Tuesday, 24 May 2016


Superb weather all day coupled with a few scarce island birds made for happy faces all round. The clear highlight of the day swept in late in the evening as a flock of three Mute Swans were watched flying south over Cristin before alighting on The Narrows. With the last record coming six years ago in April 2010, this flock becomes only the ninth sighting in Bardsey’s history.

Another rare island bird, a Tree Sparrow, put in an appearance at Nant. The bird was watched singing in The Plantation in the morning adding to the already unprecedented run of records this spring. To cap off the great day a Short-eared Owl flew north over the Mountain ridge in the evening.

It was also equally busy out at sea with a count of 3258 Manx Shearwaters, the highest this year so far, alongside 51 Gannets, 29 Shags, ten Fulmars, one Common Gull, two Common Scoters, 584 Guillemots, 537 Razorbills, and ten Puffins. In addition one Grey Heron, one Kestrel, five Sanderlings, one Collared Dove, 12 Swifts, one Sand Martin, 97 Swallows, 34 House Martins, one Song Thrush, three Whitethroats, two Spotted Flycatchers, one Hooded Crow, and two Lesser Redpolls were logged.

Monday, 23 May 2016


A new arrival of 21 Spotted Flycatchers seemed to be enjoying the great weather, as were the 51 House Martins, most of which spent the day hawking over the Mountainside above Cristin. Warblers numbers have started to drop as we reach the mid-summer lull where breeding birds take over, though eight Sedge Warblers, three Whitethroats, one Blackcap, and five Chiffchaffs could still be found. An Arctic Skua was watched out at sea, no doubt harrying the 140 Kittiwakes also seen offshore today. More interesting migrants recorded include one Grey Heron, two Purple Sandpipers, two Collared Doves, two Sand Martins, 107 Swallows, one Hooded Crow, one Siskin, and six Lesser Redpolls.

Sunday, 22 May 2016


Apart from a brief shower in the morning, the day was simply gorgeous leaving behind a stunning sunset too. Some top drawer birds were to be found as well. A female Shoveller watched flying out of Henllwyn late morning was just the 25th record for the island, with the last records coming in 2013. Similarly, a Black-throated Diver flying past the South End in the early hours is a good sighting of this barely annual species. To cap it off a Turtle Dove (or possibly two) put in a multitude of appearances from Plas to Pen Cristin.

A bit of hirundine movement totalled 180 Swallows, 56 House Martins and out highest count of Swifts this year, with 12 seen. Warbler numbers remained low as with ten Sedge Warblers, four Whitethroats, one Blackcap, five Chiffchaffs, and one Willow Warbler present though 17 Spotted Flycatchers were a nice increase. Also around were one Grey Heron, eight Common Scoters, two Kestrels, 19 Turnstones, one Grey Wagtail, one Hooded Crow, and eight Lesser Redpolls. Of note were 47 Green-veined Whites being the biggest count this year, it won’t be long before these are in their hundreds across the Lowland fields.

Saturday, 21 May 2016


A surprise find in the afternoon concerned a Quail flushed from the North-west Heath. Amazingly, a repeat scenario of last year when two were seen at the same site on 16 June.

More sea-watching produced counts of 986 Manx Shearwaters, 44 Gannets, two Common Scoters, and 15 Puffins whilst one Collared Dove, 25 Swallows, one House Martin, six Sedge Warblers, two Chiffchaffs, and two Lesser Redpolls were dotted around the island. A single Sanderling and 20 Turnstones were the best on The Narrows.

Friday, 20 May 2016


In a day of a strong winds and odd rain showers a Great Skua off the North End at midday was probably the highlight, being the first record of this powerful seabird this year. A dark phase Arctic Skua was also seen flying past the South End in the early hours.

A quite day on The Narrows too with one Purple Sandpiper and 17 Turnstones the highlights. Movement of 170 Swallows and 17 House Martins was noticed overhead and, although warbler counts were minimal today, four Spotted Flycatchers were new in. Final migrant highlights consisted of two Collared Doves, three Siskins, 14 Goldfinches, and one Lesser Redpoll.

Spotted Flycatcher

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Blyth's Pipit write up from the RBA website.

