Wednesday 21 May 2014

Spring migrants

A lot is going on in May and as well as the hubbub of a huge seabird colony migrants are very much on the move. As well as being a safe haven for breeding seabirds, Skomer is also an important stop over for some passage migrants (birds coming and going from wintering grounds, normally further south). On the 15th of May there was a Yellow Wagtail at Moorey Mere which is part of a complex group of birds comprising several different subspecies. Identification is not easy but it was probably part of a 'southern' group of wagtails which 'overshot' it's breeding grounds.

'Southern' Yellow Wagtail

The right side of the bird showed less of a stripe above the eye (the supercilium) which may complicate the identification of this bird even more
The next day a Black Kite flew over North Valley. It circled over the farm and, probably because it was something new, all the gulls and waders mobbed and chased it. Within 10 minutes it had drifted back off east and our sighting was over.

Black Kite being mobbed by oystercatchers and gulls

Between the 16th and the 20th we have also seen a Blue-headed Yellow Wagtail (like the above but not quite as rare), a female Ring Ouzel, a female Black Redstart and at least two Turtle Doves as well as a Whinchat, Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, Reed Warblers, Blackcaps and lots of Swifts and Swallows.

Some of our breeding seabirds also migrate and today we found a dead Lesser Black-backed Gull that had been ringed, probably on, or near it's wintering grounds in Spain.

Eddie Stubbings, Skomer Warden

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