Thursday, 30 July 2015

A warm and sunny day saw calm conditions encouraging a good selection of migrants to touch-down on the island. The scarcest sighting of the day in island terms was that of a Green Sandpiper, which spent part of the day feeding on the pons in the wetlands. A good supporting cast of waders towards the coast included a Black-tailed Godwit, one Ringed Plover, two Whimbrels, 10 Curlews, six Redshanks, five Common Sandpipers and 13 Turnstones. Willow Warblers reached their highest numberyet this autumn, with a total of 26 scattered around with three Sedge Warblers and three Blackcaps.

Green Sandpiper

Sedge Warbler (juvenile)

Willow Warbler

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

It was a very pleasant day, although the morning had something of an autumnal feel, with temperatures below 10'C, and a biting northerly wind compounding this. The afternoon saw clear skies, warm temperatures and lower winds, favouring the movement of southward-bound migrants.

There was a reasonable scattering of migrant warblers around the island, with the totals comprising four Sedge Warblers, one Whitethroat, two Chiffchaffs and 19 Willow Warblers. It was another good day for waders, with high tide counts including one Ringed Plover, one Dunlin, one Whimbrel, 42 Curlews, two Redshanks, one Common Sandpiper and eight Turnstones.

Just a few Swallow chicks remain in nests at the moment (c) Mark Carter

As the strong winds continue to dominate, passerine migrants remain a little scarce on the island. Despite the biting north westerly, there was evidence of southward migration taking place, with a light scattering of warblers across the island: one Grasshopper Warbler, six Sedge Warblers and 15 Willow Warblers were the totals. The strong winds did precipitate another reasonable movement of seabirds, with five Fulmars, 1584 Manx Shearwaters, 74 Gannets, five Black-headed Gulls and three Sandwich Terns recorded. At high tide, a gathering of waders around The Narrows included the usual flock of 43 Curlews, along with two Whimbrels, two Redshanks, three Common Sandpipers and eight Turnstones.

Moth news has been in short supply since the weekend, owing to the chilly temperatures, frequent rain storms and strong winds. Six-spot Burnets remain on the wing, with around 25 recorded today. A scattering of butterflies included some 15 Meadow Browns, 20 Green-veined Whites and two Small Tortoiseshells.


Linnet at sunset

Eucosma cana

Monday, 27 July 2015

There was a slightly movement of seabirds out to sea, comprising two Fulmars, 802 Manx Shearwaters, 18 Gannets, five Common Scoters, a possible Pomarine Skua, two Kittiwakes and 23 Puffins. Single of Whimbrel and Dunlin, 31 Curlews, three Redshanks, and three Common Sandpipers represented the day's figures for warders. A single Swift flew south over the island, a juvenile Cuckoo was present at Nant, and nine Willow Warbles were scattered around.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

It was a miserable day on the island, with rain persisting on and off from dawn to dusk, which was accompanied by a strong SE wind. Temperatures barely held into double figures.

There was a good movement of seabirds past the island during the course of the day, with the counts amounting to: five Fulmars, 1304 Manx Shearwaters, 10 Gannets, 21 Common Scoters, three Kittiwakes and nine Puffins. A count of 26 Turnstones around the Narrows was good, and a handful of other waders comprised two Whimbrels, 44 Curlews, five Redshanks and three Common Sandpipers. Two Willow Warblers were perhaps the only migrant passerines of note.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

A bright, sunny day with not a cloud in the sky saw calm conditions for the weekly changeover to take place. Warm temperatures also added to an altogether more summer-like feel. The storm clouds did, however, begin moving in towards the end of the day.

Another good selection of migrant birdlife was recorded on the island, as the autumn season really gets underway. In terms of passerines, a Skylark was seen at the North End, two Sand Martins passed through and mingled with some 38 Swallows, and eight Sedge Warblers and two Willow Warblers included at least a few migrants of the former. Four Sandwich Terns, two Black-headed Gulls and a Common Gull flew south out to sea, whilst Whimbrel, Curlews, two Redshanks and one Common Sandpiper were seen around the Narrows. Singles of Kestrel and Buzzard were also noted.

Friday, 24 July 2015

On the whole, it was a very damp and rather dull day. In the absence of virtually any wind for most of the day, a large rain storm sat right over the island persisted well into the late afternoon, giving a deluge of 7mm precipitation. Temperatures remained mild, although a stronger north wind picking up in the evening lead to a small drop.

