Saturday, 14 November 2015

Sea-watching today produced one Balearic Shearwaterone Manx Shearwater, three Fulmars39 Gannets, three Common Scoters, two Great Skuas, six Mediterranean Gulls, 74 Black-headed Gulls, five Common Gulls, 428 Kittiwakes, four Guillemots, and 980 Razorbills heading south along the West Coast.

Inland one Sparrowhawk, one Kestrel, one Water Rail, two Purple Sandpipers, six Blackbirds, three Fieldfares, one Song Thrush, four Redwings, seven Goldcrests, 600 Starlings, 15 Chaffinches, five Goldfinches, and one Lesser Redpoll were logged.

Friday, 13 November 2015

With gale-force westerlies once again attention was mostly directed out to sea. The highlights being five Pale-bellied Brent Geese, one Sooty Shearwater, two Manx Shearwaters40 Fulmars, 41 Gannets, 19 Mediterranean Gulls, 57 Black-headed Gulls, ten Common Gulls, 66 Herring Gulls, 608 Kittiwakes, 20 Guillemots, and 333 Razorbills.

Migrants were thin on the ground elsewhere with one Kestrel, one Merlin, one Purple Sandpiper, 51 Rock Pipits, one Blackcap, one Chiffchaff, and 659 Starlings noted.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Though menacing winds battered the island once again, there were still some very interesting records. A flock of six Long-tailed Tits were discovered at Cristin with five trapped and ringed, amazingly our third record of the year of this scarce island species. The Black Redstart was still feeding around the Lighthouse compound, one Firecrest was calling at Cristin, whilst the Bullfinch put in a brief appearance at Cristin as well. 

Sea-watching was worthwhile with one Great Northern Diver, one Fulmar, 16 Gannets, three Common Scoters, 19 Mediterranean Gulls, 331 Black-headed Gulls, six Common Gulls, four Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 145 Herring Gulls, 11 Great Black-backed Gulls, 1022 Kittiwakes, five Guillemots, and 368 Razorbills all recorded heading south.

Counts from the rest of the island include one Teal, two Sparrowhawk, one Kestrel, two Skylarks, 11 Meadow Pipits, 31 Rock Pipits, one Pied Wagtail, five Stonechat, six Blackbirds, one Blackcap, one Chiffchaff, three Goldcrests, 53 Carrion Crows, 1329 Starlings, 14 Chaffinches, 14 Goldfinches, three Linnets, and one Reed Bunting, whilst on The Narrows were 54 Oystercatchers, 44 Curlews, one Redshank, and three Turnstones.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

With no drop in wind on the horizon most attention was directed seaward. A particular highlight being a dark Pomarine Skua heading south in the evening with totals of one Red-throated Diver, 18 Fulmars, one Manx Shearwater, 17 Gannets, three Common Scoters, 12 Black-headed Gulls, one Common Gull, 92 Herring Gulls, 234 Kittiwakes, three Guillemots, and 354 Razorbills also counted.

The Bullfinch finally gave itself up at Cristin and was found to be a nice male. Elsewhere The Narrows held 57 Oystercatchers, three Purple Sandpipers, 50 Curlews, eight Redshanks, and 13 Turnstones whilst inland four Song Thrushes, two Blackcaps, three Chiffchaffs, eight Goldcrests, one Firecrest, three Coal Tits, 57 Carrion Crows, one Hooded Crow, eight Starlings, 15 Goldfinches, four Lesser Redpolls, two Reed Buntings, one Sparrowhawk, one Kestrel, and one Merlin were seen.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

The Bullfinch continues to remain hidden in Cristin garden calling from time to time whilst the Firecrest at Nant looks set to winter. Elsewhere a total of two Sparrowhawks, one Kestrel, one Water Rail, 54 Oystercatchers, two Snipes, one Woodcock, 40 Curlews, nine Redshanks, one Redwing, two Chiffchaffs, eight Goldcrests, seven Starlings, 12 Goldfinches, 12 Linnets, and two Lesser Redpolls were seen.

Some action out at sea resulted in five Fulmars, eight Gannets, one Little Gull, one Black-headed Gull, 87 Herring Gulls, 139 Kittiwakes, one Guillemot, and 206 Razorbills logged.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Mother Nature continues to throw everything at Bardsey with today featuring near hurricane force winds combined with more heavy downpours. The island is looking particularly waterlogged at the moment with pools appearing across the island and many fields flooded.

Seawatching over the rough seas was particularly productive with one Manx Shearwater, 17 Gannets, one Little Gull, one Black-headed Gull, one Common Gull, 1001 Kittiwakes, eight Guillemots, 715 Razorbills all heading south. A single Arctic Skua bombing past was the latest record for the island by two days, set back in 1996.

