A feeding flock of 44 Black-headed gulls off North Haven included 2 Sandwich terns (7th). The following day 7 Black-headed gulls were seen off the Garland stone (8th).
Shorebirds and allies
The wader highlight of the week was undoubtedly a juvenile Curlew sandpiper that was found in the early morning on North Pond (7th). Amazingly unlike other waders this autumn it spent the whole morning feeding and roosting on the pond. It was briefly joined by 2 Greenshanks and then was joined by a Redshank making quite a wader filled morning for Skomer! A small passage of Ringed plover included birds over Bull Hole (7th), North Haven (7th), Moorey Mere (9th) and on North Pond (12th). 2 separate Whimbrel went over North Haven (8th) with another past Skomer Head (9th). Turnstone numbers continue to build in North Haven reaching 14 (12th). The week ended with 2 Black-tailed godwits circling North Pond before changing their minds and heading off east (12th).
|The Curlew sandpiper feeding with 2 Greenshanks - Ed Betteridge|
|The 2 Black-tailed godwits that flew through North Valley - Ed Betteridge|
Common scoter made up the bulk of interesting wildfowl with 52 logged past the island. Additionally, Canada goose numbers continued to rise to 92 in the North Pond roost.
Birds of prey
Up to 2 Marsh Harriers remained on the island with a max count of 5 Kestrels (10th). A Short-eared owl was seen in North Valley (12th).
Passerines and allies
The long staying Wryneck continued its stay throughout the week, mainly preferring the area to the west of the farm. The first Rooks of the autumn (13) flew over the farm (11th), 2 Collared doves were at the farm (11th), a Great-spotted woodpecker was on the rocks at High Cliff (11th) and a late Swift was over the farm (7th).
|Wryneck - Ed Betteridge|
Spotted flycatchers continued to migrate through the island with 22 (10th), 18 (8th) and 13 (7th) being the highest day counts. A good count of 5 Pied flycatchers were recorded on the 7th with only 1 remaining until the following day. An additional bird was seen at the farm later in the week (12th). Redstarts peaked at 3 (7th) with at least 4 different birds across the week including a showy male at the farm. Whinchats were seen in high numbers this week with at least 9 at Bull Hole, 4 in North Valley and 3 to the west of the farm.
|Male Redstart - Ed Betteridge|
Warbler passage included a max day count of 73 Willow warblers (7th), 4 Chiffchaffs, 13 Whitethroats and 7 Sedge warblers. Additionally 13 Blackcaps, 3 Reed warblers and a Garden warbler were recorded. Goldcrests were at North Haven, North Valley (3), Moorey Mere, Garland Stone and the farm.
The 7th saw a large hirundine passage of 165 Swallows, 159 Sand martins and 2 House martins. The 12th saw another high count of 150 Swallows around the farm. A total of 6 Yellow wagtails and 35 Grey wagtails were recorded along with 12 White wagtails and an additional 14 unraced fly-over ‘alba’ wagtails. Tree pipits continued to pass through the island in good numbers this week with 13 logged including 7 on the 7th.
|Tree pipit - Ed Betteridge|
A total of 3 Painted ladies, 3 Migrant hawkers and 3 Common darters were recorded. A good night for moths on the 8th saw an impressive 60 Silver Y and 18 Dark sword grass. A Convolvulus hawk-moth came to check us out whilst we sat outside on the evening of the 10th and briefly fed on some wine! Unfortunately though it didn’t manage to find its way into the trap. Rush veneer (12th), Rusty dot pearl (12th) and Pearly underwing (11th) were also caught this week.
|A migrant Rush veneer was one of the rarest moths caught this week|
A juvenile Common gull went past North Haven (31st) as well as 10 Black-headed gulls also past North Haven (6th).
Shorebirds and allies
A Ruff went east over North Haven (31st). A Grey heron went over North Valley (1st). A Green sandpiper went over North Valley (1st & 2nd). A Redshank was briefly on North Pond (1st). Ringed Plovers went over both North Valley (2nd) and the Farm (30th & 4th) with 2 juveniles briefly landing on North Pond (5th). A Whimbrel went through North Haven (5th). A Common sandpiper was at the Garland stone and North Haven (6th). Up to 6 Turnstones were in North Haven.
|Redshank - Ed Betteridge|
4 Common scoter went past Pigstone Bay (4th) with a flock of c30 past North Haven (5th). Teal peaked at 15 (2nd) and Canada geese number continued to increase to 50.
Birds of prey
Sparrowhawks were seen daily and peaked at 4 individuals (31st). A Short-eared owl was back in North Valley. 1+ Red kites were over North Valley (5th) representing the first of the autumn; with another over the farm the following day (6th).
Passerines and allies
The highlight of the week was a Wryneck found at the farm (31st) however, the bird unfortunately only showed briefly. Possibly the same Wryneck was seen again around the west side of the Farm (3rd); staying until the end of the week and showed well at times but remained elusive. A few late Swifts went over the Farm on the 3rd and 4th.
Warblers continued to move south with Willow warblers peaking at 31 (4th) and 67 (5th). The maximum count of Chiffchaff was 7 (5th) along with a Blackcap and 2 Reed warblers. The first Goldcrest of the autumn was at Moorey Mere (31st) along with the first Garden warbler of the autumn also there (3-4th). 29 Spotted flycatchers were recorded during the week with peaks of 7 (30th) and 8 (5th). Pied flycatchers were at North Valley Crossing (2-5th), Moorey Mere (3rd) and 2 at Skomer Wood (4th). 30 Robins on the island on the 5th was notable. A Common redstart was in the fields to the east of the Farm (1st & 4th). Up to 4 Whinchats were at Bull Hole with another 2 to the west of the Farm all week.
Swallows peaked at 137 (3rd) and 107 (4th) with 25 House martins (3rd) as well as 18 Sand martins (4th) and 10 (6th). 8 Yellow wagtails went over mainly heading east along with 24 Grey wagtails, 7 White wagtails and 36 unraced ‘alba’ wagtails. 29 Tree pipits were recorded this week, a good count for this species here with a day maximum of 11 (2nd).
|Wryneck - Ed Betteridge|
|Whinchat - Ed Betteridge|
|One of a good number of Willow warblers recorded this week - Ed Betteridge|
Only 3 Painted ladies were recorded along with a small influx of Small whites. A good number of Silver Y’s arrived across the island with most being along the coast. A good count of 13 Common dolphins (3 calves) were off the Garland Stone (2nd).
Regular moth trapping around the farm has continued to bring in a range of species including many of continental origin. Migrants caught this week included 3 Pearly underwings, 17 Silver Y’s, 8 Rusty dot pearls and 3 Rush veneers.
|Pearly underwing - Ed Betteridge|
Seabirds were quiet but one Razorbill was spotted off the Garland Stone (27th). A small movement of Cormorants over the island included a max count of 12 Cormorants (23rd). 75 Black-headed gulls mainly past North Haven was a good day count (25th). The week also saw a reduction in both Fulmar and Kittiwakes on the cliffs with Kittiwakes reducing to just 7 - all at the Wick - by the end of the week.
Shorebirds and allies
Light north-easterlies and clear skies resulted in a large movement of waders across Skomer with the majority being fly-overs due to the dwindling water level on North Pond. On the 23rd a Ringed plover, Dunlin, Green sandpiper and Redshank all flew through North Valley. The following day 5 Lapwings were recorded with a flock of 4 east and another dropping into North Pond (24th). Additionally, a Ringed plover flew past Skomer Head, 2 Black-tailed godwits went over North Valley and a Common sandpiper was at South Stream (25th); which remained until the end of the week. A Greenshank flew into North Pond for a matter of minutes then circled Green Pond before flying off South-West (25th). Another Redshank went through North Valley (26th). Perhaps the wader highlight of the week was a juvenile Spotted redshank that flew through North Valley along with 2 Golden plovers (27th). On the 28th the 3rd Redshank of the week went over the Farm as well as a Golden plover. Additionally, up to 5 Snipe and 13 Curlews were recorded daily. Water rails were recorded for the first time this autumn with 2 in North Valley. 3 Little egrets flew through South Valley (23rd) followed by 1 the next day at North Haven (25th) and presumably the same bird the day after was seen at both the Garland Stone and South Haven (26th). The warm weather also resulted in a small movement of Grey herons with 5 together over North Valley (24th), 1 over North Valley (26th) and 2 over North Haven (28th).
|Clockwise from top left: Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Golden Plover & Lapwing - Ed Betteridge|
Teal were recorded most days with a peak of 10 on Green Pond (25th). The only other wildfowl recorded were 4 Canada Geese back on North Pond (24th) and 13 Common Scoter past North Haven (24th).
Birds of prey
One of the stand-out highlights of the week was a juvenile BLACK KITE which flew north over the Farm before turning and flying over North Haven to the mainland (23rd). The following day 2 Ospreys were seen flying over the island (24th). Marsh Harriers were recorded daily with a peak of 2 together on the 29th. Photos revealed a wing-tagged bird indicating at least 3 birds present, all being juvenile types. Buzzards and Sparrowhawks were seen daily, peaking at 12 and 3 respectively.
|Black kite - Ed Betteridge|
Passerines and allies
A busy week for passerines both overhead and on the deck. The highlight was a juvenile ICTERINE WARBLER at Moorey Mere on the evening (28th). Another highlight was the influx of flycatchers with a peak of 20 Spotted flycatchers (24th) and 3 Pied flycatchers (25th). Robins were seen daily however, a count of 36 was notable (23rd). A Collared dove was seen at the Farm (28th). Warbler migration is now in full swing with maximum counts of 15 Willow warblers and 8 Chiffchaffs (23rd). Blackcaps still seem to be in lower numbers with only 4 recorded during the week. Up to 2 Reed warblers were at Moorey Mere (28th).
Swallows peaked at 111 (22nd), House martins at 17 (22nd) and Sand martins at 9 (28th). A Song thrush was at the farm (26-27th). 4 Yellow wagtails flew over South Valley (29th). 16 Grey wagtails were logged mainly flying over with a peak day total of 5 (25th). A small influx of White wagtails saw 2 at the Farm (25th) and 7 along the West coast (27th). A further 13 unraced ‘Alba’ wagtails were also recorded during the week. A good week for Tree pipits with 27 recorded including a day maximum of 12 (25th). 3 Siskins over North Haven were the first of the autumn, remaining until the next day (28-29th).
|Icterine warbler - Ed Betteridge|
|Whinchat - Ed Betteridge|
|Pied Flycatcher - Ed Betteridge|
A small influx of butterflies resulted in a week total of 26 Painted ladies, up to 50 Small tortoiseshells and Common blues at the Garland stone (22rd) and the Farm (22-23rd). 3 Migrant hawkers were seen across the island (23rd) and a Greater horseshoe bat was found roosting in the workshop (26th). 3 Common dolphins were seen from North Haven (25th) and the Garland Stone (27th).
Seabirds were in short supply however, a Puffin at High cliff carrying fish on the 16th represented a very late record along with 4+ ‘Comic’ (Common/Arctic) terns distantly of the Garland Stone (20th).
Shorebirds and allies
Curlew continued to be seen sporadically however, 6 past Garland Stone and 5 past North Haven on the 20th was notable. The only other wader of interest was the first Snipe of the autumn flushed at Skomer Head (15th).
|Snipe - Ed Betteridge|
The juvenile Shelduck remained on North Pond until the 16th where hopefully it successfully left the island. The only other wildfowl of note was a drake Mallard also on North Pond (18th).
Birds of prey
Only birds of note were 2 Sparrowhawks over the Wick (21st)
Passerines and allies
Perhaps the highlight of the week was an elusive Redstart at North Valley Crossing (18th). Willow warblers were recorded everyday in single figures apart from an influx of 26 on the 18th. Chiffchaffs were seen in lower numbers with a peak of 6 on the 18th. The only other warbler of note was a Blackcap at North Valley Willows (19th). Spotted flycatchers were seen at the Farm (17th) then 3 at North Valley Crossing (18th) and one there the following day. Robins are still a regular feature on the island with double figure counts of 12 and 10 on the 19th and 18th respectively. A Song Thrush joined the Blackbirds at the Farm (19th) and an impressive count of 64 Swallows mainly at the Farm suggested some autumn passage occurring.
|Spotted Flycatcher - Ed Betteridge|
Calm weather for most of the start of August resulted in few seabirds but 2 Sandwich Terns went past Garland Stone (2nd). 62 Gannets past the north of the island on the 6th were noteworthy. Of the breeding species, Guillemots and Razorbills were last recorded on the cliffs on the 2nd with Puffins remaining until at least the 14th though daily counts were in single figures by the 10th.
Shorebirds and allies
Waders were quiet but 2 Common Sandpipers were in North Haven (4th), a Whimbrel flew through North Valley (9th), a Redshank went over the farm calling (10th) and up to 3 Curlews were seen daily. 2 Grey Herons flew over Green pond (2nd) with 1 over North Haven and North Valley (10th).
|Grey heron - Ed Betteridge|
The juvenile Shelduck was on North pond along with up to 14 Canada Geese and 2 Mallards. The only other Wildfowl came in the form of 12 Common Scoter past North Haven (10th).
Birds of prey
Marsh Harriers were seen on multiple dates, the majority either being female or juvenile types, therefore an adult male over North Haven was notable (4th). There were a few single records of Sparrowhawk and up to 4 Peregrine and 7 Buzzards logged.
Passerines and allies
A juvenile Cuckoo in North Valley (1st) was a good start to the month. Collared Dove were at the farm (1st & 9th). A Swift went over the Farm (3rd). The first Spotted Flycatcher was at North Valley Crossing (4th). Robins peaked at 5 (10th & 12th) and a Song Thrush was at North Haven (9th). Willow Warbler numbers fluctuated daily with peaks of 36 (1st) and 22 (9th); Chiffchaff were seen most days with a peak of 4 on the 12th. Other migrant warblers included Reed Warblers at Moorey mere (1st), Farm (9th), North Valley Crossing (9th) and 2 again at Moorey Mere (12th) and a male Blackcap at the Farm (9th).
We started to see the first of the hirundine movement with 5 Sand Martins over (4th) and a House Martin over North Haven (10th). There are many pairs of Swallows breeding on the island but a count of 81 on the 10th including many along the coast indicated birds migrating. A pair of House Martins bred on the farm for the first time ever and successfully fledged 2 young on the 4th.
Harbour Porpoise were seen daily mainly off Skomer Head or the Garland Stone along with Common Dolphins on 3 dates with a maximum count of 15 off North Haven (3rd). Grey Seal numbers have started to rise with the first pup of the year at Castle Bay (8th).
Painted Ladies were seen most days mainly along the coast with a peak of 13 (2nd). Graylings were seen on 3 dates totaling 4 individuals all of which at North Haven. Day-flying moths were in short supply but 2 Silver Y’s (2nd) and up to 6 Oak Eggars were notable. The only odonata was a Migrant Hawker at North Haven (4th).
|Painted lady - Ed Betteridge|
On the day of our departure from the island (typically it was a very lovely day with a good bird passage!), we managed to spot a first this autumn Mistle Thrush and a single Great Northern Diver flying outside North Haven. This must be a new tradition, seeing GNDs when we leave the island for winter. We had two last year, just outside North Haven, but one day later - 23rd of November.
November belonged to gales and storms and not much birding was possible but it sure is a month to remember because of those two beauties. First winter Glaucous Gull hanged out in North Haven much if the day, first record of that stunning gull since 2014.
|Glaucous Gull, North Haven, photo Sylwia Zbijewska|
Great Grey Shrike popped out of nowhere on a grey 7th of November at the Farm. This was only the 4th island record, with the previous ones being found in October 1960, April 1988 and October 2002.
|Great Grey Shrike on the famous Farm post on the 7th November, photo Sylwia Zbijewska|
|The same individual seen near East Bog one day after it was initially found, photo SZ|
It feels like the wind has been blowing non stop for the past few weeks with the only difference being its direction. But saying that we can't complain because it did bring a beautiful Red-breasted Flycatcher over, which spent 3 days hopping in and out of North Haven ivy, indulging in the insects it offers :) We also had 2 Yellow-browed Warblers, one found in the not-so-good-this-year-until-now ivy, and the other one found at North Valley Crossing. There was a female Black Redstart present in North Haven for several days, really enjoyed perching on our balcony. Singles of male Siskin were seen in ivy and in the trees at North valley Crossing.
On the seal front the real highlights recently were a tiny jet black weaner found on the slip and a successful weaning of two unrelated pups by one of the grey seal mums at the Wick. Pups show a great variety of coat once they drop their pup fur, and that includes melanistic, but on Skomer we don't see them very often. In fact the most commonly found type of coat here are all shades of grey with dots ;)
Today belonged to Blue, Great and Coal Tits as well as Redpolls, Redwings and Fieldfares. We have had 7 Coal Tits this autumn already and minimum of 2 were added to this year's count today. There were plenty of Blue and Great Tits around as well. We briefly saw and heard three Golden Plovers flying south just outside the Wick. The skies were also filled with the chatter of flying Redwing and Fieldfare and an occasional Song Thrush.
|Coal Tit at Green Pond, photo SZ|
|Fieldfare, photo SZ|
|Lesser Redpoll, photo SZ|
|Redwing, Fieldfare, Robin hanging out together|
Grey seals are undoubtedly doing well again this year with over 220 pups that have been born since the end of July. The wind has been relentless but the tough and hardcore seals have not stopped. It does feel like the start was somewhat slow but actually when compared to last year's data, this year has been pretty similar.
|Photos, Sylwia Zbijewska|
Today's (15th of October) best avian sighting is without a doubt a beautiful Barn Owl. Barn Owl is a scarce and sporadic breeder. Its last breeding record is from 2007 and the last sighting is from September 2018.
Greenfinches are one of the finches that we usually only hear flying over and today they did exactly. Luckily, I managed to capture them in flight. They are such vibrantly marked birds, they have absolutely lovely plumage.
|Barn Owl flying towards North Valley Crossing, photo Nathan Wilkie|
|Greenfinches, photo SZ|
We also had a fantastic encounter with 4 Red Kites circling around East Bog before they moved further north only to be joined by 5 Buzzards. Second this autumn Jack Snipe flushed out from almost underneath the feet in North Haven.
|Red Kite, photo SZ|
We also had only our second this year Common Gull adult being mobbed by a juvenile Great Black-backed Gull for its food on the 12th of October. A few Mediterranean Gulls, Black-headed Gulls and a third for 2020 Common Gull were seen flying through Broad Sound on the 14th of October.
|1st winter Common Gull, photo SZ|
First this year Osprey was noticed flying NW over the North Pond on the 4th of September. The highlights of the 5th was our highest count of flying Kittiwakes (663) seen off Garland Stone, 2 Siskins, 2 Greenfinches and a single Grey Wagtail seen at the Farm. Grey Wagtails and Siskins have been seen or heard multiple times throughout (biggest flock of the latter 10 was seen flying at Moorey Mere on the 22nd of Sept). Singles of Tree Pipit were seen on the 15th at North Valley Crossing and on the 27th in North Haven. First since 2017 Melodious Warbler was found at the Farm on the 6th of September and stayed around until the 15th.
|Siskin having a little rest on the washing line in North Haven, photo Sylwia Zbijewska|
|Melodious Warbler, photo Sylwia Zbijewska|
|The same Melodious Warbler, photo SZ|
Singles of Merlin were seen on the 6th and 13th of September. First since 2018 Wryneck was found at the Farm on the 12th of September, which was then joined by another on the 15th. One was last seen on the 17th and then possibly one of the two or a new bird was found hiding in Shearing Hayes on the 27th of September.
|Wryneck, photo Sylwia Zbijewska|
It's been a very good year for Great Spotted Woodpecker with probably the same bird seen on the 23rd and 24th of September at North Valley Crossing, also minimum of 4 individuals seen on the 11th of October, one on the 14th and at least three on the 15th.
|Great Spotted Woodpeckers, photos Sylwia Zbijewska|
This year despite the limited number of inhabitants we have managed to see or hear some fantastic birds.
Other highlights include a single Lapwing, which was seen flying over Green Pond on the 19th of September. It is rather shocking that there used to be hundreds of them breeding here on Skomer.
|It was a rather lovely encounter with this Short-eared Owl resting on one of the many stone walls on Skomer. This is the one by the main track between North Haven and the Farm. Having 16 bones in your neck is totally worth it!|
|Short-eared Owl, photo Sylwia Zbijewska|
We also had two more Great Skuas, first one was seen flying over Shearing Hayes on the 16th of September and another down the North Valley Outcrop on the 1st of October.
Other notable sightings include: single Redshank heard flying over Green Pond and a single Common Redstart seen at the Farm on the 18th. A flock of 20 Golden Plover flew NE over the Wick on the 9th of September.
We had several Grey Wagtail seen and/or heard on various occasions with the maximum count of 3 that flew over the Farm on the 1st of October and one feeding outside the Assistants Wardens' quarters a few days later.
We've had some great views of Snipe with the first ones this autumn seen on the 20th of September at North pond, also a fly over Jack Snipe on the same day. There were at least 4 Snipe present at North Pond from the 21st of September for up to a week.
|Two Common Snipe, photo Sylwia Zbijewska|
First this year Lesser Redpoll was heard flying over East Bog on the 15th of September, another flew over North Valley Crossing on the 26th, and one was seen briefly at North Pond on 10thof October.
Northern Pintail is a rare breeder (first bred in 1998, which was also a first Welsh record. Last bred on Skomer in 2002. It is a scarce to uncommon migrant and less than annual in recent years, with the last records before this year's (7th October) made in 2018.
|Winter plumage male Northern Pintail on North Pond, photo Sylwia Zbijewska|
This year has been fabulous for the mainland common garden birds, which aren't so common on Skomer. But noticably increasingly more common every year. This includes Blue Tits, Great Tits and Coal Tits so far, which have been showing very well this year, the highlight so far are 7 Coal Tits, which were feeding together on the cliffs of Driftwood Bay.
|One of the 7 Coal Tits found during seal monitoring, photo Sylwia Zbijewska|
|Blue Tit at Moorey Mere, photo Sylwia Zbijewska|
|Great Tit at North Pond, photo Sylwia Zbijewska|
The absolutely phenomenal and together with Goldcrest, the smallest European passerine, which on average weighs 5.6g is Firecrest. We've had 5 of them flickering through Blackthorn and Willows at both Green Pond and North Valley Crossing this year so far, with four seen on the 19th of September and one on the 6th of October.
|Female Firecrest, photo Sylwia Zbijewska|
15/08 - 31/08/2020
We had out first since 2016 (2008 before that) and only the 8th island record (18 individuals all together) Dotterel recorded on the 30th of August by Ed Betteridge.
|Dotterel, photo Ed Betteridge|
Days and days of stormy weather have proved to be exciting. Several seawatches have produced (of the more interesting species) 3 Sabine's Gulls (juv and adult flew past North Haven on the 25th and a distant juv of Garland Stone on the 26th), Pomarine Skua (26th of Garland Stone), 7+ Bonxies (21st, 22nd, 25th and 26th), 4 Arctic Skuas (21st, 25th, 26th), lots of Comic and Sandwich Terns, LEACH'S STORM PETREL (four previous records from September 1974, October 2008, two in October 2017), Sooty Shearwater (25th of Garland Stone), Balearic Shearwater (20th of Garland Stone), ca1000 Kittiwakes, lots of auks, a few Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls, 24 Common Scoter seen on the 24th and 12 on the 31st; 5 Redshanks flying past Garland Stone as well on the 23rd (+1 on North Pond and stayed around until the 24th). Leach's Petrel and Risso's photos below by Ed Betteridge.
We had some fantastic sightings of Common Dolphin, some Harbour Porpoise and Risso's Dolphin on various days and a huge Sunfish on the 23rd
The winds have also brought some nice birds inland, which included our first this year Ruff (23rd on North Pond), singles of Common Sandpiper (20th and 23rd in North Haven), 2 more Pied Flycatchers for this year were found at Moorey Mere on the 27th, first Whinchat found in North Haven on the 17th and then two on the 18th. First this year Osprey flew over the North Valley on the 28th. We also had an evening calling Ringed Plover going through the Farm on the 26th. Suspected the same Marsh Harrier female type) was around between the 26th and the 30th.
Third this year Black-tailed Godwit stayed at North Pond for two days.
Flyover Curlew Sandpiper - that's a first since 2013 and only the 8th record for Skomer. We were also treated to a first this year Greenshank and 2 Wood Sandpipers are still present on North Pond.
juv Arctic Skua and 2 Mediterranean Gulls seen flying past North Haven.
2 Wood Sandpipers (first this year and first since 2017) and a Dunlin have been present all day at North Pond. Also, first this year Green Sandpiper flushed at Green Pond.
Good wader day but it is also more and more evident that the summer is basically over on Skomer Island...haven't had much of it this year to be fair.
5 Black-headed Gulls (4 juveniles, 1 adult) flew past North Haven.
Today's best sightings include 5 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Black-headed Gulls seen of Garland Stone.
First this year Purple Sandpiper - Basin
|photo Alexa Piggott|
First summer Kestrel seen flying over High Cliff. They seem somewhat scarce this year.
Winter plumage Puffin seen during summer is not uncommon but it is special to see. A good number of those have been seen on Skomer over the years but it was a first for us. What is also astonishing is that 3 of them showed here this year, which might also be the highest record of winter plumage Puffins seen on Skomer in one summer. We know that there were two seen here one year.
The one below proved difficult to age, but our best bet is that it's a young bird (3-5 years old).
First Sunfish of the year just outside North Haven during our seabird cliff count.
Black-tailed Godwit is always a treat - North Pond. This was also our first one for the year. The second one was seen on the 23rd of June at Moorey Mere.
2 sub-adult Mediterranean Gulls just outside North Haven on our food collection day
Lesser Whitethroat - North Valley Crossing
It was a fantastic day, which brought two amazing migrants to Skomer: Rosy Starling (7th record for the island and sadly no photo), which was the second reported sighting in the UK at the start of the mass passage of this brilliant species. While trying to re-find the Pastor we came across a female Red-backed Shrike in North Valley.
|Female Red-backed Shrike, photo SZ|
Two Short-eared Owl pairs successfully reared chicks this year, which is not the best of the years considering that sometimes there are up to 6 pairs breeding on the island (this year 3 were seen from an early start but only two attempted to breed).
This male was very protective of its nest in the North Valley. Each morning the moment he noticed us approaching the main path he would come out and either fly above our heads or fly and alarm, basically telling us to go away.
|Short-eared Owl, phoyo SZ|
Highlights from the 23rd of April up until the 15th of May include:
Little Ringed Plover - 15/05/2020 Only the 9th island record
Shelducks have 7 shelducklings on North Pond as well. It usually doesn't take long before most if not all of them get predated. Male has been fighting the gulls off well so far.
The same Short-eared Owl has been showing nicely for the past few days always choosing to fly almost directly above the head
Lesser Whitethroat was singing near Green Pond but too shy to allow good photos - 14/05/2020
Yellow Wagtail M.f.flavissima - 13/05-14/05/2020
Black-headed Gull flew over North Valley on the 10th of May. We also had our first this year Marsh Harrier on the 10th.
What a day the 9th of May was!!
Icterine Warbler (only the 19th island record) flew into a mist-net during our first this year CES.
We also had our first (male) Cuckoo singing all day west from the farm. Another Ring Ouzel showed on the island (3rd record this year), also first this year Reed Warbler singing at Moorey Mere and one of the many Red Kites was flying on the outskirts of the northern part of the island, trying to avoid getting in contact with gulls. Gulls were not impressed either way.