There was not a great amount to report in avian terms, partly due to the conditions making field observations a bit tricky at times. A handful of migrant Willow Warblers about the island totalled seven individuals, whilst a single Blackcap, four Chiffchaffs and three Sedge Warblers were also recorded. A Lesser Redpoll toured around as usual, but was unaccompanied by any other fly-overs. Wader figures comprised a Ringed Plover, a Sanderling, three Common Sandpipers, a Whimbrel, 25 Curlews, four Redshanks and three Turnstones.

Day-flying Lepidoptera was understandably hard to come by, but some good numbers in the heath traps included about 150 at Nant. This included a Dot Moth, which it the island’s second record, Narrow-winged Pug, Yellowtails, Dotted Clay and Silver Y.

The two juvenile Peregrines are still being fed by the adults, mostly with adult Manx Shearwaters

Wren chicks continue to appear all over the island, with some broods of five or six juveniles. 

Swallow fledglings are appearing in dribs and drabs, with a couple of recently-fledged broods at Ty Pellaf and one imminent at Cristin

These somewhat vicious-looking beasts are Labyrinth Spiders (Agelena labyrinthica). They spin a wide web around vegetation a few feet above ground level, which leads back into a little tunnel. The sits ominously in wait at the entrance to the tunnel for flies and other insects to become caught in the web. There are a good number of these awesome anthropods along the trackside at the moment

Spot the Grayling!

Lacuna Moth (Celypha lacunana)

Thursday, 23 July 2015

It was a pleasant day of light winds, warm temperatures and patchy cloud cover, with frequent sunny periods giving a very hot feel at times. In terms of birdlife, a single Fulmar, 790 Manx Shearwaters, 14 Gannets, 14 Common Scoters and eight Black-headed Gulls made their way south past the coast during the day. Singles of Redshank, Whimbrel and Common Sandpiper were present around The Narrows, and a single Kestrel inland was a slightly different sighting. Six Willow Warblers and a Lesser Redpoll represented passerine migrants inland.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

The day started off with grey cloud covering the island, and with some light rain. The light westerly wind gradually cleared this away to leave blue skies and a bright sun to warm things up a bit. The conditions overnight prompted a small arrival of migrants, and some good numbers of moths in the traps.

In terms of birdlife, there was a small arrival of young Willow Warblers overnight, with a total of 14 recorded during the day. Other passerines of note included a Lesser Redpoll, three Blackcaps, five Chiffchaffs and two Sedge Warblers. A Sandwich Tern flew south along the West Side in the morning, whilst two Whimbrels, 20 Curlews, two Redshanks and eight Common Sandpipers were scattered around the coast.

It was another great night for moth trapping, with over 280 taken from a heath trap in Nant Withy. There were some smart species amongst the throng of Dark Arches, Crescent Darts and July Highfliers, including Peach Blossom, Burnished Brass, Mother of Pearl, Buff Arches and Anania coronata. The first Udea prunalis of the year was noted during the day, and Silver Ys, Rush Veneers and Agriphila straminella were also well represented.

Peach Blossom

Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing

Dark Marbled Carpet

Anania coronata

Monday, 20 July 2015

A changeable day weather-wise saw quite low winds in the early morning giving way to a stronger south-westerly by late afternoon. After a cloudy start, some heavy drizzle moved in and sustained a damp period that lasted until the early afternoon. Thereafter it was relatively pleasant, with mild temperatures and clearing skies.

In terms of the day's waders, a single Ringed Plover was seen at the North End, a Whimbrel, two Curlews and two Redshanks were seen around The Narrows, and three Common Sandpipers were dotted around the coast. A Collared Dove flying from garden to garden was new in, although the same juvenile Cuckoo continued to linger. Three Swifts darted south over the Lighthouse, and a very small movement of hirundines included a Sand Martin and a handful of Swallows. A Blackcap brood was discovered at Nant, with at least three juveniles fresh out of the nest- this is the first time Blackcaps have successfully reared young for many years here.

It was an excellent night for moth trapping, with a combined total between the three Heath traps of over 250 moths. The trap at Cristin produced a new species for the island - a Scallop Shell - and the Nant Withy trap attracted a Barred Red, which is just the second record for Bardsey. Aside these species, there were also plenty of Garden Tigers, Dark Arches, Crescent Darts and Scarce Footmans, along with Single-dotted Wave, Turnip Moth and Grass Emerald.

Most of the seabirds have vacated the East Side now, with perhaps 100 Razorbills and 50 Guillemots seen there yesterday. Over 40 juvenile Shags were present not far off the shore

Sunday, 19 July 2015

It was a very pleasant day, with a light south-westerly wind easing throughout the day, clear sunny skies and quite warm temperatures. The clouds began rolling in towards the evening ahead of the forecast storm on the 20th.

