Wednesday, 29 October 2014


Sometimes a day comes around where everything falls right into place. After a week of rather dreary weather, today's bright sunshine and cool breeze invigorated the island, with quality birds found in every bush. The sheer amount of migration in action today made counting birds difficult and tiring, though without doubt one of the most enjoyable days of the year. I could carry on with superlatives for today but i feel the following haul does it most justice:

Ten Yellow-browed Warblers, six Siberian Chiffchaffs, one Red-breasted Flycatcher, and one Barred Warbler (new) were the standout birds of the day, though running close behind are four Woodlarks, two Black Redstarts, two Great Spotted Woodpeckers, four Ring Ouzels, one Stock Dove, one Hawfinch, one male Bullfinch (new for the year), one Treecreeper (new for the year), one Little Egret, one Firecrest, two House Sparrows, one Goldeneye (new for the year), and a Hobby (new for the year). 


In addition to above, an extremely late Whinchat frequented the Wetlands with two Jack Snipes, singles of Merlin and Buzzard flew over, and three Water Rails squeeled around the island. All these were recorded with 188 Skylarks, 56 Meadow Pipits, 32 Woodpigeons, two Grey Wagtails, eight 'alba' Wagtails, 86 Blackbirds, 37 Song thrushes, 20 Redwings, one Mistle Thrush, nine Blackcaps, 37 Chiffchaffs, 48 Goldcrests, 600 Jackdaws, 48 Rooks, 93 Carrion Crows, two Hooded Crows, four Ravens, 680 Starlings, 265 Chaffinches, two Bramblings, 46 Greenfinches, 16 Siskins, 48 Goldfinches, 35 Linnets, two Lesser Redpolls, and 18 Reed Buntings.


 Jackdaws -595 were counted, but there could easily have been more
 The first Bullfinch of the year
 Good numbers of Blackcaps




 One of the Siberian Chiffchaffs from Nant

 ...and this one from the farm


Where it shared the Apple Tree with Golcrests (above) and 
the Red-breasted Flychatcher (below)

Tuesday, 28 October 2014


All was damp today, the island and the birdlife. Sporadic downpours from the morning onwards made fieldwork rather difficult. Between downpours birds could be seen moving though, and hopefully tomorrow's weather will allow us to find those migrants grounded in today's conditions.

Today's star bird was found during the morning census (before the rain), another Barred Warbler for Bardsey! This outrageously becomes our fourth of the autumn following birds this month at Ty Pellaf, Cristin, and Ty Capel.

The skulking Barred Warbler at Ty Capel

Other highlights around the island include three new Lapwings on The Narrows area with 39 Curlews, 13 Redshanks, 27 Oystercatchers, and 12 Turnstones. A total of 15 Skylarks were found in the North Fields and the South End, whilst four Song thrushes hid away in the island's gardens. Similarly, 13 Chiffchaffs and seven Goldcrests were recorded before the rain set in. Many mobile flocks of Starlings were present this morning making counting difficult but a minimum of 215 were present. A small but noticeable finch passage consisted of 34 Chaffinches, two Siskins, one Goldfinch, 30 Linnets along with one Reed Bunting.


Monday, 27 October 2014



New birds in today were headlined by two Black Redstarts, one at the Lighthouse and the other at Ty Nessaf. A new male Merlin was found dashing around Nant in the evening.

Today was mostly about waders though with 44 Oystercatchers, one Whimbrel, one Lapwing, one Purple Sandpiper, one Jack Snipe, 38 Curlews, nine Redshanks, and 27 Turnstones recorded on The Narrows. High numbers of Rock Pipits are still mingling with the waders, 61 were recorded feeding on all the seaweed swept up by the recent storms. The ever present Hooded Crow could still be found lurking 'down south' as well.


A decent number of gulls fed in Bardsey waters today including four adult Mediterranean 

Gulls, 188 Black-headed Gulls, six Common Gulls, and 76 Herring Gulls. Away from the coast one Skylark frequented the Lowlands, two Redwings were in the Plantation, with four Blackcaps, six Chiffchaffs, nine Goldcrests, 37 Starlings, 34 Chaffinches and seven Linnets also noted.

 Chaffinch

 Turnstones
Rock Pipit

Sunday, 26 October 2014


The island was buffeted by strong winds throughout the day making it tough conditions for birds and their watchers. A 1st winter Little Gull lingered off the North End in the early afternoon while other highlights out to see include two Manx Shearwaters, one Common Scoter, one dark phase Arctic Skua, and five adult Mediterranean Gulls.  

