Thursday, 5 September 2013

Autumn watch

Autumn progresses and the shearwater chicks are getting ready to leave in their thousands. They climb up to prominent wind swept places to stretch their wings and can be seen in great numbers doing this at the moment. A volunteer assistant warden, Scarlet, had several on her head a couple of nights ago whilst experimenting whether they would use a human as well as a wall or rock and has the scratches on her head to prove it. Unfortunately she was the guinea pig for Iolo Williams who is on Skomer tonight filming this very phenomenon for BBC's Autumn Watch.

There are quite a few migrant birds around at the moment as things head south and begin to move around. These change from day to day and todays highlights can be found at the bottom. Here are a few pictures of things we have seen, good or bad.

Willow Warbler on the washing line
Small Tortoiseshell on Water Mint. Four species of butterfly inc. 15 Small Tortoiseshell and single Painted Lady, Grayling and Small Copper were seen on a single patch of Water Mint yesterday.
Spot the Common Blue Damselfly eyes...
Peregrine chasing Buzzard
Nice picture of a Spotted Flycatcher
Poor picture of a Pied Flycatcher, the first of the year (Pied Flycatcher that is, not bad picture)
Todays highlights inc: 4 Common Scoter, 2 Grey Herons, Juv Marsh Harrier again, a Peregrine probably oiled by a Fulmar, 1 Snipe, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Curlew, 3 Turnstone, 2 Sand Martins, 25+ Swallows through, several alba wagtails, c.20 Robins, 2 Stonechats, 4 Sedge Warblers,  Reed Warbler, 10+ Common Whitethroats, a female Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaff, 15+ Willow Warblers, 2 Goldcrests, 11 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 5 Linnets and a Reed Bunting. There are less Ravens than a week ago but still 30 over South Plateau also 2 Short-eared Owls again.

On not such a good note, we noticed, what looked like, an oiled Peregrine sitting on The Neck this afternoon. He was in a very sorry state and could only just fly with difficulty. It seems most likely that Fulmars had somehow been sick on it. Fulmars are renowned for doing this on Fair Isle where I think they may have even wiped out the islands Peregrine population. If anyone knows anything about this type of incident please feel free to get in touch.

Oiled or contaminated Peregrine

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