Only a bad photo taken with a phone to document.
Second for this year Garden Warbler found in ivy
Not new for the year but always lovely to watch Spotted Flycatcher, especially when falling asleep in the sun.
We also had our one and only (so far) Dunlin at Moorey Mere on the 5th of May. First Collared Dove also made its appearance at Moorey Mere.
Second this year but this time photographed, multiple times(!) Grasshopper Warbler
First this year Golden Plover and Ringed Plover were feeding near to Skomer Head. We also had 2 Greylag Goose on Green Pond.
First Garden Warbler
10/04 - 23/04/2020
The highlights during those days were all of our firsts of this year like 2 Greenfinch which flew over Skomer Head and headed NE on the 11th. Some common but always fantastic to see species like Dunlin on the 18th, female Bar-tailed Godwit on the 19th, 2 Whimbrel, 3 Common Sandpiper on the 19th.
Female Pied Flycatcher paid a visit on the 19th. We also had another female Redstart seen on the 17th, female Black Redstart on the 21st and male on the 23rd. First two Tree Pipit also showed, one on the 21st and the other on the 22nd.
|Pied Flycatchers are somewhat inquisitive and many don't flee first thing they see you, which allows to take cool photos of them like this one|
So far 3 House Sparrows showed on the island with male and female (hopefully,fingers crossed!) moving into one of our House Martin nest boxes. A pair did attempt to do that last year but failed. This would be the first breeding pair of House Sparrows on Skomer since the late sixties.
|Spoiled with some good views of this Common Sandpiper|
|one of the island breeding male Stonechats|
|Puffins are always a pleasure to photograph especially when they are this chilled|
|second Guillemot egg of 2020|
|Many of the gulls have their nests built already, some Great Black-backed Gulls even have eggs. This Lesser Black-backed Gull is still working on its nest.|
|Our Swallows are back at the Farm as of last week|
The last gloriously calm and warm days have encouraged migrants to continue to move. We have had a great fall of Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps. Our first this year (female) Redstart also showed today.
|Chiffchaffs are the best models.|
It's a Water Rail exposure day today!
Male Firecrest at Green Pond
Male Ring Ouzel - first this year
So this happened today just as we were heading back to the mainland. Two (juvenile and adult) Great Northern Diver just outside North Haven in a gloriously calm sea. It was a pleasant crossing!
It feels as if the dry weather doesn't exist anymore it's been raining for so long. Nevertheless, Merlin seen 3 days in a row and 102 Fulmar counted in North Haven, South Haven and High Cliff are somehow satisfying. There was also a single Goldfinch (22nd) getting proper rained on on our balcony before it decided that the only smart thing to do was to hide under it. Single Chaffinch was heard outside the house.
Single Fieldfare got flushed near the Farm today (23rd). Other birds worth mentioning are 31 Curlew disturbed by a Peregrine (22nd), 3 Redwing and not just one anymore but 2 - Wigeon at North Pond.
Common Snipe, Woodcock and 31 Redwing were the best sightings of what you would consider a perfect day for a good passage. Calm sea, excellent visibility, clear sky brought few birds to our surprise.
Woodcock was still around on the 16th, single Common Snipe flushed today with its usual panic tone.
Buzzards (just as any other birds, well maybe except Robins and Redstarts :)) usually fly away from you the moment they notice you but this one did the very opposite. Charged right at. Looks like it also just had a meal - notice the full crop.
|photo by Sylwia Z.|
Rain and wind again didn't make it an easy day especially with regards to birding. It started of nicely and the weather deteriorated as the day progressed, which has been happening often lately. Third this year Yellow-browed Warbler used the calm morning and made a stop here.
Fulmars returned on the 9th but appeared and disappeared very early while we were hiding from the rain. They showed again on the 13th and we counted 41 individuals in North and South Haven alone.
|photo by SZ|
Another rough day, difficult birding and not much around but the 2nd for this year Snow Bunting showed at North Valley Rise and our first this autumn Shelduck seen briefly at North Pond just before it took off once it realised that there was unidentified movement in the hide.
Shags like all the types of weather. Photos by SZ.
Showers throughout the day meant few birds so this nice Black Redstart hopping charismatically at the Farm was definitely pleasant to watch. It stayed around for several days waiting for a nicer day to continue its journey.
Other highlights were also 4 Common Scoter spotted flying outisde North Haven on the 6th and singles of Woodcock and Merlin on the 7th. Photo by SZ
Today's seawatch session presented us with two Skomer mega! We had our 16th record of Little Gull and the 4th of Velvet Scoter just outside North Haven early afternoon. We also recorded 12 Mediterranean Gull, 43 Kittiwake, 9 Black-headed Gull, 3 Guillemot, 9 auk sp. and 7 Gannet.
Yet another day that started of well both bird and weather wise and changed as the day progressed.
Jack Snipe, 2 Greenfinch and a stunning male Hen Harrier are defenitely the ones that deserve to be mentioned this time.
|male Hen Harrier. Photo by SZ|
We had a great start to the day with some nice weather that brough us good numbers of birds. Highlights today were our first this year Snow Bunting flying over Captain Kites, 2 Black Redstart, one found at High Cliff and the other one at the Farm and 36 Long-tailed Tit. Thrushes are still moving strong. It must have been a third or fourth day in a row that started off promising and the weather deteriorated with time.
|Photo by Nathan W.|
Potentially a different (female type) Black Redstart showed up, this time at the Farm. It was another day with a good passage of birds including good counts of thrushes and an increasing number of Starling (327 today). 23 Blackbird, 13 Fieldfare, 23 Song Thrush, 2 Redwing were seen mostly around the North Valley and some at South Stream. It was also lovely to see 3 Lapwing on the island especially when knowing that they still remain a declining species. Stunning Firecrest found at the Farm was a great addition too.
Two juvenile Sparrowhawk put on a nice show chasing each other just outside the Moorey Mere hide and one had a really quick rest before it headed off again.
|Photo by SZ|
Highlight of the day - first of the autumn Siberian Chiffchaff
|Photo by Sylwia Z.|
|Photo - SZ.|
All we needed was a spell of east/northeasterlies by the look of it. Good passage also meant a variety of raptors! Today a full gamma of birds of prey was served to us including our first this year Goshawk. Other raptors seen included singles of Peregrine, Sparrowhawk, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, 7 Buzzard, 2 Red Kite and 2 Kestrel.
We also had our first this year Woodcock on the Neck today. but that's not where the firsts end! A bunch of 27 Long-tailed Tit passed East Bog and moved across the North Valley. Last but not least and not necessarily the winner of today's yearly firsts is Rook. Not one, not two or three but 4 new species for this year's list.
Other birds logged were: 26 Teal, 43 Mallard, 3 Shoveler, 2 Water Rail, 2 Moorhen, 2 Oystercatcher, 2 Black-headed Gull, single Chough, 610 Jackdaw, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Blue Tit, 9 Skylark, a Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 217 Starling, 7 Blackbird, 7 Fieldfare, 6 Song Thrush, 9 Redwing, 7 Robin, 14 Meadow Pipit, 5 Rock Pipit, 131 Chaffinch, 6 Goldfinch and 3 Reed Bunting.
|hundreds of Jackdaws in North Haven.|
Northerly wind hasn't brough much today except from this stunning female type Black Redstart.
|Black Redstart. Photo by SZ|
Not just one but 2 Lesser Whitethroat showed on the island today, one in migrants' favourite spot in North Haven - ivy and one at Green Pond.
|Lesser Whitethroat. Photo SZ|
First this year Jack Snipe got flushed twice in North Valley on the 21st and once on the 22nd. 2 Red Kite showed in North Valley on the 21st. Another Great Spotted Woodpecker appeared at Green Pond and remained there for 2 days. It was a great day for Skylark with 227 counted mostly between 8am and 1:30pm. Single Swallow showed briefly at Green Pond. Second this autumn Garden Warbler also made its presence in ivy together with 3 Blackcaps. Up to 3 Black-headed Gull have been seen around.
|Blackcap. Photo SZ|
|Where's Wally (Chough)?|
|Photos - SZ|
Another Yellow-browed Warbler showed this time at Green Pond.
|Yellow-browed Warbler. Photo SZ|
Seemingly a Reed Warbler although some could argue that it was a Marsh Warbler. Just too difficult to establish with the photos we got.
|Reed Warbler. Photo SZ|
We had our first of the year Greenfinch today, which was nice. Some other highlights include 3 House Sparrow, first two of the year Mistle Thrush, late Willow Warbler, first of the year Yellow-browed Warbler (52nd Skomer record up until now). As it always happens I decided to make my way back from the Farm to North Haven through Moorey Mere and took no camera! As it also always happens it started to rain, which forced someone to run towards the hide and some birds to drop and that included the lovely YBW. Looks like the number of YBW arriving to the island has increased in the recent years.
To not make it only about birds, here is a cute weaner next to the boat shed
|Grey Seal weaner. Photo SZ|
Glorious calm morning could only mean one thing - good passage! It especially felt good after a prolonged quiet time. No rarities but abundance and variety. 3 Red Kite hanged out with 5 Buzzard over Skomer Head before they all spread over the entire island just to be seen again over the two following days.
|Red Kite. Photo SZ|
Other birds logged were: 7 Gannet, a Cormorant,4 more Buzzard, 3 Water Rail,3 Moorhen, 5 Oystercatcher, a Curlew, a Kittiwake, a Black-headed Gull, 12 Herring Gull, 17 Great Black-backed Gull, 2 Woodpigeom, single Chough, 86 Jackdaw, 20 Goldcrest, 3 Blue Tit, 171 Skylark, 98 Swallow, 5 Chiffchaff, single Blackcap, 9 Blackbird, single Song Thrush, 18 Robin, first of the autumn Common Redstart, 12 Stonechat, 8 Dunnock. We also had 3 House Sparrow, 4 Pied Wagtail, 2 very late Tree Pipit, 68 Meadow Pipit, 7 Rock Pipit, 35 Chaffinch, 6 Linnet, 20 Goldfinch and 11 Reed Bunting.
|Buzzard. Photo SZ|
|Female House Sparrow. Photo SZ|
Those were one of those very windy days with poorly weather that only really allowed for brief seawatching. Sitting down just near to Skomer Head and almost swearing at the wind paid off! We had our first (juvenile) Sabine's Gull recorded since 2016 and only the 5th record on Skomer. Following that mega day the seawatch was repeated on the 10th and resulted in 2 more Sabine's Gull seen very close off Tom's House just before it really chucked it down and the visibility went from very good to poor.
Sorry for being quiet for a while! It's been tough weather wise and that has somewhat impacted birding (or anything outdoorsy for that matter! including seals monitoring) this autumn, making it extra difficult! There isn't really anything surprising to report BUT that basically means that the more exciting species are yet to make their presence on this mega island!
Here are some of the more notable sightings in the past month:
13th Sept - Merlin - North Pond
17th Sept - Ringed Plover - North Pond
19th - Greenshank flying over South Pleatou, Mew Stone and towards Skokholm. Another one heard on the 24th flying over North Haven
14th -17th Sept - Lesser Whitethroat seen in North Valley
18th Sept - Pied Flycatcher found in North Valley
19th and 24th of Sept - singles of Tree Pipit
23rd - 2 Hobby whizzed through Shearing Hase
19th - 30th Sept - Great Spotted Woodpecker found in North Valley and then seen almost daily around Green Pond area
29th Sept - two Great Skua spotted during the seawatch just outside NHV
29th Sept - two Purple Sandpiper found in South Castle Beach Cave
21st - 23rd Sept and 3rd and 5th Oct- juvenile Marsh Harrier has made itself (temporarily) home and has enjoyed its time at Moorey Mere, South Pond and North Pond area and in-between for 2 weeks
14th - 20th Sept - Grey Heron stayed in both South Haven and North Haven
8th - 12th - juvenile Ruff at North Pond
10th, 14th and up to 6 between 25th and 30th Sept - Black-headed Gull
|Black-headed Gull in South Haven - photo SZ|
6th Oct - Firecrest North Valley Crossing
6th Oct - first two Fieldfare of the autumn and of the year
|Northern Wheatear at the Wick - photo SZ|
|Reed Bunting didn't mind the rain and neither did I - SZ|
We are on the roll! Both bird and weather wise.
First Common Redstart and first Whinchat of this autumn showed today at the Wick Stream and the latter at Moorey Mere. Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen again in North Valley. Juvenile Ruff is still around together with yesterday's juvenile Ringed Plover. Marsh Harrier has also decided to stay on for a little bit longer.
|bad photo of a Marsh Harrier :) excuse? well it did appear suddenly ;) - SZ|
|Pied Flycatcher - photo SZ|
Still waiting for that mega rare one...it will make its way here sooner or later :) maybe more than one!
Another brilliant day with lots of good common birds and one vagrant amongst them!
There were 9 records of a Kingfisher of which the most recent 3 were made in 2017, and one in 2014 before that. Today's Kingfisher spotted sitting on the rock in North Haven is our 10th record on Skomer.
It was also a pretty good day for waders: 5 Turnstone seen in North Haven, 2 Ringed Plover (juvenile and adult) at North Pond, single Curlew, 5 Oystercatcher, juvenile Ruff and juvenile Dunlin both also seen at North Pond. We also had a juvenile/female type Marsh Harrier hanging around the South Pond area. Other highlight of the day was our first this year Great Spotted Woodpecker, which is a scarce migrant here. There were 18 of those seen on the island in 2017 and 15 last year. 2017 was also the year when Great Spotted Woodpecker was no longer was considered a rare migrant (25 individuals recorded until 2016 and extra 34 up until this day).
Other birds logged on the day were: 5 Teal, 9 Common Scoter seen flying past the Garland Stone, 11 Pheasant, 46 Fulmar, 3 Manx Shearwater, 7 Gannet, 2 Cormorant, 3 Shag, single Grey Heron, 2 Sparrowhawk, 10 Buzzard, 4 Water Rail, 12 Moorhen, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 21 Herring Gull, 50 Great Black-backed Gull, 2 Feral (racing) Pigeon, 10 Woodpigeon, single Collared Dove, single Short-eared Owl, 3 Kestrel, a female Merlin, single Peregrine, 14 Chough, 8 Magpie, 25 Jackdaw, 9 Carrion Crow, 27 Raven, 10 Goldcrest, single Blue Tit, 10 Skylark, 2 Sand Martin, 80 Swallow, single House Martin, 3 Chiffchaff, 6 Willow Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 4 Common Whitethroat, 6 Sedhe Warbler, 8 Wren, 4 Blackbird, a Spotted Flycatcher, 9 Robin and 8 Stonechat. We also had 6 Wheatear, 3 Dunnock, 2 Grey Wagtail, 3 Pied Wagtail, 2 White Wagtail, 7 alba wagtail, 52 Meadow Pipit, 8 Rock Pipit, 34 Linnet and 11 Reed Bunting.
What a superb day this was! With a lovely selection of migrants seen today we can confidently say that this year's autumn migration is finally kicking in. The feeling has been autumnal for a while now but little bird fall like this (although nothing rare yet!) really shows what it's like here in September.
Highlights today were our first this year Green Sandpiper and first of this autumn Pied Flycatcher.
|Green Sandpiper - photo SZ|
First Sooty Shearwater this year seen off Pigstone Bay on this rather wet and windy day, otherwise no surprises.
Strong southwesterly and southeasterly have been prevailing but that has not stopped autumn migration in any way.
The highlights on the 22nd was our first this year Arctic Skua seen in North Haven and our first this year Ruff (juvenile) found on North Pond on the 22nd and seen repeatedly on the 24th and again on the 25th.
|Juvenile Ruff - photo by SZ|
We recorded 2 Collared Dove flying over Captain Kites on the 24th. Single Short-eared Owl showed on the 25th, up to 2 Blue Tit, up to 22 Willow Warbler (25th). Single Blackcap male was recorded on the 23nd together with a juvenile Garden Warbler which was ringed at Green Pond on the same day and was then seen at the Farm on the 25th. Up to 3 Spotted Flycatcher and up to 11 Stonechat were also logged during those days. We had 2 females House Sparrow present at the Farm on the 23rd.
Another blustery day was good to do some sea watching but nothing unusual in proximity to Skomer Head: highlight was a single Storm Petrel and a Sunfish.
Other (but not all) birds logged: 1012 Manx Shearwater, 92 Gannet, a Cormorant, 2 Shag, 3 Buzzard, 8 Moorhen, 6 Oystercatcher, 102 Kittiwake, a Kestrel, a Peregrine, 8 Woodpigeon, 9 Raven, 21 Swallow, a Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler, a Robin at South Stream, 10 Wheatear, 5 Rock Pipit, 2 Linnet, a Reed Bunting.
Another sunny and slightly calmer day with no surprises on the bird front. One Teal was present on North Pond. We counted 4 Buzzard of which 3 were seen near Bull Hole. Knowing it that July and August are normally quiet for Oystercatcher, 20 (18 near High Cliff alone) seems like a good count. Two Kestrel showed near Skomer Head. We also had our second Song Thrush of this autumn at the farm today.
We have also visited our Isthmus Manx Shearwater study burrows to monitor manxies productivity. So far it looks like their productivity is still pretty low but comparable to the previous years.
here is one of our charismatic chicks enjoying itself
05 - 12/08/2019
We have been treated to some really warm days recently, with often quite strong westerlies and plenty of rain. It is starting to feel like autumn despite the subjectively high temperatures (for SW Wales).
Some usual but notable species include one Mallard, which made its appearance on North Pond on the 7th. Two Grey Heron showed on the 8th. Two Black-tailed Godwit were seen on North Pond on the 7th. Single Common Snipe was recorded on North Pond on the 7th. Probably the same and only Guillemot individual was spotted on the Wick cliff again on the 8th. Single Blue Tit was recorded on the 8th. Up to 5 Willow Warbler, one Chiffchaff and a male Blackcap were logged.
Starlings have been building up with up to 49 counted on the 5th. Goldfinches have been avoiding Skomer so far. We only encountered 2 on the 5th and heard one near the farm on the 6th.
Two House Martin were seen passing by the Mew Stone on the 6th.
We also had the very first storm of this summer, which lasted for 2 days (9th and 10th). It was MAGNIFICENT!!!
Here is a short video to give you a taste of what it was like! But ideally you want to be on the island to really feel the power of the mighty Poseidon.
My hopes for good avian taxa were great after the storm but nothing out of ordinary showed up.
Up to 8 Willow Warbler dropped to rest near Green Pond, single male Sparrowhawk was lurking in the bracken near East Bog. Single Black-tailed Godwit was seen on North Pond on both the 11th and 12th. Single Common Sandpiper also showed near Moorey Mere on the 9th.
Single Swift and one singing Chiffchaff were seen near the farm on the 11th.
We also happened to find a single Reed Warbler in the net during one of the CES sessions on the 12th.
We couldn't have started August in a better way really. Two Red Kite made their appearance almost as if they had a clock on them. Very well timed arrival on the 1st of August.
There has been a combination of northerly and southerly wind with plenty of sun and great visibility.
First of August has also encouraged a few Buzzard to make a stopover on Skomer, with 8 individuals counted on the day.
It was also a good day for usually bullied by the island gulls Grey Heron with 3 different birds seen flying north on the 1st and one seen on Garland Stone on the 2nd. Ducks are also very slowly starting to show: up to 2 Mallard and up to 2 Teal on North Pond.
We also had a single juvenile Lapwing sneakily feeding on North Pond on the 2nd.
Additionally, 13 Turnstone were recorded in North Haven on the 3rd, single Common Redshank on Norh Pond on the 2nd, 2 Common Snipe (one on North Pond, one at Calves Park) on the 2nd.
Two Swift were also seen moving high above the farm.
We counted 622 Puffins on the 1st with at least two seen still feeding their young. One and only Guillemot was still present at the Wick on the 2nd.
We also had a single Blue Tit near Green Pond, single Garden Warbler near Chicken Sheds, up to 4 Willow Warbler and up to 3 Chiffchaff seen in various places. It's been a very quiet Swallow migration so far with only 12 flying through on the 2nd (+the regular 22 residents).
Hundreds of Painted Lady butterflies were logged (250 on the 1st, 740 on the 2nd and 340 on the 3rd). It seems to be the most abundant migratory butterfly species seen in the UK this year.
|Female Teal on North Pond|
We've had some moderately strong southerly wind blowing with some morning rain and fog on the 24th, which then disappeared giving sun a chance to make it better. Still quiet bird wise (although we did have our very first Song Thrush of this autumn perched on the balcony just outside our kitchen in North Haven), with flocks of up to 25 Goldfinches, Linnets and Starlings seen at this time of year as usual. There was a Turnstone recorded on North Pond on the 25th, single Kestrel on the 24th, one and then two Peregrine were seen in North Haven on the 24th and 25th respectively. We counted 10 Chough on the 24th and 11 on the 25th.
Two Emperor Dragonflies were seen: one near the farm and one at Green Pond.
|Fields of gold now covering some parts of the island, particularly in South Plateau. Ragwort in bloom.|
What a summer! Weather has been quite unpredictable for the past 2 weeks with a lot of sun but also rain, fog and strong (mostly northerly or southerly) wind. Quiet on the bird front with some notable sightings of 92 Common Scoter counted on the 8th and 11 on the 18th. We had a single Grey Heron seen at Garland Stone on the 15th. Hen Harrier (probable juvenile male) showed on the 16th near Bull Hole. Single Common Sandpiper was seen on Middleholm on the 16th. Up to 4 Black-headed Gull were seen between the 13th and the 17th. One Common Gull (Wick) was logged on the 21st.
We recorded up to 11 Swift between the 13th and the 16th. Kestrel was seen on the 13th, 15th and 16th. Single Blue Tit was seen in North Valley Crossing on the 11th and at the farm on the 15th and 16th. No more than 2 House Martin seen on the 13th and 16th. Willow Warbler has been showing usually in singles mostly at Moorey Mere or in North Valley.
+20 juvenile Sedge Warblers were ringed during the CES session near Green Pond proving that it has been a very successful year for them. We recorded 2 Spotted Flycatcher on the 15th.
Many juvenile Wheatears have been around, which is also a good sign that our island breeding Wheatears have had a good year. Up to 27 Chough were counted between the 6th and the 23rd.
|juvenile Wheatear, South Plateau, photo SZ|
|adult and juvenile Choughs at Captain Kites - photo SZ|
|Peacock - photo SZ|
Excellent day with excellent visibility, temperature, practically no wind and some excellent sightings. July normally doesn't excite much bird wise but we got very positively surprised today. We had our first Little Ringed Plover in the last 3 years at Moorey Mere today, also only the 8th record on Skomer, how exciting!
|Female Little Ringed Plover at Moorey Mere - photo by Nathan W.|
Great weather with excellent visibility and slight-moderately strong nortwesterly wind. It was a quiet day on the bird front with the only highlights being a single Kestrel and 12 Common Scoters seen from Skomer Head flying through the Broad Sound. Plenty of Painted Lady still moving through with about 200 counted today.
More unseasonable weather for the month, but this hasn't kept us indoors. As we completed our annual seabird monitoring, we also had sightings of House Martins early in the month, and a few Swifts passing over in the more recent days. Spotted Flycatchers were seen on the 4th, 5th and 11th. A wonderful pair of summer plumage Black-tailed Godwits stuck around on Moorey Mere for four days from the 5th June. A single was then seen on the 22nd (on North Pond), 23rd and 25th (on Moorey Mere). Kestrels were recorded on the 6th, 21st and 22nd, and a few groups of Starlings have been recorded, with increasing numbers starting with 4 on the 9th, rising to 15 on the 23rd. Blue Tits were recorded on the 19th and 22nd, and Chough fledglings recorded on the 22nd. The highlight of the month was a breif view of a single Golden Oriole at dusk on the 11th, and then again even more briefly near Green Pond. Unfortunately it was not seen again and the rain prevented us from birding.
|Summer plumage Black-tailed Godwit - taken by Sylwia Zbijewska on the 25th June|
|Male Stonechat - taken by SZ on the 23rd June|
|This albino Guillemot chick was found by the fieldworker Alexa Piggot on the 19th of June.|
|Broad-bodied Chaser (female) dragonfly - SZ|
|This Lesser Black-backed Gull chick was having the best time in Moorey Mere pond with the parent napping carefully and always with one eye open close by- SZ|
|Juvenile Stonechat - taken by SZ on the 20th June|
|Common Whitethroat fledgling - taken by SZ on the 19th June|
|Peregrine making a perfect escape from this Great Black-backed Gull - taken by SZ on the 18th June|
Less wet, reasonably warm (for what we have had this year so far) with a southwesterly wind day. Another great sighting made this time by our weekly volunteer Jacob who also happens to be a PhD student working on the Reed Warber demography/disperal. No Reed Warbler ever gets missed by Jacob!
Other birds logged on the day were 2 Shelduck, 4 Shag, 3 Buzzard, 2 Curlew, Dunlin at Moorey Mere, a Collared Dove, 6 Short-eared Owl, a Peregrine, 13 Chough, 10 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 3 Blackbird, 4 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Stonechat, 5 Pied Wagtail, 2 Rock Pipit, 5 Linnet, a Goldfinch and a Reed Bunting.
It was a rather wet day with a lot of rain and poor visibility in the morning, which improved later in the afternoon, allowing the day trippers to fully enjoy the views on Skomer.
Great Northern Diver - highlight of the month so far! Steve Votier (Guillemot project coordinator) and Liam Langley (Walney Island gull PhD student) visited Skomer and found us a good bird. The diver was spotted from Amos and was flying towards Grassholm. Always a treat to have good birders out here who find some really interesting species, often by chance!
Other birds included: 3 Shelduck (+7 duclings still holding on!), a Mallard, 5 Gannet, a Cormorant, 4 Shag, 4 Buzzard, 3 Moorhen, 4 Curlew, 12 Woodpigeon, 4 Short-eared Owl, a Kestrel, 2 Peregrine, 21 Chough, 3 House Martin, Barn Swallow present, 3 Blackbird, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, a Stonechat, 2 Pied Wagtail, 3 Linnet, a Goldfinch and a Reed Bunting.
It was another typical late spring day on Skomer, with a bit of south/south-westerly wind leaving you feeling pretty warm. Not much excitement on the bird front except from a gorgeous male Garganey recorded pretty much throughout the day on North Pond. We do love a Garganey! The duck, however sneakily kept its distance and either hid behind the reeds or at the bottom of the pond.
|male Garganey at North Pond - taken by Nathan Wilkie (warden)|
|One happy resident Shelduck family (7 ducklings) - taken by Nathan W.|
|Pied Wagtail at Moorey Mere - taken by Sylwia Z.|
News about the stunning American Golden Plover leaving Skokholm motivated some to go out and spend a little more time out birding than usual. Bad news is that there was no sign of it. Not today anyway! No one normal would want to fly against the wind...northerly you haven't been in our favour for the last two days! This means that our cliff birds boat counts had to stop until further notice, well until the wind speed goes down to ideally less than 10 knots and changes to southerly! It surely isn't much to ask, is it?
Bird wise nothing exciting other than 2 Dunlin and 7 cute Shelduck ducklings on North Pond were logged today. Other avian records included a Mallard, 4 male Shoveler, 2 Gannet, 6 Buzzard seen near Bull Hole, 4 breeding Curlew, 2 Feral Pigeons, of which one has yet again somehow become a pet (Larry no.2). Also, 5 Woodpigeon, 4 Short-eared Owl, which have been putting on a show for the past few days, feeding Skomer voles to their chicks, particularly in the North Valley.