Migrant birds were quite thin on the ground inland, as we still await the larger arrivals of southward-bound warblers such as Willow Warblers. Nevertheless, the juvenile Cuckoo remained around the lowlands, two Song Thrushes were recorded between Cristin and Nant, a possible Spotted Flycatcher was seen briefly in the plantation, and 14 Starlings flew over the West Side. Sea passage noted during the day comprised three Fulmars, 698 Manx Shearwaters, 35 Gannets, 13 Black-headed Gulls, seven Kittiwakes, 15 Guillemots, 10 Razorbills and nine Puffins, whilst the day's wader count amounted to one Lapwing, 20 Curlews, three Redshanks and six Common Sandpipers.

Onto the day's insect news: three Silver Ys and about 10 Rush Veneers were the only migrant lepidoptera noted during the day. The first Argyresthia albistria of the year was seen on the Damson bushes in Cristin garden, and a few coastal species seen included plenty of Pyrausta despicata, and a single Deplanqueia dilutella. A Northern Eggar caterpillar was seen in Ty Pellaf Withy.

Manx Shearwaters rafting up in the evening, waiting for darkness to fall before descending on the island

another new Wheatear brood fledged quite recently

A Small Tortoise Shell on the coast

Swallow-tailed Moth

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Despite a brisk south-westerly wind, it was just about calm enough in the afternoon to allow for the visitor changeover to take place. Beside the wind, it was a very pleasant day of clear blue skies and warm temperatures in sheltered spots.

There were some good sightings in terms of avian wildlife during the day, the best of the lot being a pale Balearic Shearwater which glided past the West Side in the morning. Usually we do not see these dirty-looking shearwaters until mid to late-August, although there was a mid-June record back in 2013. Also seen out to see were 76 Black-headed Gulls, a Sandwich Tern, a Fulmar and 23 Gannets. Singles of Swift, Cuckoo, Little Owl and Skylark were amongst the more notable sightings inland.

A Hummingbird Hawkmoth on the mountain top was a nice sighting, and was amongst another good haul of migrant lepidoptera that included over 70 Rush Veneers in Nant Valley, two Painted Ladies and Silver Ys.

juvenile Cuckoo

Mottled Beauty

Friday, 17 July 2015

A bright and breezy day saw clear, sunny skies accompanying a strong south-westerly wind. Out out of this stiff breeze it was very pleasant, and in these sheltered spots there were some good gatherings of migrant moths, in particular Rush Veneers

Bird sightings today: a movement of seabirds off the West Coast saw a reasonable tally of six Fulmars, 1521 Manx Shearwaters, 19 Gannets, 32 Common Scoters, 10 Black-headed Gulls, 13 Guillemots, 48 Razorbills and 17 Puffins. Waders were again present in reasonable numbers, with two each of Dunlin and Redshank, 21 Curlews, seven Common Sandpipers and one Turnstone recorded. Passerine news was highlighted by a few interesting breeding birds: it appears that the Skylark pair at the North End have managed to fledge one chick, as a single juvenile was seen alongside an adult in the morning; and a pair of Chiffchaffs in the Plantation appeared with at least three fledged young.

The first two Swallow-tailed Moths of the year were trapped overnight, with on in Cristin Withy and one at Cristin. Silvery Ys, Painted Ladies and Rush Veneers were recorded in good numbers during the day, with perhaps hundreds of the latter present.

The Manx Shearwater chicks are growing steadily in their earth burrows. Many are now over 400 grams, and so are also big enough to ring

Thursday, 16 July 2015

A day of contrasting halves saw bright sunshine, low winds from the south-east and very mild temperatures in the morning, but then dark clouds rolling in during the afternoon, bringing rain and stronger winds with it.

There was a good selection of waders present around The Narrows in the morning, which comprised one Ringed Plover, six Lapwings, one Dunlin, one Whimbrel, 28 Curlews, four Redshanks and five Common Sandpipers. The juvenile Cuckoo remained around the withies, being pestered by numerous Meadow Pipits during the day, and the same Black Guillemot was again seen in Nant Valley. The bird's origin is unclear. Eight Common Swifts and one Sand Martin flew south over the island during the morning, whilst two Willow Warblers and a single Blackcap were seen in the vegetated areas.

The moth traps were a little empty after a night of clear skies, but there were plenty of day-flying moths about: well over 100 Rush Veneers were again recorded, along with good numbers of Silver Ys, Pyrausta despicata, Chrysoteuchia culmella and Sic-spot Burnets. The first few Grapholita funebrana of the year were seen in the obs garden, along with Plum and Rose Tortixes.

