Thursday, 5 May 2016

A male Blue-headed Wagtail seen on The Narrows was the pick of the bunch on a particularly lovely day. Though starting off a little windy, the breeze quickly dissipated and by lunchtime the islanders revelled in fine spring weather.

Rather smart Male Blue-headed Wagtail
Hirundine passage was notable with one Swift, nine Sand Martins, 195 Swallows, and 29 House Martins heading mostly northwards over the course of the day. The biggest talking point though was Blackcaps with a minimum of 103 on the island today. Further migrants inland include 14 Sedge Warblers, four Whitethroats, 13 Chiffchaffs, seven Willow Warblers, five Goldcrests, five Spotted Flycatchers, and 24 Wheatears. A Kestrel was new in, as were the 11 Purple Sandpipers, two Dunlins, and one Sanderling seen on The Narrows, with 30 Whimbrel on the South End. More flyovers recorded include one Rook, 14 Siskins, 14 Goldfinches, and nine Lesser Redpolls.

 Still lots of Whimbrels passing through

 and lots of Wheatears
One of the many Blackcaps ringed whilst passing through the island today

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Once again a rather pleasant day as stunning sunshine fought with a rather fresh breeze from the south. New migrants could be found scattered across the island with four Spotted Flycatchers and two flyover Tree Pipits the highlights.

Spotted Flycatcher
Warblers increased inland, particularly Blackcaps with 34 seen, as well as four Sedge Warblers, two Whitethroats, three Chiffchaffs, 13 Willow Warblers, and three Goldcrests. The Hooded Crow was seen touring the island though suspicions seem to suggest more than one bird may be involved. Overhead finch passage totalled one Siskin, 45 Goldfinches, 129 Linnets, and four Lesser Redpolls whilst 23 Common Scoters were seen at sea. A flock of 16 Purple Sandpipers were on The Narrows with two Common Sandpipers, the first Skylark in weeks flew over, and 27 Wheatears were around the coastline.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Though the wind was still a little fresh, the sun beamed down all day, and it seemed to be a little livelier bird-wise too. A few new additions to the year include a nice male Whinchat at Traeth Ffynnon and a Spotted Flycatcher at Ty Nesaf. A female Pied Flycatcher put in a brief appearance on the Mountainside opposite Plas.

An arrival of warblers included one Grasshopper Warbler, three Sedge Warblers, 19 Blackcaps, ten Chiffchaffs, 44 Willow Warblers, and three Goldcrests whilst a bit of corvid passage consisted of one Jackdaw, two Rooks, and one Hooded Crow.

A Common Sandpiper was new in whilst one Swift, three Sand Martins, 40 Swallows, four House Martins, one White Wagtail, nine Wheatears, one Song Thrush, one Siskin, and 43 Goldfinches were also recorded.

Male Whinchat

Monday, 2 May 2016

The first Merlin for a few weeks zipped over The Narrows which also held three Ringed Plovers, one Bar-tailed Godwit, 32 Whimbrels, nine Turnstones, and two Sandwich Terns. Overhead passage of two Swifts, 66 Swallows, one House Martin, 71 Goldfinches, and one Lesser Redpoll was recorded whilst one White Wagtail, 27 Wheatears, two Grasshopper Warblers, six Blackcaps, six Chiffchaffs, 18 Willow Warblers, and three Goldcrests were seen inland.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

A particularly grim introduction to May as rain hammered down from dawn until late afternoon where upon it was replaced by thick fog. Needless-to-say censusing migrants wasn’t the most productive. Totals for the day amount to five Red-throated Divers, one Dunlin, 21 Whimbrels, one Common Sandpiper, 12 Turnstones, two Swifts, 18 Swallows, eight Wheatears, one Grasshopper Warbler, two Chiffchaffs, 11 Willow Warblers, two Goldcrests.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

The wind dropped somewhat though still far from being flat calm. This seemed to be an incentive for a few migrants to drop in on route northwards. A pair of Canada Geese were not the migrants we were expecting though. The two seen on The Narrows becoming the second record this year following the flock of three seen just over 2 weeks ago.