We also recorded 5 Chough, 5 Raven with some freshly fledged youngsters following their parents near Skomer Head. Many of our Carrion Crow chicks have also fledged, Green Pond and Moorey Mere ones have been tragically failing both at keeping their balance on branches and in flight, all to our amusement, with their parents courageously driving all the hungry gulls away during their learning to survive process.
Additional birds were 12 Swallow, a House Martin, 14 Common Whitethroat, 3 Blackbird, 3 Stonechat, 6 Pied Wagtail, 6 Linnet and a Reed Bunting.
|Some Kittiwakes are sill collecting nesting material from Moorey Mere - SZ|
|Short-eared Owls putting on a show - SZ|
|Gorgeous male Stonechat- SZ|
|Blue-tailed Damselfly - SZ|
This is confirmation of a first record for Pembrokeshire!.
|Luffia ferchaultella - Cased larvae - Robin Taylor|
We had another fabulous day on Skomer with warm sun bronzing and in some cases adding redness to faces and one of those days that makes you appreciate this island even more than usual (if that's even possible?).
One of the day visitors gave us a really good description of a Golden Plover flying past Skomer Head...sadly no pictures were taken and it's another one of those birds you wish you had seen!
Other birds logged on the day were 2 Shelduck, a Shoveler, a Cormorant, a Shag, a single Hen Harrier swooping through the west end of North Valley, 2 Buzzard, 3 Curlew, a single Dunlin at Moorey Mere, 6 Short-eared Owl, a Peregrine, a very high count of 25 Chough, 6 Raven, 16 Swallow, 3 House Martin, 5 Common Whitethroat, 12 Sedge Warbler, 3 Blackbird, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Stonechat, 12 Wheatear, 6 Pied Wagtail, 9 Rock Pipit, 13 Linnet and 7 Goldfinch.
|Goldfinch - Nathan W|
It was another one of those days with something hanging in the air. Weather was pretty good with a moderately strong wind coming mostly from the north that makes you put hundreds of layers on for protection when you live in North Haven. You then end up feeling way too warm once you make your way up to the Farm and head down to Moorey Mere. But cannot complain! Mike and Ted Wallen found a Turtle Dove near Green Pond during their last Lesser Black-backed Gull counts, just before they headed off to the mainland. We were lucky enough to be there when that happened and found ourselves looking at it sitting quietly on the wall, opposite of us on the other side of the pond. And then something completely unexpected happened...this stunning Turtle Dove, went straight for the trees where our CES mist-nets are...our hearts stopped...we quickly went to inspect and there it was...it flew right in to one of them. It was a great privilage to be able to look at this stunning species up-close. We quickly ringed the bird, took some of the important biometrics and off it went back to where it initially was found.
|taken by Mike Wallen|
Some other birding highlights were also a Grey Wagtail and a House Sparrow male going inside the House Martin nest box at the Farm. Poor pal got abandoned by its female by the looks of it. Can't have a house without your lady!
Other birds logged were: 3 Shelduck, a Mallard, 4 Shoveler, 14 Gannet, a Cormorant, 2 Shag, 4 Buzzard, 5 Moorhen, a Whimbrel, 4 Curlew. 15 Woodpigeons, 5 Short-eared Owl, a Peregrine, 10 Chough, 4 adult Raven and a fledgling near Bull Hole, 14 Swallow, 20 House Martin, 2 Blackcap, 6 Common Whitethroat, Sedge Warblers present, 7 Blackbird, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 16 Wheatear, 3 Pied Wagtail with a pair incubating 5 bright blue eggs at the Farm, 2 Linnet, 3 Goldfinch and a Reed Bunting.
It was a pretty gusty, coldish day with occasional light rain in the afternoon hours. This spring is proving to be somehow dry and a little bit of rain felt refreshing and seemed to have surprised many.
North easterly wind didn't seem too bad for birds especially waders. We logged 5 Curlew, female Bar-tailed Godwit at North Pond, 23 Dunlin flying past Skomer Head and a Common Greenshank.
Other birds were: 6 Shelduck, 2 Teal, 5 Mallard, 5 Shoveler, approx. 200 Manx Shearwater rafting off Skomer Head, 17 Gannet, 2 Cormorant, 3 Shag, a Red Kite, 3 Buzzard, a Water Rail and a possible Herring/Lesser Black-backed Gull hybrid seen near South Park. Also 11 Woodpigeon, a Turtle Dove in North Valley, 2 Short-eared Owl, 8 Swift, a Peregrine, 8 Chough, 6 Raven, 42 Swallow, 25 House Martin, 4 Chiffchaff, 6 Willow Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 20 Common Whitethroat, 30 Sedge Warbler, 8 Blackbird, 6 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Stonechat, 14 Wheatear, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 7 Pied Wagtail, 2 Rick Pipit, 6 Linnet, a Redpoll flying over, 3 Goldfinch and a Reed Bunting.
East-south-easterly winds still remain, which happens to be very beneficial for us bird wise! It was one of those days when you feel like something is hanging in the air, it was way too calm and way too quiet! South easterly wind brough a lovely looking female Ortolan Bunting to the island. Some say it's not a bird you get overly excited about but we all thoroughly enjoyed seeing it here. Ortolan Buntings are very interesting birds, many probably are not aware that they are a delicacy in some places. Their trade is prohibited by the European Union, and we know that France has banned the dish.
|Female Ortolan Bunting - Ted Wallen|
Definitely a good day for birds.
Lovely weather, east-south-easterly wind today. Sadly, there was no sight of the beautiful Woodchat Shrike but the very first adult Puffin made a big entrance with sandeels in its beak to feed its newly hatched puffling at the Wick instead! Last year's records show that the first one was seen 9 days later (24th of May) compared to this year.
|One of Skomer's breeding Curlews - SZ|
|Carrion Crow chick - SZ|
|Kittiwakes always put on a good show - SZ|
One particular Kittiwake got a little bit confused and had claimed a Razorbill pair's spot together with their egg of which efforts to reclaim a precious (not a ring) future chick were hopeless. We know that the egg got lost in the process and Kittiwakes are still yet to lay their own. We are hoping that the unfortunate female Razorbill has laid another. To make a long story short, protect what's yours!
Birds logged in today: a Shelduck, 2 Teal, 4 Mallard, 4 Shoveler, 5 Gannet, a Cormorant, 3 Red Kite, 3 Moorhen, 5 Curlew, a Redshank, 4 Woodpigeon, a Collared Dove, a Cuckoo, 2 Short-eared Owl, 15 Swallow, 4 House Martin, female Blackcap, 6 Common Whitethroat, 17 Sedge Warbler, 3 Blackbird, a Spotted Flycatcher, 9 Pied Wagtail and a Linnet.
14/05/2019 - Woodchat Shrike still holding strong! Many of the day visitors appreciated its presence the same way we have been! Also Cuckoo showed today!
Wow, we are being spoiled by the weather, another stunning day on Skomer with a slight south easterly wind. Woodchat Shrike has been present for two days now and seen on multiple occasions mostly around the Farm. Last year's shrike of the same species stayed on Skomer for 4/5 days and it liked the exact same elder tree as this year's individual! We may need to consider instalation of a sign right next to it: ''Favourite tree - yours always - Woodchat Shrikes''. Anyway, we love all the Skomer birds and we don't give unfair preferential treatment to one species or a group of species...well maybe except from some if they ever find themselves on this island!
We were also spoiled with some other great bird sightings today: Shelduck, 3 Mallard, 9 Gannet, a Shag, a Buzzard, a Water Rail, a Moorhen, a Whimbrel, 3 Curlew, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a single Greenshank, a Short-eared Owl, 6 Woodpigeon, a Collared Dove, 4 Swift, a Kestrel, 6 Chough, 20 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 2 Chiffchaff, a Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 10 Common Whitethroat, 12 Sedge Warbler, 3 Blackbird, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, 2 Stonechat, 3 House Sparrow for a change, two of which were males, 5 Pied Wagtail, 3 Linnet and 2 Reed Bunting.
It was a stunning, warm day, one of many we have had in the past days. One of those perfectly calm and yet exciting ones! Woodchat Shrike was a great additional island's twitch on this year's birding list. It must have been about 7am when it was first spotted and there wasn't a single person who didn't run to the farm to lay eyes on this beautiful bird. Fingers crossed for more rarities to be seen throughout the season, we always welcome those!
|We had a fabulous surprise with that gorgeous Woodchat Shrike that showed at Farm. Swallow didn't want to be left out. - SZ|
05/05/2019 - 08/05/2019
We often say that Dave Astins brings great birds when he comes to Skomer as a bird guide and we of course didn't get disappointed! We weren't exactly spoiled with heat for sunglasses, sun cream and blankets to be of assistance but we can't complain because we had a mega bird on Skomer, which hasn't been recorded here since 2017! Which bird comes to mind when you think of a combination of an orange colour & zebra? We had a fabulous Hoopoe here on the 6th of May being for most peoples' disadvantage phantom like or Fata Morgana in fact for the entire day! We did silently hope for it to stick around and to be seen again the following day but unfortunately our efforts were never rewarded.
We also had an Osprey on the 7th of May spotted near Gardland Stone which hoopoed us in a proper way then and when seen again later in the day flying through South Haven. Saying that, despite the fact that not everyone often gets to see a mega twitch, we do share our enthusiasm for them. We also appreciate that we have many eyes on and outside Skomer, which obviously increases our chances of seeing great birds and other wildlife here.
There were no surprises other than a juvenile Marsh Harrier seen on the 5th, a Ringed Plover logged on the 7th and a Greenshank recorded flying between Green Pond and North Pond on the 7th. Other birds were: Up to 5 Shelduck, 12 Mallard, up to 3 Shoveler, no more than 14 Gannet, 2 Cormorant or 4 Shag. We had a maxima of 5 Buzzard, up to 3 Whimbrel, up to 5 Curlew, a Common Sandpiper seen on the 6th, a Collared Dove (6th), up to 4 Short-eared Owl, up to 3 Common Swift, single Kestrel (5th, 7th), a Peregrine seen daily (except on the 5th), up to 7 Chough, 30 Sand Martin (7th), up to 150 Swallow, uo to 78 House Martin (7th). There were also up to 12 Chiffchaff, up to 10 Willow Warbler, Blackcap singles and twos, up to 17 Common Whitethroat, up to 28 Sedge Warbler, first 3 Spotted Flycatcher of the year (8th), up to 4 Stonechat, up to 28 Wheatear, usual counts of Pieg Wagtail with n more than 7, up to 8 Linnet, Goldfinch seen in twos or threes and up to 3 Reed Bunting.
|Collared Dove in North Haven - SZ|
|Spotted Flycatcher by Andrew Hughes|
Quite pleasant and sunny day with not many surprises logged except from the two. The day's bonus was our first Garden Warbler of the year, of which picture we sadly didn't get...It's such a good one and often underrated! Perhaps it's got something to do with its scientific name (Sylvia borin) haha like it's ever boring! Anyway, other birds logged for the day were: 2 Shelduck, 4 Mallard, 4 Shoveler, 16 Gannet, 1 Cormorant, 4 Buzzard, 4 Moorhen, a Woodpigeon, 3 Short-eared Owl, 2 first Swift of the year, 5 Chough, 5 Raven, 100 Swallow, 7 Chiffchaff, 16 Willow Warbler, 9 Blackcap, 7 Common Whitethroat, 7 Sedge Warbler, 4 Blackbird, a Stonechat, 20 Wheatear, male House Sparrow, 6 Pied Wagtail, 3 Rock Pipit, 6 Linnet and a Reed Bunting.
21/04/2019 - 30/04/2019
There is an on-going project on Wheatears on our sister island Skokholm on which Ian Beggs has taken the lead. Wheaters are ringed using green coloured as well as BTO rings in order to study their life history such as their movements and adult survival. This is now a third year when Skokholm Wheatears are being studied in so much detail there that the team are able to tell for example which male pairs up with which female and when, also if and how often they change their mate. There were no known inter-island movements discovered until this year. We are pleased to be somehow a part of this project by being able to provide Ian and Skokholm team with some of the colour ringed Wheatear sightings on Skomer. So far we found 4 individuals on Skomer: female B15, male B19, male A51, male A95. There is another colour ringed female in North Haven, which proved difficult to read/photograph. Still to be established!
|Male B19 Wheatear from Skokholm - SZ|
|Black-headed gull seen on the 21st of April (Photo: Sarah-Kay Purdon)|
|Female Black Redstart at the Farm as usual (Photo: Sarah-Kay Purdon)|
|House Sparrows attempting to breed in one of our House Martins nest boxes. (Photo: Sarah-Kay Purdon)|
One of the highlights of the day was Coot. This is a scarce migrant and a rare breeder on Skomer. The other one is definitely a stunning male Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava flavissima – the most yellow of yellows and our first record of the year). It only hanged around for about a minute on top of the rocks near the Sales Point. Unfortunately no good photos of that, there is one taken with a mobile phone but it is difficult to tell that there is a wagtail on it. Other birds logged were: 3 Shelduck, 3 Teal, 5 Mallard, 4 Gannet, 2 Cormorant, 2 Shag, a Hen Harrier, 4 Buzzard, 5 Moorhen,38 Oystercatcher, 3 Curlew, 3 Woodpigeon 2 Short-eared Owl, 3 Peregrine, 4 Chough, a Great Tit, a Skylark, 11 Barn Swallow, 6 Chiffchaff, 5 Willow Warbler, 12 Blackcap, 3 Common Whitethroat, 3 Sedge Warbler, 22 Wheatear, 2 House Sparrow still investigating the House Martin nest box, 6 Pied Wagtail, 4 Rock Pipit, 6 Linnet and 2 Reed Bunting.
Pleasantly warm day with very little wind brough some interesting birds, yet again! Logged 4 Shelduck, 5 Teal, 6 Mallard, 4 Shoveler, 38 Gannet, a Cormorant, 7 Shag, a Hen Harrier, 6 Buzzard, a Water Rail, 6 Moorhen, 58 Oystercatcher, a Whimbrel, a Curlew, 3 Common Snipe, 7 Woodpigeon, a Collared Dove, 3 Short-eared Owl, a Kestrel, 16 Chough, 6 Raven, a single Goldcrest, a Great Tit, 5 Skylark, a Sand Martin, 24 Barn Swallow, 4 House Martin. It was a very good day for phylloscs with 49 Chiffchaff and 89 Willow Warbler entered. It was an even better one for Blackcaps with 106 counted in various locations. We had 2 Common Whitethroats, 4 Grasshopper Warbler, 7 Sedge Warbler, a Starling, 7 Blackbird, a Song Thrush, male and female Common Redstart, 2 Stonechat, 32 Wheatear, female and a male House Sparrow, which spent the day investigating one of our House Martin nest boxes! Other birds were 11 Pied Wagtail, 2 Rock Pipit, a Chaffinch, 26 Linnet, a Lesser Redpoll, 3 Goldfinch, 4 Reed Bunting.
Very windy but somehow warm day turned out to be another great one for birds with the following ones logged today: 2 Shelduck, 4 Teal, 7 Mallard, 5 Shoveler, 20 Gannet, 3 Cormorant, 4 Shag, a Red Kite seen over the farm, 1 Hen Harrier, 5 Buzzard, 6 Moorhen, 3 Curlew, a late Turnstone, a Common Snipe, 13 Woodpigeon, 2 Short-eared Owl, a Hobby, which is always a highlight. We also had 3 Peregrine, 11 Chough, 8 Raven, a Blue Tit, a Great Tit both in North Valley Crossing, 2 Skylark, 8 Sand Martin, 13 Barn Swallow, a House Martin, 23 Chiffchaff, 45 Willow Warbler, 8 Blackcap, 6 Sedge Warbler, 10 Blackbird, 2 Robin, a female Pied Flycatcher at South Stream (first one of the year), a male Common Redstart, 2 Stonechat, 30 Wheatear, 6 Pied Wagtail, 3 Rock Pipit, a Chaffinch, 6 Linnet, a first Lesser Redpoll, 3 Goldfinch, 3 Reed Bunting,
Rough sea state due to the strong ESE winds but we still had a really good day for rarities. We recorded 3 Mallard, a Shoveler, 15 Gannet, 2 Cormorant, 6 Shag, a Hen Harrier, 2 Buzzard, 2 Moorhen, 43 Oystercatcher, a Ringer Plover flying over Gorse Hill, a Curlew, a Great Skua seen near Garland Stone, 4160 Puffin counted in North Haven, 5 Woodpigeon, 5 Short-eared Owl, a Kestrel, 2 Peregrine, 8 Chough, 9 Raven, 3 Skylark, 15 Sand Martin, 38 Barn Swallow, 3 House Martin, 23 Chiffchaff, 45 Willow Warbler, 8 Blackcap, a first confirmed Sedge Warbler of the year, a Starling, 6 Blackbird, 2 Robin, 2 Stonechat, 18 Wheatear, 9 Pied Wagtail, 7 Rock Pipit, 22 Linnet, 5 Goldfinch, 1 Reed Bunting.
It is also worth mentioning that a Three-lobed Water Crowfoot was found by Stephen Evans on the 16th of April when he visited the island for the ICAC committee meeting.
|Three-lobed Water Crowfoot found on 16th of April. Its starry flower is less than a centimeter big - SZ|
Pretty good day for migrants considering a slow migration season. Logged birds were: 2 Shelduck, 17 Teal, 5 Mallard, 7 Shoveler, 13 Gannet, a Cormorant, a Shag, a Hen Harrier, 5 Buzzard, a Water Rail, 2 Moorhen, 8 Woodpigeon, 142 Oystercatcher, 6 Curlew, 8 Common Snipe, 3 Short-eared Owl, a Merlin seen over Gorse Hill, a female Peregrine, 9 Chough, 7 Raven, a Great Tit at Farm, 24 Barn Swallow, 4 House Martin, 23 Chiffchaff, 20 Willow Warbler, 13 Blackcap, first of the year Grasshopper Warbler seen from the North Pond research hide, 7 Blackbird, a Song Thrush, a Robin, 3 Common Redstart (1 female at Moorey Mere, 2 males at Farm), 3 Stonechat, 22 Wheater, 6 Pied Wagtail, 2 Rock Pipit, a Chaffinch, 12 Linnet, 2 Goldfinch, 5 Reed Bunting.
|Lovely male Common Redstart at Farm (Photo: Sarah-Kay Purdon)|
Migrants arrival has kicked off quite late this season. Weather throughout March was a mixture of warmish, cold, foggy and rainy days. Warm February has potentially encouraged auks to arrive early this year but cold March has kept large numbers of small migrants on hold and they have only really been arriving now, but still in very low numbers. Puffins landed on Skomer on the 18th of March in notably high numbers. Thousands of Guillemonts and not as many Razorbills have been on the cliffs most of the time. Also, one of the highlights, definitely worth mentioning is that us, Skokholm and Ramsey got our very first Wheatear of the year on the same day, and that was the 18th of March. Wheatears have been seen on a daily basic since. There was a male Ring Ouzel seen (31st of March), 3 Black-tailed Godwits at North Pond (31/03) and a smart looking male Firecrest spotted in North Valley Crossing on the 26th of March. First Willow Warbler showed up on the 22nd of March in ivy. Siberian Chiffchaff was present at South Stream on the 26th of March. Blackcaps also started to arrive on the 26th of March and have been seen almost every day since. Single Barn Swallow arrived on the 24th and there have been sightings of up to fifteen almost daily since. Two House Martins were seen on the 30th of March. Sand Martins have been seen more commonly and in higher numbers with the top count of 14 made on the 29th. Blue Tits have been around but in very low numbers with the first Great Tit seen in North Valley crossing on the 8th of March. Black Redstart made an appearance at AMOS on the 24th. Skylarks are showing but either in singles or twos and very sporadically (20/03, 23/03, 30/03, 01/04). Starlings were seen throughout March but none in April. Single Redwings were observed on the 19/03, 22/03, 23/03, 6/04 and two on the 1st of April. Up to three Chaffinches have been seen since the 20th of March. There was a young male Hen Harrier showing some moulted adult feathers who hanged around for good two weeks. Individual Merlins were observed on both the 22nd of March and and the 1st of April. No bird fooled us that day.
Good month for Peregrines with up to 4 individuals seen throughout. Buzzards often mobbed by gulls have been around and seen daily. Single Eurasian Sparrowhawk was noted on the 27th, 28th of March and another one, very likely to be the same individual seen every day between the 7th and 10th of April. Short-eared Owls have been displaying and showing courthsip behaviour and the peak count of 5 was made on the 1st of April.
|Male Ring Ouzel (Photo: Sarah-Kay Purdon)|
|Black-tailed Godwits at North Pond (Photo: Sarah-Kay Purdon)|
After arriving back on the island on the 27th February, the weather has seemed fairly constant- strong, cold westerly winds. sometimes accompanied with heavy rain, other times not, but continuously cold and windy. This seems to have kept most migrants at bay so far, with no Wheatears yet, and the only warblers being Chiffchaff (2 on the 27th, 3 on the 28th, 3 on March 1st, 1 on the 4th and on the 7th). Goldcrests have been seen on the 1st, 7th, 11th, 12th and 14th, and Blue Tits, usually an island rarity though becoming more and more common, have been seen on 9 days, with a peak count so far of 4 on the 28th. Skylarks have been seen on March 1st and 8th (single records), 9th and 11th (two birds). Curlew have been on the island in good numbers, recorded every day with peak counts of 31 birds on the 2nd and 4th March, and a peak Oystercatcher count of 199 on the 14th. Birds of prey have been showing fairly well, with Kestrels recorded on 10 days in the past 20, Peregrines on 4 days and Short-eared Owls on 10 days, with a peak count of five on the 14th. Hen Harriers have been the most reliable, with one or two seen every day. A single beautiful male Merlin was seen on the 11th, and other highlights have been a Woodcock on three dates (the 28th, 1st and 4th) and three Sand Martin on the 27th.
Wind still brisk but swinging to the ESE. There were 60 Teal, 30 Mallard, 4 Wigeon and 4 Shoveler on North Pond. The Hen Harrier roost in North Valley at dusk reached an unprecedented 7 ringtails and 1 adult male, providing a spectacular sight just before dusk. There were also 3 Short-eared Owls. Several hundred auks (all Guillemots as far as could be seen) were present on the cliffs at South Stream and High Cliff. A single, ringed, Chiffchaff was seen in East Bog.
|Multiple ringtails are being seen during the day|
|A rare adult male Hen Harrier, mostly seen just before coming into roost|
|Shortie out during the day|
|Guillemots on the cliff at South Stream|
A brisk SE with showers am. There were 66 Teal on North Pond with 32 Mallard and 4 Wigeon and a Grey Heron was recorded. Hen Harrier numbers continued to build with 4+ ringtails and an adult male in to roost. 14 Buzzards were recorded along with 3 Kestrels, a Merlin and 3 Peregrines. 26 Curlew roosted in North Haven and there were two Turnstone and seven Snipe. Gulls included 95 Kittiwakes, 24 Black-headed Gulls, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 54 Herring Gulls. A single Short-eared Owl was recorded. There was a single Chiffchaff and 3 Stonechats. Intriguingly the Water Pipit was recorded with the pipit flock on the Neck again. 13 Chaffinch, 9 Goldfinch and a Siskin were also logged.
A beautiful November day with light easterly winds and wall to wall sunshine. Bird numbers always increase on days like this is late autumn and today was no exception. The days main highlights include: 9 Common Scoter, 1 Great Northern Diver, 3 Woodcock, 6 Snipe, a flock of at least 600 Jackdaws over North Haven, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Blackcap, 29 Skylark, a late Barn Swallow, 21 Blackbird, 6 Fieldfare, 30 Song Thrush, 13 Redwing, 43 Rock Pipit, 1 Water Pipit, 1 Brambling, 47 Chaffinch, 1 Linnet and 13 Goldfinch.
|There was a large flock of Jackdaws over North Haven today|
|Spot the late Swallow|
|Possible adult female Hen Harrier|
|Juvenile Hen harrier on ground|
|Juvenile Hen Harrier|
|Juvenile Hen Harrier - underwing|
|Female Peregrine playing with a Raven over North Haven|
Slightly lighter winds than yesterday and less rain. Many more birds were seen today, starting with 2 Hen Harriers and a Marsh Harrier in North Haven first thing. North Pond was brimming with ducks with 12 Wigeon, 36 Teal, 104 Mallard, 2 Pintail (male and female) and 2 Shoveler present. A Sparrowhawk was seen in North Haven and there were 13 Buzzards, 3 Kestrels and a Merlin across the island. In terms of waders there were 42 Oystercatcher, 22 Curlew, 6 Turnstone and 5 Snipe. The 3 Long-eared Owls were seen in North Valley again and there were 7 shorties. A single Goldcrest was recorded as well as 8 Chiffchaff and a Blackcap. A tristis type Chiffchaff was seen in North Haven in the morning and had a ring on it. There were 20 Skylark, 2,079 Starling, 2 Stonechat, 40 Meadow Pipit, 54 Rock Pipit, 15 Chaffinch and 26 Goldfinch.
|Ringed Siberian type Chiffchaff|
The big news of the day though was a large pipit seen and heard over North Castle by the Harold Stone Lime Kiln. It's call was a short 'chub' similar to Tawny Pipit and resembling a House Sparrow. It was larger than the Meadow Pipits that were chasing it around and moderatly long tailed. Unfortunately it was not seen on the ground and eventually flew off strongly to the west. A frustrating glimpse of what could well have been a Blyth's Pipit. Unfortunately the photos are all silhouetted.
|Large pipit sp over North Castle|
Strong wind and rain made life a little difficult today. The pipit flock around North Haven and the Neck consisted of 35 Rock Pipits, 20 odd Meadow Pipits and a Water Pipit, which was pretty difficult to pick out in a mobile flock of pipits in long grass, in wind and rain! I did manage a slightly better photo than yesterday non the less. Not many other birds were seen today.
|At least one Water Pipit has been around with the pipit flock for a few days now|
Mostly overcast with light SE winds today. Quite a few migrants, mostly in the form of 2,529 Starling but with a good supporting cast. North Pond held 30 Teal and 64 Mallard and 9 Common Scoter flew past North valley outfall. Marsh and Hen harriers were seen as well as a Sparrowhawk, 12 Buzzards and at least 1 Peregrine. Twenty three Oystercatchers roosted in North Haven at high tide along with 8 Turnstone and there were also 2 Turnstone in Castle Bay. There were also 2 Woodcock and 8 Snipe. The 3 Long-eared Owls were still in the willows at North Valley Crossing and 3 Short-eared Owls were hunting nearby. Two hundred Jackdaws in North Haven included a white collared bird, which seems to have a little winter territory on the Isthmus. Ravens have been territorial for a while now and are really starting to check out nest sites. Two Goldcrests and 10 Chiffchaffs were recorded. Three Blackbirds, 4 Song Thrush and 16 Redwing were the only thrushes today and a single Stonechat was recorded. 42 Rock Pipits represents a large count with a flock of around 40 on the Neck being exceptional. With the pipit flock on the Neck was a bird with paler underparts and white outertail feathers which caught my eye. I managed the photo below but didn't fully identify it as a Water Pipit until the next day when I saw it again. Finally, there were 122 Chaffinch, 31 Goldfinch and a single Siskin.
|Water Pipit in flight|
|There were three Long-eared Owls at North Valley Crossing again|
|At least one Jackdaw showing characteristics of Scandinavian origen have been recorded in recent weeks|
|Two Ravens checking out a nest site at Matthews Wick|
|Quite a few autumn Rabbits have been born recently including these three black bunnies on the Isthmus|
Highlights today include a male Snow Bunting and 3 Long-eared Owls as well as 6 Short-eared Owls in North Valley. The first Fulmars since the 22nd of September were also seen today.