The Narrows were bustling with birds sheltering from the wind. A total of 198 Herring Gulls46 Black-headed Gulls, and two Common Gulls were present, while an additional two 1st winter Mediterranean Gulls were picked out in the melee. The seaweed was alive with 67 Rock Pipits, and even a Robin was spotted feeding on the shoreline. The usual numbers of waders were also present; 40 Oystercatchers, ten Curlews, 11 Redshanks, and 15 Turnstones.

Inland it was quiet indeed with one Skylark, three Chiffchaff, and five Goldcrests the best we could muster. 

Saturday, 25 October 2014


The wind picked up slightly today, building more as the day went on. Surprisingly though, there was little movement out to sea. Only small numbers of Razorbills and Kittiwakes were passing by, with two Manx Shearwaters being the highlight. The one species moving in any significant number were Herring Gulls; in total 199 were recorded along the West Coast. A decent count of 18 Great Black-backed Gulls tagged along as well in this movement.

Things were generally as-you-were with inland migrants, the sole exceptions being a new Kestrel and a Jack Snipe in the Wetlands. A Merlin buzzed around The Narrows, much to the annoyance of the Whimbrel34 Oystercatchers48 Curlews, five Redshanks, and 14 Turnstones also present. The Ring Ouzel was still present at Cristin, gorging itself on the many damsons around the garden. Other migrants around include one Water Rail, one Snipe, 22 Skylarks, eight Blackbirds, 11 Song thrushes, eight Chiffchaffs, eight Goldcrests, 170 Starlings, and one Siskin




With forecasts of 40 mph winds tomorrow hopefully a few skuas and petrels will be seen.

Friday, 24 October 2014


A lovely day to be on Bardsey with a cool breeze and bright sunshine. It clouded over by the evening only to disappear at the last moment, presenting the islanders with a picture-perfect sunset.

For the first time this week the sightings are not dominated by sea passage. The calm seas did little to move seabirds, though we were content with the current selection of migrants moving around the island. Highlights mostly came from the visible migration overhead during the morning. These include 41 Skylarks, 102 Meadow Pipits, nine Ravens, 284 Starlings, 79 Chaffinches, one Greenfinch, 15 Siskins, 75 Goldfinches, 65 Linnets, one Lesser Redpoll, and 18 Reed Buntings. Elsewhere, a high count of 64 Rock Pipits were recorded, along with 12 Blackbirds, seven Song thrushes, one Blackcap, five Chiffchaffs, and 14 Goldcrests.

A small group of gulls fed around the North West Coast with a total of five Mediterranean Gulls found amongst the 98 Black-headed Gulls. Finally, a Water Rail called from the Withies and 28 Oystercatchers and 15 Turnstones were on The Narrows.

Though there may have not been any american vagrants, many of the current guests were treated to excellent views of the island's Peregrine Falcons. These supreme raptors put on a show throughout the day, at times chasing each other around the Cristin garden!

Thursday, 23 October 2014


The island felt calm today, as if the big was one was just around the corner. With American birds turning up all over Britain the island was well covered. Alas, it wasnt to be, but some excellent birds were still found. 

The highlight of the day went to the 1st winter Sabine's Gull that flew south off the South End mid morning. This is our sixth record of the autumn of this dainty seagull. The continued seabird passage was very much evident, though today the birds were found to be passing the East Coast, not the West as usual. A 1st winter Little Gull flew by, along with one Fulmar, 49 Gannets, 13 Mediterranean Gulls, 854 Black-headed Gulls, seven Common Gulls, 51 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 1693 Kittiwakes, and 2754 Razorbills.

A few new waders put in a appearance with a Purple Sandpiper at the North End and a Whimbrel on the rocks around Solfach. Bardsey is one of the few places in Britain where Whimbrel overwinter and it will be interesting if this individual stays with us. The usual suspects of 31 Oystercatchers, 49 Curlews, four Redshanks, and 15 Turnstones were all present and correct around The Narrows.

Away from the coast yesterday's Ring Ouzel was still in the Wetlands, whilst three Skylarkthree Song thrushes, three Blackcaps, one Chiffchaff, ten Goldcrests, three Starlings, 52 Chaffinch, one Reed Bunting, a Merlin, and one Water Rail were around the island.

Following a dry autumn, the recent damp weather has produced a glut of late fungi around the island. Many Parasols, Horse Mushrooms, Field Mushrooms, and Macrosprorous fungi are to be found. Though with their edible nature i cant imagine they'll be around for long.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014


After yesterday's fierce winds, and with more on the horizon, it was nice to get some respite today. 

