Thursday 29 October 2009
There have been plenty of migrants passing through this week, the highlight being a Richards' Pipit on the 26th.
Others seen this week include Common Scoter, Mediterranean Gull, Common Gull, Fulmar, Guillemots and Razorbills, Hen Harrier, Merlin, Peregrine, lots of Kestrels and Buzzards, Golden Plover, Snipe, Curlew, Turnstone, Barn Owl, Little Owl, Short-eared Owl, lots of Black Redstarts, Fieldfares, Song Thrush, Redwings, a Mistle Thrush, the last few Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest, Brambling, Siskin, Linnet, Redpoll and lots of Reed Buntings. So plenty to see!
The Seals and their pups continue to delight, there are two pups on our boat slipway which makes a great spot to sit and watch them for a while.
We have been seeing groups of Porpoise feeding around the island every day and a handful of Common Dolphins have also been seen this week.
Friday 23 October 2009
Given away by it's distinctive call, Dave spotted the bird as he was doing his rounds of the seal pupping beaches. It was seen several times as it flew between patches of bracken and even obliged us with a quick perch on a rock for it's photo.
These birds breed in the very north of Europe and overwinter in Africa and the middle East. A few turn up in Britain each year when they get pushed off course during migration, so this was a very exciting find! There have also been birds reported from Devon, Lancashire and Scilly in the last few days.
Unfortunately this bird was seen on the Neck, a very fragile part of the island that is left undisturbed except for essential monitoring work (such as the seal project). The forecast is also atrocious for the next few days with a gale coming in tomorow so sadly we arn't going to be able to show this great little bird to other people. But you never know, keep your eyes peeled because there's got to be some other good birds around.........
She was tagged in West Clare, Ireland on July 6th this year as a youngster. Many thanks to Barry O'Donoghue from the National Parks and Wildlife Service for sending info and this photo of the bird when she was being tagged. Also thanks to Stephen Murphy for helping us track down the birds origins.
She was part of a brood of four and was quite large when tagged (538g and wind length 254mm).
The most exciting part of this discovery is that this is the first proven record of a Hen Harrier leaving Ireland. It has been suspected that some birds were leaving to overwinter elsewhere and young birds have often been found at Hook Head - a headland our bird would have passed over on a direct flight from home to Skomer.
You can find out more about the Hen Harrier project in Ireland by visiting www.npws.ie/en/CurrentResearchProjects/BirdSpecies/ or take a look at their factsheet www.npws.ie/en/media/Media,5186,en.pdf . There is also lots of work going on with Hen Harriers in England, visit www.naturalengland.org.uk/about_us/news/2008/221208.aspx for more info about their recovery project and the threats facing these birds. If you spot a Hen Harier with a wing tag then please get in touch with either organisation as the information will be very useful.
The second discovery was the existence of a highly secretive tea-command centre hidden somewhere beneath Skomer! www.emergencytea.co.uk/base.htm
It has often been observed that people drink more tea when they are on-island and now it seems we can explain the phenomena.
She's the Skomer Warden. But she doesn't drink tea. Wierd!