The second week of May turned out to be quite a good one in the end on Bardsey Island, off North Wales. It began well with an Osprey heading north over the island on Saturday afternoon (which we have since learned it was FK8, from the Tweed Valley in the Borders!).
Sunday saw two Blue-headed Wagtails, a Grey Plover, a Pomarine Skua and a Wood Sandpiper - only the 16th record for the island. Monday started with the year's first Turtle Dove in the morning, and then moved on to the layout of a section of the 2014 bird report for me. Radio traffic about a mid-afternoon arrival of birds prompted me to head out for an hour. Minutes after leaving my desk, Steve Hinde radioed out news of a male Eastern Subalpine Warbler near the lighthouse. We spent the next two hours watching and enjoying this gem, the first for 24 months and the 15th on the island in the past nine years, and the sixth one that ‘subalp Steve’ had found on here.

Eastern Subalpine Warbler, Bardsey, Gwynedd (© Steve Stansfield)
Tuesday morning was grey with a southeast breeze. Early morning radio traffic again dragged me away from my desk, with the words 'Black Kite!' being broadcast over the airwaves by one of my Assistants, Mark Carter. This was just the third record for Bardsey but the second found by Mark!

Black Kite, Bardsey, Gwynedd (© Steve Stansfield)
Fitting new carpets in the Lodge was the order of the day for Steve Hinde and myself from mid-morning on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Mark was counting Swallows on Pen Cristin when he radioed at about 1630 saying he had just found a large pale Pipit on Pen Cristin but was not sure which species it was. Steve and I downed tools and went straight out. As we approached, Mark was describing the bird over the radio. It sounded like it was going to be a Tawny Pipit as he described it as being quite pale and unstreaked. However, he had noticed on the only photo that he managed to get, that the bird did not have the diagnostic dark lores. Mark had had a cracking couple of days with his Black Kite and now this!
When Steve and I arrived we saw the bird, clearly a pale looking large pipit, and at the distance we were – c80 metres with no scopes, the bird did look very pale and very much like a Tawny Pipit. I was quite happy as it would have been a Bardsey tick! We never got very close views, and every time we tried to get closer the bird flew. We followed it around three small fields, trying to use gorse bushes as cover to be able to get closer. Eventually I managed to get close enough to rattle off a few shots with a 400mm lens. I had a quick look at them in the field, but as the sky was quite bright, and the images were not that good I could not make much detail out on the back of the camera. We watched the bird for about another 30 minutes at a distance to 80 to 100m. We could see no streaking on the breast, no malar, and what appeared to be a fairly clean looking mantle. However, we were all in agreement that the bird had pale lores – an ‘absolute no-no’ when it comes to the ID of Tawny Pipit.

The foreground shows the area of grassy fields known as Pen Cristin where the pipit was found and favoured. The south end of the island with the lighthouse to the left and Bardsey mountain to the right. (© Steve Stansfield)

Image showing our initial views of the bird – showing well, but distantly, left of centre in the shot, with a wheatear to the right for size comparison. (© Steve Stansfield)
Steve Hinde stayed with the bird whilst Mark, Steffan Walton and I headed back to the Obs, I wanted to get Emma (my wife) to come and see the bird. When we got into the house I had a quick look at the pictures on the back of the camera without the glare of the bright sky. Alarm bells began to ring immediately, the bird’s mantle was actually streaked (!), there was a malar stripe, albeit a weak one and breast streaking, again very weak. I commented to Emma ‘I’m not sure this is a Tawny Pipit you know, it looks more like a Blyth’s in these Pictures!’
I immediately grabbed my radio and asked Steve if he was still with the bird, but he had just lost it and then left the site. When Steve enquired ‘why?’ I responded saying that ‘I was not convinced the bird was a Tawny Pipit and it was not a Richard’s Pipit’. Steffan and Mark both got on the radio and began asking questions. I explained that the bird was streaked etc. and these features were not visible at the range we were watching it from without scopes. I set off back to where the bird was, along with Emma and everyone else.
Having found Wales’ first Blyth’s Pipit in 2005, I knew the relevant features of a first winter bird, but what would a first summer one look like, or even an adult? …And it was May! Blyth’s Pipit is clearly on the radar in autumn, but not in May…
So armed with telescopes and cameras we relocated the bird. Again it was still jumpy, but with scopes we could see the features that I was able to just make out in the photos. The bird definitely did have pale lores, it was very pale looking, the mantle was definitely streaked, with neat rows of dark streaks. The malar stipe was there too, not as bold as a Richards, and not ending in a dark triangle on the upper breast sides. The streaking on the upper breast was there, but not very pronounced. The bird was quite compact, with a shortish tail, and was never big and bold and upright like a Richard’s Pipit in stance. The bird was now also heard to call several times, giving a schpeeoo call and also a chruuup and chuup call. I was becoming more and more convinced the bird was a Blyth’s, but the fact it was May was a real off putter! Steffan had brought various field guides and we were able to check on the features, but all of them were describing typical October birds, so were of little help. I knew I needed to get a photo of either the pattern of T5 and/or the hind claw. As we had spread out a little, I radioed to the others who were using scopes, to check the exact patterning of the malar, the crown, the median coverts, mantle and breast streaking and if possible the pattern of T5 and hind claw length, and also to watch what did it did when it landed – did it hover or flop into the grass? I was trying my best to get the pictures I knew we needed to absolutely clinch the ID.