A high tide count of waders on The Narrows produced 55 Oystercatchers, three Purple Sandpipers, 39 Curlews, seven Redshanks, and 16 Turnstones.

Migrants elsewhere were elusive with just one Water Rail, one Redwing, six Goldcrests, seven Goldfinches, one Lesser Redpolls, and two Reed Buntings noted.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

An appalling day weather-wise with gale force winds and torrential rain. 

Migrants that braved today's weather include one Common Scoter, one Merlin, one Water Rail, 51 Oystercatchers, two Woodcocks, one Whimbrel, 59 Curlews, ten Redshanks, one Turnstone, two Redwings, one Blackcap, one Chiffchaff, four Goldcrests, one Coal Tit, 19 Choughs, one Rook, 50 Carrion Crows, 60 Starlings, one Brambling, 11 Goldfinches, and two Lesser Redpolls.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

A lull in the weather in the morning produced some decent birds. A Bullfinch was calling regularly in Cristin garden from deep in foliage, but was never seen, unlike the smart Firecrest in the vicinity.The two recent 1st winter male Black Redstarts remained with one at the South End wall and the other at the Lighthouse.

Out at sea one Wigeon16 Mediterranean Gulls, 37 Black-headed Gulls, four Common Gulls, six Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 39 Herring Gulls, 843 Kittiwakes, 84 Guillemots, and 41 Razorbills were recorded heading south.

Elsewhere a total of two Sparrowhawks, one Kestrel, one Water Rail, 46 Oystercatchers, one Woodcock, 51 Curlews, 11 Redshanks, seven Turnstones, six Skylarks, 27 Fieldfares, two Song Thrushes, 20 Redwings, three Blackcaps, four Chiffchaffs, 21 Goldcrests, two Coal Tits, four Great Tits, 26 Choughs, 64 Carrion Crows, 50 Starlings, 35 Chaffinches, one Lesser Redpoll, and one Reed Bunting were seen.

Friday, 6 November 2015

The weather kicked into second gear today with even more rain and wind than yesterday, though a brief foray of sunshine did appear in the late afternoon. 

Needless to say birds were thin on ground, or rather hard to see. Counts today comprised one Sparrowhawk, one Kestrel, 44 Oystercatchers, one Whimbrel, 49 Curlews, seven Redshanks, six Turnstones, 14 Black-headed Gulls, one Common Gull, one Song Thrush, two Redwings, two Blackcaps, two Chiffchaffs, 16 Goldcrests, one Coal Tit, 28 Choughs, 65 Carrion Crows, one Hooded Crow, 50 Starlings, 11 Chaffinches, 25 Goldfinches, one Lesser Redpolls, and two Reed Buntings.

 Just some of the 28 Choughs over the Obs that were spooked off the crag by...
 ... this quite heavily armed Eurofighter Typhoon that buzzed the top of the mountain.
 Some of the Starling flock that is wizzing round the island
 a Chaffinch through my office window...yes I should have been working!
and the Kestrel that spent at least some of the day over the Obs chasing the Choughs!

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Another rather wet and windswept day though some good birds could be found between the showers. An adult Little Gull was off the South End, three Black Redstarts were found (two on the South End and one at Cristin), two Firecrests hid at Nant, and a final surprise Long-eared Owl was seen at Cristin in the evening.

A rather nice male Black Redstart from Cristin

A feeding gull flock off the South End held 935 Black-headed Gulls, two Mediterranean Gulls, and 15 Common Gulls whilst inland one Sparrowhawk, one Kestrel, one Merlin, two Water Rails, one Woodcock, nine Redshanks, one Skylark, 17 Blackbirds, six Fieldfares, seven Song Thrushes, 27 Redwings, one Blackcap, three Chiffchaffs, 11 Goldcrests, two Jackdaws, one Rook, 150 Starlings, 24 Chaffinches, two Bramblings, 11 Goldfinches, two Lesser Redpolls, and three Reed Buntings were seen.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

A turn for the worse weather-wise as Winter finally approaches. The wardening team were out regardless and managed to find three Black Redstarts and one Firecrest for today's highlights.

Woodcocks continue to arrive with five seen today, 12 Snipes was the highest count for a while, whilst 33 Curlews, eight Redshanks, and five Turnstones were on The Narrows.