A new arrival of warblers overnight totalled one Grasshopper Warbler, two Sedge Warblers, seven Blackcaps, 47 Willow Warblers, and four Goldcrests. The Sanderlings on The Narrows increased to three today with also three Ringed Plovers, one Bar-tailed Godwit, 30 Whimbrels, four Common Sandpipers, and nine Turnstones present. A Cuckoo was heard on the West Coast with other migrant counts totalling one Sand Martin, 35 Swallows, 21 Wheatears, two Siskins, ten Goldfinches, and one Lesser Redpoll.
Willow Warbler
Grasshopper Warbler

Friday, 29 April 2016

Another windy and cold morning though parting into a lovely calm afternoon of sun. Highlights of the day include the first Swift of the year heading over the Withies and the Little Egret remaining on The Narrows. The year’s first two Sanderlings were seen on Solfach with four Ringed Plovers, two Dunlins, 21 Whimbrels, one Curlew, one Redshank, and 12 Turnstones nearby.

A solitary Sandwich Tern was the best sighting at sea where 13 Fulmars, 19 Gannets, and three Common Scoters were also recorded. Counts from the rest of the island include three Swallows, two White Wagtails, 29 Wheatears, six Blackcaps, five Chiffchaffs, 14 Willow Warblers, two Goldcrests, and eight Goldfinches.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Severe gales, heavy rainstorms, and a few birds too. What else would you expect from Bardsey? The somewhat harsh weather conditions seemed to work wonders in downing a few migrants; generally increasingly throughout the day. A Little Egret flying around The Narrows in the morning was a surprise and hopefully the start of many records this year. Nearby a Flava’ Wagtail flew over, whilst also on The Narrows were four Ringed Plovers, six Purple Sandpipers, one Snipe, one Bar-tailed Godwit, 26 Whimbrels, one Curlew, 27 Turnstones, one Black-headed Gull, and two White Wagtails.

Some nine Red-throated Divers (plus two other distant Diver sp) were seen moving off the North End with further sea-watching producing two Sandwich Terns, 110 Guillemots, 91 Razorbills, one Puffin, and 79 Manx Shearwaters.

A very good selection of migrants were over and under the bushes today with one Ring Ouzel, one Cuckoo, one Grasshopper Warbler, one Sedge Warbler, one Whitethroat, 21 Blackcaps, 13 Chiffchaffs, 71 Willow Warblers, five Goldcrests, two Buzzards, one Collared Dove, one Sand Martin, four Swallows, 25 Wheatears, two Rooks, three Siskins, 56 Goldfinches, and seven Lesser Redpolls recorded.

Lackey moth caterpillars have recently emerged on the island, and have been constructing their silken tents and devouring the fresh leaves of Damson bushes and Blackthorn

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

It may be almost May but winter struck a firm parting blow today as the island experienced a series of punishing hailstorms. Freezing temperatures and harsh winds all morning gave way to the warm sun of the afternoon, and by the evening, all was calm.

A/the Hooded Crow put in another appearance on the South End whilst a Common Redpoll dropped in briefly at Ty Nesaf. Further finch passage saw one Siskin, 46 Goldfinches, and six Lesser Redpolls around the island.

Similar (but excellent) numbers of waders were still present as four Ringed Plovers, 22 Purple Sandpipers, four Dunlins, one Bar-tailed Godwit, 36 Whimbrels, one Curlew, one Redshank, and 13 Turnstones were seen. The Ring Ouzel in Traeth Ffynnon was still the highlight passerine-wise in a day that recorded five Swallows, five White Wagtails, 19 Wheatears, one Sedge Warbler, one Whitethroat, four Blackcaps, six Chiffchaffs, ten Willow Warblers, and five Goldcrests. Minor seabird movement was highlighted by five Common Scoters and one Puffin.

the conditions have been quite atmospheric recently, with dramatic hail showers blowing through with the biting northerly wind

a white South End!! Almost as rare as a Cretzschmar's Bunting on Bardsey

Whimbrel in the snow


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The blustery conditions dominated the day hampering any spring movement through the island. Once again most action seemed to be wader-centric as four Ringed Plovers, seven Dunlins, two Snipes, one Bar-tailed Godwit, 27 Whimbrels, one Curlew, one Redshank, one Common Sandpiper, and 11 Turnstones were logged.

Four Whimbrels have been caught in recent nights on The Narrows. Each bird has been fitted with unique coloured rings in our ongoing project to understand their wintering areas. Keep an eye out for them on an estuary near you!

The female Ring Ouzel remained in Traeth Ffynnon with four Swallows, four White Wagtails, 30 Wheatears, one Sedge Warbler, four Blackcaps, four Chiffchaffs, six Willow Warblers, six Goldcrests, and 11 Goldfinches also seen. Sea-watching provided counts of 21 Fulmars, 256 Manx Shearwaters, and 24 Kittiwakes whizzing by over choppy seas.