Light NW with showers today. Birds of note include: A Great Northern Diver, a juvenile Grey Heron in North Haven, a Woodcock, 7 Goldcrest, 1 Firecrest, 70 Skylark, 3 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap, a Grey Wagtail, a single Brambling, 45 Chaffinch and 39 Linnet.
|Firecrest in Bracken near Green Pond|
|Juvenile Grey Heron in North Haven|
Winds again from the easterly quarter but with a more southerly element. Highlights include a Siberian Chiffchaff in North Valley and 2 Firecrests. Three Hen Harriers was the highest count of the autumn. There were fewer ducks on North Pond with just 13 Teal and 2 Mallard. A Grey Heron was seen in North haven as well as 29 Oystercatcher and 2 Turnstone. Three Turnstone and a Purple Sandpiper were seen at Castle Bay. There was also 1 Sparrowhawk, 8 Water Rail, 5 Curlew, 2 Woodcock, 4 Snipe, 2 Short-eared Owl, 4 Goldcrest, 9 Blue Tit, 5 Skylark, 2 Chiffchaff, 8 Blackcap, 53 Starling, 4 Blackbird, 3 Song Thrush and a Stonechat.
|Siberian Chiffchaff in North Valley|
Today produced some unexptectedly good seawatching. Light ENE to ESE aren't usually the best seawatching winds but produced 19 Common Scoter, 4 Eiders (the first in years), a Great Northern Diver, a single Gannet, 3 auk sp, 1 Kittiwake, 47 Black-headed Gull and an adult Common Gull. Two Hen Harriers roosted in North Valley with a possible 3rd arriving late. Five Short-eared Owls were also seen in North valley at dusk. There were 2 Woodcock and 2 Snipe seen. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was the first in a while in what has been an exceptional year for them on the island. Well over 700 Jackdaw were seen again. There were 3 Goldcrest and a Firecrest was in the Ivy at North Haven. Eleven Blue Tit and a Great Tit were recorded. Visible migration included 110 Skylark, 302 Starling, 4 Brambling, 55 Chaffinch, 35 Linnet, 11 Goldfinch and 2 Siskin. Thrushes included 36 Blackbird, 5 Fieldfare, 9 Song Thrush and 22 Redwing.
Slight to moderate north easterly winds, bringing colder temperatures. Bird highlights include: 29 Teal, 1 Mallard, 3 Grey Heron, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Hen Harrier, 21 Buzzard, 3 Kestrel, 2 Merlin, 3 Peregrine, 1 Short-eared Owl, 4 Water Rail, 2 Moorhen, 53 Oystercatcher (a high count), 1 Curlew, 1 Jack Snipe flushed in East Bog plus another seen bobbing on the edge of North Pond, 2 Snipe, 35 Black-headed Gull, 1 Mediterranean Gull, 1 Common Gull, 370 Wood Pigeon, 5 Blue Tit, 11 Skylark, 193 Starling, 39 Blackbird, 10 Song Thrush, 24 Redwing, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Stonechat, 1 Brambling, 277 Chaffinch, 2 Goldfinch and 1 Reed Bunting.
Slight to moderate north westerly winds. There were 11 Teal and 10 Mallard on North Pond with a Marsh and Hen Harrier hunting in the area. There was also 1 Grey Heron, 2 Sparrowhawk, 13 Buzzard, 3 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 5 Short-eared Owl, 9 Water Rail, 4 Moorhen, 35 Oystercatcher, 1 Curlew, 1 Turnstone, 1, 5 Snipe, 2 Black-headed Gull, 400 Jackdaw, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Firecrest at South Stream, 9 Blue Tit, 61 Skylark, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 1545 Starling, 1 Ring Ouzel, a first winter bird at South Stream, 4 Blackbird, 5 Song Thrush, 130 Redwing, 4 Stonechat, 15 House Sparrow, 1 Grey Wagtail, 6 Pied Wagtail, 6 alba Wagtail, 38 Chaffinch, 11 Linnet, 128 Goldfinch and 5 Reed Bunting.
|Merlin over the Neck pm|
|Presumed Pintail x Mallard on North Pond|
Light south south west winds that switched to northerlies later in the day, some drizzle. Good numbers of ducks were seen on North Pond including: 1 Wigeon 25 Teal, 104 Mallard, 1 Mallard x Pintail hybrid, 22 Shoveler and 3 Tufted Duck. Other records include 2 Manx Shearwater still on the island, (they have some catching up to do on their travels to their wintering grounds off the coast of Argentina). A Marsh Harrier and 1 Hen Harrier were seen during the Hen Harier Roost Count. There was also a Sparrowhawk, 11 Buzzard, 4 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 6 Short-eared Owl, 8 Water Rail, 7 Moorhen, 16 Oystercatcher, 5 Curlew, 2 Turnstone, 5 Snipe, 20 Black-headed Gull, 600 Jackdaw, 2 Goldcrest, 18 Blue Tit, 51 Skylark, 8 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, 100 Starling, 5 Blackbird, 3 Song Thrush, 1 Redwing, 1 Mistle Thrush, 2 Black Redstart, 6 Pied Wagtail, 10 Chaffinch, 7 Linnet, 56 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin was heard flying over and there were 4 Reed Bunting.
The winds remained light and from the north east and migration was again visible. Birds recorded include 24 Teal, 52 Mallard, 1 Hen Harrier, 2 Sparrowhawk, 14 Buzzard, 4 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 3 Short-eared Owl, 9 Water Rail, 1 Moorhen, 8 Oystercatcher, 1 Curlew, 3 Turnstone, 6 Snipe, 1 Black-headed Gull, 79 Wood Pigeon, 500 Jackdaw (one of which was had a white collar, therefore possibly Scandidavian/Nordic Jackdaw Corvus monedula monedula), 4 Goldcrest, 20 Blue Tit, 8 Great Tit, 147 Skylark. A Cetti's Warbler was seen in the Ivy at North Haven, there were 2 Yellow-browed Warbler, 12 Chiffchaff and 6 Blackcap. 819 Starling were recorded as well as 7 Blackbird, 4 Fieldfare (the first of the Autumn), 8 Song Thrush, 4 Redwing, 2 Stonechat, 12 House Sparrow, 3 Pied Wagtail, 1 alba Wagtail, 2 Brambling, 37 Chaffinch, 1 Greenfinch was heard flying over and there were 10 Linnet, 10 Goldfinch and 10 Reed Bunting.
Light north easterly winds and excellent visibility. Another day where migration was apparent, the birds recorded include 1 Wigeon, 15 Teal, 50 Mallard, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 16 Buzzard, 5 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 5 Short-eared Owl, 6 Water Rail, 11 Moorhen, 1 Oystercatcher, 4 Curlew, 5 Snipe, 2 Guillemot, 5 Black-headed Gull, 540 Jackdaw, 3 Goldcrest, 15 Blue Tit, 1 Coal Tit (the first of the year), 99 Skylark, 1 Yellow-browed Warbler, 9 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 1540 Starling, 12 Blackbird, 5 Song Thrush, 15 Redwing, 1 Mistle Thrush, 2 Black Redstart, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagail, 5 Pied Wagtail, 49 Chaffinch, 25 Linnet, 12 Goldfinch and 7 Reed Bunting.
Light north easterly winds and excellent visibility. A day where migration was apparent. 1 Wigeon, 23 Teal, 57 Mallard, at least 1 Manx Shearwater is still on the island, 1 Hen Harrier, 2 Sparrowhawk, 18 Buzzard, 3 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 7 Short-eared Owl, 9 Water Rail, 14 Moorhen, 14 Oystercatcher, 1 Lapwing, 4 Curlew, 9 Turnstone, 23 Snipe, 1 Guillemot, 3 Black-headed Gull, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 11 Chough, 650 Jackdaw, 6 Goldcrest, 46 Blue Tit, 2 Great Tit, 582 Skylark, 2 Yellow-browed Warbler, 7 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 313 Starling, 13 Blackbrd, 8 Song Thrush, 1 Mistle Thrush (the first of the Autumn), 6 Stonechat, 1 Wheatear, 14 House Sparrow, 4 Pied Wagtail, 1 alba Wagtail, 31 Rock Pipit, 2 Brambling, 38 Chaffinch, 215 Linnet, 6 Siskin and 9 Reed Bunting.
|Some large flocks of Jackdaws at the moment numbering in the hundereds|
Quite strong wind from the south south west, with some rain in the evening. A good day for birding which started with good numbers of ducks on North Pond with 1 Wigeon, 21 Teal and 88 Mallard as well as 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Hen Harrier, 1 Sparrowhawk, 14 Buzzard, 3 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine and 4 Water Rail. There were also 9 Oystercatcher, 11 Curlew, 9 Turnstone, 1 Common Gull, 1 Short-eared Owl, 8 Chough, 6 Goldcrest, 7 Blue Tit, 1 Great Tit, 132 Skylark, 1 Yellow-browed Warbler heard late in the evening in the Ivy at North Haven, 16 Chiffchaff, 13 Blackcap, 13 Starling, 1 Ring Ouzel, 2 Blackbird, 2 Song Thrush, 1 Black Redstart, 1 Common Redstart, 6 Stonechat, 2 Wheatear, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Pied Wagtail, 5 Chaffinch, 54 Linnet, 3 Goldfinch and 6 Reed Bunting.
|Black Redstart (above) and Common redstart on the same piece of lawn mid morning|
Light to moderate NNE winds. The bird highlight of the day was 2 Grey Phalarope in North Haven in the morning. One was quite approachable as we had to pass within a meter or two of it to get off the beach in our boat. Also recorded were a Wigeon on North Pond with 16 Teal and 55 Mallard, Marsh and Hen Harrier, 5 Short-eared Owl, 4 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 39 Skylark, 3 Goldcrest, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Stonechat, 41 Chaffinch, 7 Linnet and 3 Goldfinch.
After recent rain the ponds have filled up and the ducks haven't taken long to take advantage. North Pond held 77 Mallard and 12 Teal, this after only two days in the month so far with any ducks recorded there at all. Marsh and Hen Harrier were recorded as well as 2 Sparrowhawk, 17 Buzzards, 4 Kestrel, a Merlin and 3 Short-eared Owl. There were 2 Goldcrest and a Firecrest in North valley. There were also 13 Blue Tit and a single Great Tit, 90 Skylark, 14 Chiffchaff, 6 Blackcap, 19 Blackbird, a Song Thrush, a Black Redstart, 6 Stonechat, 2 Wheatear, a juvenile Yellow Wagtail, 22 Chaffinch, 252 Linnet, 177 Goldfinch and a whopping 33 Reed Bunting.
Generally vert poorly day with strong south winds and rain. Good count of Oystercatcher numbering 36 individuals seen. There was also 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Buzzard, 3 Curlew, 10 Turnstone, 1 Guillemot, 1 Black-headed Gull, 1 Kestrel, 1 Blue Tit, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Black Redstart and a Wheatear.
A very warm day with a fairly strong south-easterly and south south-westerly breeze and morning rain. A resonable day for birds with some uncommon sightings with a Greenfinch heard flying over, 20 Common Scoter, 1 Cormorant, 1 Shag, 2 Marsh Harrier, 1 Hen Harrier, 1 Sparrowhawk, 6 Buzzard, 1 Water Rail, 1 Moorhen, 6 Oystercatcher, 1 Curlew, 5 Turnstone, 1 Guillemot, 2 Black-headed Gull, 3 Short-eared Owl, 1 Kestrel, 1 male Merlin, 2 Blue Tit, 8 Swallow, 7 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 2 Starling, 2 Black Redstart, 1 Pied Wagtail and 2 Chaffinch.
|Black Redstart at the Farm, a classic location for this species|
|This little 'jack' Merlin was a real treat today. We had just seen this bird catch a small passerine, then it was mobbed by Jackdaws which looked about twice his size.|
Moderately strong east south east winds with good visibility. A day with reasonable passage of migrants evident. 1 Great Northern Diver flew over the island. There was 1 Cormorant, 2 Shag, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Sparrowhawk, 15 Buzzard, 4 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 4 Water Rail, a good number of Oystercatcher with 35 recorded, 4 Curlew, 10 Turnstone, 1 Snipe, 2 Razorbill, 1 Guillemot, 5 Black-headed Gull, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 8 Goldcrest, 15 Blue Tit, 5 Great Tit, 8 Skylark, 4 Swallow, 5 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap, 5 Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush, 2 Stonechat, 1 Wheatear (potentially the same individual as the last few days on the Isthmus), 1 Yellow Wagtail flew east over North Haven in the morning, 1 Pied wagtail, 3 alba Wagtail, 15 Chaffinch, 3 Linnet, 8 Goldfinch and 6 Reed Bunting.
Moderately strong south south west winds with excellent visibility. A relatively poor day on the bird front, except for a Red-breasted Flycatcher, this probable first winter bird was seen flitting around in the trees near to Green Pond late in the day. Other records include 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Hen Harrier, 8 Buzzard, 3 Kestrel, 1 female Merlin, 3 Peregrine, 4 Water Rail, 2 Moorhen, 3 Oystercatcher, 5 Curlew, at least 1 Turnstone, 3 Snipe, 1 Razorbill, 6 Guillemot, 3 Black-headed Gull, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 3 Goldcrest, 2 Blue Tit, 35 Skylark, 2 Swallow, 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 1 Wheatear, 2 Pied Wagtail, 1 Chaffinch, 9 Goldfinch and 2 Reed Bunting.
|Red-breasted Flycatcher in North Valley pm|
Moderately strong west south west winds with excellent visibility. The sight and sound of 1245 Skylark migrating over Skomer made this a special day. Other birds recorded include 1 Red Kite, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Sparrowhawk, 16 Buzzard, 5 Water Rail, 4 Moorhen, 4 Curlew, 7 Snipe, 1 Guillemot, 1 Kittiwake, 1 Black-headed Gull, 1 Short-eared Owl, 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker (with one seen being chased by the aforementioned Sparrowhawk), 3 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 1 Rook, 8 Goldcrest, 25 Blue Tit, 8 Great Tit, 151 Swallow, 8 House Martin, 7 Chiffchaff, 16 Blackcap, 44 Robin, 3 Stonechat, 1 Wheatear, 13 Dunnock, 14 House Sparrow, 1 Grey Wagtail, 8 Pied Wagtail, 22 alba Wagtail flew over, as did 22 Chaffinch, 169 Linnet, 37 Goldfinch and 15 Reed Bunting. Two Red Admiral and 4 Small Coppers were also seen on a day with plenty of sunshine.
|One of 14 House Sparrows recorded today|
|Two of 15 Reed Bunting recorded|
|Two Small Coppers mating on the left with another on the right. One of the two on the left has a trace of blue spots on its hind wings belonging to the form caeruleopunctata|
Moderately strong south south westerly winds that increased as the day went on. The bird of the day was undoubtedly the Barred Warbler that was sighted late in the afternoon by the Chicken Sheds near the Farm, this skulky juvenile proved quite illusive, but did provide a couple of good views. Other birds recorded include at least 75 Mallard, 1 Teal, 1 Pintail, 1 Red Kite, 1 Marsh Harrier, 12 Buzzard, 8 Water Rail, 3 Moorhen, 2 Oystercatcher, 3 Curlew, 1 Turnstone, 2 Snipe, 1 Black-headed Gull, 5 Kestrel, 7 Goldcrest, 50 Raven, 11 Blue Tit, 3 Great Tit, 20 Skylark, 2 Swallow, 9 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, 1 Lesser Whitethroat at South Stream, 8 Stonechat, 1 Grey Wagtail, 5 Chaffinch, 78 Linnet, 27 Goldfinch and 3 Reed Bunting. A diver was also seen flying over the Neck which was probably a Great Northern.
|Can you spot the pintail in amongst the Mallards on NP|
|Goldcrest in the willows|
Moderate south westerly winds with very good visibility. A good day for birds of prey with 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Hen Harrier, 1 Goshawk, 1 Sparrowhawk, 20 Buzzard, 2 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine and 1 Short-eared Owl. Other birds recorded include 6 Water Rail, 3 Moorhen, 12 Oystercatcher, 5 Curlew, 3 Turnstone, 1 Guillemot, 7 Goldcrest, 4 Blue Tit, 55 Skylark, 5 Swallow, 9 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 2 Stonechat, 1 Grey Wagtail, 3 Linnet, 16 Goldfinch and 4 Reed Bunting.
Moderate north westerly winds with rain showers in the morning. Bird-wise a similar day to the day before with a Firecrest being the standout passerine and 4 Whooper Swan flying over the island. The Firecrest hung around The Ivy in North Haven for a good proportion of the day. Other sightings for the day include 1 Red Kite, 1 Marsh Harrier, 2 Sparrowhawk, 8 Buzzard, 4 Kestrel, 7 Oystercatcher, 2 Curlew, 5 Turnstone, 1 Snipe, 1 Black-headed Gull, 1 Barn Owl, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 4 Goldcrest, 1 Blue Tit, 2 Great Tit, 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 1 Stonechat, 1 Grey Wagtail, 36 Linnet, 13 Goldfinch and 2 Reed Bunting.
|Four adult Whooper Swans. They later turned up on The Gann on the 5th of Oct. I wonder where they had been in the interim.|
Light east north easterly winds and excellent visibility for what would turn out to be the last day of visitors landing on Skomer. A reasonably quite day, a Yellow-browed Warbler in North Valley Outfall was a nice surprise however, an early record for this late autumn migrant. Other birds seen include 1 Red Kite, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Sparrowhawk, 11 Buzzard, 3 Kestrel, 3 Water Rail, 10 Moorhen, 2 Curlew, 1 Snipe, 1 Guillemot, 2 Black-headed Gull, 5 Wood Pigeon, 1 Barn Owl, 2 Short-eared Owl, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Blue Tit, 1 Great Tit, 30 Swallow, 9 Chiffchaff, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Stonechat, 3 Wheatear, 1 Chaffinch, 4 Goldfinch and 1 Reed Bunting.
|Juvenile Red Kite|
|Spotted Flycatcher at Moorey Mere|
Light winds, with changeable direction, the day began with some fog covering the center of the island. A good day for birds of prey with 5 Red Kite, a ringtail Hen Harrier, a Goshawk, 2 Sparrowhawk, 36 Buzzard, a Short-eared Owl, 4 Kestrel and a Peregrine. 6 Water Rail were heard. 3 Curlew, 3 Oystercatcher and a Snipe were seen. There was a Kittiwake and a Black-headed Gull. Presumably the same Wryneck as yesterday was still around North Haven. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard. 145 Jackdaw were recorded. There were 2 Goldcrest, 7 Blue Tit and a Great Tit. It was a good day for visual migration with 6 Skylark, 1 Sand Martin, an estimated 3840 Swallow, 19 House Martin, 16 Linnet and 65 Goldfinch seen flying over. There were 10 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 4 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Whinchat, 7 Stonechat, 4 Wheatear and 3 Reed Bunting.
|Some big flocks of Buzzards were recorded flying over the island today|
Light easterly winds and good visibility. Three Common Scoter flew past the Mew Stone. A Little Egret was seen heading towards the island from the Dale Princess by the Sutcliffes, who were leaving after another hard days work rebuilding the reserve water tank at the Farm. A ringtail Hen Harrier over North Haven in the afternoon was the first of the autumn. Nine Turnstone, four Curlew and 30 Oystercatchers were seen. A Wryneck was found in North Haven first thing and was seen again several times throughout the day. Three Short-eared Owls were seen in North Valley. There was a Goldcrest, four Blue Tit, six Skylark, 120 Swallow, one House Martin, five Chiffchaff, a Lesser Whitethroat, three Spotted Flycatcher, a Stonechat, a Wheatear, a Grey Wagtail, 130 Meadow Pipit, 91 Linnet, two Goldfinch and three Reed Bunting.
A pleasant day with light NNW winds and lots of common migrants. Three Red Kite were recorded, which were the first in a while, as well as a Sparrowhawk, 13 Buzzard, three Kestrel, a Hobby and two Peregrine. The first juvenile Common Gull of the autumn was seen around Rye Rocks with eleven Black-headed Gulls during the morning. Three Short-eared Owl were seen hunting in North Valley. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was also seen in North Valley during the afternoon. There were seven Goldcrest, five Blue Tit, 20 Skylark, six Sand Martin and at least 30 House Martin. A big movement of Swallow between 09:00 and midday (with a trickle in the afternoon) produced an estimate of 9,819 for the day. There were also five Chiffchaff, five Blackcap, 41 Robin, a single Whinchat, six Stonechat, 6 Wheatear (including one Greenland type bird), ten Grey Wagtail, five Pied Wagtail and five alba wagtail. One hundred and eighty Meadow Pipits were logged as well as three Chaffinch, 120 Linnet, 10 Common Crossbill, 55 Goldfinch and ten Reed Bunting. Around 25 Common Dolphin were also seen.
|120 Linnet passed through during the morning|
|55 Goldfinch also passed through during the morning|
|Whinchat near the Farm|
|Female Kestrel at the Farm|
|The Kestrel acting as a a form of eco friendly pest control|
A brisk wind switched to a more westerly direction and blew a few seabirds into St Brides Bay. A Grey Phalarope was seen on a seawatch from North Haven at 09:10 and there was one on North Pond at 17:00. Four Common Scoter flew past North Haven along with four Fulmar, 100 Gannet, six Razorbill, three Guillemot, 200 auk sp, eight commic tern and 500 Kittiwake. A Sparrowhawk, ten Buzzard, three Kestrel and a Peregrine were logged. Four Turnstone, a Sanderling and a Common Snipe were seen. Four Short-eared Owl were seen. There were five Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler. A male Ring Ouzel was seen in North Haven pm. There were also five Stonechat and a Wheatear.
|Grey Phalarope on North Pond pm|
SSW wind and some drizzle with sunny spells. Fourteen Oystercatcher, one Whimbrel, 16 Curlew, six Turnstone and one Common Snipe were recorded. A Sanderling on North Pond was a rare Skomer sighting. The Red-backed Shrike was seen at Moorey Mere, albeit briefly. Warblers were noticable by their absence. A Song Thrush was the first in a while and a Whinchat was recorded at North Pond again.
|One of 16 Curlew recorded today|
|Sandering, a rare Skomer visitor|
|First winter Red-backed Shrike at Moorey Mere. Hopefully that's not a wing bar on the warbler behind the shrike!|
Strong SW wind. Today was the first day this autumn that no Fulmars were recorded, possibly signalling their departure for a while. A Sparrowhawk, four Buzzard, three Kestrel and two Peregrines were recorded. Seven Turnstones were again in North Haven. A first winter Red-backed Shrike was seen in Wick Valley but was elusive in the blustery conditions. One Sand Martin and 15 Swallows were recorded and there were nine Chiffchaff and four Willow Warbler. Five Stonechat and a single Wheatear were seen.
Not great weather but a few birds around. Twenty Common Scoter were seen offshore. In terms of waders there were 20 Oystercatcher, six Curlew, four Turnstone and two Common Snipe. Four Sand Martin fed around North Valley Crossing during the afternoon. There were eleven Chiffchaff, two Willow Warbler, two Blackcap, a Grasshopper Warbler and two Sedge Warbler. A Whinchat and two Stonechats were present around North Pond.
The seal season is now really kicking off now. Ten new born pups were found today including one that we watched getting born at Castle Bay:
During what seems to be the calm before the storm, seven Common Scoter were seen going through Jack Sound and there were three Teal and a Mallard on the ponds (very low numbers of ducks for this time of year). A Sparrowhawk was seen again and there were four Kestrels and three Peregrine sightings. A Goldcrest was seen in North Haven and there were three Chiffchaff, two Willow Warbler and a Blackcap. The highlight of the day was a Bonelli's Warbler which turned up in the Ivy in North Haven just after the morning rain. It stuck around all afternoon but unfortunately a call was not definitely pinned to the bird. Six Stonechat and two Wheatear were seen around the island.
|It is almost impossible to separate Eastern and Western Bonelli's Warblers in autumn without hearing a call and, like last years Bonelli's, this bird was frustratingly silent.|
|Today's Bonelli's Warbler was feeding actively all afternoon|
The Goshawk was seen again along with one Sparrowhawk and seven Buzzards. Seven Turnstone have settled into North Haven. The wader highlight of the day however goes to a Pectoral Sandpiper seen flying close by Bob and Annie Haycock. Four Kestrel, the first Merlin of the autumn and two Peregrines were seen. There were three Goldcrest, 13 Chiffchaff, five Blackcap and eight Sedge Warbler. Finally there were 115 Swallow, eleven Linnet, two Goldfinch and seven Reed Buntings.
Another fine day with good numbers of many small migrants and other birds across the island including 135 Meadow Pipit, 114 Barn Swallow, 80 Canada Geese, 49 Raven, 32 Robin, 31 Linnet, 21 House Martin, 19 Blackcap, 18 Grey Wagtail, 18 Common Scoter, 15 Chiffchaff, twelve Stonechat, ten Chough, ten Buzzard, nine Pied Wagtails, nine Willow Warbler, seven Water Rail, seven Reed Bunting, seven Turnstone, six Wheatear, six Sedge Warbler, five Curlew, three Kestrel, three Peregrine, three alba Wagtail, three Goldcrest, two Goldfinch, two Blue Tit, two Spotted Flycatcher, two Greenshank, one juvenile Marsh Harrier, one Sparrowhawk, one Snipe, one Rook and one Whinchat.
Today the Wryneck permitted its photo to be taken.
|Wryneck at the farm|
Another nice day on the island featured good counts of corvids with nine Chough over Amy's Reach, at least 45 Raven, and nine Magpie counted. 26 Woodpigeon were counted, along with a collared dove. A few groups of Feral Pigeons were seen flying over totaling 50 birds, however these were being followed by two Peregrines so the number leaving the island may be a little different. Three Kestrel, nine Buzzard, a Sparrowhawk, Goshawk and two or possibly three juvenile Marsh Harrier were further raptor highlights. Around the coast 70 Gannet, three Cormorant, one Shag and eight Black-headed Gull were also seen. Inland highlights were 15 Pied Wagtails, three Tree Pipits, 70 Meadow Pipits, 18 Robin, two Spotted Flycatcher, one Redstart, one Winchat, two Stonechat, two Linnet, three Chiffchaff and three Willow Warblers were joined by two Goldcrest and two Blue Tits. Four Water Rail were heard across the island and the Wryneck was seen again.
A pleasant day with occasional brief showers featuring another good day for birds of prey, with two juvenile Marsh Harriers, the Goshawk, two Sparrowhawk, three Kestrels and two Short-eared Owls. Across the island four Water Rail were heard, along with Turnstone heard flying over. One Tree Pipit, good numbers of Wagtails with five Grey, seven Pied, one White and one alba were other highlights, along with a Grey Heron and a Wryneck at the farm.