A flock of eight Crossbills was the best of the rest that included one Grey Heron, three Sparrowhawks, one Kestrel, one Water Rail, 12 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 35 Herring Gulls, one Grey Wagtail, one Pied Wagtail, 29 Blackbirds, 98 Fieldfares, 14 Song Thrushes, 37 Redwings, three Mistle Thrushes, one Blackcap, one Chiffchaff, 35 Goldcrests, one Hooded Crow, 134 Starlings, 24 Chaffinches, four Bramblings, two Greenfinches, six Siskins, 11 Goldfinches, and three Reed Buntings.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

A delightful male Bullfinch was discovered in the nets at Cristin this morning, another record in a great year for this species on Bardsey, and continuing this autumn's brilliant Finch passage (see images below of some of the finches trapped today)..
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A fine young male Bullfinch
A Great Spotted Woodpecker and two Black Redstarts were also seen at Cristin whilst a Firecrest remained at Nant as did a solitary Long-tailed Tit at Carreg.
One of the two young male Black Redstarts at the Obs.

At high tide 42 Oystercatcherstwo Whimbrels, 40 Curlews, and five Redshanks were roosting on The Narrows whilst other waders recorded today include one Golden Plover, two Snipes, and four Woodcocks.

Also seen across the island today were one Sparrowhawk, one Kestrel, one Buzzard, one Merlin, three Water Rails, 71 Skylarks, three Grey Wagtails, three Pied Wagtails, 31 Blackbirds, three Fieldfares, ten Song Thrushes, 67 Redwings, two Mistle Thrushes, five Blackcaps, two Chiffchaffs, 31 Goldcrests, two Coal Tits, 163 Jackdaws, six Rooks, 52 Carrion Crows, nine Ravens, 1500 Starlings, 111 Chaffinches, 12 Bramblings, 16 Greenfinches, 22 Siskins, 28 Goldfinches, 124 Linnets, three Lesser Redpolls, and seven Reed Buntings plus out at sea 219 Black-headed Gulls, four Common Gulls, 38 Herring Gulls, and two Common Scoters flew by.
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Lesser Redpoll
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another nice Brambling
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female Goldfinch
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male Siskin
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Male Chaffinch

Monday, 2 November 2015

Low cloud cover, thick fog, and a little drizzle downed a fair number of migrants overnight, though it quickly gave way to glorious sunshine by mid-morning.

Some of yesterday's Long-tailed Tits remained another day with at least 13 on the island. One Black Redstart performed well in the evening light at Cafn.

Around the island today were two Buzzards, two Water Rails, one Golden Plover, four Snipes, three Woodcocks, one Whimbrel, 36 Curlews, seven Redshanks, 14 Turnstones, 560 Black-headed Gulls, five Common Gulls, 49 Skylarks, 80 Blackbirds, 140 Fieldfares, 22 Song Thrushes, 150 Redwings, four Mistle Thrushes, six Blackcaps, six Chiffchaffs, one (very late) Willow Warbler, 41 Goldcrests, two Firecrests, five Great Tits, 95 Carrion Crows, 1071 Starlings, 172 Chaffinches, eight Bramblings, seven Siskins, four Lesser Redpolls, and two Reed Buntings.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

A lovely November day with morning migration overhead and a few welcome surprises in the afternoon.

Pride of place goes to an insect today with the discovery of a male Vagrant Emperor near Cristin Withy. This very rare dragonfly is the second record for Bardsey and should really be near Africa right now!

The rarest birds (in island terms) today go to the flock of 18 Long-tailed Tits found in Cristin Withy. Surprisingly, the second record of these scarce migrants this year. A single Richard’s Pipit flew over the North West Fields in the morning whilst a Black Redstart was at Plas.

Also recorded were one Grey Heron, one Wigeon, one Teal, on Sparrowhawk, one Buzzard, one Kestrel, four Water Rails, one Golden Plover, two Snipes, ten Redshanks, 53 Black-headed Gulls, 45 Skylarks, one Grey Wagtail, four Pied Wagtails, 45 Blackbirds, ten Fieldfares, ten Song Thrushes, ten Redwings, one Blackcap, two Chiffchaffs, 19 Goldcrests, one Firecrest, 500 Jackdaws, 26 Rooks, 1300 Starlings, 252 Chaffinches, 20 Bramblings, six Greenfinches, 47 Siskins, 16 Goldfinches, 26 Linnets, five Lesser Redpolls, one Crossbill, and four Reed Buntings.

A Reed Bunting was trapped and ringed in the afternoon, a rare sight on Bardsey

Saturday, 31 October 2015

A gloomy and drizzly day throughout. Just another nondescript Saturday right? WRONG. What a phenomenal day of mass migration through the island. Our last guests on the last day of the season were privy to migration at it's finest. The kind of movements that Bird Observatories were created for.

