Friday, 19 December 2014

The 18th was a wholly uneventful day, with overcast skies accompanied by light drizzle and strong winds. A dark-bellied Brent Goose flew past the North End mid-morning, although this was by far the highlight of the day. The 19th was a reasonable day, with fresh winds from the North-west and clear skies encouraging a small movement of seabirds out to sea: a Great Skua passing the West Side in the late afternoon was a bit of a surprise, being Bardsey's latest ever record by 14 days. One Fulmar, three Gannets, 83 Kittiwakes, 124 Guillemots and seven Razorbills were also seen out to sea. A good gathering of 16 Lesser Black-backed Gulls was noted amongst the usual 58 Oystercatchers and 56 Curlews in Henllwyn, whilst a single Chiffchaff tried to find shelter in Ty Pellaf garden.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

It was a breezy day, with yet more drizzly rain settling towards the end of the day. Out to sea, a small movement of seabirds included three Fulmars, three Gannets, two Black-headed Gulls, 68 Kittiwakes and 30 Guillemots. A single Whimbrel was noted around The Narrows, and a Chiffchaff was seen in Ty Pellaf garden.

A selection of videos taken on Bardsey Island in the last year

Yellow Dung Fly

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The day started off quite nicely, with scattered cloud and low winds entertaining thoughts of perhaps some new migrants on the island; however, by the late afternoon the wind had picked up and heavy rain showers had moved in. A Great Northern Diver was the highlight of the morning's seawatching efforts, which also produced 15 Black-headed Gulls, four Common Gulls, 116 Kittiwakes, 81 Guillemots and two Razorbills. Three Chiffchaffs were noted inland, along with two Goldcrests, two Redwings and four Song Thrushes.

Female Chaffinch making the most of some late berries 


Monday, 15 December 2014

Another calm day with overcast skies saw a reasonable smattering of noteworthy sightings on the island: yet another Manx Shearwater flew South during the day, which once again takes the lead for the latest ever record for this species on Bardsey; four Goldcrests, a Chiffchaff and two Linnets were seen around The Lowlands and in the gardens; four Song Thrushes and seven Blackbirds were amongst the day's thrush counts; and a Water Rail and a Purple Sandpiper were also recorded.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

A rather grim day saw very little in the way of birds around, but singles of Merlin and Whimbrel were seen around The Narrows, along with two Lapwings.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

A very pleasant day saw a much-needed respite in the stormy and overcast conditions, with a few migrants finding their way to the island. Thrush numbers were up on previous weeks, with a total of 11 Blackbirds, three Fieldfares, nine Song Thrushes and five Redwings recorded, along with two Chiffchaffs in Ty Pellaf garden and three Goldcrests at Nant. A Snipe was flushed from The Wetlands, and the Hooded Crow remained around The Narrows.


Blue Tit


Male Stonechat

Friday, 12 December 2014

It was a breezy day with very few passerines making an appearance. The highlight of the day came in the form of the year's first Little Auk, which flew South past the West Side, along with a Gannet, 45 Kittiwakes, 345 Guillemots and 15 Razorbills.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Although the winds did not increase quite as much as was forecast, it was still quite a breezy day, and thus seawatching was virtually the only port of call when it came to birding. The results came in the form of another Manx Shearwater, which is now the latest date this species has ever been seen on the island; five Gannets, six Fulmars, 106 Kittiwakes, seven Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 234 Guillemots and four Razorbills were also recorded. Towards The Narrows, the Hooded Crow remained on Solfach with the usual flock of Choughs.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

As the depression continues to work its way eastward over the north and west of the UK, strong winds and high tides produced some fantastic seascapes during the day. Most attention was focussed seaward, with only one or two passerines showing themselves inland. A Sooty Shearwater flying South past the West Side mid-morning was quite a surprise, and is likely to be the latest record of this species on Bardsey. Also seen out to sea were nine Fulmars, seven Gannets, 125 Guillemots, 52 Kittiwakes and three Common Gulls.

Lesser Black-backed Gull (top) and Herring Gulls against some dramatic blow-back waves in Henllwyn

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

A day of strong winds, drizzly rain and overcast skies made for a greatly reduced selection of avifauna on the island. The overwintering Whimbrel was seen around The Narrows, along with six Purple Sandpiper and a Common Gull. Five Snipe were noted in the lowlands, where a Grey Heron was also present.

Monday, 8 December 2014

The cold and breezy weather continued today, although there was a greatly reduced passage of seabirds was noted at sea. Nevertheless, a dark-bellied Brent Goose was seen around The Narrows, which is just the fourth record so far this year. A Whimbrel and three Snipe were also seen around The Narrows. Singles of Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Greenfinch and Goldfinch were noted inland.

The pair of Ravens continue to take up residence on the island, and perhaps may start nesting in the next few months

Brent Goose

As many as 40 Rock Pipits have been feeding on Solfach in recent weeks. A little over 50 birds have been colour-ringed this year, and yet only a maximum of 20 ringed birds are present on Solfach at the moment
Shag and Black-headed Gull in the rough seas

Blue Tit

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Another breezy day on the island saw temperatures drop to 3'C, and the brisk North wind encouraged a reasonable movement of birds out to sea: the highlight of the day came in the form of two Manx Shearwaters, which passed the North End amongst a movement of 1135 Guillemots. This is the latest ever record of this species on Bardsey- the previous latest departure date was on the 5th of December in 2004. Elsewhere on the island, singles of Mediterranean Gull, Gannet, Whimbrel and Hooded Crow were noted, along with a Chiffchaff, a Greenfinch and a Goldfinch in Ty Pellaf garden.

