the 10th, and gave some pleasing views on the ponds in the wetlands 
The first two Gold Spots of the year were trapped in two different locations overnight on the 9th, adding yet another species to this year's record lepidoptera list
The first Brown-veined Wainscot of the year was also trapped, in the form of this female near Ty Pellaf Reed Bed 

Friday, 8 August 2014

It was the best day of Autumn 2014 so far today, with clear skies and calm south-easterly winds provoking a good amount of visible migration, as well as the arrival of a smart rarity. First up in the early morning was a Green Sandpiper, which was flushed from the muddy scrape at the edge of Pwll Pellaf. At about 0710, a bird dropped into Cafn giving out the now familiar buzzy call that is characteristic of Citrine Wagtails. A brief search of the shoreline revealed nothing but a male Pied Wagtail, but then another bird popped up, and sure enough it was a smart juvenile Citrine Wagtail. This is only Bardsey's third ever record, but is the second so far this year! After disappearing for most of the morning, the wagtail settled down onto a couple of the ponds, and then favoured Pwll Cain towards the end of the day. In a certain de ja vu situation, the Citrine Wagtail spent the rest of the day happily feeding atop the lilly pads on Pwll Cain, in the exact same place as the May female did on its second day.

In other news, a steady movement of birds southward over the West Side and South End in the morning comprised 348 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, two Mediterranean Gulls, two Sand Martins, 374 Swallows and 188 House Martins. Passerine migrants on the island were centred primarily on the coastline, with relatively few warblers flitting around in the withies or gardens (just six Willow Warblers were seen). Wheatears saw a resurgence in numbers, with 54 recorded, whilst two White Wagtails were amongst small flocks of Pied Wagtails and Meadow Pipits. Two Reed Warblers were seen in the Reed Bed and Cristin respectively, and singles of Spotted Flycatcher and Grasshopper Warbler were also noted.

Bardsey's third Citrine Wagtail, and the second (so far...) this year

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Persistent rain showers overnight to the 6th ensured that there were virtually no new migrants in- a single Swift overhead and a gathering of five Whimbrels, two Common Sandpipers, nine Turnstones and two Ringed Plovers was noted around The Narrows. After almost two month's of absence, a Sparrowhawk finally made an appearance on the island, in the form of a young female. It must have had the impression of arriving in heaven, since hundreds of unwary and unsuspecting young Linnets, Meadow Pipits and Swallows present a rather easy meal.

The 7th was a more eventful day, with a trickle of migrants highlighted by about 50 Willow Warblers, 10 Sedge Warblers and two Spotted Flycatchers. In the bright sunshine and low winds, flocks of hirundines gathered above the trackside in noisy flocks, which included 55 Swallows, 48 House Martins and three Sand Martins. Two Snipe were seen on one of the ponds, feeding rather openly on the muddy edge

This Snipe was one of two which spent much of the day feeding at the edge of 'Pwll Pellaf'. This is seldom seen on Bardsey, with a more standard view of this gallinago being a bird darting out of dense cover upon flushing, and speeding away like a bullet from a gun. It was therefore a nice change to watch this secretive species feeding so openly
Square Spot Darts, a Nationally Scarce species, have just started turning up in the moth traps recently. Numbers have reached as high as 60 a day when traps were set on the mountain top in early September 2010
Yellow-tails are a common moth attracted to the moth traps at the moment- the caterpillar of this species is pictured below an adult

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

In terms of weather, the 4th and 5th were very much a mixed couple of days. Very calm conditions on the 4th saw high temperatures and clear skies encouraging a light arrival of migrants on the island. In contrast, the 5th was a much breezier day, with torrential downpours in the morning giving rise to slightly more pleasant conditions in the afternoon.

On the 4th, a juvenile Mediterranean Gull and 22 Sandwich Terns were seen around The Narrows at high tide, whilst three Sand Martins and a Grey Wagtail flew overhead. Inland, a total of seven Whitethroats, 12 Sedge Warblers and 35 Willow Warblers comprised mostly of new migrants.
A small selection of waders gathered around The Narrows at high tide on the 5th, which included four Ringed Plovers, three Dunlins, seven Whimbrels, three Common Sandpipers and 12 Turnstones.

Juvenile Wrens are virtually all over the island at the moment, with second broods having emerged in the last week or so. Daily counts have ranged between 30 and 60 for the last few days, although the real figure is probable well over 100 
After a fantastic breeding season on the island, Northern Wheatears are also all over the coast at the moment. Some of the fledglings are looking very smart after completing their post juvenile moult, and are now ready for their long journey to their wintering grounds 
Juvenile Oystercatchers
Twenty Plume Moth 
Mullein Wave 
Least Yellow Underwing