Monday, 25 April 2016

The wind picked up markedly overnight from the North-west meaning the day was a little on the chilly side. Attempts at sea-watching discovered the first Great Northern Diver for a few weeks and also eight Fulmars, 137 Manx Shearwaters, and three Common Scoters.

The Narrows at high tide was productive highlighted by the loitering Bar-tailed Godwit, 21 Purple Sandpipers, four Ringed Plovers, three Dunlins, one Curlew, one Redshank, and 13 Turnstones with a new Snipe flushed from the Lowlands. Elsewhere the female Ring Ouzel was still to be found in Traeth Ffynnon whilst six Swallows, seven House Martins, 13 Wheatears, two Whitethroats, 11 Blackcaps, five Chiffchaffs, 34 Willow Warblers, six Goldcrests, and 26 Goldfinches were recorded.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

A much fresher day than of late with a brisk wind at times, though still largely pleasant and dry. In a day with a few surprises around none was more tantalising than that of a large Falcon flushed from the South End in the morning before lost to view flying quickly around Pen Cristin. The bird seemed to exhibit features of a grey morph Gyrfalcon but views were inconclusive and too brief. Despite thorough searching it was unable to be relocated.

A female Cuckoo spotted in the Wetlands was the first to be recorded this year and a Hooded Crow toured The Narrows and South End. At least three Ring Ouzels still lurk on the island continuing the fine run of late whilst two Firecrests were logged.

The lingering Bar-tailed Godwit continues to be the highlight wader-wise though there was decent backup of four Ringed Plovers, eight Purple Sandpipers, four Dunlins, 27 Whimbrels, one Curlew, one Redshank, and 11 Turnstones. The best of the rest include three Sand Martins, 37 Swallows, five House Martins, three White Wagtails, 38 Wheatears, one Grasshopper Warbler, four Whitethroats, 12 Blackcaps, eight Chiffchaffs, 30 Willow Warblers, nine Goldcrests, seven Siskins, 26 Goldfinches, three Lesser Redpolls, 140 Linnets, and five Common Scoters.

The year's first Cuckoo was this smart female seen in the wetlands, although I doubt whether the local Meadow Pipits gave it a chance to sneak an egg into anyone's nest

A Gorse Shieldbug (Piezodorus lituratus) and its peculiar-looking eggs

Saturday, 23 April 2016

It looks like today was our last glorious day for a while, with fierce North-westerlies setting in overnight. The weather was stunning and the birds complied too. A total of three Ring Ouzels were still lurking in the gorse whilst some excellent wader tallies add to four Ringed Plovers, one Bar-tailed Godwit, 35 Whimbrels, one Curlew, and 12 Turnstones.

Noticeable movement above concerned eight Sand Martins, 204 Swallows, and 13 House Martins and warbler passage amounted to one Grasshopper Warbler, two Whitethroats, 22 Blackcaps, 13 Chiffchaffs, 30 Willow Warblers, and 11 Goldcrests. A single Song Thrush was new in with other interesting migrants noted including four Siskins, ten Goldfinches, 126 Linnets, ten Lesser Redpolls, one Collared Dove, three White Wagtails, and 42 Wheatears.
Grasshopper warbler
Mark and Staffan showing visitors Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler

Friday, 22 April 2016

Today was very similar to recent days though slight cloud cover seemed keep the temperature nice and cool. It also seemed to encourage a decent movement of warblers again as two Grasshopper Warblers, two Lesser Whitethroats, two Whitethroats, 25 Blackcaps, 23 Chiffchaffs, 97 Willow Warblers, ten Goldcrests, and one Firecrest were logged. Yesterday’s Siberian Chiffchaff put in an appearance at Ty Pellaf Withy whilst perhaps the most interesting sightings of the day went to a rare spring record of Treecreeper seen briefly at Cristin. The Great Spotted Woodpecker also remained another day being seen at Nant and the Withies.

Singles of Ring Ouzel were at Traeth Ffynnon and Nant whilst another probable Common Redpoll was trapped at Cristin, in finch movement that consisted of four Siskins, 31 Goldfinch, and ten Lesser Redpolls. A flock of 22 Common Scoters flew past out at sea and counts of waders on The Narrows and South End totalled three Ringed Plovers, 14 Purple Sandpipers, one Dunlin, one Bar-tailed Godwit, 18 Whimbrels, one Curlew, two Redshanks, and two Turnstones. Also seen today were seven Sand Martins, 55 Swallows, five White Wagtails, 36 Wheatears, and a solitary Rook.