South south east winds first thing and drizzle clearing to leave bright spells seemed like good conditions for migrants and indeed once the drizzle stopped North Valley was bouncing with birds. A Grey Heron was seen in North Valley in the early afternoon. One Marsh Harrier, the juvenile Goshawk, a juvenile Sparrowhawk, twelve Buzzards, four Kestrels and a Peregrine were all seen. One Turnstone was seen in North Haven and a Dunlin was on North Pond. A Great Skua was seen from the Garland Stone and ten Razorbills and two Guillemots were recorded. Some terns which have been present in St Brides Bay of late were seen again with at least eight Sandwich Terns and 22 'commics' recorded. Two Black-headed Gulls were seen in North Haven. As for passerines, there was a single Blue Tit and two Sand Martins and 170 Swallows were recorded. Five Chiffchaff, 13 Willow Warbler, 16 Common Whitethroat and four Sedge Warblers were recorded. Twelve Spotted Flycatchers were recorded, mostly in North Valley, as was a Pied Flycatcher. There were 15 Robins and a female Common Redstart was seen in the garden at the Farm. At least two Whinchats and two Stonechats were seen in North Valley and seven Wheatears were recorded around the island. There were also seven Pied and three White Wagtails as well as 75 Meadow Pipits.
|Common Redstart at the Farm |
(Photo: Sarah-Kay Purdon)
|White Wagtail, at the Farm (Photo: Sarah-Kay Purdon)|
|The Juvenile Marsh Harrier provided excellent views, preening in the bushes near North Pond |
(Photo: Sarah-Kay Purdon)
|The Great Spotted Woodpecker in North Valley |
(Photo: Sarah-Kay Purdon)
The moderate northerly winds this morning produced nothing of interest, though no dedicated seawatch was made. Three Common Scoter went west at 08:00 and there were two Teal, four Mallard and a Shoveler on North Pond. A juvenile Marsh Harrier was seen on and off again and the juvenile male Goshawk was seen in the morning and in the evening (chasing a Sparrowhawk) as well as eleven Buzzards. One Kestrel and at least three Peregrines were seen, including the juvenile male Peregrine being scolded by an adult in North Haven. The Blue Tit was still present. In terms of warblers there was one Chiffchaff, eight Willow Warbler, five Common Whitethroat and four Sedge Warbler. There were two Spotted Flycatchers at the Farm, seven Robins (in various locations), a juvenile Stonechat and 22 Wheatear (including 20 on South Plateau). A small flock of Linnet were also seen.
|Juvenile male Goshawk in North Valley|
|Not a great picture but this shows the size difference between a Goshawk (right) and a Sparrowhawk (left).|
A good variety of birds today with a few common migrants on the island as well as a some migrant seabirds out to sea and some waders. At least one Whimbrel was heard at Pigstone Bay and three Curlew were recorded. Four Purple Sandpipers and a Turnstone, all with some remnants of breeding plumage, were seen on South Castle from the island boat and a Redshank was heard in North Haven at dusk. Twelve Razorbills and a Guillemot were the first recorded in a while and five Sandwich Terns and four Common Terns were noteworthy. Two Short-eared Owls were also the first in a while. Two Kestrels and three Peregrines were recorded. In terms of small migrants, there were 40 odd swallows around the Farm, a Chiffchaff, 30+ Willow Warblers, five Common Whitethroat, 20+ Sedge Warblers, twelve Starling, three Spotted Flycatchers, two Robins, seven Wheatears and five Linnet. Four Common Dolphins and at least eight Porpoise were seen at sea.
|Watching Purple Sandpipers at South Castle|
|One of four Purple Sandpipers at South Castle (far left)|
On a day with some bright sunshine in the morning and rain and wind in the afternoon, the highlight was the arrival of a juvenile male Goshawk. It was first seen near the Farm and North Pond where it put up all the gulls and corvids. It ended up near Green Pond where it appeared to be sitting out the grotty afternoon weather. A Sparrowhawk was again seen near the Garland Stone and two Buzzards and three Peregrines made up the rest of the raptor list. Two Teal were seen again on North Pond. Three Whimbrel passed over and an adult Curlew was seen. The last few Puffins are feeding chicks but, apart from some Kittiwakes and Fulmars, most of the seabirds have now left. The willows in North Valley harboured a Blue Tit, two Willow Warblers and four each of Common Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler. Twenty Starlings roamed the central fields, four Stonechats were seen and there were at least three Goldfinches.
|The juvenile Goshawk, sat in the willows at Green Pond|
|Due to its smallish size it was thought to be a juvenile male|
Two Teal turned up on North Pond as well as an adult Dunlin. A juvenile female Sparrowhawk over North Valley caused a bit of upset amongst the now rather fidgety gulls. Twenty three Moorhen were counted on the ponds. A Common Sandpiper frequented North Haven for most of the day. A hatch of flying ants actracted a few Black-headed Gulls and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull as well as a good number of resident gulls in the evening. Two Common Swift were seen. Eight Willow Warblers and a handfull of Common Whitethroat were recorded around the Farm and North Valley. Two Robins, three Stonechats and several Wheatears were recorded. There were also two Linnet, three Goldfinch and six Reed Buntings. Four Porpoises were seen from North Haven during the evening high tide
Nice day today with some late Razorbills with chicks still on the cliffs and also some late Puffins still bringing in Sandeels and forming small rafts on the water in the evening. 45 Gannets were counted feeding around the West coast, four Curlew, one Whimbrel, one juvenile Cuckoo, three Peregrine, three Chiffchaff, 18 Willow Warbler, 17 Blackbird and 15+ Wheatear were seen. The most amazing find of today however, wasn't a bird but a ca. 18 day old seal pup which had nearly finished moult and was found crying for its mum to feed it on Castle Bay beach.
|Nearly moulted seal pup at the back left and two pregnant cows in the foreground (sorry for the bad photo but it was taken with a phone through binoculars)|
A Juvenile Marsh Harrier roamed the island between 10:00 and lunch time, causing a fuss amongst the local gulls and Oystercatchers. There were two Black-headed Gulls feeding off South Stream in the evening. A single Curlew and a Short-eared Owl were seen in North Valley. A House Martin and a male Blackcap were seen around the Farm. A Flock of 25 Starlings was present and up to 18 Linnet were seen.
|Juvenile Marsh Harrier|
|Part of a pod of 30-40 Bottle-nosed Dolphins, mostly involving females and calves, passing North Haven|
Twenty one Common Scoter were logged today including one which thought it was a Shearwater, rafting with the Shearwater flocks off North Haven in the evening. A Common Sandpiper was seen at High Cliff. Two adult Mediterannean Gulls and two juvenile Black-headed Gulls were seen in Broad Sound. A Cuckoo was logged again. The first large flock of Ravens of the autumn was seen with 25 over North Haven in the morning. A few migrant Swallows passed through and ten Starling were logged
In an exciting piece of breeding bird news, at least one (possibly two) Peregrine chicks fledged from a sight near North Haven. Four birds were seen there yesterday with two adult birds alarming and today a recently fledged juvenile (male) was seen begging the two adults.
Five Black-headed Gulls were seen over North Haven. A Collared Dove was at the Farm and a Cuckoo was seen at the Wick. Three Short-eared Owls were seen in North Valley with chicks from a late nest still being fed.
Twenty eight Common Scoter were seen on the 8th. Grey Herons were seen on the 9th (one), 10th (six) and 14th (one). In terms of returning waders, a flock of 13 Curlew were at Skomer Head on the 6th, a Black-tailed Godwit remained on North Pond on the 5th and 6th and there were two there on the 8th, 9th and 10th, a Common Sandpiper was in North Haven on the 11th and there were four Redshanks on North Pond on the 6th. A Cuckoo was seen on most days. There were six swifts on the 5th, ten on the 9th and three on the 10th. A male Kestrel visited on several occasions. A locally dispersing Blue Tit was present on the 12th and 13th. There was a Sand Martin on the 13th and a House Martin on the 8th. A male Blackcap was in North Valley on the 13th. Up to 25 Starlings were seen. There were two records of Song Thrush. A juvenile Grey Wagtail briefly settled on the roof of the Wardens House in North Haven on the 11th. A Lesser Redpoll was seen around the Farm on the 9th.
In terms of breeding birds, a pair of Stonechats fledged a second brood of chicks in North Valley, the Pied Wagtails that nested in one of our shearwater nest boxes have a second brood, this time in the wood store and the first fledged Sedge Warblers were seen around the 12th.
|Two Black-tailed Godwits were on North Pond between the 8th and 10th|
|Male Stonechat at North Valley Crossing|
A few waders have started moving through and there were even a few passerines during the period. The highlights include: six, probably escaped, Snow Geese (five white and one blue) frequenting North Pond between the 24th and 26th of June; a female Shoveler with four chicks on Green Pond from the 27th of June; Grey Heron (five 22nd, two 23rd and twelve on the 24th of June); five Lapwing on the 1st of July; Black-tailed Godwit (four 30th of June, four 1st, two 2nd and one on the 3rd of July); Dunlin ( three 22nd June, one 27th June and four on the 3rd of July); three Redshank on the 3rd of July; a Green Sandpiper on Green Pond on the 28th of June; 36 Swifts on the 27th of June; a Sand Martin on the 23rd of June, a House Martin on the 21st of June; a Chiffchaff in South Stream on the 21st of June and three in North Valley on the 28th of June; Willow Warblers on the 28th and 30th of June; a reeling Grasshopper Warbler near Gorse Hill on the 27th and 28th of June; Song Thrushes on the 26th of June (juvenile) and 1st of July; a Spotted Flycatcher on the 21st of June; Black Redstart on the 3rd and 4th of July.
|A female Shoveler with four chicks turned up on Green Pond on the 27th of June|
|Four of five Lapwing on North Pond on the 1st of July. Photo by Mike Penny|
|Three Redshank. Photo by Mike Penny|
|Four feeding Black-tailed Godwits. Photo by Mike Penny|
|One of the Black-tailed Godwits. Photo by Mike Penny|
|Oystercatchers are also gathering in larger numbers once again. Photo by Mike Penny|
|Cooling waters. Photo by Mike Penny|
|Curlew on North Pond. Photo by Mike Penny|
Spring migration has more or less ended now and we have been concentrating on monitoring our breeding birds, so there is not a lot to report for the period (in terms of migrants). The first passerines have started fledging with two juvenile Stonechats still around, Wheatears and Rock Pipits being fed along with other common breeding birds. The seabirds are generally late this year and the season looks like it's going to be a protracted one. We have nearly finished our counts and we will report on them in the next week or so.
|Wheatear chick at Captain Kites|
|Rock Pipit at South Stream|
|A pair of Pied Wagtails bred in one of our Shearwater boxes which was fine but meant that we have three boxes that we haven't put out yet. The chicks fledged on the 17th|
A lovely Rose-coloured Starling was seen near the Farm at 06:00 this morning. It was a bit flighty but was seen several times until lunchtime. The crest was short, the pink parts were dullish and the undertail coverts were fringed pale so it should be a female or a first summer male. Other highlights from today include: a Greylag Goose (rare on the island), a Black-headed Gull over the Farm, two House Martins, five Chiffchaff (lots of singing and one pair feeding young), one Willow Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher. The Stonechats at North Valley Crossing are feeding chicks outside the nest now and some Goldfinches may make a late breeding attempt.
|Rose-coloured Starling. The local Meadow Pipits knew it was something odd and mobbed it relentlessly|
|The dull pink parts and pale fringed undertail coverts can be seen here|
|Rose-coloured Starling. All pictures by Tim Vale|
Six Common Scoter off the Mew Stone were the first of the year. A Little Egret was seen in North Valley on the 27th. There was a Dunlin on Moorey Mere on the 23rd and one on North Pond on the 28th. A Cuckoo was heard in North Valley on the 26th. A Merlin was seen on a few dates. There were 20 migrant Swallows and 22 House Martins on the 25th. Chiffchaffs peaked at seven on the 28th. Two Willow Warblers were recorded on the 27th, including a pale 'northern' looking bird. Blackcaps peaked at three on the 29th and there were two Garden Warblers in North Valley on the 27th. Spotted Flycatchers peaked at 20+ on the 27th. A Black Redstart was around the Farm on the 27th and 28th. Greenland Wheatears were seen on then 23rd and 27th. There was a Tree Pipit on the 31st. A juvenile Siskin was seen with the Goldfinches at the Farm on the 28th.
|A female Black Redstart at the Farm on the 27th|
|Great Black-backed Gulls on Anvil Rock|
|Common Whitethroat singing from Red Campion at the Farm|
|A female Broad-bodied Chaser at South Stream on the 27th|
But, of course, the bird of the period goes to the Snowy Owl that Dave Astins found at Pig Stone Bay on the 30th. What a great bird. It was being swooped on by every crow and gull in the vicinity so it was perhaps no wonder that it didn't hang around and we all hope that it gets back to the Arctic ok.
|Snowy Owl being mobbed by a local crow|
|Female Snowy Owl. What an amazing bird and a first for Skomer|
|One of the only flights the bird was seen to make, crow still in tow!|
Yesterday saw the end of the purple patch with very few migrants around at all. The best bird today was a late female Merlin seen in several different locations by different observers throughout the day.
The purple patch continued with a Subalpine Warbler caught and ringed in North Valley during a Constant Effort Site (CES) ringing session. It's full identity remains to be confirmed and a feather has been sent to Martin Collinson at the University of Aberdeen for DNA analysis so watch this space. Single Whimbrel, Turnstone and Dunlin were recorded. There were two Collared Dove and a Skylark. There were also twelve Sand Martin, 15 Sand Martin, 15 Chiffchaff, four Willow Warbler, one Blackcap, one Reed Warbler, three Spotted Flycatcher, four Linnet and two Goldfinch.
|The pattern on the second outermost tail feather (T5) is slightly more than a blob but is it a wedge?|
|A dull male or a bright female? Eastern or Western? We may only know once the results of the DNA come back.|
A calm day with light variable winds. The highlight of the day was an Alpine Swift found by Mike and Ted Wallen, our gull counters, which may well be the first accepted record for the island. Two Spoonbills were seen flying E then N over St Brides Bay at 08:00 and one was seen flying S at 16:00. Four Red Kite were over the Farm and four Peregrine were recorded, including one apparently taking a Guillemot. A Ringed Plover flew over the centre of the island, three Whimbrel and two Black-tailed Godwit were recorded and a Dunlin was seen in North Valley. Eight Collared Dove was another impressive count of this species. Ten Common Swift passed through and there were 14 Sand Martin, 200 Swallow and 60 House Martins. There were five Chiffchaff, three Willow Warbler and a single male Blackcap. The female Black Redstart and two Lesser Redpoll rounded off a really good day.
|Alpine Swift over the North Coast (photo by Mike Wallen)|
|Alpine Swift (photo by Ted Wallen)|
|Alpine Swift (photo by Ted Wallen)|
A lovely day with some early cloud but otherwise fine and calm conditions with light variable winds. The highlight of the day was probably a male Whinchat (the first of the year) found by Tim Birkhead and Jamie Thompson. For once this spring there were also half decent numbers of other common migrants. Around 15 Whimbrel passed through, there was at least one Black-tailed Godwit seen in a few different locations around the island and a Turnstone was seen flying over the island. Nine Short-eared Owls were logged and it seems we have a large number of breeding pairs this year. There were also 20 Swift, 18 Sand Martin, 309 Swallow, 75 House Martins, twelve Chiffchaff, ten Willow Warbler, two Blackcap, four Starling, four Spotted Flycatcher, the female Black Redstart, a 'Greenland' Wheatear, five Lesser Redpoll and seven Goldfinch. The Stonechats are feeding young and a (female, if I need to point that out!) Pied Wagtail has laid eggs in one of our new shearwater nest boxes (the first bird to nest in them).
|Male Whinchat at the back of the Farm|
|Black-tailed Godwit, this time on Moorey Mere|
|Having a scratch|
|Eating what looks like a tadpole. It seems that tadpoles are a readily available source of prey for wading birds at Moorey Mere.|
Another lovely day with light winds veering from E to WSW. A Black Kite was a great find and one spookily predicted by the finder, Dave Astins. On another great day for raptors there were also two Red Kite (with one seen being mobbed by four Short-eared Owls over North Valley in the morning), a female Sparrowhawk, ten Buzzards, a Merlin and two Peregrine. A Teal was the first seen for a while. There were two Whimbrel, four Curlew and the Black-tailed Godwit. One Collared Dove remained at the Farm. A minimum of eight Short-eared Owls were recorded again and it seems that eggs have now hatched as the owls are now being seen delivering small mammal prey to nest sites and vocalisations have increased. Ten Sand Martin, 60 Swallow and 18 House Martins passed over and there were ten Chiffchaff and a single Willow Warbler.
Light W wind and fine. A Mallard family with eight ducklings was seen at North Valley Crossing in the morning. In almost perfect soaring conditions a flock of ten Red Kites passed over at midday. A Water Rail was calling at North Valley Crossing and there were broods of three and six Moorhen at North Pond and Moorey Mere respectively. Five Whimbrel were recorded and the Black-tailed Godwit was still on North Pond. Four Black-headed Gull (rather rare this year) passed over the island during the morning. Two Collared Dove were at the Farm. Kestrel, Merlin and Peregrine were all recorded. Three Sand Martin, 50 Swallow and 15 House Martins passed through and there were twelve Chiffchaff, two Willow Warbler and the first Garden Warbler of the year. Most of our breeding Sedge Warblers and Common Whitethroats now seem to be on territory.
A fine day with light variable wind and sunshine. Highlights of the day were probably a White Wagtail and a lingering Merlin. There are now some broods of Moorhen on the ponds including North Pond, West Pond, Moorey Mere and along South Stream. There were six Whimbrel as well as the Black-tailed Godwit still on North Pond. Two Collared Doves were seen. Short-eared Owl activity has intensified once again and eight were logged. A Kestrel was seen at Bull Hole. Ravens have fledged their first chicks with two out of a nest in South Haven. There were 13 Sand Martin, 80 Swallows and 21 House Martins. There were also 15 Chiffchaff, two Willow Warbler and a Blackcap.
|White Wagtail (bottom) with a Pied Watgtail in North Haven|
More light SW winds and mostly low cloud. Three Golden Plover were the first for a while. The Black-tailed Godwit was on North pond again. There was a single record of Common Swift again. Six Peregrines were recorded, including a few juvenile birds. Hirundine movement ramped up with 121 Sand Martins, 250+ Swallows and 59 House Martins. There were five Chiffchaff, eight Willow Warbler, two Blackcap, five Common Whitethroat, twelve Sedge Warbler, a Spotted Flycatcher, two Common Redstart, 14 Wheatear and two Redpolls.
|Wheatear lining a nest|
Low cloud again but some sun, calm conditions and mild temperatures made for a very pleasant day. Highlights today were a male Common Redstart at the Farm, a Black-tailed Godwit at North Pond and some very obliging Short-eared Owls (six were recorded in log). Other birds recorded include: seven Whimbrel, one Swift, one Merlin and one Peregrine, 34 Sand Martin. 150+ Swallow, one House Martin, six Chiffchaff, 14 Willow Warbler (including one 'northern' (Scandinavian) type), two Blackcap, four Common Whitethroat, 14 Sedge Warbler and a Reed Warbler.
|A Black-tailed Godwit arrived on North Pond|
|The Short-eared Owls put on a good show|
26/04/2018 - 03/05/2018
Highlights for the past week include 14 Whimbrel on the 26th April, and a high count of 70 Oystercatchers on the 30th. Water Rail singing has been heard on many days. Five Ringed Plover were seen at Wick Stream on the 29th April and one Snipe was seen on the 27th. A Common Sandpiper was seen on the 2nd of May.
Twelve chough including a flock of seven were seen on the 30th, and 21 including a flock of 14 on the 2nd. We still have our flightless Wigeon and Fieldfare which have both been seen periodically since 'the beast from the east'. 50 Swallows were seen on the 26th April along with ten House Martin and one Sand Martin, this was beaten by 65 swallows on the 28th with two Sand Martin and a Swift. We had a few days with good numbers of of finches with 41 Linnet and 59 Goldfinch seen on the 26th April. The first and second Spotted Flycatcher of the year were seen on the 30th April.
The first Lesser Black Backed Gull egg was seen on the 27th. 20 Cormorants was the peak count of the week which was mostly made up of a group of 15 flying in formation past the Garland Stone.
A Merlin has been seen almost every day and there have been a few kestrel sightings, including a lovely adult male. There are still plenty of seals hauling out in North Haven with 117 counted on the main beach on the 26th April. Nine Porpoise and two Common Dolphin were seen from Skomer Head on the 28th.
Early fog, clearing in the afternoon. Dave Astin's birdwatching group were still on the island so some birds were recorded and there were a few new arrivals but also some departures. A Water Rail was heard at Moorey Mere. A flock of 35 Whimbrel flew west over North Haven and there were nine Turnstone on North Haven beach. There were two Goldcrest, 22 Chiffchaff, ten Willow Warbler, three Blackcap and two Sedge Warblers. A Lesser Whitethroat in North Haven was seen being hit by a Merlin. The bird was picked up and put in a shoe box for an hour, where it recovered and was released, seemingly none the worse for it's experience. Twelve Wheatears were recorded as were 23 Linnet and 13 Goldfinch.
|This Lesser Whitethroat was attacked by a Merlin but had a lucky escape|
Another 'Pembrokeshire Dangler' today provided strange conditions and mistbows! There were very few warblers but a few new arrivals nonetheless. The Woodchat Shrike was still present in North Valley. Other highlights include: a Sparrowhawk, a Whimbrel, a Snipe, three Short-eared Owls, a Goldcrest, 33 Sand Martin, three House Martin, 19 Swallow, three Chiffchaff, five Willow Warbler, one Blackcap and the first Reed Warbler of the year.
Also seen today were four Peacock butterflies, a Holly Blue and a Hummingbird Hawkmoth (the second of the spring after one on 14th of April)
|Woodchat Shrike present for its third day|
|Holly Blue - a now fairly rare visitor|
|A 'Pembrokeshire Dangler' and a Mistbow!|
More fog am - the famous 'Pembrokeshire Dangler'! but otherwise light winds and a glorious afternoon. The Woodchat Shrike remained in the same few bushes that it favoured yesterday (and, interestingly, the same ones that the last one, in 2016, favoured). Five Shelduck were seen flying through Jack Sound in the morning and there were two on the island. In a poor spring for the species, three Black-headed Gulls were also seen in Jack Sound. There were four Whimbrel, eleven Curlew, four Turnstone and a Snipe. Four Short-eared Owls were logged and they generally showed well for day trippers and overnight guests. In terms of migrants there were three Goldcrests, 31 Swallow, 15 House Martins, 20 Chiffchaff, 18 Willow Warbler, seven Blackcap, three Sedge Warbler (the first of the year - quite a bit later than last year), five alba Wagtails, 25 Linnet, a Redpoll and 27 Goldfinch.
|Woodchat Shrike near Farm|
Mod SSE winds becoming warm and sunny by the afternoon. Warm southerly winds brought in a Woodchat Shrike, the first since 2016, which showed well, on and off, around the Farm for most of the day. A Sparrowhawk was seen at the Farm. A Black-tailed Godwit was on North Pond and there were seven Turnstone on North Haven beach and three Snipe around the island. There were ten Swallows, three House Martins, 18 Chiffchaff, seven Willow Warbler and four Blackcaps. A light movement of finches was detected with 66 Linnet and 13 Goldfinch logged
|This Woodchat Shrike was found during the day and spent most of its time in a few bushes near the Farm|
|It seemed to be able to find food by dropping down on to prey on the wall near its favourite bush|
Strongish winds from the SSW and rain today. A slow day in general with four Swallow, seven Chiffchaff and a single Blackcap. Two Ring Ouzel (a male and a female) were the highlight of the day.
|Male Ring Ouzel near the garland Stone|
A foggy start with light SE winds. A ringtail Hen Harrier was seen and there were a Kestrel, two Merlin, four Peregrines and three Short-eared Owls present. A second whole island Puffin count was performed between 17:00 and 19:00, however, the total was quite a lot down on the last count at 24,017. Sixteen Chough were logged including a flock of nine. Migrants included five Sand Martins, two House Martins, nine Swallows, 13 Chiffchaff, five Willow Warbler, six Blackcap and the first Ring Ouzel of the spring. One pair of Stonechats began nest building and there was a second pair singing nearby. In terms of finches, there was a single Chaffinch, 19 Linnet, three Goldfinch and a Siskin.
|This male Stonechat was singing at the Farm|
Light variable winds today. A male Pied Flycatcher was seen briefly in North Haven first thing before flying off towards the Farm where it was quickly found again. Other birds of note from today include: three Whimbrel, four Goldcrest, 20 Chiffchaff, five Willow Warbler, 16 Blackcap, eight Swallows and 25 Linnet.
|Male Pied Flycatcher near the Harold Stone|
Numbers of migrants have fallen since the 8th but there was a clear arrival of Willow Warblers and a few other summer migrants today. The daily log recorded three Snipe, two displaying Short-eared Owls, five Sand Martins, 26 Swallows, eight House Martins, five Chiffchaff, at least 20 Willow Warbler, 17 Blackcap, the first Common Whitethroat of the year, 18 Wheatear, 45 linnet and three Goldfinch.
|There was an small arrival of migrants today with 20 Willow Warbler recorded|
A good day for birds with plenty of migrants passing through and a record spring count of Puffins. A Water Rail and two Snipe were recorded. The whole island Puffin count resulted in a record total of 30,895 individuals being counted. Three Short-eared Owls, a Merlin and a Kestrel were logged. There were five Goldcrest, 27 Chiffchaff, five Willow Warbler, 27 Blackcap, two Sand Martin, eleven Swallows and 26 Wheatear. In terms of finches there were 15 linnet and six Goldfinch.
|One of 27 Chiffchaffs recorded today|
|Puffin counting on a glorious spring evening|
|Slopes on the north coast of Skomer covered in Puffins|
Lighter variable winds with some rain am. Short-eared Owls have begun displaying. A Kestrel and a Merlin were recorded. One-hundred Oystercatchers were recorded with 66 at the roost at South Stream. A few summer migrants also began to trickle through with four Goldcrest, two Sand Martin, 61 Swallow, 20 Chiffchaff, four Willow Warbler, ten Blackcap, 20 Wheatear, the first White Wagtail of the spring as well as five Linnet and six Goldfinch.
A pretty wild morning with a strong SE wind and some rain. Twenty-seven Purple Sandpipers tucked away in between rocks at South Castle was another large count but, given the conditions, some were probably missed. A ringtail Hen Harrier and a Merlin are still being seen. The first Collared Dove of the year was seen at the Farm. The first House Martin of the year was recorded along with just three Swallows and there were small numbers of Goldcrest (one), Chiffchaff (16), Willow Warbler (one) and Blackcap (one). The Black Redstarts were still present at the Farm and North Haven and there were three Stonechat and three Wheatear.
|A Purple Sandpiper sheltering on South Castle|
|A small group of Purple Sandpipers with the wild sea behind|
|Not the best of viewing conditions|
|Black Redstart in North Haven|
A very cold morning quickly warmed up with the early sun, then cooled with the wind in the afternoon. Highlights were the confirmation of two Black Redstarts with one at the landing in North Haven and one at the Farm at the same time in the morning. Other highlighs were nine Wheatear (including one Greenland type), four Linnet, two Reed Bunting, the Hen Harrier, 13 Buzzard, two Short-eared Owls, a Kestrel, seven Peregrine Falcons, ten Chough, 16 Carrion Crow, one Blue Tit, five Swallow, 15 Chiffchaff, two Willow Warblers, four Blackcaps, a Fieldfare and a Redwing.
|One of two Black Redstarts on the Island, flitting around the rocks above the Sales Point in the Morning|
Highlights of a drizzley day included eleven Teal including males displaying on Moorey Mere, two Shelduck, two Shoveler, four Snipe and a Water Rail on the ponds. The Hen Harrier was seen along with two Short-eared Owls, a Merlin and a Juvenile Peregrine. An exact count for North Haven was conducted with 4,997 Puffins in the bay and auks on the cliffs around the island. A record count of Purple Sandpipers on south castle of 40 birds, and a high count of 141 Oyster Catchers around the rest of the island. 13 Turnstone were seen amoungst the 109 Grey Seals. We saw 18 chough (again, including a flock of 10) and a flock of 40 Starling. A Fieldfare was seen around the Farm multiple times, possibly with a broken wing. A Black Redstart was also around the farm for most of the day along with a Redwing and Song Thrush. Two Goldfinch, two Reed Bunting, 26 Chiffchaff, 14 Willow Warbler, 13 Blackcap, five Goldcrest, eight Sand Martin and six Swallows were the best of the rest.