Finches were the main movers of the day with a whopping 10,000+ heading south over the island today. 

Flocks of over 300 birds streamed over the gardens, across the fields, and over the Mountainside. The bulk of which were Chaffinches with a minimum of 9349 recorded, the highest island count since the 1970's! 

One of the 9500 Chaffinches that passed over the island

Passing through with the melee of Chaffinches were 94 Bramblings, 14 Greenfinches, 259 Siskins, 54 Linnets, 27 Lesser Redpolls, six Reed Buntings, and three Crossbills whilst the tally of 439 Goldfinches constitutes a new island record!
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Late in the evening a ‘North-western’ Redpoll was discovered at Cristin, potentially only the fourth record for Wales (though none are currently accepted by WRP).

Lesser Redpoll
Male Lesser Redpoll
North-western (possibly rostrata) Common Redpoll

With all the excitement flying over it could've been easy to miss three Siberian Chiffchaffs found at Ty Nesaf, Cristin, and Ty Capel! 

Siberian Chiffchaff

It's not often you relegate an influx of Short-eared Owls below Chaffinch but it's been one of those days. A grand total of 19 arrived overnight with most flushed out the bracken on the Mountainside.

Short-eared Owls

Not-forgetting a fine female Great Spotted Woodpecker was trapped and ringed at Cristin in the morning.
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Finally, totals of four Common Scoters, two Water Rails, 12 Mediterranean Gulls, 725 Black-headed Gulls, 23 Skylarks, 33 Blackbirds, one Fieldfare, four Song Thrush, 33 Redwings, three Blackcaps, three Chiffchaffs, ten Goldcrests, two Firecrests, six Coal Tits, seven Rooks, and 1515 Starlings were also logged.

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A fantastic day!

Friday, 30 October 2015

Another interesting October day with migration in action from all corners. Pick of the day was a single Snow Bunting flying North off the North End in morning census.

A reasonable selection of migrants inland include two Short-eared Owls, 14 Skylarks, 88 Wrens, 48 Robins, 46 Blackbirds, 14 Song Thrushes, 46 Redwings, five Blackcaps, nine Chiffchaffs, 36 Goldcrests, two Firecrests, four Great Tits, 36 Jackdaws, 22 Rooks, 53 Carrion Crows, one Hooded Crow, 110 Starlings, 67 Chaffinches, five Bramblings, 22 Linnets, and five Reed Buntings.

Other interesting counts from around the island encompass a single Grey Heron, two Common Scoters, two Sparrowhawks, one Buzzard, one Kestrel, one Merlin, two Water Rails, 51 Oystercatchers, 25 Lapwings, two Snipes, one Woodcock, 49 Curlews, 13 Redshanks, 12 Turnstones, 174 Black-headed Gulls, eight Common Gulls, 98 Kittiwakes, and 465 Razorbills.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

One Barn Owl seen late in the evening at Nant was the clear highlight of the day that also recorded two Short-eared Owlstwo Sparrowhawks, one Kestrel, one Merlin, two Water Rails, 12 Skylarks, 60 Meadow Pipits, 47 Rock Pipits, two Pied Wagtails, 72 Wrens, 54 Blackbirds, 13 Song Thrushes, three Redwings, four Blackcaps, four Chiffchaffs, 19 Goldcrests, two Firecrests, four Coal Tits, 1000 Starlings, 38 Chaffinches, two Siskins, 16 Goldfinches, 14 Linnets, two Lesser Redpolls, and two Reed Buntings.

Some good wader totals include 42 Oystercatchers, four Snipes, 53 Curlews, 11 Redshanks, 17 Turnstones, and a flock 35 Lapwings heading south down the West Coast.

Birds seen out at sea include one Great Northern Diver, one Manx Shearwater, 56 Gannets, one Wigeon, three Common Scoters, seven Mediterranean Gulls, one Little Gull, 640 Black-headed Gulls, 65 Common Gulls, 11 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 159 Herring Gulls, 201 Kittiwakes, one Guillemot, and 142 Razorbills.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Midway through BBFO's final guest week of the season and there's still decent movements of birds to seen. One Yellow-browed Warbler was seen at Plas before disappearing onto the Mountainside, whilst three Firecrests were recorded around the island, including one trapped and ringed at Cristin.

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It was a glorious day on the island with some great clouds moving west during the day.