One of the first images we could see the bird had a streaked mantle, compact appearance and short tail. This images is very heavily cropped. One adult median covert is visible as is the short and de-curved hind claw. (© Steve Stansfield)
I approached the bird, using banks and bushes as cover, and eventually managed to get close enough to get several images which showed all the features previously mentioned. The bird was, for the most part, in grass which was about 1-inch-deep, so getting a good view of the feet was hard. However, I did manage to get some shots where the hind claw length was visible. All the features were now there, we even saw it landing without hovering first. I was able to go home and put the news out about the UK’s first spring Blyth’s Pipit!

The image that clinched it for me, the hind claw, clearly visible, short and de-curved. About the same length as the hind toe. (© Steve Stansfield)
I downloaded the images onto the computer, checked for all the features again – short hind claw, short tail, compact jizz, quite a smallish bill, streaked mantle and back, weak malar and breast streaking. It was all there…
I picked up the phone to call RBA, began to dial the number, then hung up… This was some claim, what if we had it wrong and were making a ‘schoolboy error’? I decided to be doubly cautious and to call the Observatory’s Chairman, Peter Howlett, and work through the features with an un-biased 3rd party. We looked at all the ID features closely in the images and Peter agreed that they did all fit, each and every one of them. So eventually I picked up the phone and left a message to the effect of ‘hi guys, it’s Steve Stansfield on Bardsey, I know this is going to sound like a bit of a ballsy claim, but we have got a Blyth’s Pipit, I’m just about to post some pictures on Twitter…’

Pale lores clearly visible in this shot (© Steve Stansfield)

Very pale looking bird showing one blunter tipped centre to the outer median covert, fine and weak looking malar, with very fine indistinct breast streaking. The horizontal stance being obvious in this shot too. (© Steve Stansfield)
I quickly posted some cropped, but un-processed pictures on Twitter and then watched the notifications go mental! Re-tweet after re-tweet, favourite after favourite, and congratulatory tweets coming in every minute.
I was waiting for someone to tell me I had dropped a massive clanger, but there was enough to be seen on the bird for everyone to agree with our ID, this really was UK’s first spring Blyth’s Pipit.
Now that the bird has gone, I am back to my day job of running the Observatory and Lodge, we finally finished decorating the Lodge, fitting the new carpets and getting the place looking nice and fresh for our guests.

Stay at BBFO

To stay at Bardsey Lodge and Bird Observatory visit www.bbfo.org.uk/stay.
Cost
Just £165 per person per week self-catering, with the boat fare £38. We have two double/twin rooms, two four bedded/family rooms and two singles. Communal facilities – kitchen, dining room, wash room and lounge etc. are shared with other guests.






Steve Stansfield
19 May 2015

Those who got an early start were rewarded with the nicest weather of the day. Things turned sour soon after with drizzle, then heavy rain, followed by mist, and finally high winds. Scopes pointing seaward produces counts of 1048 Manx Shearwaters, 15 Fulmars, 62 Gannets, 68 Kittiwakes, one Sandwich Tern, 294 Guillemots, 436 Razorbills, and seven Puffins passing by.

A Grey Heron loafed through the Lowlands in the morning heading towards The Narrows where one Ringed Plover, six Purple Sandpipers, six Dunlins, one Bar-tailed Godwit, six Whimbrels, two Curlews, and 11 Turnstones were present.