Highlights were once again out to sea with an early morning seawatch producing the goods; a Leach's Petrel,  two Pomarine Skuas, an Arctic Skua, and three Great Northern Divers. By far the biggest mover of the day were Razorbills with a massive 15,000 seen. In addition, 20 Gannets, three Mediterranean Gulls, 92 Black-headed Gulls, 1372 Kittiwakes, seven Common Gulls, one Manx Shearwater, and 12 Common Scoters flew by. Interestingly, two Merlin were also seen passing out to sea.

The semi-resident Ring Ouzel at Cristin was joined by another in the Wetlands. Other migrant passerines around the island include two Song thrushes, five Redwings, three Chiffchaffs, four Willow Warblers, 10 Goldcrests, 189 Starlings, one Greenfinch, two Siskins, and one Reed Bunting. The recent wader counts diminished slightly to 32 Oystercatchers, 14 Curlews, and three Redshanks, though three new Snipes were found in the Wetlands, along with two Water Rails and a Heron.

Though the moth trap hasn't been run recently due to the strong winds, a few interesting sightings have been seen. A Green Brindled Crescent found at Cristin represents the sixth record for the islands, whilst a Hummingbird Hawkmoth was found hiding away in the Cristin Pantry!

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Hummingbird Hawkmoth resting

.....and this is what the look like in flight!!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014


The island was a tad windswept today, at times it was difficult to stand, especially on The Narrows. The forceful westerly winds took foam and sea spray right to the Cristin garden.

Bird-wise, these crazy winds provided the best sea passage seen this year. The first Grey Phalaropes of the year sped past over tumultuous seas with a total of six individuals passing over the course of the day. An impressive four adult Long-tailed Skuas (together in a single flock), six Pomarine Skuas, seven Arctic Skuas, and 12 Great Skuas were seen heading south along the West Coast. There was plenty of gull action too, with three juvenile Sabine's Gulls, five Mediterranean Gulls, three 1st winter Little Gulls, 106 Black-headed Gulls, 177 Herring Gulls, and 1262 Kittiwakes recorded during the day. As if that wasn't enough, one Leach's Petrel passed the North End briefly, one Black-throated Diver headed south, and a superb summer-plumaged Great Northern Diver came past too. And finally, 3638 Razorbills, one Common Tern, four Golden Ploversone Fulmar, nine Manx Shearwaters, six Wigeons, two Common Scoters, and two Mallards completed the days epic tally.

Unsurprisingly, the winds made it extremely difficult searching for migrants inland, with just two Chiffchaffs and three Goldcrests around the island. The Narrows were even harder to census but 16 Oystercatchers, 50 Curlews, seven Redshanks, and eight Turnstones could still be seen. One interesting bird did manage to show itself on the island today though. A single Greenland White-fronted Goose was spotted as it cruised south over Cristin, touching down on the South End, before finally settling in Traeth Fennon. An excellent addition to the year. Though recorded almost annually as a flyover, this is the first bird to set foot on the island since 1996.

Monday, 20 October 2014


Despite the fresh wind, and a brief spell of rain in the morning, it was a thoroughly enjoyable day on Ynys Enlli. Once again eyes were to the sea where a reasonable passage of birds occurred along the West Coast. Just before midday the first three Sooty Shearwaters of the year were watched heading south, and by the end of the day three Balearic Shearwaters and 31 Manx Shearwaters were also seen.



The second Black-throated Diver of the year headed north into the Sound whilst Skuas were also in evidence today; a total of one Pomarine Skua, three Arctic Skuas, and three Great Skuas were logged. Some of the most numerous species heading past the island were 585 Razorbills, 352 Gannets, 359 Black-headed Gulls, and 490 Kittiwakes, along with five Mediterranean Gulls, four Common Gulls, one Puffin, and seven Common Scoters.

The highlight of the day though went to an inland find surprisingly. A brief appearance by a male Goshawk in the Lowlands was a much needed break from the sea-watching. The status of this impressive raptor has changed dramatically over the years from an annual occurrence to quite the rarity. This is the first record for the island for several years.

Other interesting sightings include a Tree Pipit that headed south over Cristin calling, four Skylarks along the West Coast, one Wheatear still on Pen Cristin, a Water Rail in Cristin Withy, one Song Thrush at Cristin, and the Ring Ouzel was found to still be present at Cristin. In addition, there were three Blackcaps, seven Chiffchaff, 14 Goldcrests76 Starlings, three Greenfinches, one Siskin, three Reed Buntingsthough there was no sign of the recent Yellow-browed Warbler. The Narrows and the South End held most of the waders with a total of 49 Oystercatchers, 32 Curlews, 12 Turnstones, one Purple Sandpiper, and one Redshank.