Waders were represented by three Snipes, one Woodcock, two Whimbrels, 11 Redshanks, and five Turnstones whilst other migrants inland and overhead include two Sparrowhawks, one Kestrel, one Merlin, two Water Rails, and a Short-eared Owl, 45 Skylarks, 89 Meadow Pipits, 33 Rock Pipits, three Pied Wagtails, 56 Blackbirds, 16 Fieldfares, 14 Song Thrushes, nine Redwings, five Blackcaps, one Chiffchaff, 40 Goldcrests, three Coal Tits, five Blue Tits, nine Great Tits, 26 Choughs, 351 Jackdaws, ten Rooks, 63 Carrion Crows, one Hooded Crow, 1055 Starlings, 524 Chaffinches, 17 Bramblings, 11 Greenfinches, 24 Siskins, 41 Goldfinches, 19 Linnets, one Lesser Redpoll, and 13 Reed Buntings.

It was a good day for studying Bramblings
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A very nice first-year male (note the pointed tail feathers and un-moulted outer greater covert)
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First-year female (again note the pointed tail feathers)
An adult male (harder to see, but this bird has rounder tipped tail feathers)
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and this adult female (again with round and broad tail feathers)

Sea passage amounted to one Great Northern Diver, 73 Gannets, 48 Common Scoters, one Great Skua, six Mediterranean Gulls, 265 Black-headed Gulls, 29 Common Gulls, 1100 Kittiwakes, and 800 Razorbills

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Three Firecrests were seen including this lovely female 

A minimum of 340 Jackdaws were seen today, during the annual 'en masse' arrival of Jackdaws in late October. 
Magpies and Carrion Crows are feeding on the sacrificial crops that are still standing.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

The continuous wind finally subsided by the afternoon to reveal a decent selection of birds around. Rarest of the day was the brief Hawfinch that flew from Pen Cristin towards Ty Pellaf but could not be relocated. The second Woodcock of the autumn was flushed from the Lowlands, a male Ring Ouzel was at Nant, and two Firecrests continue our stellar autumn for this stunning species.

Thrushes were most evident today with 67 Blackbirds (the highest count this year), 25 Fieldfares, 21 Song Thrushes, and 19 Redwings present. Also logged were 73 Wrens, 42 Robins, 13 Skylarksseven Blackcaps, three Chiffchaffs, 40 Goldcrests, 29 Choughs, ten Rooks, 50 Carrion Crows, 1207 Starlings, 155 Chaffinches, one Brambling, three Greenfinches, 40 Siskins, 22 Goldfinches, two Lesser Redpolls, and six Reed Buntings.

Non-passerines recorded include one Grey Heron, 13 Common Scoters, one Water Rail, 41 Oystercatchers, one Lapwing, two Purple Sandpipers, one Jack Snipe, one Snipe, two Whimbrels, 51 Curlews, eight Redshanks, 11 Turnstones, 16 Mediterranean Gulls, 164 Black-headed Gulls, 20 Common Gulls, 73 Herring Gulls, 13 Great Black-backed Gulls, 665 Kittiwakes, 250 Razorbills, and one Short-eared Owl.

 Redshanks are being seen regularly
 Still good numbers of young Seals around the shoreline

Monday, 26 October 2015

An even breezier day than yesterday meant looking for the Red-flanked Bluetail was hard work. Unfortunately the bird could not be found despite lots of observer coverage. Still, two Yellow-browed Warblers were seen, with one at Cristin and another at Nant.


Sea-watching in the rough conditions produced one Great Northern Diver, one Manx Shearwater, 38 Common Scoters, one Pomarine Skua, one Great Skua, 19 Mediterranean Gulls, three Little Gulls, 320 Black-headed Gulls, 29 Common Gulls, 34 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 57 Herring Gulls, 16 Great Black-backed Gulls, 3947 Kittiwakes, and 971 Razorbills.

Migrants inland were difficult to see but the wardening team persisted as always. The most noticeable movement through the island were Starlings, with a final total of 1650 recorded. Singles of Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Kestrel, and Merlin were found around the island and a lone Short-eared Owl was seen at the North End at first light. A lone Grey Heron was on the South End whilst the waders were represented by two Lapwings, two Snipes, 48 Curlews, three Redshanks, and five Turnstones. In addition, seven Skylarks, one Grey Wagtail, 18 Blackbirds, two Fieldfares, six Song Thrushes, six Redwings, one Mistle Thrush, five Blackcaps, one Chiffchaff, nine Goldcrests, 42 Carrion Crows, 60 Chaffinches, two Bramblings, two Greenfinches, eight Siskins, two Lesser Redpolls, two Reed Buntings, and one flyover Crossbill were recorded.

 Up to 60 migrant Carrion Crows are being recorded daily, mostly in the North West fields
High numbers of Wrens are also being seen daily, up to 80-90 on some days