A Brambling north over Pen Cristin was a surprising first for the year with further light finch passage amounting to five Siskins, 13 Goldfinches, and seven Lesser Redpolls. A small arrival of five Spotted Flycatchers was noticeable with further migrants totalling two Collared Doves, 84 Swallows, seven House Martins, one Grey Wagtail, and one Hooded Crow.



Wednesday, 18 May 2016


After a brief rain shower early in the morning the island bathed in sun for the rest of the day, looking particularly resplendent at times. The wind seemed to die down too though a refreshing cool breeze stayed on until the evening.

The sporadic Hooded Crow flew over The Narrows in the morning, putting in its sixth appearance of the month. Quite where it is hiding in-between is a mystery, maybe it is commuting from the mainland?

A decent southwards passage of 761 Swallows, 12 House Martins, and two Swifts was recorded in the late afternoon whilst The Narrows was productive as six Sanderlings, 15 Purple Sandpipers, five Dunlins, six Whimbrels, 28 Turnstones, and two Sandwich Terns were seen. In addition one Kestrel, 20 Wheatears, nine Sedge Warblers, one Whitethroat, two Blackcaps, six Chiffchaffs, one Spotted Flycatcher, and four Lesser Redpolls were recorded inland.

OSPREY FK8 BREIFLY VISITS BARDSEY

This spring we have had three Ospreys pass over the island. Two, including this one below were seen on Sunday 15th May.

However, on 8 May Steve Hinde saw an Osprey over the north end of Bardsey. He watched the bird head off across the sound heading towards Anglesey and last night we uncovered a fantastic story about its origins and travels!

It all began on 17 May when the following tweet was posted on Twitter by the Loch Garten Osprey Centre:
RSPB Loch Garten ‏@RSPBLochGarten May 16
We've been in touch with Diane Bennett at the Tweed Valley Osprey Project and she is thrilled to hear that FK8...
http://fb.me/14DfP6850

We were informed about this via a tweet from JW:
JW ‏@jw4926 May 17
@RSPBLochGarten @ThreaveOspreys FK8 - maybe the one seen @bardseyobs on 8th May?


...at this point I saw the satellite track map (below) and thought that it looked like the Osprey FK8 had been very very close to the island, but I was not sure about which date it passed.



I contacted Diane Bennet at the Tweed Valley Osprey project and asked her if she could let me know the date and time the bird passed the island. She replied it was the 8th of May at 10.38 GMT. Steve Hinde had told me it was 11.40 BST... we had a match!!

Diane and I then sent a few more emails and details to each other and I have now taken most of the following section from
https://tweedvalleyospreys.com/


FK8 journeys


The best news from Tweed Valley Ospreys is the return of FK8. The satellite tagged two-year-old returned to the UK on 7th May. She has been extensively exploring since her return and has spent two nights over on the Isle of Lewis and Harris before crossing back to the mainland north of Ullapool, on 11th May. She then headed east to Golspie and then north to Wick. After exploring the area she moved inland to roost overnight west of Loch Calder on 12th May where she hopefully tucked into a tasty trout.

On 13th May she crossed the North Sea to Troup Head before heading south onto Haddo House. While there she roamed the landscape before roosting overnight in a forest plantation nearby. At approximately 4.30am she began to fly around the area before purposefully heading southwards again at 8.47am. She flew high over Tomintoul and arrived at the famous Loch Garten RSPB site at 15.07pm.



There, she was photographed and seen on their live camera in the visitor centre looking resplendent. They sent over photographs of our bird and it is fantastic to see her.

The first we heard of her visit was via an email received from Julie Quirie at the RSPB Centre saying “we thought that you would like to know that your two year old satellite osprey FK8 paid us a visit here at Loch Garten! She spent around 15 mins on our camera tree and was good enough to pose and show off her leg ring so that we could identify her. There was a male osprey in the area at the same time with a white leg ring but we were unable to identify that one”.


FK8 sitting on the camera tree at the famous Loch Garten nest site


Visitors at Loch Garten watching FK8 on the HD TVs

The last we saw of her was when she was ringed in 2014 as a six week old fledgling. She is now a magnificent and beautiful fully grown adult. Although she is not ready to breed this year, she is certainly checking out good places as likely territory for next year. She left the Loch Garten reserve and her satellite data shows us that from there she headed further south to Loch Insh. We are now waiting for more data to see where she goes next, but my bet is that having checked out north, south, east and west, she is surely heading home to the beautiful Scottish Borders Tweed Valley!