There was a good gathering of 30 Choughs on Solfach during the day, although the high tides meant that some of the large piles of seaweed were washed out to sea

Friday, 5 December 2014

It was a very blustery day, with chilly winds from the north meaning that most passerines inland were hunkered down in the shelter of the gardens and withies. A single Chiffchaff, two Song Thrushes and a Greenfinch were seen, however, although even out to sea there wasn't a great deal passing by: a single Red-throated Diver and Common Gull were pick of the bunch. A Whimbrel appeared in the usual flock of Curlews, numbering 57 today.

Some footage of the Choughs and other birds feeding on Solfach from last week

The Hooded Crow continues to linger around The Narrows

Chough numbers feeding on Solfach have increased to just over 30 every day at the moment

Thursday, 4 December 2014

A very calm day with overcast skies definitely gave the feeling of the calm before the storm, with the forecast for next week showing near-constant gale force westerlies. A handful of noteworthy passerines were noted around the lowlands and at Ty Pellaf throughout the day, including four Redwings, three Song Thrushes, a male Blackcap, two Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest and at least eight Stonechats. A single Mediterranean Gull was amongst the usual feeding flock of Black-headed Gulls, Kittiwakes and Common Gulls, whilst singles of Merlin, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard represented the day's raptors.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

After yesterday's stormy weather, today provided a bit of a respite, although there was no obvious increase in the number of migrants around. The male Blackcap was seen again at Ty Pellaf, along with two Chiffchaffs, a Song Thrush, three Goldfinches and a Linnet. Towards the southern end of the island, a single Mediterranean Gull was seen amongst 15 Common Gulls, a Lapwing was present on The Narrows and a Merlin flew over Solfach.

There have been some fantastic weather conditions over the last few weeks, giving some beautiful landscapes around the island.

The newly-arrived male Blackcap


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The weather certainly made it clear that it is now December: strong Northerly winds gusting over 35km/hr overnight brought temperature down well into the single figures, and coupled with this were frequent squally showers throughout the day. Nevertheless, it seemed it sheltered areas that migrants had gathered together somewhat. A new male Blackcap was discovered at Ty Pellaf, where no fewer than four Chiffchaffs took refuge alongside three Redwings, three Song Thrushes and 12 Chaffinches. A total of three Mediterranean Gulls and five Common Gulls flew North past the West Side.

Purple Sandpipers continue to appear every now and then, although numbers seem to be quite low. Maximum counts at the moment have reached 16 birds.


A few more Starlings were captured and ringed on Solfach before the Heligoland trap was taken down ahead of the strong winds. As in the previous post-, a comparison of eye colour in male (lower) and female (top)
A Starlings glossy mantle, close up

Monday, 1 December 2014

It was a very calm day, with overcast skies, and the presence of newly-arrived migrants was evident. Thrush numbers had been boosted overnight, with a total of seven Blackbirds, one Fieldfare, four Song Thrushes and 14 Redwings recorded. A single Chiffchaff was present at Ty Pellaf, five Goldcrests were seen at Nant, and a Merlin flew over The Narrows. Out to sea, noteworthy passing seabirds included one Common Scoter, one Lapwing, five Mediterranean Gulls, four Common Gulls.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

It was yet another superb day, with weather more typical of the early spring rather than the depths of winter! It was a reasonable day bird wise too: a Black Redstart was discovered in Henllwyn in the late afternoon, which is the latest winter record of this species since 2009; a Golden Plover flew North over the West Side; singles of Water Rail and Jack Snipe were recorded overnight; and three Chiffchaffs, six Goldcrests, four Redwings and four Song Thrushes were also seen,

The seal pup continues to hall out on Solfach, and is particularly interested in a small canvas photography hide that is set up on the beach. For more pictures of this inquisitive creature, see

Purple Sandpipers in sea spray


Saturday, 29 November 2014

It was a stunning day on the island, with light south-easterly winds coupled with glorious clear skies and mild temperatures. There were several new arrivals during the day: a Snow Bunting flew south over the mountain ridge in the late afternoon; one Fieldfare, two Redwings and five Song Thrushes were all new in; at least four Chiffchaffs were seen alongside seven Goldcrests, with three alone together in Cristin Withy; and  a small finch passage comprised one Greenfinch, four Goldfinches and nine Linnets. A Teal was seen around The Narrows, where 15 Purple Sandpipers and a Hooded Crow were also present.

A slightly unusual angle on the Choughs feeding on Solfach


One of the highlights of the day was that of the discovery of a large number of micro moths on the mountain. Well over 100 Agonopterix umbellana were seen on the gorse on Pen Cristin, and five Argyrotaenia lijungiana were also found, which is a new species for Bardsey.

Acleris hyemana- a common species in the UK which emerges in October and overwinters as an adult. The larvae feed on heather, and the adults tend to rest well-camouflaged amongst low heathland plants. At least five were found near the gorse on the mountain, although there were likely to be many more
A record number of Agonopterix umbellana was found on the mountain top