A nice day with sun and a cool breeze brought an estimated 5000 Puffins into North Haven in the evening, along with six Turnstone amounst the 98 Grey Seals. Two Barn Swallows were also seen along with nine Sand Martin and a Black Redstart at North Haven. 18 Chough (including a flock of ten), three Short-eared Owls, five Peregrine Falcon, a Hen Harrier, a large group of feeding Gannets out from North Haven (with at least six Porpoises), three Snipe, 28 Chiffchaff, five Willow Warbler and three Blackcap were the best of the rest.
|Sand Martin, over Green Pond|
A wet day across the island, with the Hen Harrier and two Short Eared Owls seen, and the first Barn Swallow of the year, along with two Golden Plover flying over.
Easter Sunday brought us a break in the wind and another day of boats for day trippers. the weather held out until mid afternoon when the heavens opened. Before it hit, two Shelduck, twelve Curlew, five Turnstone, seven Cormorant, four Shag, twelve Buzzard, three Peregrine, a Kestrel and a Merlin. Visitors were also treated to fantastic views of 12 porpoise including some very close in and logging near the suface at Skomer Head.
A blustery day with no boats meant more maintenance jobs done on the Island. A flock of ten Chough contributed to an island count of 19 for the day, and a flock of 35 Starling and roost of 126 Oyster Catcher were the highest counts of the day. in amoungst the 64 hauled out Grey Seals on North Haven beach were eight Turnstone. Other highlights of the day were a single adult Black Headed Gull, Kestrel, Peregrine and a Great Tit singing at the farm.
The largest arrival of Phylloscopus warblers of the spring so far occurred today. Of those identified, were 13 Chiffchaff (one singing) and at least three Willow Warbler. Other birds, during some fairly fine weather, include: at least one Hen harrier; a few Buzzards up and displaying; 106 Oystercatchers; a big arrival of Puffins and other auks, with 5,440 puffins in North Haven alone; three Short-eared Owls; one female Kestrel; two Goldcrest; a Great Tit (singing again); a Blue Tit and three Sand Martins going west (first of the year). There were also single records of Stonechat, Wheatear, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.
|Orange 47 and Orange 58, two of quite a few Oystercatchers colour ringed at the Gann and subsequently seen on Skomer|
|A section of a large raft of Puffins in South Haven today|
The highlight of the day was an immature Iceland Gull which flew over the Farm at 09:30. This is the first record since 2015 and the eleventh island record. Unfortunately though the bird carried on and was not seen again. Other highlights from the day include, a Little Grebe on North Pond, at least one Hen Harrier, 137 Oystercatcher, a Lapwing, eight Snipe, two Short-eared Owls, a Kestrel, a Merlin, six Goldcrest and the first singing Wheatear of the year.
Another fine day. There were two Red Kites today as well as single Hen Harrier and Merlin plus three Peregrine. Two Short-eared Owls hunted around the Farm. Three Stonechat, at least one Linnet and three Reed Bunting were also recorded.
A lovely day and a very localised 'fall' of warblers in South Stream valley where five Chiffchaff were joined by at least one Willow Warbler (the first of the year). A Red Kite took advantage of the better weather, making an appearance over the Farm and Hen Harrier and Kestrel were also logged. The Curlews have really begun their display flights in earnest now and singing birds were seen in several places. A Short-eared Owl was seen.
|The first Willow Warbler of the year|
|Chiffchaffs started coming through in small numbers almost two weeks ago|
A few waders still on the island with two Dulnin and a Lapwing on Moorey Mere, 77 Oystercatcher, twelve Curlew, four Turnstone and three Snipe. A Short-eared Owl and four Peregrine were seen around the island. A Chiffchaff was found dead near the house in North Haven. There were five Stonechat and a male Wheatear.
|A Lapwing and two Dunlin on Moorey Mere|
Freezing temperatures and the so called 'mini beast' brought more snow and ice. Twenty six Teal were logged (the highest count since the last cold snap). There were also increased numbers of waders again with 93 Oystercatcher, one Golden Plover, two Lapwing, 14 Curlew, a Dunlin and eleven Snipe recorded. One of the Hen Harriers was seen, as well as a female Kestrel, a Merlin and a Peregrine. Passerine numbers were low but there were two Goldcrest, a Chiffchaff, single Fieldfare and Redwing and two Stonechat.
|More snow and freezing temperatures|
|The gulls just sat it out|
Snow flurries and very low temperatures today. A male Black Redstart was seen on a rocky outcrop near the Farm. There were five Stonechat and two Goldcrests.
A fine day, before tomorrows coming cold. A Hen Harrier, twelve Buzzards and a Merlin made up the raptors. Oystercatcher numbers reached 106 and there were ten Curlew, four Turnstone, a Jack Snipe and three Common Snipe. The first arrival of Puffins this afternoon with at least 100 just offshore. Two Goldcrest, and single Great and Blue Tits were recorded. Nine Stonechat were seen around the island, indicating some migration and a single male Wheatear was on the Neck. There were at least 15 Meadow Pipits including an interesting bird (photo) with bold markings and warm buff tones. There were two of Fieldfare, Song Thrush and Redwing and the first Linnets (two) recorded in a while.
|A smart looking Meadow Pipit.|
|Although this bird has a warm buff breast and throat it possibly lacks the pinkish tones that would previously have qualified as whistleri|
Moderate SE winds and some sun were certainly better than yesterdays howling winds and rain. There were lots of manxies around in the grotty weather last night but it was a bright and calm morning. Two Hen Harriers and a Short-eared Owl were seen around the Farm. A Merlin and a Peregrine were seen elsewhere. There were ten Turnstone in North Haven and four Snipe were recorded. Blue and Great Tits were seen again and the Great Tit is probably a male as Sarah (AW) has heard it singing on more than one occasion now. Three Skylarks were logged and two of them were singing, as was a Pied Wagtail on Moorey Mere. There was a Goldcrest in the Ivy at North Haven and one in North Valley. Two Fieldfare and five Redwing are lingering. There were five Stonechat around the island and two male Wheatears on the Isthmus. There was also a female Chaffinch and a singing Goldfinch at the Farm. Spring has come, for now! Watch this space...
|A ringed male Pied Wagtail at Moorey Mere was advertising his presence in the morning sun|
|Two Male Wheatears on the Isthmus|
|Two male Wheatears and can you spot the male Stonechat on post 454|
Golden plover 11
Black-headed Gull 1
Song Thrush 1
A stunning day on the island with calm winds in the morning and sun all day. We managed to cover the entire island and have good counts to match. On the ponds were a minimum of 17 Teal and two Shoveler, six Snipe were tucked around North Pond and a Jack Snipe flushed from nearby. A Water Rail was heard in East Bog and we had island rarities of two Blue Tits, a Great tit and a Chaffinch. Two Hen Harriers were seen hunting in North Valley simultaneously and we're having fairly regular sightings of a Merlin and 12 Buzzards. The Cliffs were nearly fully occupied with lots of Razorbills and Fulmars, and the first day with large numbers of Kittiwakes on the cliffs, however the Guillimots only hung around for a short period in the morning then left the cliffs. We saw our first Puffins of the year with two seen out to sea. Other spring highlights included our first Wheatears of the year, with a female at the wick, a male at Skomer Head and later a male also at the Wick. We had one Skylark and two Reed Bunting, three Pied Wagtails and the first sighting of a second Robin outside of North Haven with one in North Valley additionally.
|Some of the Common Snipe at North Pond|
|Male Wheatear at Skomer Head|
A dry day on the island kept us at the farm for most of the day doing work, but we still managed to spot the first Goldcrest and Chiffchaff of the year. Other highlights included a high count of 127 Oystercatcher, 26 Curlew, four Short Eared Owls, two Wood Pigeon and one Wigeon. We had a single Lapwing on the island along with nine Fieldfare and 23 Redwing leftover from the near invasion of these birds during the cold snap a week ago.
Highlights from the last week include the first manxies of the year on the 7th, two Hen Harriers on the 7th, 200 Golden Plover on the 4th, 85 Lapwing on the 8th, two Woodcock on the 6th, six Purple Sandpiper on the 10th, 67 Fieldfare on the 5th, 230 Redwing on the 4th and light influx of Stonechat on the 7th (ten).
The thaw began today with much of the snow melting, but ponds all still partially frozen. There were still lots of birds around the island (though not the usual ones!) but no longer the mass movement every time you looked up, leaving us with still impressive numbers (for Skomer) of 150 Golden Plover, 400 Lapwing, 100 Fieldfare and 270 Redwing. Over the past few days these four irregular visitors to the island were all flying over or hunkering down, today they were all taking advantage of the newly defrosted ground and there was lots of foraging going on.
|This Golden Plover feeding in the farm courtyard was ringed as a first year bird in 2015 in mid wales. This was the first sighting of it since it was ringed!|
So far our casualty list is quite small, a Song Thrush by the house and a Redwing in the sea at NHV and a Lapwing in the sea at Pigstone Bay on the 2nd, however this is bound to change.
|A Dunlin walking on Green Pond!|
The weather has got progressively worse every day since we arrived on the island on the 27th of February. If yesterday was memorable, today was unforgettable. It started snowing heavily around midday and by the evening we had Arctic conditions with snow drifts up to 4ft deep. In terms of birds this was without doubt the largest number of birds I've ever seen at this end of the year. The exceptional conditions produced a massive movement of Redwings and Fieldfares and the plovers continued in the same vain as yesterday only in greater numbers. There were literally birds everywhere, all around the coast and inland, you could't go anywhere without seeing these thrushes and plovers. The numbers speak for themselves but cannot adequatley describe the spectacle.
|Canada Geese keeping a small area of North Pond open|
|Teal sitting it out|
|Lapwing standing on Green Pond|
|A large flock of Lapwing in North Valley|
|Golden Plover in the Wick|
|A Bar-tailed Godwit in South Stream|
Birds of prey seen include the female Hen Harrier, five Buzzards, a Peregrine and three Short-eared Owls.
Other species recorded include a Blue Tit, ten Skylark, six Chaffinch and 14 Linnet.
The birds were visibly struggling and mostly unable to feed. It also seemed to affect a wide range of species as we saw thrushes, crows, waders and ducks all weak on their legs and unable to fly away. The only definitely dead bird we saw, however, was a dead Lapwing floating in the sea. Although short lived this seriously cold snap may have a negative impact on our resident bird populations, like our island Wrens. We will have to see how many bodies, if any, we find over the coming days and how our breeding birds have fared.
Freezing conditions and snow brought in large numbers of waders today. There were large flocks of Lapwings (up to 150 in a single flock) and Golden Plovers all over the island, especially on the west coast, as well as plenty flying over. Totals include 770 Lapwing, 239 Golden Plover, 46 Curlew, four Turnstone, one Dunlin, two Jack Snipe and 32 Common Snipe, a Woodcock, nine Fieldfare, 61 Redwing, single Short-eared Owl, Hen Harrier, Merlin and Peregrine. A wader giving a distinct 'chew-it' call also flew over but was not seen.
Quite a memorable day.
|North Haven in snow|
|Golden Plovers at Skomer Head|
|Part of a large flock of Lapwing at Pigstone Bay|
A blustery day but highlights were 17 Teal and 12 Mallard on North Pond. There were two Hen Harriers seen, one adult female and one immature bird. In North Haven there were 18 Oystercatcher, 10 Curlew, 18 Turnstone and one Purple Sandpiper. 60 Lapwing were seen flying through North Valley in the afternoon and elsewhere there was one Snipe, two Kestrel, one Merlin, two Goldcrest and 64 Rock Pipit. A Small Tortoiseshell was also seen flying around North Haven.
This will most likely be our last recent sightings update of the year as we are hoping to move off tomorrow, weather permitting.
|Siberian Chiffchaff at East Bog|
|The second bird at the Farm. There seems to be more greeny tones in this bird compared to the paler East Bog bird but both were heard giving the distinctive straight tristis call|
Bird movements have come in pulses over the last two weeks with most movements related to calm weather, of which there have been a few exceptionally calm days.
Between one and two Hen Harriers have been present most days and up to two Merlin have also been bombing around the island. Fulmars have been seen in increasing numbers and have been sat on the cliffs for the last few days at least. Since our first sighting of Woodcock on the 8th one or two have been seen on most days.
Highlights from the past two weeks are as follows.
|Yellow-browed Warbler, Green Pond|
|Short-eared Owl, North Valley|
|Little Egret, North Valley|
Not a bad day today with 17 Common Scoter, two Great Northern Diver, Hen Harrier, Merlin, three Goldcrest, two Firecrest, three Chiffchaff, two Blackcap, three Blue Tit, two Great Tit, 19 Long-tailed Tit, 23 Blackbird, five Fieldfare, 30 Song Thrush, 24 Redwing, two Mistle Thrush, four Brambling, 216 Chaffinch, three Bullfinch, four Siskin and a Snow Bunting all recorded.
A calm but dreary day produced at least one bird to bighten things up. A Siberian Stonechat was found in North Valley at 08:00 but was very mobile. It was seen again just west of the Farm but then disappeared not to be seen again. Interestingly there was a reasonable influx of 'normal' Stonechats as well with 16 recorded. There were also big numbers of Starling and Wood Pigeons again. Full totals were as follows: 13 White-fronted Goose, one Fulmar, one Hen Harrier, 20 Buzzard, two Kestrel, two Merlin, seven Snipe, 1,610 Wood Pigeon, at least one Barn Owl, two Short-eared Owl, three Goldcrest, three Blue Tit, six Skylark, 38 Long-tailed Tit (including a single flock of 30), 1,615 Starling, 42 Blackbird, twelve Fieldfare, 22 Song Thrush, 27 Redwing, 44 Robin, 15 Brambling, 49 Chaffinch, four Linnet, one Lesser Redpoll, two flyover Redpoll and 20 Goldfinch.
|The photos aren't great but this thing stood out like a light bulb amongst the European Stonechats|
|The only shot we have of the unstreaked rump!|
Two Red Kite fed on the island during the day, there were also two each of Hen Harrier, Kestrel, Merlin and Peregrine and one Short-eared Owl. Two Golden Plover flew over and there were nine Curlew, two Turnstone and ten Snipe. There were two Stock Doves at the Farm and a whopping 1,420 Wood Pigeon passed over. There were also many more Jackdaws than usual over the island today with 700 logged as well as three Rook. There were two Goldcrest, a Firecrest and four Chiffchaff. Migration continued with four Blue Tit, one Great Tit, 15 Long-tailed Tits, 58 Skylark, 424 Starling, 26 Blackbird, 21 Fieldfare, 26 Song Thrush, 17 Redwing, four Mistle Thrush, two Grey Wagtail, five Brambling, 60 Chaffinch, seven Linnet, a Redpoll, 41 Goldfinch and nine Siskin.
|A Red Kite capitalising on Skomer's food supplies|
|Pale morph Common Buzzard|
|Great Spotted Woodpecker on the rocks at Captain Kites|
|An increase in Jackdaw numbers|
|Some lovely birds|
A fantastic day on Skomer today with blue skies all day and so many birds passing over it was difficult to know where to look at times. Around 75 species were recorded in total including a Red-breasted Flycatcher which was found in North Valley in the morning.
Four White-fronted Geese flying over North Valley mid-morning were a nice sight and one Greylag and two Barnacle Geese were also recorded. Including Canada Geese it’s not often we record four species of geese on Skomer.
It was a fantastic day for raptors as well with four Red Kite, two Hen Harrier, 25 Buzzard, one Little Owl, one Short-eared Owl, three Kestrel, two Merlin and five Peregrine logged. Other birds recorded include two Golden Plover, 14 Lapwing, 13 Curlew, 12 Snipe, 20 Mediterranean Gulls, 330 Woodpigeon (our first in a while) and one Great Spotted Woodpecker. There were 450 Jackdaw recorded today along with 30 Carrion Crow, 3 Firecrest, 19 Blue Tits, three Great Tits, one Coal tit and 44 Long-tailed Tits. Skylark passage has slowed with 62 being recorded today plus 2 Swallows, 10 Chiffchaff, two Willow Warblers, four Blackcap and 375 Starling.
There were still large numbers of thrushes around with 90 Blackbird, five Fieldfare, 86 Song Thrush, 28 Redwing and four Mistle Thrush seen. There was one Black Redstart at the farm and one Wheatear at Skomer Head. 33 House Sparrow was a good count considering they’re an island scarcity, and also recorded were eight Brambling, 85 Chaffinch, one Bullfinch, four Greenfinch, 35 Linnet, four Lesser Redpoll, 15 Goldfinch, 31 Siskin and 10 Reed Bunting.
|Red-breasted Flycatcher, North Valley|
There were also a few other birds grounded overnight with 42 Robin, 14 Blackcap and 22 Chiffchaff the high counts. Other birds logged today include 10 Teal, 14 Mallard, one Shoveler, one Hen Harrier, two Sparrowhawk, 18 Curlew, one Snipe and two Short-eared Owls. There was a Great Spotted Woodpecker in North Valley, plus two Merlin were also logged along with 28 Chough, 20 Goldcrest, four Long-tailed Tit, one Yellow-browed Warbler, two very late Willow Warblers, one Pied Flycatcher and five Reed Bunting.
|Pied Flycatcher in North Haven|
The floodgates opened today after a few days of bad weather and the skies filled with larks and finches. Our visible migration totals are as follows; 32 Blue Tit, one Great Tit, two Coal Tit, 800 Skylark, 30 Swallows, 35 Long-tailed Tits, 600 Starling, 58 Song Thrush, 26 Redwing, one Grey Wagtail, 100 Chaffinch, 10 Greenfinch, 68 Linnet, one Lesser Redpoll, 17 Goldfinch and two Siskin.
Other birds logged today include, nine Teal, 11 Mallard, two Shoveler, one Hen Harrier, one Sparrowhawk, 15 Curlew and one Snipe. There were four Mediterranean Gulls in Jack Sound, and on top of the island there were seven Short-eared Owls, one Great Spotted Woodpecker, two Kestrel, one Merlin, 17 Goldcrest, two Firecrest, six Chiffchaff, two Blackcap, one House Sparrow and eight Reed Bunting.
|Always a charming sight, flocks of Long-tailed Tits have been a feature of the last week or so|
|Firecrest at The Farm|
Fog and drizzle for most of the day today with moderately strong South Westerly winds made for a difficult days birding. Birds logged today include eight Teal, 40 Mallard, three Shoveler, 61 Scoter, one Red-throated Diver and an adult Great Northern Diver in North Haven. Also seen were two Hen Harrier, 20 Curlew, four Snipe, two Kestrel, one Merlin, one Goldcrest, two Firecrest, one Blue Tit, one Great Tit, three Chiffchaff and two Blackcap. One Black Redstart remained at the Farm and elsewhere there were nine Stonechat, two Grey Wagtail, four Chaffinch, 16 Goldfinch, two Siskin and four Reed Bunting.
Another hoolie blowing all day but luckily no damage to buildings this time. It did blow in the best show of skuas that Skomer has seen in a long time however, with all four species seen. Seawatching totals were: One Fulmar, 16 manxies, a Leach's Petrel (killed by a Peregrine before our eyes), three Gannet, three Cormorant, ten Shag, four Pomarine Skua, two Arctic Skua, two Long-tailed Skua and seven bonxies, 13 Razorbill, five Guillemot, 20 auk sp, 88 Kittiwake and a Black-headed Gull. Other birds seen around the island include: a Hen Harrier, two Peregrine, two Kestrel, eleven Turnstone, one Purple Sandpiper, seven Chough, four Goldcrest, one Firecrest, one each of Blue and Great Tit, two Chiffchaff, four Blackcap, two Song Thrush, three Chaffinch and eight Goldfinch.
|One of seven 'bonxies', or Great Skuas, seen today|
The clear highlight from today was a Radde’s Warbler at the Garland Stone, a second record for Skomer. Other birds logged today include, two Barnacle Geese, eight Teal, 10 Mallard, one Shoveler, and eight Common Scoter. The ringtail Hen Harrier was logged again as well as 15 Buzzards, six Curlew, 21 Turnstone, 18 Oystercatcher, two Snipe, one Kestrel and two Peregrine. There was at least one Firecrest in North Haven Ivy and elsewhere there were four Blue Tits, two Great Tits, two Coal Tits, 16 Skylark, four Chiffchaff, five Blackcap, four Song Thrush and two Redwing. The first Black Redstart of the autumn was at the farm and the best of the rest include eight Stonechat, one Wheatear and 10 Chaffinch.
|Radde's Warbler at the Garland Stone|
North Pond highlights from today were two Barnacle Geese, 9 Teal, 5 Mallard and 4 Shoveler. The ringtail Hen Harrier was still present at dusk and was recorded in the Hen Harrier Roost Count for the BTO. Elsewhere there was one Sparrowhawk, three Water Rail, one Curlew, eight Short-eared Owls, three Kestrel and three Peregrine. Two Firecrests were a good record and 13 Goldcrests were also recorded. One Blue Tit and five Great Tits are all that remains of our ‘tit invasion’ and also recorded were two Skylark, 9 Chiffchaff, three Blackcap, 27 Starling, two Song Thrush and two Redwing (our first of the autumn being recorded late last night). One Spotted Flycatcher was in East Bog, and around the island there was one Wheatear, 13 Chaffinch, three Linnet, two Redpoll and 12 Siskin.
|One of eight Short-eared Owls from today|
|Firecrest at Moorey Mere|
A calmer start to the day meant more birds were moving than in the previous few days of strong wind. Two Barnacle Geese were seen leaving North Pond early in the morning and on North Pond there were 12 Teal and four Shoveler. The ringtail Hen Harrier was seen again and at one point was being mobbed by a Sparrowhawk. Elsewhere there were 11 Buzzard, six Water Rail, six Curlew, one Jack Snipe on North Pond briefly in the evening, one Razorbill, one Great Spotted Woodpecker, two Kestrel and one Merlin. There seemed to be an arrival of Goldcrest today with 45 logged, even with birds on the western cliffs. Also seen was one Blue Tit, one Great Tit, 195 Skylark, 82 Swallows, seven Chiffchaff, three Blackcap, three Songthrush, 34 Robins, eight Stonechat, one Grey Wagtail, 10 Chaffinch, 33 Linnet and 12 Reed Bunting.
|One of 12 Reed Bunting seen today|
Two Barnacle Geese on North Pond in the evening were a nice surprise - they're a scarce visitor here on Skomer. Also on North Pond were 16 Teal and five Shoveler. The Hen Harrier was logged again along with 9 Buzzard, three Water Rail, one Great Spotted Woodpecker, three Kestrel and one Merlin. Other birds logged today include 11 Goldcrest, four Blue Tits, three Great Tits, three Skylark, 80 Swallows, seven House Martins, four Chiffchaff, three Songthrush, one Spotted Flycatcher, 15 Robins, four Stonechat and one Chaffinch.
Sixteen Teal on North Pond was the highest count in a while and there were ten Common Scoter in St Brides. A juvenile Grey Heron was also on North Pond and the female Hen Harrier was seen in the area on several occasions. The warm late morning encouraged birds to circle high on the thermals. Within the circling flocks were good numbers of Buzzards, Ravens, Kestrels, Peregrines etc. and a female Sparrowhawk. A male Sparrowhawk and a female type Merlin were also seen. A Barn Owl and two Short-eared Owls were seen in the evening. Visible migration totals include: a Great Spotted Woodpecker (flying over!), 123 Skylark, a Sand Martin, 61 Swallow, 16 House Martins, six Song Thrush, one Grey Wagtail, 50 Meadow Pipits, ten Chaffinch, 32 Linnet, 17 Goldfinch and three Siskin. Landed migrants included: 30 Goldcrest, eleven Blue Tit, three Great Tit and three Coal Tit, a Yellow-browed Warbler (the first of the autumn), eight Chiffchaff, a single Blackcap, two Spotted Flycatcher, five Stonechat, one Wheatear and two House Sparrow.
Today was one of those days where a load of common birds flood to and pass over the island in the morning and are pretty much all gone by the afternoon. Totals include: a Red Kite, the ringtail Hen Harrier, at least one Sparrowhawk, 15 Buzzard, a Golden Plover (which was heard but not seen!!!), two Snipe, 28 Goldcrest, 17 Blue Tit, eight Great Tit, 143 Skylark, one Sand Martin, two House Martin, 131 Swallow, seven Chiffchaff, two Blackcap, a Mistle Thrush, two Spotted Flycatcher, 37 Robin, eight Stonechat, four House Sparrow, three Pied and five alba Wagtails, nine Chaffinch, 145 Linnet, 13 Goldfinch, three Siskin and 15 Reed Bunting. Moth and butterfly records include six Red Admirals, five Painted Ladies, a Peacock, two Small Coppers and three Hummingbird Hawkmoths.
|Spotted Flycatcher (taken on the 1st)|
A much nicer day with lighter winds and some sunshine providing better conditions for late flying moths and butterflies, and some birds. The opportunity to get outside during the morning meant that a new bird for the island was found at Moorey Mere, a cracking little Red-necked Phalarope, which spent the morning actively feeding around a female Pintail which had also just dropped in. A possible Corncrake was seen briefly just before the phalarope was found also at Moorey Mere but could not be encouraged out again. Other highlights include: a second Pintail on North Pond, the ringtail Hen Harrier, seven Water Rails, a Sparrowhawk, 32 Oystercatcher, 22 Curlew, 20 Turnstone, 3 Purple Sandpiper, one Snipe, 63 Black-headed Gulls, 93 Herring Gulls, 72 Great Black-backed Gulls, a Short-eared Owl, at least four Kestrels, a Merlin, 27 Goldcrests, the two Firecrests still, five Blue Tits, a Great Tit, eight Skylark, nine Swallows, one Chiffchaff, one Willow Warbler, ten Blackcap, three Common Whitethroat, two Spotted Flycatchers, five Wheatear, a Grey Wagtail, two Chaffinch, 32 Linnet, 40 Goldfinch and seven Reed Buntings. Red Admirals and Small Coppers were on the wing and three Hummingbird Hawkmoths were recorded.
|Juvenile Red-necked Phalarope on Moorey Mere, photo Pia Reufsteck|
|Red-necked Phalarope and Pintail|
A rainy and blustery day but with winds from the SE and a few good birds found during the morning. Two Firecrests, one at the Farm and one in North Haven, were perhaps the highlight but the third Osprey of the year was also a contender. The supporting cast included: two Grey Herons, 22 Turnstone, two Purple Sandpiper, one Snipe, a Barn Owl, one Short-eared Owl, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, seven Goldcrest, one Great Tit, a Spotted Flycatcher and a Northern Wheatear.
|One of two Firecrests|
At times thick fog blanketed the island but the afternoon was mainly clear with a few outbreaks of sun. Birds logged today include, six Wigeon, four Teal, two Shoveler, 92 Common Scoter one Hen Harrier, four Water Rail, 17 Curlew, twelve Turnstone, four Ruff and one Snipe. A Kittiwake, 41 Black Headed Gulls were also seen along with two Short-eared Owl, eight Peregrine, 160 Jackdaws, seven Goldcrests, 12 Blue Tit, six Great Tit, one Chiffchaff, one Spotted Flycatcher, one Pied Flycatcher, eight Stonechat, ten Chaffinch, 54 Linnet and 39 Goldfinch.