Below is the satellite image of her passing Bardsey island.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016


The first Common Tern of the year was watched off the South End in the morning, easily the highlight in a breezy day light in migrants. Also seen at sea were eight Common Scoters with one Ringed Plover, three Purple Sandpipers, three Dunlins, three Whimbrels, and 24 Turnstones feeding on The Narrows at high tide.

The totals from inland sum to one Kestrel, one Collared Dove, one Sand Martin, 81 Swallows, four House Martins, eight Sedge Warblers, one Whitethroat, eight Chiffchaffs, one Willow Warbler, one Spotted Flycatcher, and three Lesser Redpolls.

Monday, 16 May 2016


The morning broke with a stunning millpond sea perfect for watching passing seabirds and cetaceans. Good counts of 42 Common Scoters, 572 Manx Shearwaters, 60 Gannets, 29 Shags, 93 Kittiwakes, 364 Guillemots, 746 Razorbills, 20 Puffins, and 13 Harbour Porpoises were made.

Bird of the day was only heard singing for about five minutes from the southern end of the Obs garden near the Schoolhouse. This came in the form of a Wryneck. The bird was searched for later but could not be found.
Things were much quieter inland with three Sanderlings, two Purple Sandpipers, seven Dunlins, one Bar-tailed Godwit, eight Whimbrels, 13 Turnstones, one Grey Wagtail, eight Sedge Warblers, two Whitethroats, one Garden Warbler, four Blackcaps, nine Chiffchaffs, one Spotted Flycatcher, five Siskins, and 17 Lesser Redpolls recorded. A noticeable movement of northward hirundines was noted however totalling two Sand Martins, 341 Swallows, and 69 House Martins.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Not a cloud in the sky today made temperatures rise and birds to soar. Two separate Ospreys passed over in these thermals, one on the East Side of the Mountain in the morning and another over the West Coast and Mountain at lunchtime.  The surprise find in the fine weather was a dapper male Ortolan Bunting watched on the ground behind Ty Pellaf in the morning. The bird flew off southwards soon after but could not be re-found. Thirdly, a Tree Sparrow was found at Nant at midday; continuing a rather good spell for this species recently.


Where the Ortolan Bunting was feeding and a glorious sight to boot

Record shot of one of the Ospreys heading north
A dark phase Arctic Skua marauding off the South End was the best sighting at sea, though 1101 Manx Shearwaters and 11 Common Scoters were noteworthy.
Counts of waders on The Narrows at high tide culminated in seven Sanderlings, two Purple Sandpipers, nine Dunlins, one Bar-tailed Godwit, 11 Whimbrels, one Curlew, and eight Turnstones.
A female Whinchat in the Lowlands was new in with other interesting migrants totalling two Collared Doves, three Sand Martins, 307 Swallows, 13 House Martins, one White Wagtail, 26 Wheatears, nine Sedge Warblers, nine Whitethroats, one Garden Warbler, five Blackcaps, 12 Chiffchaffs, one Willow Warbler, two Spotted Flycatchers, five Siskins, and 12 Lesser Redpolls.

Saturday, 14 May 2016


Highlights from the day seemed to be directed seawards with gems such as Black Guillemot, Pomarine Skua, two Arctic Skuas, and two Common Scoters seen off the South End, whilst 35 Arctic Terns were watched feeding distantly off the West Coast at midday.

A Grey Heron was the first seen since the end of March, indicating perhaps a failed breeder passing through? Also seen on The Narrows were six Purple Sandpipers, seven Dunlins, six Whimbrels, and 14 Turnstones.

Totals inland amounted to eight Collared Doves, three Swifts, 144 Swallows, 20 House Martins, one White Wagtail, one Grasshopper Warbler, ten Sedge Warblers, one Reed Warbler, one Whitethroat, nine Blackcaps, 11 Chiffchaffs, three Willow Warblers, three Spotted Flycatchers, one Hooded Crow, one Siskin, 11 Goldfinches, and four Lesser Redpolls.

One of the eight Collared Doves seen today

Friday, 13 May 2016


Another fabulous sunny day with a few brief highlights too, being a Serin flying north along the Mountainside at midday followed by two Tree Sparrows seen leaving Ty Pellaf and dropping into Nant.