Ring Ouzel at Nant

Thursday, 21 April 2016

The island continues to be a veritable mecca for passing migrants with excellent variety seen again. A Siberian Chiffchaff caught in the mist-nets at Cristin was a fantastic start to the day and not soon after a female Great Spotted Woodpecker followed it in too. A flava’ Wagtail flew north over Cristin whilst ringing and a flock of three Ring Ouzels sat up on the Mountainside watching all taking place.

An interesting selection of waders on The Narrows and South End comprised three Ringed Plovers, three Purple Sandpipers, two Dunlins, 22 Whimbrels, one Curlew, one Redshank, two Common Sandpipers, 12 Turnstones, and the first Bar-tailed Godwit of the year.

A female Crossbill was watched feeding on pinecones at Ty Nesaf with further finch passage including 18 Siskins, 39 Goldfinches, and a decent count of 36 Lesser Redpolls (including one possible Common Redpoll). Warblers dominate the bushes as 34 Blackcaps, 23 Chiffchaffs, 57 Willow Warblers, and nine Goldcrests were logged. The year’s first Lesser Whitethroat and Whitethroat were seen together at Nant Withy with a Firecrest not too far away.

As if the above wasn’t enough a female Redstart flitted around Plas Withy, five White Wagtails fed on The Narrows, 38 Wheatears were around the coastline, and two Collared Doves were seen. Overhead passage of hirundines consisted of 27 Sand Martins, 51 Swallows, five House Martins, whilst two Jackdaws and one Rook flew over too.

there have been good numbers of Wheatears around the coast in recent days, with the first significant numbers of greenland-race birds moving through too

Grey Seals in Henllwyn 

An Eristalis intricaria on the pussy willows at Nant

Some of the impressive variation in Willow Warblers seen at the moment. We have trapped and ringed close to 100 in the last two days

Siberian Chiffchaff

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Once again a superb day on our little Welsh Island as the birdlife and weather seemed to reach their year's zenith so far. A hefty arrival of Wheatears was apparent with 121 logged around the coastline. Equally impressive were the seven Ring Ouzels hiding out amongst the gorse on the Mountainside. Warblers were yet again in big numbers as 88 Blackcaps, 34 Chiffchaffs, and 151 Willow Warblers fed in the vegetation, whilst two reeling Grasshopper Warblers let their presence known. A female Pied Flycatcher was seen behind Cristin whilst three Tree Pipits flew overhead. Adding to the mix was a Short-eared Owl seen on the rocks on the South End.

Much of the island was covered with Wheatear passage..
Some rather stunning males
and some less colourful females
  some of our resident birds were already settled down to building nests

A bit of hirundine activity today consisted of 25 Sand Martins, 55 Swallows, and six House Martins whilst one Red-throated Diver and six Puffins were seen passing at sea. The Narrows produced one Ringed Plover, 11 Whimbrels, one Curlew, one Common Sandpiper, two Turnstones, and four White Wagtails whilst scattered around the rest of the island were one Collared Dove, one Skylark, 149 Meadow Pipits, ten Goldcrests, ten Siskins, 20 Goldfinches, 133 Linnets, and 11 Lesser Redpolls.
a scattering of White Wagtails were on the Narrows

six Ring Ouzels were present on the hill above the Observatory

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

From start to finish, another stunning day on the island. Two Ring Ouzels were the best finds in the summer weather, hiding on Pen Cristin  and the Mountain, with a male Firecrest also new in at Ty Capel, and a Common Redpoll trapped and ringed at Cristin.
Common and Lesser Redpolls
More warblers continue to pass through with five Grasshopper Warblers, two Sedge Warblers, 19 Blackcaps, 22 Chiffchaffs, 53 Willow Warblers, and 12 Goldcrests logged today.  The first real hirundine movement of the year saw 11 Sand Martins, 104 Swallows, and 19 House Martins heading north up the island. Migrant corvids don’t often get a mention but 43 Carrion Crows was particularly noteworthy. Overhead finch passage totalled one Greenfinch, seven Siskins, 39 Goldfinches, 17 Lesser Redpolls, and 128 Linnets whilst six Whimbrels, one Collared Dove, 15 Wheatears, and 12 Common Scoters were also logged.

Monday, 18 April 2016

A slow trickle of warblers throughout a gusty day totalled up to two Grasshopper Warblers, two Sedge Warblers, nine Blackcaps, 13 Chiffchaffs, 26 Willow Warblers, and seven Goldcrests.

Around the coastline seven Whimbrels, 21 Pied Wagtails, four White Wagtails, and 18 Wheatears were seen, with 20 Swallows, eight Siskins, and 32 Goldfinches overhead, and a solitary Blue Tit still residing.
Pied Wagtail