A warm day (18 degrees in September!) that ended in fog. Birds seen today include seven Teal, two Shoveler, eight Water Rail, one Ruff, four Snipe and two Sandwich Tern. There was also a Barn Owl spotted, one Little Owl, two Short-eared Owl, one Great Spotted Woodpecker, 33 Goldcrest, three Blue Tits and 12 Skylark. The most interesting ornithological event of the day however was movement of hirundines dominated for a time by House Martins. At least 500 House Martins moved East throughout the morning with around 7,000 swallows and at least three Sand Martins. It felt like the hirundine counts would be even bigger but passage petered out after just a few hours. Other birds logged include five Chiffchaff, one Whitethroat, two Grasshopper Warblers, three Spotted Flycatchers, five Stonechat, two Grey Wagtail, three Chaffinch, 177 Linnet including one Leucistic bird! and 30 Goldfinch.
|A hirundine movement during the morning involved at least 500 House Martins|
A foggy start to the day gave way to a dry and calm afternoon which dropped a few birds onto Skomer overnight. On North Pond there were 7 Teal and 38 Common Scoter were seen offshore. Two Grey Herons flew over in the morning and there were 14 Buzzards seen over Skomer plus one Curlew and 14 Sandwich Tern past North Haven was a pleasant surprise. Making the most of the calm conditions were four Short-eared Owls seen hunting in North Valley plus four Kestrels and two Peregrine. There was a small movement of Swallows today with 80 logged and 41 Goldfinch passed over in the morning. In the islands cover there were six Goldcrests, one Blue Tit, three Chiffchaff, two Spotted Flycatcher and two Pied Flycatchers.
On the ponds this morning there were four Shoveler, six Teal and one Grey Heron. The ringtail Hen Harrier was seen again and 9 Buzzards were logged from across the island. Three Short-eared Owls were seen as were two Kestrels and two Peregrine. Seven Goldcrests were logged along with three Blue Tits, four Chiffchaff, 2 Whinchat, eight Stonechat 14 Linnet and 13 Goldfinch.
|Grey Heron on North Pond|
Birds logged today include 14 Teal, three Mallard, seven Shoveler, eleven Common Scoter, one Grey Heron, one Hen Harrier, one Sparrowhawk and 16 Buzzards. Also seen were four Curlew, one Arctic Skua, eight Sandwich Tern, one Short-eared Owl, four Kestrel, three Peregrine, 10 Chough plus 24 Goldcrest. Passing overhead there were seven Skylark, 7,680 Swallows (including one pure white one!), at least ten Sand Martins and 80 House Martins along with two Yellow Wagtail and 13 Grey Wagtail. On the islands plateau there were five Chiffchaff, ten Blackcap, ten Stonechat and five Wheatear and the morning saw a passage of 175 Linnet and 56 Goldfinch go through.
|This pure white swallow passed through with several thousand others between 08:30 and 10:30|
|There are quite a lot of Buzzards around at the moment and they are loving some of this weather|
A beautiful day on Skomer today. Birds logged include, 12 Teal, three Mallard, seven Shoveler, seven Common Scoter, one Hen Harrier, two Sparrowhawk, 23 Buzzards, 17 Curlew and two Snipe. Off Skomer Head there were 2 Arctic Skua, one Great Skua and two Mediterranean Gulls. Elsewhere there were five Kestrel, six Peregrine, 30 Goldcrest, two Skylark, four Sand Martins, 23 House Martins and an impressive 17,400 Barn Swallows! Also logged were 11 Chiffchaff, four Blackcap, three Spotted Flycatcher, 22 Stonechat, one Yellow Wagtail, five Grey Wagtail, one Chaffinch and 53 Linnet.
Another day of northerly winds and some heavy rain didn't stop some good birds dropping in. A Tufted Duck was on North Pond along with five Teal, five Mallard and four Shoveler and ninety six Common Scoter were seen out at sea. A Red-breasted Merganser was seen briefly in South Haven late morning and a Little Egret was seen on a seawatch. The female Hen Harrier was seen again along with a Sparrowhawk, ten Buzzards, three Kestrels and five Peregrines. A Water Rail was heard at Moorey Mere. Two Curlews and ten Turnstone were seen. A Grey Phalarope made a brief visit into North Haven where it spent some of the morning before flying back out into St Brides Bay. Seawatches produced five Arctic Skua, 45 Razorbills, three Guillemots, 1,304 auk species, 17 Sandwich Tern, 4 commic tern, a juvenile Sabine's Gull, 1,705 Kittiwakes and eleven Black-headed Gulls. Thirty two Goldcrest were logged along with 35 Chiffchaff, five Willow Warbler, 19 Blackcap, two Whitethroats, a Grasshopper Warbler and a Sedge Warbler. Two Sand Martins, 94 Swallows and 13 House Martins Passed through. There were at least three Spotted Flycatcher and 25 Robins, seven Stonechat and 17 Grey Wagtails. Twenty six Linnet, 14 Goldfinch and ten Reed Buntings were also recorded around the island.
|The phalarope was close but still difficult to photograph in the light conditions|
|This Grasshopper Warbler was slightly more obliging|
The Fulmars left the cliffs today. The female Hen Harrier was seen again along with a Sparrowhawk, ten Buzzards, two Kesrels and six Peregrines. Three Snipe were logged. In a good day for seabirds, a Great Skua, ten Razorbills, two Guillemots, 20+ auk species, a Sandwich Tern, a juvenile Sabine's Gull and 52 Kittiwake were logged. There were at least 23 Goldcrest, ten Chiffchaff, four Willow Warbler, ten Blackcap and two Whitethroats. Other migrants include four House Martin, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Whinchat and two Grey Wagtail.
A Whimbrel was around Rye Rocks with 27 Turnstone and a Purple Sandpiper. A second Purple Sandpiper was seen at South Castle. A Common Snipe was the only other wader of note. The Wryneck was still at the Farm. Twelve Goldcrest were recorded along with single Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, three Blackcaps and a Whitethroat. A Whaetear was logged as was a single Grey Wagtail. At least 35 Raven were seen in flocks around the island.
|Some of the 30 or so Ravens playing in the wind in front of a rainbow at Skomer Head|
With wind shutting the island for the foreseeable future we took stock and got started on maintenance jobs. The bird of the day definitely goes to a female Hen Harrier which was hunting over the North West of the island for most of the afternoon. The best of the rest included 15 Teal, 18 Mallard, two Shoveler, one Water Rail, one Whimbrel and two Curlew, twelve Buzzard, one Merlin, four Peregrine, four Kestrel, one Short-eared Owl, 82 Raven, one Wryneck, seven Goldcrest, two Wheatear, three Grey Wagtail, five Guillemot, two Razorbill, one Puffin, six Shag, three Cormorant, 18 Turnstone and one Purple Sandpiper.
|Meadow Pipit posing while we waited for the Hen Harrier.|
After some showers in the morning a nice day brought 14 Teal, 60 Canada Geese, two Shoveler and 23 Moorhen to the ponds, along with four Grey Wagtails. In the bushes and vegetation were two Chiffchaff, three Willow Warbler, one Blackcap, four Whitethroat, four Sedge Warblers, seven Stonechat, four Reedbunting, eight Robin, the Wryneck, 21 Goldfinch and 17 Starling. Out to Sea were two Common Scoter, 43 Kittiwake and on Rye Rocks 20 Turnstone today joined by both the Knot and the Purple Sandpiper. Other highlights included a flock of 29 Chough going to roost on the neck, one Merlin, four Kestrel, two Sparrowhawk and a Short Eared Owl.
|29 Chough going to roost|
A clear bright day brought with it highlights of two Short Eared Owls, four Kestrel, three Peregrine, a Sparrowhawk, six Goldcrest, eight Chiffchaff, three Whitethroat, two Grey Wagtails, the Wryneck, six Shoveler, ten Buzzard, and the 18 Turnstone again roosting on Rye Rocks were again today joined by a Knot. Out to sea one Arctic Skua, 16 Kittiwake and a Razorbill were seen. Today was also notable as one of the first days since spring without any Sedge Warblers.
Today started with rain in the morning but brightened through the day and turned into quite a sunny afternoon. Birds of prey were once again showing well with ten Buzzard, a Sparrowhawk, four Kestrel and two Short-eared Owls. Raven numbers across the island have continued to increase with a minimum of 50 seen. Around the coast the Turnstones roosting on Rye Rocks increased to 14 and were joined by a Purple Sandpiper. Elsewhere 58 Oystercatchers were counted in roosts. One Black-headed Gull was seen along with five Kittiwake and four Guillemot. The Wryneck was once again seen at the farm.
A calmer day than yesterday but some rain helped to top up the ponds which had been looking low. There was however, poor visibility for most of the day. On the ponds the Dunlin was still on North Pond along with 20 Teal across the island. Seawatches brought sightings of 240 Gannet, 15 Common Scoter, four Shag and two Great Skua. The Rye Rocks roost produced twelve Turnstone and one Knot. Two Short-eared Owls were seen along with a Sparrowhawk, Merlin and two Peregrine Falcon. Other sightings included 13 Robin, seven Blackbird, six Starling, five Chiffchaff, four Wheater, three Blackcap, three Whitethroat and two Reed Bunting.
a rough and misty day with rain kept visitors away from the island, but in between maintenance tasks we managed to see a good number of birds, with 19 Mallard and 17 Teal, 40 Moorhen, a Water Rail, a Dunlin, and a Spotted Redshank (surprisingly the first in several years) seen on the ponds. Four Snipe were also seen flying over. Three Short-eared Owls were hunting over north valley, along with a Sparrowhawk. Other highlights of the day included 18 Starling, 15 Goldfinch, ten Robin, seven Whitethroat, six Chiffchaff, four Goldcrest, three Willow Warbler, two Blackcap and one Sand Martin
|Spotted Redshank on North Pond|
A sunny start to the day with cloud and wind increasing as the day went on. Birds logged today include one Teal, one Shoveler, twelve Common Scoter, two Grey Heron, one Sparrowhawk, two Water Rail, four Curlew, one Black-tailed Godwit, two Dunlin and one Snipe. A Great Skua flew past the Garland Stone, and the Wryneck remained at the farm. On the island plateau there were four Kestrel, 27 Chough and seven Goldcrest. There was an impressive movement of hirundines today with 3000 Swallows passing through Skomer between 08:30 and 09:30 along with 10 Sand Martins. Other birds seen today include three Chiffchaff, two Willow Warbler, four Blackcap, four Stonechat, three Grey Wagtail and one Tree Pipit.
A quieter day today with one Teal, two Shoveler, two Water Rail, one Curlew, one Black-tailed Godwit and one Dunlin seen. The Short-eared Owl was also seen along with the Wryneck, one Kestrel, five Goldcrest, eleven Sand Martins, 470 Swallows, four Willow Warblers, ten Blackcap, 72 Starling, four Stonechat, eight Grey Wagtail and three Tree Pipit.
|The Black-tailed Godwit on North Pond showing well.|
|The Wryneck on the wall in the courtyard of the farm.|
A beautifully calm day day with light winds and strong sunshine for most of the day. Two Sparrowhawk were again logged today with 13 Buzzards, one Kestrel and two Peregrine. Two Ringed Plover were also logged, along with one Dunlin, one Black-tailed Godwit, one Redshank and 15 Turnstone. The Wryneck was seen around the Farm again and a Tree Pipit was also logged. Four Blackcaps were seen, plus three Chiffchaffs, seven Willow Warblers, seven Goldcrests, five Starling and four Reed Bunting. The Bonelli's Warbler was seen again in North Valley Crossing but still frustratingly remained silent.
|Bonelli's Warbler at North Valley Crossing|
Bird of the day today goes to a cracking Bonelli's Warbler found in North Valley Crossing mid morning. Although it provided great views for around ten minutes, it never called and soon ducked out of cover not to be seen for the rest of the day. Elsewhere on the island there were two Sparrowhawk, one Merlin, eight Buzzard and two Peregrine. A Dunlin was heard passing over and the Black-tailed Godwit remained on North Pond. The Wryneck was seen around the Farm again, and three Tree Pipit and one Grey Wagtail were heard flying over. On the warbler front, there were two Blackcaps, 10 Chiffchaffs, 21 Willow Warblers, seven Goldcrest, four Spotted Flycatchers and 40 Starlings.
On the ponds today there were two Teal, three Mallard and three Shoveler and 9 Common Scoter passed offshore. A Sparrowhawk, two Kestrel and one Merlin plus four Peregrine were also seen. Two Ringed Plover flew over, as did 16 Dunlin and one Snipe. The Black-tailed Godwit remained on North Pond and three Curlew and a Short-eared Owl were seen in the Valleys. Our first Wryneck of the Autumn was seen at the Farm in the morning, and other birds logged today included one White Wagtail, 16 Robin, four Reed Warbler, two Blackcap, eight Chiffchaff, 28 Willow Warblers, 9 Spotted Flycatchers and 62 Starling.
Another relatively settled day today with winds predominantly from the South West. Birds logged today include, three Teal, 19 Mallard, two Shoveler, one Sparrowhawk, one Kestrel and four Peregrine. The Black-tailed Godwit remained on North Pond with one Curlew and 12 Turnstone being the only other waders seen today. There were 14 Robins around the island, along with 10 Stonechats, one Willow Warbler, 35 Starling, 16 Goldfinch and eight Linnet.
A warm day with light winds made for a cracking day on Skomer. Birds logged today include, two Teal, one Shoveler, 59 Common Scoter, one Sparrowhawk, one Kestrel and five Peregrine. For Skomer, today was somewhat of a wader fest with two Ringed Plover flying over in the morning, one Snipe, one Black-tailed Godwit, 26 Whimbrel, three Curlew, two Green Sandpipers and one Common Sandpiper. The surprise bird of the day however was a Barn Owl flushed from North Valley Crossing in the early hours of the morning. We also had the first good day of Tree Pipit movements today with four logged, along with five Grey Wagtail and two White Wagtail. Also seen were, one Reed Warbler, one Chiffchaff, seven Willow Warbler, and 40 Starling.
A still, sunny day with plenty of great wildlife. A few (eleven) Canada Geese have returned to the island and at least 41 Common Scoter were seen. The best bird of the day was an Osprey which snuck over the landing at 17:00 and headed west. The gulls, which usually so love to harass migrating raptors, were so busy feasting on flying ants that they nearly missed it. Other raptors seen today include: a Sparrowhawk, five Buzzards, a Kestrel and three Peregrines. A total of 43 Moorhen were seen on the ponds. The only waders seen today were single Whimbrel, Curlew and Common Sandpiper. Two Black-headed Gull came in to feed on ants with the resident gulls and three Kittiwakes were recorded. Four Sand Martins and a House Martin were seen amongst the Swallows and a Grey Wagtail passed over. As well as Sedge Warblers and Common Whitethroats there were four Reed Warbler, two Blackcap, three Chiffchaff, ten Willow Warbler and a Goldcrest. A Spotted Flycatcher, 31 Starling, twelve Goldfinch, 30 Linnet and a small influx of Reed Bunting (16) round off the day. Twenty six Common Dolphins were also seen.
|The best picture we have of todays Osprey|
It's been a busy last couple of days here on Skomer. Top sightings include: a Little Grebe, 93 Common Scoter, a Sparrowhawk, a Merlin, five Peregrine Falcon, a Redshank, a Greenshank, two Green Sandpiper, a Whimbrel, two Curlew, 18 Turnstone, two Arctic Skua, a Black-headed Gull, a Guillemot, two Razorbill, two Puffin, two Sand Martin, three House Martin, four Reed Warbler, a Blackcap, five Chiffchaff, 13 Willow Warbler, a Spotted Flycatcher, a White Wagtail, a Speckled Wood, a Common Blue, two Grayling, 33 Common Dolphin and a Sunfish.
Today's highlights: 19 Common Scoter, six Peregrine Falcon, a Ringed Plover, nine Snipe, two Curlew, a Collared Dove, a Short-eared Owl, five Willow Warbler, three Chiffchaff, a Spotted Flycatcher, 15 Common Dolphin and a Sunfish.
What a horrible day: fog all day long, so thick that we couldn't even count the seals on Rye Rocks.
The best observation were hundreds of bumblebees all holding onto Ragwort plants for dear life. They were so cold, wet and stiff that they couldn't move. Ragwort is one of the only plants that is flowering on Skomer at the moment so I assume they chose to sit on Ragwort so they could have a sip of nectar or some pollen once in a while just to keep going until the weather improved.
I took lots of photos on my phone
It was too windy for human visitors today but the seabirds didn't mind. Thousands of Manx Shearwaters were streaming past North Haven in the evening and Fulmars, Gannets and Kittiwakes joined them. I do apologise for the bad photos, they were taken through a scope.
Good day for Gannets with sightings of over 200 from Garland Stone, three Buzzard, a Short-eared Owl, nine Chough, 39 Starling, twelve Goldfinch, three Willow Warblers, a Chiffchaff, two Blackcap and the highlight of the day: a Melodious Warbler. Furthermore ca. 40 Common Dolphin were also seen.
|Short-eared Owl, photo Jake Taylor -Bruce|
A very wet and windy day. Best sightings were four Snipe, three Guillemot, a Chiffchaff, two Willow Warbler, six Chough, 60 Starling, ten Goldfinch, nine Linnet, 17 Common Dolphin, eight Porpoise and this Otter.
|Incredible Otter sightings in the last few days. Photo: Sarah Purdon|
|We've seen the Otter roll in the grass, swim in Green Pond, Moorey Mere and North Haven and walk along the footpaths including the one next to the Harold Stone. Photo: Sarah Purdon|
Big raft of Manx Shearwaters at Garland Stone tonight with 2000+ birds, futhermore 89 Gannet, two Little Egret, three Common Scoter, five Buzzard, three Peregrine Falcon, a Dunlin, four Turnstone, two Guillemot, a Song Thrush carrying food, 13 Whitethroat, five Willow Warbler, seven Chough, twelve Goldfinch, 21 Common Dolphin, 6 Porpoise and the Otter.
Best birds today were: a Dunlin, three Whimbrel, two Curlew, a Collared Dove, three Robin, three Willow Warbler and the Otter.
Lovely calm day with excellent visibility and sightings of twelve Buzzard, two Pegregrine Falcon, 43 Moorhen, twelve Turnstone, six Robin, a Song Thrush carrying food, a Blackcap, a Chiffchaff, five Willow Warbler, a Goldcrest, 30 Chough, 45 Raven, 47 Starling and eleven Goldfinch.
Highlights: a Teal, two Mallard, four Common Scoter, a Sparrowhawk, three Buzzard, ten Turnstone, a Razorbill, seven Stonechat, twelve Chough, twelve Raven, 62 Starling, seven Goldfinch and four Reed Bunting.
Highlights: 60 Gannet, three Cormorant, six Shag, a Teal, 16 Common Scoter, a Curlew, three Puffin with fish, four Robin, ten Stonechat, two Willow Warbler, two Spotted Flycatcher, twelve Raven, 20 Starling, eleven Goldfinch and six Linnet.
Lovely summer's day with 120 Gannet, nine Cormorant, five Shag, a Teal, three Mallard, eight Buzzard, two Peregrine, eight Turnstone, 38 Black-headed Gull, four Puffin, four Robin, ten Stonechat, two Chiffchaff, three Willow Warbler, six Chough and an Otter swimming past North Haven
No sailings today due to northerly winds but the birds didn't mind: 13 Cormorant, two Teal, three Mallard, a Sparrowhawk, nine Buzzard, six Peregrine, 25 Moorhen, eight Stonechat, a Spotted Flycatcher, ten Chough, 45 Starling, eight Goldfinch, five Linnet, seven Porpoise and six Common Dolphin
Heavy rain in the morning wasn't good for birding but still had the following sightings: 3 Mallard (good weather for ducks :-)) 9 Buzzard, 26 Moorhen, 24 Oystercatcher, 1 Curlew, 2 Puffin, 2 Kingfisher in South Haven, 2 Sand Martin, 6 Pied Wagtail, 2 Reedwarbler, 6 Whitethroat, two Willow Warbler, 16 Chough, 40 Starling and 17 Goldfinch
Todays highlights: a Sparrohawk, seven Buzzard, two Peregrine, three Dunlin, an Artic Skua (dark morph), a Black-headed gull (juvenile), several Puffins, a Short-eared Owl (juvenile), 18 Chough, 28 Starling, 17 Goldfinch, nine Linnet, six Porpoise and 24 Common Dolphin with one calf
|Around the island Meadow Pipits are still carrying food, including this one east of the farm.|
Marine week today featured dolphins all day, six Cormorant, four Shag and 26 Common Scoter around the coast. We also saw five Peregrine falcon, eight Stonechat and 17 Goldfinch.
Today featured five Peregrine Falcon, 13 Chough, 50 Starling, one Curlew, three Willow Warblers. One Dunlin, one Green Sandpiper and a Robin in the Ivy.
|A Dunlin on Moorey Mere|
|Spot the Green Sandpiper on North Pond! (apologies for the quality)|
A nice enough day for some migration to take place. A seawatch first thing produced a Sandwich Tern and some of todays total of Common Scoter. Other migrants include: a total of 82 Common Scoter, a Wood Sandpiper on North Pond, Turnstone (heard only) in North Haven, at least 35 Swallows W, a Robin, seven Whitethroat, 14 Willow Warbler, two Spotted Flycatcher (first of autumn) and 22 Starling. There was also a clear influx of Ravens with 40 logged. A Short-eared Owl was the first sighting in two weeks. and there were nine Buzzards and six Peregrines. Eighteen Moorhen, eight Stonechat, 15 Goldfinch, 13 Linnet and three Reed Bunting were also notable. There was also some insect migration with 40 Red Admiral, seven Painted Lady, a few Peacocks, Silver Y moth, Hummingbird Hawkmoth and several Migrant Hawkers.
Highlights of the day include three Little Egret, eight Black-tailed Godwit and one Whimbrel. The best of the rest for today include 61 Common Scoter, 27 Chough, seven Buzzard, three Peregrine Falcon, five Willow Warbler, eleven Stonechat and 71 Starling.
Today was a glorious day with light winds and blue skies all day. Birds logged today include, 20 Common Scoter, one Kestrel, one Water Rail, one Redshank on North Pond, two Black-headed Gulls, two Swift, two Sand Martins, one Chiffchaff, five Willow Warblers, twelve Chough and 18 Starling.
|Chee-ow! Chough calling at the Garland Stone|
Bird logged today include, 61 Scoter, four Peregrine, a Cuckoo at the farm, a small movement of 25 Swallows, one Song Thrush, one Chiffchaff, three Willow Warblers, 37 Starling and 20 Linnet.
Another good day for Common Scoter with 80 seen off the island during a morning seawatch along with one Arctic Skua. On the island top there were 29 Curlew, one Redshank briefly on North Pond, one Water Rail in North Valley (our first of the 'Autumn'), the juvenile Cuckoo, one Swift, one Chiffchaff, six Willow Warblers, 25 Starling and the Coot was back on North Pond. Also seen from the mornings seawatch at Skomer Head were 40 Common Dolphin.
|Cuckoo at the Farm|
There were 40 Common Scoter seen off the coast of Skomer today plus a juvenile Cuckoo at the farm, one Swift, one Song Thrush, one Chiffchaff, four Willow Warblers and one Starling.
The big surprise of today was to see the Otter back on Green Pond after an absence of nearly two weeks! It's the same individual though due to the presence of a large abscess between the legs. It was quiet for birds today though with just 3 Willow Warblers and 5 Starling the only notable birds seen.
Highlights from today included 20 Common Scoter, one juvenile Redshank still on Moorey Mere, one Short-eared Owl, one Song Thrush, eight Swift, two Willow Warblers and 43 Starling.
Highlights and island 'megas' today include: a juvenile Redshank on Moorey Mere, a single Black-headed Gull, eight Swift, 33 Sand Martin, a Willow Warbler, at least 42 Starling, a House Sparrow (island 'mega') and a Coot on North Pond.
Kestrels are being recorded again with at least one today, one of which was a male. A juvenile Curlew was in South Haven; a Cuckoo was seen again; a juvenile Short-eared Owl was seen west of the Farm (apart from this and a few other recent sightings Short-eared Owls are very quiet at the moment). There was some visible migration today with at least 32 Swifts, a Sand Martin and at least twelve Swallows passing through. Warbler numbers also picked up a bit with two Willow Warblers and a Blackcap in North Valley. A Kingfisher was spotted in South Haven during the afternoon. A single roost of around 140 Jackdaws in North Valley first thing was impressive.
Today saw the arrival of the first juvenile Willow Warbler of the year (the begining of autumn in migration terms). There were also five Black-headed Gulls, a Cuckoo and flock of 30 Starling today.
|Juvenile Willow Warbler behind the farm|
An Otter on Green Pond was the biggest surprise of the last two days - seen in the early morning on the 7th and 8th, probably catching the Eels which live in Green Pond and washing off salt water from its sea crossing. There was also a pod of six Risso's Dolphins off Skomer Head, eight Common Dolphins off the Garland Sone and at least ten Porpoise seen today. Birds of note from today include a Mediterranean Gull and Sandwich Tern in Jack Sound, six Swift, 20 Chough over the Neck pm and the Coot again on North Pond.
|Otter on Green Pond!|
The day began with a pod of Common Dolphin entering North Haven and wowing the crew of a moored boat as well as staff and researchers living on the island. Birds of note include a juvenile Peregrine at Pigstone Bay, a lingering Coot, a flock of 17 Curlew, 17 Black-headed Gulls, five Swifts, at least seven Stonechats and 20 Goldfinches. Insect interest was provided by a Hummingbird Hawkmoth, a few Silver Ys and an egg laying Small White. Trixie the Grey Seal was also seen in North Haven again.
The highlight of a rather miserable day was a Honey Buzzard which flew NE over the Neck and out over St Brides Bay at 12:00. This is the first Skomer record for 15 years or so, so quite a rare bird. Other highlights from today include: a Grey Heron over North Valley at dusk, five Short-eared Owls (including four fledged young from this year), a Chiffchaff and 26 Starling. A second pair of Goldfinch have also started nest building in North Valley which means a 100% increase on last year when they were recorded nesting for the first time ever.
With stormy conditions dominating at the start of June and spring migration having more or less finished it has been a quiet few weeks but the main highlights are as follows:
22nd June - A singing 1st year male Common Rosefinch was recorded singing in North Valley by a day tripper and later seen and heard by island staff. Although rosefinches are recorded in most years, they don't often sing, what a treat!
In terms of insects the first Dark Green Fritillaries have been seen and there have been sightings of Hummingbird Hawkmoths; Broad-bodied Chasers are being regularly recorded and may be breeding and there were two Red-viened Darters on the 21st.
The day started with a few showers but was generally fine with light winds. The lilting song of a Willow Warbler and a Cuckoo calling in North Valley were welcome sounds through the drizzle. The only other birds of note were a Kestrel, four Short-eared Owls, a single Whimbrel, a Reed Warbler, a Chiffchaff, a Spotted Flycatcher and a Starling.
