Thursday, 11 October 2012

September birding highlights.

Wryneck. D.Boyle

This month began with records of single Yellow Wagtails passing through on four different days. The now ‘local’ Marsh Harrier was seen on the 1st and 4th and the first records of Hen Harrier this autumn began with singles on the 4th and 5th. The 4th also produced an elusive Common Redstart at North Valley Crossing as well as a Barn Owl in the same location. Towards the end of the month a fresh pellet and a feather from a Barn Owl was found at Moorey Mere, perhaps indicating a longer stay.  

Lone Little Grebes were recorded on the 6th and 27th on North Pond and migrating Reed Warblers were seen on the 7th (1), 8th (2) and 13th (1). A Ringed Plover was noted on the 8th, followed by a flock of six on the 13th. 

Greenish Warbler. D.Boyle
Greenish Warbler. D.Boyle
The bird of the month, no doubt, was the GREENISH WARBLER found by Dave Boyle at North Valley Crossing on the 8th. With a little patience the bird provided good views (and an exciting bird to twitch!) and on the 12th presumably the same individual was seen again at North Valley Crossing, providing even better views than first time round. That wasn’t all to arrive on the 8th, Richard Kipling found a Wryneck that same morning at the farm, frequenting a favoured spot for this species on Skomer, behind the Assistant Wardens building! Two great birds in the same day was enough to make any local birder dizzy! Little did we know, the Wryneck would stay until the months end! 
Wryneck. D.Boyle

An Arctic Skua was seen passing North Haven on the 11th much to the delight of Monte Neate-Clegg, a Manx Shearwater researcher, who was expanding his ‘lifer’ list nicely throughout his time on the island. A Lapwing decided to take shelter and rest in the fields east of the farm on the 12th and two Dunlin flew over on the 13th. Also on the 13th a Tree Pipit and a Lapland Bunting made a fleeting visit to the island. Back to the waders, up to two Common Sandpipers were noted during the first half of the month and Common Snipe were recorded in ones and twos throughout. 

Lapland Bunting (really, it is!) D.Boyle
During a seawatch on the 14th two Sandwich Terns ploughed past in the testing winds and on the 16th a flock of 11 Whimbrel on Rye Rocks provided the highest count for this species this month. A Greenfinch was recorded on the 19th.Why is that exciting? well, it was the first of the autumn. Continuing with the finch theme, a Redpoll was also seen the same day.  

Canada Geese numbers have risen hugely in the last few weeks with flocks flying to Skomer in the mornings then returning to the mainland in the evenings. This is a noisy event it has to be said, but provides some stunning scenery as they fly, in mass, to and from the island. This month’s peak count reached 340 on the 20th. Amongst the group is a hybrid goose, thought to be a Canada Goose x Greylag type, so if you are visiting the island, see if you can spot it! A far smaller find was a Firecrest in North Valley on the 21st, followed by another sighting on the 29th at North Haven.

Canada Geese over North Haven. S.Harris

The 22nd saw large movements of hirundines consisting of 1500 Swallows, five Sand Martins and 50 House Martins. The first Merlin sighting of the autumn was on the 22nd; when this winter visitor arrives you know it’s time to dig out the hot water bottles! Robins do not breed on Skomer but are seen on the island in spring and autumn, this month numbers reached 35 on the 22nd. It is nice to hear singing Robins on Skomer again after an absence all summer. Also on the 22nd a Grasshopper Warbler was flushed from the undergrowth on The Neck during a seal survey.

Teal numbers have increased recently and North Pond is sometimes alive with ducks, in between the masses of Canada Geese! The peak count for Teal this month was 21 on the 26th. On the 27th a Pale-bellied Brent Goose was seen flying over the island and eight Water Rails recorded on the island, this was the month’s peak count of this species. Another peak count gained on the 27th was 25 Goldcrests heard in almost every bush at this time of year. Single, fly over, Golden Plover records were obtained on the 28th and 29th and were the first records of this species this autumn. A peak count of 11 Turnstone was made on the 29th, this species can often be seen feeding on the beaches amongst the Grey Seals and their pups in North Haven at this time of the year. Another peak species count for September was 16 Chough on the also on the 29th. 
Canada Geese. S.Harris

With all the excitement building around the return of winter thrushes, Skomer has had single records of Song Thrush on three days at the end of September…things can only get better! Think I will just have to stand outside at night and see if I can hear any fly over Redwings, the Manx Shearwaters certainly aren’t filling the nights with noise anymore.  

Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs have not exceeded 10 individuals in any one day this month, passing through slowly and in low numbers and lone Pied Flycatchers were recorded on five days through the month. Finally, Siskins have been noted in ones and twos on four days towards the end of September. 
Star bird; Greenish Warbler. D.Boyle

Let’s hope October brings us some more rarities and maybe just higher numbers of the common migrant species to get us thinking about what goodies might have brought with them. I have to say though, I am very happy to have seen the Greenish Warbler! 

Sarah Harris
Assistant Warden

No comments:

Post a Comment