Three Cuckoos roamed around the gardens and Withies doing their best to avoid the mobbing Meadow Pipits. Counts from around the island totalled three Buzzards, one Kestrel, one Collared Dove, one Swift, 205 Swallows, 22 House Martins, one Tree Pipit, one White Wagtail, 23 Wheatears, 13 Sedge Warblers, one Reed Warbler, three Whitethroats, ten Blackcaps, 14 Chiffchaffs, four Willow Warblers, three Goldcrests, nine Spotted Flycatchers, one Blue Tit, one Hooded Crow, one Starling, 11 Goldfinches, 23 Lesser Redpolls

Sea-watching produced 286 Manx Shearwaters, 36 Gannets, 12 Cormorants, 78 Kittiwakes, and two Sandwich Terns whilst The Narrows held one Sanderling, nine Dunlins, 19 Turnstones, and the first Greenshank of the year.

Thursday, 12 May 2016


There was no sign of yesterday’s scarcities with a cooler and calmer start to the day, becoming rather hot as it went on. New migrants were thin on the ground at first but quickly it became apparent birds were fresh in as the day went on.

A Siberian Chiffchaff was a surprise in the nets at Cristin this morning, becoming the second this year to be ringed, whilst a Cuckoo creeped around the garden too.
A dark phase Arctic Skua and one Sandwich Tern were seen out to sea, though hazy conditions hampered viewing for a long while. Inland one Grasshopper Warbler, 13 Sedge Warblers, five Whitethroats, five Garden Warblers, 23 Blackcaps, ten Chiffchaffs, three Willow Warblers, four Goldcrests, and one Firecrest were counted, as were one Collared Dove, two Sand Martins, 148 Swallows, 48 House Martins, two Tree Pipits, one Grey Wagtail, three White Wagtails, 23 Wheatears, nine Spotted Flycatchers, 15 Goldfinches, and 11 Lesser Redpolls.

Wader counts at high tide on The Narrows were highlighted by two Ringed Plovers, three Sanderlings, 16 Dunlins, one Bar-tailed Godwit, eight Whimbrels, one Curlew, and 17 Turnstones.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

BLYTH’S PIPIT! With the numbers and array of species present this week we always knew something big could be on the cards. And so this evening it came true, when a large Pipit species was found by Assistant Warden Mark Carter on Pen Cristin. First distant views of a pale sandy bird gave impressions of Tawny Pipit but those niggling doubts refused go away. With pale lores and distinct mantle streaking thoughts were turned to the possibility of an even rarer Pipit. With the wardening team reconvening with scopes, cameras, and reference material the bird was finally pinned down to the grassy slopes, and began to show rather well. All the salient plumage features, including call, were ticked off and Britain’s first ever spring record of Blyth’s Pipit was confirmed.

Bardsey’s first (and only) Blyth’s Pipit was found in 2005, then the first record for Wales, with today's bird becoming the third record for Wales, following one in Pembrokeshire in autumn 2014.

The short hind claw is visible in this image 
 the neat and evenly streaked mantle is clear in this image
 Note the short de-curved hind claw
 Short compact appearance


note the horizontal stance, the bird was never bold and upright as Richard's Pipit 
 the weak malar stripe and very light breast streaking
and the even and neatly streaked crown

 Playing second fiddle today was our lingering male Eastern Subalpine Warbler still finding the South End gorse to its liking.

In a decent arrival of passerines overnight three Wood Warblers would have been far and away the day’s highlight before the aforementioned Pipit. Further warblers recorded include 19 Sedge Warblers, one Reed Warbler, 20 Whitethroats, five Garden Warblers, 39 Blackcaps, 18 Chiffchaffs, eight Willow Warblers, seven Goldcrests, and the male Firecrest still singing at Nant.
A Common Redpoll put in a brief appearance at Cristin, with 22 Lesser Redpolls and 13 Siskins also noted. The Narrows excelled again for waders as one Ringed Plover, 20 Purple Sandpipers, five Dunlins, two Bar-tailed Godwits, 20 Whimbrels, and 17 Turnstones fed at high tide whilst sea-watching produced counts of one Arctic Skua, 34 Common Scoters, and one Sandwich Tern.
The Short-eared Owl was seen again at Ty Pellaf, with further highlights from the day including one Tree Pipit one Kestrel, three Sand Martins, 403 Swallows, 50 House Martins, one, 24 Wheatears, one Song Thrush, 24 Spotted Flycatchers, one Rook, and a surprisingly female Red-veined Darter at the Schoolhouse.
female Red-veined Darter