 
 Sooty Shearwaters
and to compare- a Manx Shearwater

Sunday, 19 October 2014


As forecast yesterday the south-westerlies did indeed improve the total of birds passing out at sea, encompassing most of the days attention. Highlights of today's seawatch include two Great Skuas, two Balearic Shearwaters, 23 Mediterannean Gulls and a Little Gull. Other numbers include 166 Gannets,  996 Kittiwakes, 141 Black-headed Gulls and 555 Razorbills, and eight late Manx Shearwaters.

Inland, the birding was hard, with most birds tucked in out of the wind. Still, the Yellow-browed Warbler was found to still be present in Cristin Withy. Waders were similar to yesterday with 48 Oystercatchers, 57 Curlews, six Redshanks, and 11 Turnstones. The Water Rail and Redwing were still present in Cristin Withy. In addition, three late-ish Swallows headed north over the Narrows in the morning, whilst two Chiffchaffs, five Goldcrests, and 135 Starlings were around the island.
 Balearic Shearwater
 Gannet
Great Skua


Saturday, 18 October 2014


The weather was rather wild today with the sea particularly impressive. The hoped-for seabird passage failed to materialise, though visibility wasnt too great either. Amongst the sea spray a few gems were spotted though; a flock of 12 Eiders flew along the West Coast in the morning and three Tufted Ducks headed south just before midday. The latter species is rather rare here and a new addition for the year. The Yellow-browed Warbler was also present another day, showing well in Cristin Withy, whilst the Ring Ouzel chacked away at Cristin.

Decent numbers of waders are still present with 37 Oystercatchers, two Snipes, 55 Curlews, eight Redshanks, and 28 Turnstones all recorded. The lack of movement out at sea is summed up by today being the first day this month with no Mediterranean Gulls seen. Just 51 Black-headed Gulls, two Common Gulls, and 171 Kittiwakes passed by the island. That said, the south-westerlies on the horizon do look particularly promising. Inland, singles of Redwing, Song Thrush, and Blackcap were found along with seven Chiffchaffs, seven Goldcrests, and two Water Rails.

 Mixed wader flock - Redhank and Turnstones
Goldcrest


Friday, 17 October 2014


There was little change in birds today with the only new discovery being a Yellow-browed Warbler in Cristin Withy. A female Ring Ouzel at Cristin was caught in the Heligoland trap late morning, making it a fantastic three birds to have been ringed this week, though still some way to go to beat the year record of 13. A Brambling also passed over Cristin briefly, amongst a small finch passage comprising mostly of 80 Goldfinches.

The Narrows held a decent selection of waders today with one Purple Sandpiper, 37 Curlews, one Whimbrel, six Redshanks, and 18 Turnstones recorded. Three Redwings and two Water Rails were in the Withies, with one other squeeling Water Rail at Cristin.

Far fewer gulls were seen today compared to yesterday's large figures though up to ten Mediterranean Gulls, 288 Black-headed Gulls, 12 Common Gulls, and 464 Kittiwakes fed off of the West Coast. There was minimal Auk passage today with just 76 Razorbills seen. Elsewhere a high count of 20 Swallows passed over Nant in the morning, whilst ten Chiffchaffs, eight Goldcrests, and 105 Starlings were seen along with singles of Reed Bunting and Merlin.


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The third Ring Ouzel to be trapped this week
A Yellow-browed Warbler was seen in Cristin Withy
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Turnstone dazzled on Solfach after dark

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Today's birding was dictated by the rain, with intermittent downpours throughout the day. Between the rain spells four Ring Ouzels were found, two at Nant and two at Cristin. A brief highlight of the day was a Snow Bunting which flew over Cristin mid morning. Most of the days eyes seem to be directed to the large passage of gulls along the West Coast of the island. A minimum of 3937 Black-headed Gulls, 445 Common Gulls, and 50 Mediterranean Gulls were recorded. In addition, the Yellow-legged Gull put in a brief appearance on the South End in the morning.

Inland, two Merlinsone Whimbrel, 56 Curlews, one Redshank, 37 Turnstones, and the Hooded Crow were present around the Narrows. Migrant-wise 56 Skylarks, three Swallows, 128 Meadow Pipits, three Wheatears, five Song thrushes, six Redwing, one Blackcap, ten Chiffchaffs, one Willow Warbler, 11 Goldcrests, 54 Starlings, one Greenfinch, one Siskin, and four Reed Buntings were seen around the island. A Water Rail was also present in Cristin Withy and a Common Scoter flew south out at sea. There was no sign of the Barred Warbler today.

It looks set for rather blustery conditions in the next few days so many eyes will be looking out for our first Leach's Petrel of the autumn...


   
Herring Gulls
 Black-headed Gulls
Mediterranean Gulls
 Common Gull


 Chiffchaffs



 Grey Seals