Ruby-tailed Wasp. A truly stunning species

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

It was a day of fresh north-easterly winds, mild temperatures and clear, sunny skies. A very pleasant combination that contributed to a pleasant day's birding.

There was a good selection of sightings to report: a juvenile  Cuckoo was seen around the withies; a 1st winter Little Gull flew past the North End in the morning, along with 22 Common Scoters, 21 Black-headed Gulls and one Common Gull; a single Black Guillemot was back in Nant Valley, where it spent some of the day paddling around in the smooth water; and then a small selection of passerines included three Swifts, a Whitethroat, a Lesser Redpoll and a Hooded Crow. A productive day all-in-all.

Rush Veneers were the dominant feature in terms of noteworthy lepidoptera, with large numbers present all over the island, probably numbering in the hundreds. Five Silver Ys, a Painted Lady and two Emperor Dragonflies flying over land were also noted during the day. Six-spot Burnets have emerged in the last few weeks, and there were plenty on wing.

one of the Purple Sandpipers from yesterday

plenty of Swallow broods have fledged now, but many have only just embarked on their second broods. Usually at this time of year, many pairs would be on their third broods by now

Juvenile Cuckoo

a trio of Clays: Purple Clay, Triple-spotted Clay and Double Square-spot (left to right)
What appears to be an unusual form of Crescent Dart

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The day started off with a light north-easterly wind and light rain, which continued to keep conditions a little damp until late morning. As the breeze picked up during the day, the cloud and rain gradually cleared, leaving a bright and sunny evening.

The low cloud cover in the early hours seemed to have produced something of a 'fall' of waders, as the following counts were made at high tide around the Narrows first thing in the morning: 21 Common Sandpipers, one Ringed Plover, two Purple Sandpipers, two Turnstones, one Whimbrel, a Greenshank, 27 Curlews and three Redshanks. A single Swift east over Pen Cristin was perhaps the only obvious passerine migrant seen during the day, but other sightings included two Sedge Warblers, three Chiffchaffs and a Starling.

Insect news: a good number of migrant lepidoptera was once again present around the island during the day, with Rush Veneers being the most abundant of these- about 30 were recorded. A couple of Silver Ys were also seen. From the moth traps, a Purple Clay at Nant was the highlight, being just the sixth record for Bardsey, and the first since 2009. Small Angle Shades, Buff Arches and Apotomis semifasciana were also noteworthy. During the day, Pammene aurana were present in small numbers on the Cow Parsley at Nant, where many of the large hoveflies Volucella bimbylans plumata were also seen. Other species noted during the day included Yellow Shells, Common Carpet, Lacuna Moths and plenty of Small Magpies.

The southern Kittiwake colony have managed to rear about 52 chicks as of a few days ago, which is a great number. Many are still a week or two off fledging, but others are very close indeed. We hope to visit the colony and catch some of the adult birds to ring them in the next few days

Wren chicks are a little prolific on the island at the moment

Garden Tiger

Small Magpie

Monday, 13 July 2015

The day started off with rather grim conditions: a strong south-westerly wind, chilly temperatures and driving rain. The rain persisted until late morning, and by the early afternoon the wind also began to drop, before dying away entirely by evening.

Waders continued to appear as being the most obvious migrants on the island, with a small selection comprising one Whimbrel, 17 Curlews, two Redshanks and six Common Sandpipers; despite very low numbers of seabirds passing the coast, a single flock of 27 Common Scoters did fly by. Other noteworthy sightings included a single Little Owl at the north end, one Chiffchaff and one Starling.

The two juvenile Peregrines that have fledged from the southern pair continue to pester any passing bird, from Cormorants to Choughs, Guillemots to Woodpigeons

A smart Buff Arches

Pyrausta despicata is a very plentiful species on the island at the moment, with hundreds present during the daytime on the East Side

Sunday, 12 July 2015

A day of light southerly winds, clear sunny skies and mild temperatures made for very pleasant conditions to be outdoors. The combination also allowed for the trickle of southward-bound migrants to continue, along with day-flying lepidoptera to emerge in good numbers.

A good count of 65 Common Scoters involved a single flock flying south past the coast in the morning, along with nine Black-headed Gulls. Curlew numbers remain steady at the moment, although the usual flock is likely to build in number in the coming weeks: just 14 were seen today, with an accompanying selection of two Redshanks, two Common Sandpipers and a Turnstone. The first fledged Sedge Warbler young were seen in the Ty Pellaf wetlands in the morning; five Chiffchaffs around the island concerned worn adult birds; and two Starlings were present at the North End.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

It was generally a very pleasant day weather-wise, with light south-westerly winds and clear skies in the morning allowing the usual Saturday visitor changeovers to take place. Conditions after 1400, however, took a turn for the worse, with a freshening breeze accompanied with heavy rain showers.

