Thursday, 8 January 2015


The first Bird Observatories Council newsletter, including notes about the Observatories in 2014, the 1st International Bird Observatories Conference at Falsterbo and Next Generation Birders visits to Observatories during the year 

Sunday, 4 January 2015

2014 Highlight

Just a quick summary of this year at Bardsey 

We had the island's - 

2nd White Stork
2nd Grey-headed Wagtail
2nd Blyth’s Reed Warbler
2nd and 3rd records of both Citrine Wagtail and Yellow Legged Gull
4th Stone Curlew
6th Goosander
7th Western Bonelli’s Warbler
9th and 10th Records of Marsh Warbler
10th and 11th records of Iceland Gull
11th Greenish Warbler
12th Long-tailed Duck
15th Great Crested Grebe
16 and 17th records of Woodlark
18th Goshawk and Kingfisher
19th and 20th Honey Buzzards
19th to 21st Red Kites
20th Roseate Tern

Add to that fantastic list two Ospreys, Hobby, an excellent set of Greenshank and Green Sandpiper records, ten Sabine’s Gulls, four adult Long-tailed Skuas, five Glaucous Gulls, summering Black Guillemots, wintering Barn Owl, Hoopoe, ten Wrynecks, five Woodlarks, five Richards’ Pipits, two Nightingales and a good run of Ring Ouzels including 26 on one day, seven Barred Warblers, yet another Eastern Subalpine Warbler, 21 Yellow-browed Warblers, eight Siberian Chiffchaffs, 11 Firecrests, a staggering 284 Spotted Flycatchers on one day (!), three Red-breasted Flycatchers, three Golden Orioles, a resident Hooded Crow, three Common Redpolls, a Common Rosefinch, two Hawfinches, a scattering of Snow and Lapland Buntings, an Ortolan Bunting and an escape Gyr Falcon with several days of fantastic passage of common migrants in both spring and autumn for good measure!

Why not book a week nest spring or autumn??


Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Temporary disruption to normal service!!

Yesterday morning saw Ben Porter, our usual 'blogger', leave the island to go on a two month trip to Ecuador. I am in the process of finalising the end of year reports and paperwork, so will not be getting out of the office much between now and next week when we leave the island for the winter, therefore the blog posts will be few and far between until the start of the season in March 2015. 

The Twitter feed on the right side of the blog will still be active, and I hope to do the usual annual round-up over the next few weeks (so keep checking back!!)

Ben has done a fantastic job again this year with his daily posts and some simply stunning images. I, on behalf of the Friends of Bardsey, our blog readers, followers on Twitter and the BBFO management, would like to thanks Ben for his work through the year.

Bird note from yesterday was a Lapwing on the Narrows and c60 Rock Pipits on the beach, along with 32 Choughs.

Hope you have all had a very good Christmas and I will try and get another post on here soonish...

all the best for 2015

Steve Stansfield
BBFO Warden
Embedded image permalink
Embedded image permalink

Sunday, 28 December 2014

27th December
A day of fresh north-westerly winds meant that some attention was turned seaward during the day, with the resulting figures comprising the following: one Red-throated Diver, four Fulmar, two Common Scoters, one Black-headed Gull, one Common Gull, 67 Kittiwakes, 701 Guillemots and 16 Razorbills. In other news, a single Jack Snipe was flushed from The Wetlands, a Whimbrel was present on The Narrows, and the Hooded Crow remained on Solfach. The most unusual sighting of the day concerned a flock of five Crossbills in the Plantation, including a singing male!
28th December
A stunning day of clear blue skies and low winds from the north-east saw the first few thrushes and waders arriving on the island after the snowfall and cold temperatures on the mainland have forced them in search of easier feeding grounds. Thrush tallies for the day comprised 16 Blackbirds, two Fieldfares, 11 Song Thrushes and three Redwings, whilst some other reasonable passerine totals included 21 Meadow Pipits, 23 Robins, 11 Stonechats, seven Goldcrests and 23 Chaffinches. A Jack Snipe was again seen in The Lowlands, along with five Snipe, and singles of Dunlin and Lapwing on The South End. Out to sea, one each of Red-throated Diver and Great Northern Diver flew South, along with three Common Scoters, 106 Black-headed Gullls, an adult Mediterranean Gull and 320 Guillemots.


female Stonechat

Grey Seal bull

Mushroom. For more images, see my photography blog

Friday, 26 December 2014

It was a very changeable day weather-wise, although for the most part low temperatures and driving rain made it a rather grim Boxing Day. The calm in the morning allowed for a few more passerines to show their faces: a single Chiffchaff was seen in Ty Pellaf garden, five Goldcrests were recorded, and a small thrush movement involved two Blackbirds, six Song Thrushes, nine Redwings and four Fieldfares.

Shag- for more images, take a look at my photography blog 

Thursday, 25 December 2014

The weather improved for Christmas Day, with low winds and clear skies prevailing throughout. It was another day of sea passage, with totals amounting to three Red-throated Divers, one Fulmar, one Gannet, four Black-headed Gulls, one Common Gull, 202 Kittiwakes, 762 Guillemots and nine Razrobills. A single Whimbrel was seen in Henllwyn, and a Sparrowhawk flew over The Lowlands.

A Merry Christmas from BBFO on Bardsey!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

22nd December
A day of strong winds and drizzly rain saw a rather poor selection of birds on show: there was a count of 83 Herring, six Greater Black-backed and three Black-headed Gulls at high tide, along with 27 Kittiwakes and four Turnstones.

23rd December
A very bright day with clear skies made for much more pleasant conditions for birding on Christmas eve. There was a significant movement of Guillemots out to sea, with over a 100 passing every minute at some points during the morning. A minimum of 3000 was estimated, along with 45 Kittiwakes and two Fulmars. Singles of Jack Snipe and Common Snipe were seen in the lowlands, along with four Song Thrushes and a Blackbird, whilst the Hooded Crow remained in Solfach.

Up to 35 Choughs have been feeding on Solfach in recent days

The lone Hooded Crow continues to feed amongst the Choughs

Carrion Crow



Over 40 Rock Pipits have been seen on Solfach recently

Common Gull

Monday, 22 December 2014

It was a very dull day, and the strong winds continued unabated throughout. Solfach was the place to be at high tide, as the waves churned up nutrients and some food for the wintering gulls. Totals from this morning included 380 Herring Gulls, two Lesser Black-backed Gulls, seven Great Black-backed Gulls, four Black-headed Gulls and 64 Kittiwakes. In other news, a single Linnet inland was the first for a week or two.

2nd winter Kittiwake and Herring Gull

Herring Gull

Sunday, 21 December 2014

20th December
A fresh North-westerly wind encouraged a moderate movement of seabirds out to sea, and amazingly another Manx Shearwater was amongst these! The totals from the morning came to three Red-throated Diver, six Fulmars, three Gannets, three Common Scoters, one Golden Plover, 74 Kittiwakes, 97 Guillemots and seven Razorbills. There was a good count of 42 Rock Pipits around the coast, and two Song Thrushes and a Chiffchaff were also seen.
21st December
The shortest day of the year brought much the same as the last few weeks have done- more wind and the occasional drizzly shower. It certainly felt like daylight hours were relatively short, and a poor selection of birds on show saw a single Whimbrel, two Lesser-black-backed Gulls and three Song Thrushes representing the highlights.

There have been plenty of Grey Seals hauling out in Henllwyn, including this bull



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