Sunday, 10 June 2012

Bird Highlights - May

Male Garganey - Richard Allen
The first day of the month opened with a flurry of year firsts – Pied Flycatcher, Common Sandpiper, Garden Warbler (2) along with a Ring Ouzel, and the first week continued with small arrivals of Redstart (max of 4 on 5th), Whinchat (1-2 on 6 dates to 12th). On 2nd May the first Lesser Whitethroat arrived (there was another on the 8th), with two Grasshopper Warblers. Willow Warbler passage peaked with 20 on the 4th and 7th. On the 5th May a single Siskin passed through but the undoubted highlight of the month was a Nightjar which delighted visitors and staff alike until the 7th. The 6th May accounted for several Skomer oddities with Grey Heron, Black-headed Gull and Blue Tit, whilst the first Yellow Wagtail occurred, a precursor of seven singles up until the 21st. A Cuckoo on the 7th was one of only two records for the month. Teal were regular but more unusual were a pair of Garganey on the 10th. A Pomerine Skua passed Skomer Head on the 11th and four Bar-tailed Godwits passed later that morning, heading north.

Spotted Flycatcher - Richard Allen

The 18th was a day of fresh arrivals with the years first Reed Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher passage peaked at 10, another Siskin flew over and a Turtle Dove was found (which lingered to the 26th). Two Red Kites soared over and the second Cuckoo of the month appeared. On the wader front, Whimbrel were regular in the first half of the month with a maximum of 10 on the 2nd, whilst Dunlin produced 19 sightings in the latter half of the month. Turnstone passage was sparse with four records, a maximum of four on the 6th. Turning to our seabirds, the first returning Storm Petrels were located – 6 at North Haven, whilst Puffins were first seen carrying sandeels back for their chicks on the 19th. The first Razorbill chicks were seen on the 26th May and the first Guillemot chicks a day later.

Razorbill with egg - Sally Harris
The month ended with two more Reed Warblers (on the 21st and 24th) and another Red Kite on the 25th. A last passage Redstart was seen on the 26th, a day when the months only Robin put in an appearance. Whilst on the 29th two male Tufted Ducks rested on North Pond.

Alan Harris
Skomer Volunteer

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