As the wind strengthened towards the end of the day, a movement of 1208 Manx Shearwaters, 24 Gannets, two Black-headed Gulls, four Guillemots, and two Razorbills. Waders continue to feature well at high tide, and today's tallies included the following: two Whimbrels, 17 Curlews, one Redshank, two Common Sandpipers and two Turnstones. Two Swifts sped southward, along with a single Tree Pipit and two Siskins, whilst a single juvenile Black Redstart lurked amongst the multitude of juvenile Meadow Pipits in the lighthouse compound.

Another good day for the island's insect life saw a Bardsey first: a Ringlet butterfly was seen on the Narrows in the morning, which is new to the island despite being a common UK species. In other news, four Painted Ladies, over 15 Rush Veneers, 10 Silver Ys and hundreds of Garden Grass Veneers were recorded during the daytime. A Buff Arches, Ruby Tiger and Double Square-spot were trapped at Nant.

There are plenty of juvenile Pied Wagtails around

The smart Ringlet found on the Narrows

The Vestal-one from yesterday

Friday, 10 July 2015

There was a slightly fresher breeze from the south-east for much of the day, but clear skies prevailed and ensured another hot day with temperatures reaching 20'C. A cloud front moved in from the west towards the late afternoon, which also brought some light rain.

A small selection of migrant passerines were noted during the day, including a Swift, a Willow Warbler, a Lesser Redpoll and seven Starlings. A single Lapwing took advantage of the newly-cut hay fields to feed on the exposed ground, whilst a handful of other waders during the day comprised a Redshank and six Curlews. A juvenile Mediterranean Gull flew north up the west side, along with two Black-headed Gulls.

Another good day for the island's invertebrates saw a good selection of lepidoptera on wing: the year's first Vestal was seen in Traeth Ffynnon, at least 10 Silver Ys were present in the lowlands, along with over 30 Six-spot Burnets, Glyphipterix thrasonella, over 100 Pyrausta despicata, and a handful of common torticidae. A female Emperor Dragonfly was seen on Pwll Cain, where it spent a while laying eggs underneath the lilly pads.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

It was a stunning day on the island: calm winds barely exceeding 10mph were accompanied by clear blue skies and warm temperatures.

It was a more eventful day in terms of visiting birdlife, with an island mega appearing briefly in the morning in the form of a KINGFISHER. One was seen flying across the bay in Traeth Ffynnon at about 0700, but there was no sign thereafter. In other news, a single Grey Wagtail flew south over the South End, an icelandic Black-tailed Godwit flew North over the lowlands, and another reasonable selection of waders at high tide comprised singles of Dunlin and Redshank, four Curlews and two Common Sandpipers.

It was a good day for invertebrates, especially lepidoptera. A few migrant moths were recorded during the day, including the year's second Small Mottled Willow in the withies moth trap, and four Silver Ys in the lowlands. A Sharp-angled Peacock trapped at Nant is the first record of this delicate geometrid for Bardsey, whilst a good variety of other day-flying moths included five Common White Waves, Galium Carpet, Yellow Shells, Plum Tortrixes and Pammene aurana.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

It was another very changeable day weather-wise: the morning was dominated by a strong and chilly north-westerly wind, which was perpetuated by lashing rain for a time. In contrast, the wind completely died away in the afternoon, and gave away to warm and sunny conditions- ideal for encouraging the small day-flying insects to emerge.

Non-passerine migrants again highlighted arrivals, with one Ringed Plover, one Dunlin, one Whimbrel, 19 Curlews, one Redshank and three Common Sandpipers representing today's wader figures. A single Grey Heron lingered on around The Narrows, whilst there was a good count of 69 Puffins on the East Side. Three each of Chiffchaff and Sedge Warbler were noted inland, although these are the island's breeding birds- three Siskins in the Plantation were the only passerine migrants around.

It was a good day for insects and moths, with the highlight coming in the form of an male Azure Damselfly in the Plantation. Although this is one of the UK's commonest Zygoptera species, it could well be a new species for Bardsey. Blue-tailed Damselflies, however, are a very common species on the island, with over 20 noted today around Nant Pond. Day-flying moths of interest included Deplanqueia dilutella, Celypha cespitana, Lobesia littoralis, hundreds of Pyrausta despicata and Chryoteuchia culmella, and also Yellow Shell, Silver Y, and a Six-spot Burnet,

Blue-tailed Damselfly- female (top) and male (bottom)

Azure Damselfly