This month we have seen the beginning of migration with many ‘firsts for the year’ arriving back from wintering grounds, along with the presence of species which overwinter on Skomer. Merlins are one of these ‘overwintering’ birds and were seen on four dates through the month. Excitingly, two Barn Owls were watched flying low over the Bracken east of the farm on the 3rd, will they breed on the island this year? The first Chiffchaff of the year was spotted on the 3rd and numbers continued to rise, with 15 counted on the 26th and 27th. Some even had pollen on their faces, clumping their feathers together, a sign they’ve just arrived from a warmer climate.
Large flocks of Starling were seen at the beginning of the month with a peak count of 324 on the 3rd. Common Snipe were recorded on five days in March and are often difficult to detect unless flushed by the observer!
There were 34 Puffins noted at sea on the 10th and just five days later 1877 were recorded. Numbers continued to increase and they first landed on the island on the 26th. Up to three Fieldfare were observed on 6 days mid-month, the first of which on the 12th. A Grey Heron flew over on the 14th,surprisingly, they are not a frequent visitor Skomer despite their presence on the mainland. A Dunlin was also recorded on 14th at the Amos amongst the roosting Oystercatchers.
The first Manx Shearwater was heard in the evening of the 14thby Chris and 14 were later seen on the 22nd. Numbers continue to rise and birds can occasionally be heard calling from in their burrows during the day. A Sand Martin passed by on the 15thfor that first time this season and have been passing in low numbers ever since.It was a good month for Black Redstarts with single counts on the 15th, 17th, 24th, 25th and 26th, the first adult male of the season was absolutely stunning!! Wheatears returned on the 15th and by the 27th there were 14 noted, favouring the Skomer Head area. Redwings werefirst seen on the 15th, others followed on 17th, 18th and 24th. This month Goldcrest numbers reached 12 on the 15th. Lewis saw a Collared Dove on the island on the 22nd, like the Grey Heron, this species is unusual out on Skomer. Blackcaps were back from the 23rd feasting on large flies, with six seen the 26th. Willow Warblers arrived back from Africa on the 24th with a maximum count for the month of 22 on the 27th. A Red Kite visited briefly on the 25th having visited Skokholm earlier in the day, it was a clear, warm day, perfect conditions for a Kite to explore. Barn Swallows were first noted on the 25th and have been seen sporadically ever since, a true sign of summer!
On the 27th Sarah found a female Ring Ouzel at the Garland Stone during a walk around the island – which was a nice surprise! To finish the month of nicely, two House Sparrows ventured out to the island on the 28th, again, another species common on the mainland but of great excitement to us on Skomer.