Tuesday, 10 May 2016



Yesterday’s male Eastern Subalpine Warbler remained in situ on the South End despite (or perhaps because) of the drizzle and rain spells throughout the day. Even with the wet weather it was always rather warm and it was these southerly winds that brought over a real island treat, a Black Kite! This ragged individual was picked up flying high south down the island pursued by a Carrion Crow or two. After an abrupt turn it gained and drifted along the Mountain ridge, loafing high for half an hour, before circling over to the Mainland. This unexpected sighting is just the third record for Bardsey.

The rather frayed Black Kite soaring high over Cristin. Another individual was reported from Anglesey later in the day; perhaps our bird heading north?

A Short-eared Owl was discovered in the afternoon heading northwards over from Ty Pellaf to the West Coast. A Tree Pipit flew over the South End, two Blue-headed Wagtails were still on The Narrows, and two Whinchats were in the wetlands.
A female Teal was new in whilst a good count of 66 Common Scoters was made out to sea along with 12 Black-headed Gulls. Another good tally of waders included one Golden Plover, three Dunlins, two Bar-tailed Godwits, 22 Whimbrels, two Curlews, one Redshank, one Common Sandpiper, and 17 Turnstones.
More avian highlights in an excellent day include 15 Sedge Warblers, one Lesser Whitethroat, 13 Whitethroats, two Garden Warblers, 21 Blackcaps, 20 Chiffchaffs, 11 Willow Warblers, four Goldcrests, one Firecrest, eight Spotted Flycatchers, 13 Lesser Redpolls, one Sand Martin, 151 Swallows, 22 House Martins, 25 Wheatears, one Song Thrush, one Flava’ Wagtail, one White Wagtail, and two Collared Doves.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Another terrific day from start to finish as the warm south-easterly winds bring bird after bird onto the island. New discoveries were made throughout the day and it took until late afternoon for a stunning male Eastern Subalpine Warbler  to be found on the South End. The bird showed brilliantly amongst the gorse, showing down to a few feet at times, allowing close scrutiny of plumage and some excellent photo opportunities. This is the 32nd record for Bardsey and the 14th in the past ten years. The south End had already been covered twice, during the morning and again after lunch, and on both occasions just four warblers were present. However, a heavy rain shower about 1400 must have dropped the Subalpine Warbler along with the three Lesser Whitethroats, three Whitethroats, a Sedge Warbler, a Reed Warbler, several Blackcaps and Willow Warblers (c25 warblers in all in the gorse)





Male Eastern Subalpine Warbler

Before the aforementioned Subalpine Warbler today’s star bird would have been the Turtle Dove flushed from Pen Cristin in the morning. It was re-found in the Lowlands later before once again relocating north up the island.
Further excellent variety inland concerned a Cuckoo, two Tree Pipits, two Blue-headed Wagtails, one Grey Wagtail, three White Wagtails, one Whinchat, 26 Wheatears, six Collared Doves, and 14 Spotted Flycatchers. The first two Reed Warblers of the year were logged (at Cristin and the South End) as well as one Grasshopper Warbler, two Sedge Warblers, three Lesser Whitethroats, six Whitethroats, one Garden Warbler, 15 Blackcaps, 17 Chiffchaffs, 13 Willow Warblers, three Goldcrests, and the singing Firecrest still at Ty Capel.
Good counts from the sea include 37 Common Scoters, one Sandwich Tern, 481 Razorbills, and 20 Puffins whilst light corvid passage totalled four Jackdaws, three Rooks, and one Hooded Crow.


Once again wader tallies were high as four Ringed Plovers, one Sanderling, nine Purple Sandpipers, two Dunlins, one Snipe, one Bar-tailed Godwit, 22 Whimbrels, one Curlew, one Redshank, and 16 Turnstones testify. Flyovers today include one Swift, five Sand Martins, 168 Swallows, 37 House Martins, two Siskins, seven Goldfinches, and a massive count of 47 Lesser Redpolls.

Bar-tailed Godwit


Female Blue-headed Wagtail
Common Sandpiper
Turtle Dove
Reed Warbler - one of two seen