Brief showers and fog in the morning didn't hamper efforts too much and a few good birds were seen. Eleven Black-tailed Godwits passed over the island through the fog in the morning, Curlew chicks were seen just south of the Farm, at least seven Short-eared Owls were actively hunting and feeding young throughout the day, 13 House Martins passed through and a Turtle Dove turned up at the Farm with a Collared Dove. We also found Buzzard chicks on a ledge at The Table at a previously unknown site.
|A Collared Dove (above) and a Turtle Dove turned up at the Farm in the afternoon|
Light ENE then WSW winds, probably better described as variable, didn't seem the best conditions for a seawatch but a quick look out to sea for Mike and Ted Wallen, our two gull counting volunteers, rewarded them with a pale morph Arctic Skua, a Great Skua as well as 28 Common Scoter. A male Kestrel was seen over the Neck and there was another sighting of a Kestrel over the Amos. A late Turnstone was present on North Haven beach in the afternoon. The first Guillemot chick was seen today and eight Short-eared Owls were logged. Migrants came in the form of five Swift, six Swallows and a single House Martin, eight Chiffchaff, one Willow Warbler and two Lesser Redpoll.
A Kestrel was seen and four Peregrines were logged. Six Black-tailed Godwits flew over North Valley but passed straight over rather than stopping on North Pond. Four Whimbrel also passed through. A partially leucistic Lesser Black-backed Gull was seen along the North coast causing brief excitement and the first Razorbill Chick was seen. At least seven Short-eared Owls were seen and are still super active. Other migrants came in the form of, a Collared Dove, four Swift, twelve Swallow and eight House Martin, four Chiffchaff and a Spotted Flycatcher.
|Black-tailed Godwits over North Valley|
A foggy day on the island didn't stop the breeding birds, with three sets of chicks on north pond, nine Shoveler chicks (which decreased to eight while being watched), ten Mallard chicks and two Moorhen chicks. Around the farm the Pied Wagtails have started collecting food implying their eggs have hatched, and we are expecting Dunnock fledglings any day now.
|Having successfully bred on the Island for the first time last year, we once again have a pair of Goldfinch at the farm.|
|As they approach fledging their first brood, the Dunnocks are becoming increasingly bold around the farm.|
|Some of the Shoveler ducklings on North Pond, with a male trying to chase the chicks away from their mother.|
A clear day on the island featured many of the island regulars showing well, including Puffins carrying fish and the Short-eared Owls hunting over north valley throughout the day. Highlights were three Spotted flycatchers, six Whimbrel and a flock of nine Chough at the Mew Stone.
|One of our breeding Curlew, keeping an eye on the sky for predators.|
|Sedge Warblers are singing loudly across the island|
|female Shoveler with chicks|
|The coastal flowers are looking good as are the Bluebells and Red Campion in the middle of the island|
A slightly duller day with some mist and fog in the afternoon, before the sun broke through at sunset. A female Redstart was seen again, along with a Whinchat, Garden Warbler, 82 House Martin and a Merlin. A Grey Heron was seen flying past, and a Marsh Harrier was spotted over North Valley and over the Neck.
|Two Chough showing how affectionate they can be, at the entrance to the Lantern|
Another stunning day on the island with sunshine, flowers and puffins all showing well. The bird highlights included two Dunlin, 36 House Martin, 114 Barn Swallow, four Lesser Whitethroat, three Reed Warbler, eight Spotted Flycatcher a Collared Dove and a Merlin.
|The start of a stunning day on the island|
Sadly for those who came to the island on an otherwise lovely day, after a clear night, neither or the previous days mega birds were seen. However a lovely day was still had by all, with a female Redstart, Ring Ouzel, two Whinchat, two each of Spotted and Pied Flycatcher, a Reed Warbler, Garden Warbler and Bar Tailed Godwit.
Stop press: Steve Sutcliffe had two Purple Sandpipers on an evening criuse aboard the Dale Princess.
A fantastic day on Skomer, and the bird of the day went to a male Dark-eyed Junco found at the farm around lunch time. It showed incredibly well for all the guests on the island and even for our birdwatching group walk who were on a day trip. First seen in the courtyard it then re-located to the back of the Farm where it fed under an elder bush. A first record for Pembrokeshire and a second for Wales after one on Bardsey in 1975!
On a normal day the bird of the day would have gone to a male Eastern Subalpine Warbler found in North Valley this evening (our second of the year), however, the Junco took the top spot. Again it showed really well and sat on the sunny side of the Blackthorn, offering great views. Let's hope both these birds stick around!
Other birds logged today included one Merlin, the Wood Sandpiper on Moorey Mere, a Bar-tailed Godwit on North Pond, one male Black Redstart, one Redstart, four Rook, three Spotted Flycatcher, one Pied Flycatcher, one Chaffinch and 20 Linnet.
|Male Dark-eyed Junco|
|Male Eastern Subalpine Warbler|
An almost wind-still cloudy start to the day ending with light winds and clear skies. There was one Snipe seen, three Whimbrel and the Wood Sandpiper remained on Moorey Mere showing very well. There were also four Short-eared Owls seen between the valleys and five Swifts went over the farm early in the morning. Elsewhere there was one Tree Pipit in North Valley, one Redstart, one Whinchat and on the warbler front there was one Reed Warbler, three Blackcap and three Lesser Whitethroat among others. There was also 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 28 Chough, three Goldfinch and 11 Linnet.
A fantastic day on Skomer today with strong winds from the East blowing from the early morning right through the evening resulting in a fantastic days migration. It was one of those special days where everyone tried to work outdoors at all times and there were migrants in almost every bush and even along the walls and cliffs.
Birds logged today included, one Snipe, one Dunlin, one Bar-tailed Godwit, one Wood Sandpiper on Moorey Mere and three Common Sandpiper. There were also 363 Swifts (the second highest count on Skomer ever), one flavissima Yellow Wagtail, six Redstarts, two Whinchat, 88 Wheatear including 20 Greenland birds and one Ring Ouzel. On the warbler front there were 20 Sedge Warblers, 13 Blackcap, eight Garden Warblers, 22 Whitethroat, one Reed Warbler, 10 Chiffchaffs, 69 Willow Warblers and a Wood Warbler on the Isthmus. There were also 12 Spotted Flycatchers and five Pied Flycatchers and an amazing 37 Chough including a flock of 30 over North Haven this evening and the Tree Sparrow remained at the farm.
|Wood Sandpiper eating a tadpole at Moorey Mere|
|Wood Warbler on the Isthmus|
Undoubtedly the bird of the day today came in the form of a cracking Tree Sparrow at the Farm. Initially found at the back of the farm it then flew into the courtyard and fed on the short grass, becoming relatively bold. Other birds logged today included, six Shoveler, one Kestrel, one Merlin, five Peregrine, one Snipe, one Common Sandpiper, one Collared Dove, two Short-eared Owl, two Greenland Wheatear and a Garden Warbler.
|Tree Sparrow feeding in the Courtyard|
Light winds mainly from the east today. The birding highlights of the day were, one Merlin, two Whimbrel, two Turnstone, one Collared Dove, one Little and four Short-eared Owls, one Garden Warbler, one Lesser Whitethroat and one Redpoll.
A horrible day in terms of rain, wind and cold (mostly due to wetness) but SE wind did bring in a few birds. The highlights were two male Whinchats and a pair of Redstarts at the Farm. The best of the rest included eight Shoveler (including this very beligerant looking male in the rain today), a Snipe, six Whimbrel, two Greenland Wheatears, one or two Garden Warblers, a few Whitethroats, a pale Chiffchaff, 20 Willow Warblers and at least eight Reed Bunting.
|Shoveler in the rain|
|Whinchat at the Farm|
Migration has definitely slowed down a bit with these northerly winds but on a big island like this there is still scope for plenty of interesting sightings, of both migrants and residents. The highlights for visitors and staff today were: a female Merlin, a Snipe, 15 Whimbrel, 14 Curlew, two Turnstone, a Little Owl, at least four Short-eared Owl, six Sand Martin, 50+ Swallow, a Robin, two Stonechat, 28+ Wheatear incl. at least one Greenland type, four each of Sedge Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff (including this interesting bird which looks quite good for a tristis), 25+ Willow Warbler, eight Goldfinch, a Siskin (the first of the year) and five Linnet. Also of interest was a diver sp which flew over the island at 08:00 but couldn't be seen well enough to ID properly. A Red Kite was the best of yesterdays birds.
|A bad photo and its subsquent disappearance means this putative Siberian (or eastern) Chiffchaff may not get confirmed|
The highlight of the day was a Bar-Tailed Godwit in spectacular summer plumage just off the main track. The day also saw 61 Wheatear including seven Greenland type birds, four Grasshopper Warblers, two Sedge Warblers, four Whitethroat, eight Reed Bunting, and an exact repeat of the 21st with eight Chiffchaff and 77 Willow Warblers! One Snipe, one Goldcrest and butterflies including four peacock, our first Small Copper butterfly of the year, four Small White, and one Painted Lady.
|Bar-tailed Godwit in Upper Shearing Hayes with the local Oystercatchers|
The day started off with a Merlin towards Skomer Head and at least two Red Kites to the north. We also had three Peregrine, a Hobby and the female Hen Harrier back again. A Song Thrush was seen at North Haven, and a Dunlin on Moorey Mere. Three Ringed Plover were seen flying over, and seven turnstone, four Stonechat, 31 Gannets and three Peacock Butterflies made up the best of the rest.
A cool but sunny day on the island brought the first sightings of Common Scoter from the island with at least 70 seen from Garland Stone, and 377 heading North past Skomer Head. Also around the coast were 16 Porpoise and 66 Grey Seal. We had our highest count of Whimbrel with 31 seen along with four Curlew. 270 Barn Swallow were seen passing over with 67 Sand Martin and 28 House Martin, 55 Linnet, 26 Goldfinch, eight Blackcap, five Sedge Warbler, 77 Willow Warbler, eight Chiffchaff, a Starling and a potential garden warbler. On the ponds we had six Shelduck, 14 Moorhen, one Snipe and between the ponds and the farm ten Pied Wagtail and one White Wagtail. We also saw two Peacock Butterflies and one Small White Butterfly.
For a fairly cloudy day we had a few notable butterflies, including two Large Whites, and two Green-veined Whites. Today saw more warbler action with a Garden Warbler at the Wick along with 140 Willow Warbler, 16 Chiffchaff, seven Sedge Warbler and two Grasshopper Warblers. Our notable regulars seen again today included the Hen Harrier, the White Wagtail, Black Redstart and Common Redstart. Today also included a Lapwing again, and a Tree Pipit south of the farm. Around the coast 52 Gannets and 27 Porpoise were seen. Seven Reed Bunting, three Stonechat, one Whinchat, 24 Sand Martin, 113 Barn Swallow, four House Martin and five of both Whimbrel and Curlew made up the best of the rest.
The bird of the day (and at least this season so far) though goes to a male Eastern Subalpine Warbler photographed by a volunteer at Moorey Mere at around 4pm. This is potentially a first for the island!
|Eastern Subalpine Warbler showing the broad white moustache|
|Eastern Subalpine Warbler. Note the broad white moustache and deep 'brick-red' throat|
A busy day on the island meant many of us were barely able to get out and count, however we still managed good numbers of many species, with 135 Willow Warbler, 75 Barn Swallow, 43 Sand Martin, 54 Wheatear, 26 Blackcap, 14 Shag, nine Sedge Warbler, eight House Martin, eight Chiffchaff, seven Curlew, six Peregrine Falcon, six Peacock butterflies, three Short-eared Owl, three Turnstone, three Stonechat, two Kestrel, two Redstart, a Black Redstart, a White Wagtail, a Whinchat, a Grasshopper Warbler, a Goldcrest, a Pied Flycatcher, a Little Owl and the Hen Harrier. It was also a good day for thrush's with seven Blackbird, one Fieldfare, two Song Thrush and one Ring Ouzel. The day also included two Common Sandpiper, a Lapwing, and our first Great Black-backed Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull eggs, and our second all-island puffin this time counting 17,400 puffins, a lower number, most likely as many birds may already be on eggs.
|One of 17,000 Puffins counted this evening|
|Peregrine keepng an eye out|
Another stunning spring evening with thousands of auks in the air, on the water and on the cliffs. The Razorbills were forming large rafts just offshore and sounded like a pond of croaking frogs when hundreds made their rasping purring noises simultaneously.
All the action was around the centre of the island, with two Dunlin on Moorey Mere, sitting happily right in front of the hide, at a distance that would challenge the close focusing of many people's cameras! Also on Moorey Mere was the White Wagtail. Later in the evening an Osprey flew over the South of the island, setting off all of the gulls. On the Northern side a Cuckoo was sitting in North Valley crossing willows for much of the morning, and calling. The Hen Harrier (Ringtail) was seen again albeit briefly, and a Rook flew over the farm during the day. A Spotted Flycatcher was seen briefly on the north coast and warbler wise there were two Grasshopper Warblers and two Sedge Warblers around the island.
|Cuckoo in North Valley|
|Two Turnstone in North Haven, starting to turn the colour of Arctic tundra!|
The ringtail Hen Harrier was seen again today plus one Kestrel, four Peregrine, three Snipe, one Common Sandpiper on North Pond, four Turnstone, two Short-eared Owl, 290 Swallows, 19 Sand Martins and four House Martins. Again the female Black Redstart was at the farm and there were 13 Wheatear (including two Greenland birds), a Grasshopper Warbler at the Harold Stone, 17 Blackcap, six Chiffcaff, 40 Willow Warblers, 17 Chough, 20 Goldfinch and 21 Linnet.
|Grasshopper Warbler at the Harold Stone|
Highlights from today include seven Shoveler (including mating on North Pond), a ringtail Hen Harrier, back after an absence of two days along with one Kestrel, one Merlin, five Peregrine, two Snipe (one of which almost became Merlin food), 20 Curlew, six Turnstone, one Little Owl and three Short-eared Owls. There were small numbers of Hirundines today with only one Sand Martin and 83 Swallows. The best of the rest include Black Redstart, our first Common Redstart of the Spring seen briefly at the Wick, 22 Wheatear, two Blackcap, two Chaffinch, seven Goldfinch and 25 Linnet.
The dominant wind direction of the day was WSW and combined with rain in the evening it made it feel relatively chilly. Highlights from today include one Kestrel, six Peregrine, 14 Curlew and eight Turnstone. Numbers of Puffins started to build early in the morning and meant we were able to carry out our first full island Puffin count of the year, resulting in an incredible 25,227 individuals, up by 2,688 individuals on last year. The Little Owl was also seen along with three Short-eared Owls, plus six Sand Martins, 45 Swallows and one House Martin. The female Black Redstart remained at the Farm and there was one Blackcap, 7 Chiffchaff, 13 Willow Warblers (including two P, t, acredula type birds), 14 Chough, 14 Goldfinch and 20 Linnet.
|Just one of the 25,227 Puffins seen today....|
A fine day with winds from the NW but light. Highlights from the day include: the third Stock Dove record of the spring (Stock Dove is a former breeder which hasn't bred in recent years so we will be watching for possible recolonisation), a Collared Dove, 27 Sand Martin, 15 Swallow, a female Black Redstart still at the Farm, 20+ Wheatear (including the first Greenland Wheatear of the spring), four Chiffchaff (including one very pale, grey bird), three Willow Warbler (also including a greyish bird, possibly of the northern race P, t, acredula), 13 Goldfinch and 20 Linnet.
|Greenland type Wheatear|
A westerly breeze meant a sunny but slightly chilly day today. Three Shelduck, two shoveler, four teal and ten Mallard were on or around the ponds. Around the island there were Six Buzzard, one Hen Harrier, one Kestrel, one Merlin, five Peregrine, eight Curlew, a Dunlin and four Turnstone. Puffin numbers continued to increase with 2032 noted in North Haven, most of which returned in the late afternoon. One Little Owl and three Short-eared Owl were also seen. A slow day for hirundines with only eight Sand Martins, seven Swallows and four House Martins. The female Black Redstart remained at the farm, and also recorded were, five Stonechats, 22 Wheatear, six Chiffchaff, five Willow Warbler, 12 Goldfinch and 26 Linnet.
|Wheatear at the Wick|
A lovely warm day with light winds again. On the ponds there were four Shelduck, four Teal and six Mallard. The ringtail Hen Harrier was seen once again, along with three Buzzards, one Kestrel, two Merlin and four Peregrine. Eight Turnstone were seen whilst counting the seals on North Haven beach. Numbers of Auks were low again but the Puffins did start to return in the evening with 1075 being noted in North Haven. Two Short-eared Owls were seen making the most of the calm conditions and small numbers of hirundines were passing over again with 12 Sand Martins, 11 Swallows and three House Martins. The female Black Redstart was again seen at the Farm and one Blackcap, one Chaffinch, eight Goldfinch and 27 Linnet were the best of the rest.
The final full day of our birdwatching weekend led by Dave Astins from West Coast Birdwatching was blessed with relatively good weather again. There were six Shelduck, six Shoveler and eight Mallard which now only includes three ducklings. The ringtail Hen Harrier was seen again along with nine Buzzards, one Kestrel, one Merlin and four Peregrine. A count of the main roost sites of Oystercatchers resulted in a whopping 175 and mating was also noted. A mixed flock of 15 birds flew over the farm in the morning which consisted of Dunlin and Ringed Plover made up most of the other wader sightings but there were also six Turnstones on North Haven beach. Elsewhere the Little Owl was seen back at its regular haunt near North Pond public hide and there were three Short-eared Owls seen in the valleys. The hirundine passage continued but in lower numbers than yesterday with 89 Sand Martin noted, 31 Swallows and three House Martin. The female Black Redstart remained at the farm, the first Pied Flycatcher of the year was seen at the Farm and there were three Chaffinch, 10 Goldfinch and 21 Linnet. Butterflies seen today were one Small White which was the first of the year, three Small Tortoiseshells, three Red Admiral and one Peacock.
Another good day with the birdwatching weekend led by Dave Astins spotting a whole heap of good birds again. Movements of things like hirundines are bulding up and the diversity of warblers is increasing. The highlights for the day incl.: nine Teal, seven Shoveler and 19 Mallard (which includes eleven ducklings) on the ponds, a ringtail Hen Harrier, 112 Oystercatcher, two Snipe, ten Turnstone, a Stock Dove at Skomer Head, single Little Owl and Short-eared Owls, a whopping 254 Sand Martin over, 154 Swallows, eight House Martins, a White Wagtail and three alba wagtails, four Robins, three Black Restarts (females at the Farm and at the Harold Stone and a male at North Haven), four Stonechats, at least 18 Wheatear, a singing Grasshopper Warbler in North Valley and two singing Sedge Warblers. Minimum counts of other warblers incl.: eight Blackcap, ten Chiffchaff and 19 Willow Warblers. A Rook at the Farm in the morning was the first of the year. Also recorded were three Chaffinch, nine Goldfinch, the first Redpoll of the year and 50+ Linnet.
|Female Black Redstart at the Harold Stone|
|Male Black Redstart on Bee's new cold frames|
|Having a little scratch|
|Partially leucistic Puffin, Welsh Way|
After an early shroud of thick fog burned off mid morning, we were treated to sunshine for most of the day. On the ponds 17 Teal were seen, along with the first ducklings of the year with 12 Mallard chicks seen in the centre of the island. Meadow Pipits were seen carrying nesting material near the Farm. We felt the affects of a bird watching group staying in the hostel, with impressive counts of 67 Barn Swallow (and nine Sand Martin), the first Sedge Warblers of the year with two seen, six Blackcap, twelve Chiffchaff, 19 Willow Warblers, seven Reed Bunting, a Merlin, Hen Harrier, four Short Eared Owls, a White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Ring Ouzel, and 15 Turnstone.
Birds continued to pass over, with 58 Barn Swallows seen, along with twelve Sand Martin and three House Martin. A flock of twelve Chough were seen early on at north haven contributed to a whole island count of 23. The Hen Harrier was around again, and two Ring Ouzel were seen on South Plateau. Seven Morhen, seven Curlew, four Stonechat, 13 Chiff Chaff and eleven Willow Warblers made up the best of the rest. Spring is progressing, as marked by Razorbills seen mating on the cliffs.
The Hen Harrier was seen once again, along with four Peregrine Falcon. Off the coast 21 Gannet were seen, and seven Black Headed Gulls were the first of the year. Over the Island 43 Barn Swallow and 16 Sand Martin were seen, along with two Redwing and 35 Linnet. We had the first Whitethroat of the year (at the farm) and the Blue Tit was seen again.
A day with excellent visibility, with the smalls lighthouse easily visible. The Bird Of The Day was a Blue Tit in North Valley. Swallows and Sand Martin were both seen (four of each) along with three Curlew singing around the centre of the island. 45 Gannet were seen around the coast, and it was a good day for birds of prey with a female Hen Harrier seen again, along with six Buzzard, five Peregrine Falcon, one Kestrel, one Little Owl, and three Short Eared Owl. The Grey Seal numbers in North Haven were highest of the year with 198 on the main beach alone.
A busy sunny day on the island brought unexpectedly early views of a large pod of around 30 Common Dolphin out from jack sound which day trippers on the Dale Princess were treated to. Also around the coast were 21 Gannet and three Cormorant, with Guillimots and Razorbills on the cliffs around the Island. The ponds were also busy with three pairs of Shoveler, twelve Teal, five Shelduck, 13 Moorhen, six Snipe, and 17 curlew. Six Skylark were seen or heard, along with 25 Sand Martin passing over, and six Swallow. The Hen Harrier was seen again, along with four Short Eared Owl, a Kestrel, twelve Buzzard, five Peregrine Falcon and 18 Raven. Six Blackcap, 16 Chiff Chaff, 23 Willow Warblers, 29 Linnet and four Goldfinch made up the rest.
The first Raven nest hatched today and Rock Pipits and Blackbirds were nest building.
Not a great day again but a few birds passing through nonetheless. A Grey Heron caused great consternation amongst the gulls in North Haven in the morning fog. The ringtail Hen Harrier was seen once again (it wasn't seen yesterday). 120 Oystercatcher were counted. Six Sand Martins and 27 Swallows passed through. There were two Black Redstarts again - a female at North Haven and a male at the Farm. Three Song Thrushes was an increase on recent days. A Blackcap and two Chiffchaffs were the only warblers recorded and there were nine Linnet.
A big count of Oystercatchers (152), ringtail Hen Harrier, 7,370 Puffins in North Haven in the evening, two Sand Martin, a Swallow, two Black Redstart, three Wheatear, a Song Thrush, a Blackcap, eight Chiffchaff, four Willow Warbler and four Goldcrest the highlights today.
A few migrants today including 24 Chiffchaff, 17 Willow Warbler, three Goldcrest and a Blackcap. Single Song Thrush and Redwing were recorded. There were five Wheatear and two Sand Martin and the same Sparrowhawk and Hen Harrier as the last few days were seen again. Resident birds include three Short-eared Owl, big numbers of Puffins, including counts of 2,580 in South Haven and 5,755 in North Haven pm, and five Peregrines were logged.
Still enjoying the lovely spring like weather and plenty of opportunity to be outside. Raptors abounded today with Hen Harrier, Sparrowhawk, 14 Buzzard, Kestrel, a female Merlin and three Peregrines being seen. Little Owl and Short-eared Owl were also seen. The Puffins came in for a short period during the mid afternoon and there were Razorbills and a few guillemots around for most of the day. Three Swallows passed over. Other migrants incl.: seven Stonechat, eleven Wheatear, four Blackcap (our first of the year), ten Chiffchaff, three Willow Warbler, two Goldcrest, five Starling, one Goldfinch and ten Linnet. Not a classic day by any means but very pleasant.
A lovely sunny day, with our first volunteers joining us on the island. A possible first for the island- three Common Cranes were seen flying over North Haven at around 10am, heading towards the mainland. The Hen Harrier was seen once again, continuing to be more reliable than the owls! 40 Meadow Pipits were seen in North Haven alone. On the ponds nine Teal and two Shoveler were seen, and ten Wheatear coming gradually more centrally into the island with one seen on the wall by the main track to the farm. On the sea there were quite a few razorbills, and once again several thousand Puffins.
|A racing pigeon keeps its eys on the skies, possibly looking for cranes|
A clear fine day brought a good day for birds of prey with our first sighting of a Red Kite this year, flying to the north of the farm. We also had five Peregrine Falcon, four Buzzard, a Kestrel, Hen Harrier and a Short Eared Owl. Around the coast we saw two Cormorant, four Shag, 120 Oyster Catcher, three Purple Sandpiper, ten Turnstone and the Auks were on the cliffs in good numbers. Four Shoveler were on the ponds, and eleven Goldcrest were seen along with another sighting of a Ring Ouzel on the rocks by the Harold Stone.
Here a little video of the Puffins in North Haven on the evening of the 23rd.
A sunny but blustery day and temperatures dropped to almost zero overnight. There were three Shelduck on North Pond, 13 Curlew around the island, two Sparrowhawks, one Merlin, one Kestrel and five Peregrine. It was a fantastic day for Puffins, with thousands wheeling in North Haven, with estimates reaching over 5,000 in North Haven alone, with quite a few touching down on land. 10 Wheatear were seen around the coast with a few females present as well, plus the first Ring Ouzel of the year in North Valley this morning. There were ten Goldcrest and 28 Chiffchaff around the island and the first Willow Warbler of the year was seen at North Haven. 110 Jackdaws were seen going to roost at sunset and two Goldfinch, nine Linnet and three Reed Bunting make up the rest.
The first calm day in a while and the sun broke through the clouds for good periods of the day. On North Pond there were two Shoveler, four Teal, three Wigeon and a Shelduck. It was a good day for raptors with the Hen Harrier being seen again plus a Sparrowhawk, 20 Buzzards (14 of which were seen flying high over the island), one Kestrel, one Merlin and five Peregrine. There was also two Water Rail, six Purple Sandpipers, one Snipe, seven Curlew and seven Turnstone. The Little Owl was seen and heard calling outside the farm in the evening and one Short-eared Owl was hunting around the farm also. We also had our first House Martins of the year with two seen along with two Swallows and 16 Sand Martins. An increase in passerines overnight with seven Robins, eight Stonechat and six Wheatear but only two Chiffchaffs and 10 Goldcrest. 20 Chough, 18 Ravens, three Goldfinch, four Linnet and five Reed Bunting were the best of the rest.
|Merlin sat over looking North Haven|
Some really heavy hail and rain inbetween the sunshine today. The Hen Harrier was seen again, as was a male Merlin (the first of the recording year), ten snipe and eleven Turnstone were also recorded. There were literally one or two auks of most species. A Short-eared Owl was seen. Other migrants include a Wheatear, two Goldcrests and four linnets.
The highlights today were a Hen Harrier, 135 Oystercatcher (the highest count of the year), two Snipe 14 Curlew and eleven Turnstone, a Sandwich Tern fishing in North Haven during the morning, 150 Puffins, 15 Wood Pigeon, a Stonechat, seven Blackbird, a Song Thrush and a Redwing, three Chiffchaff and three Goldcrest.
More drizzle but conditions not too bad today. A Black-tailed Godwit on North Pond was the highlight of the day. Five Shoveler was the highest count of the year and the three Wigeon remained on North Pond. At least one Hen Harrier was seen again and there was a female Kestrel around the Farm again. 111 Oystercatcher was also the highest count of the year. There were four Snipe and 17 Curlew. There were also five Chiffchaff, six Goldcrest, one Chaffinch and three Reed Bunting.
After hearing our first Manx Shearwaters on the island last night, we woke up to fog. It lifted periodically, and we had a few hours of glorious sun. On North Pond three Wigeon were back after a few days absence, now accompanied by three Shoveler, and eight Teal across all the ponds. The first Puffins were seen on land. Around the island there were twelve Stonechats, seven Goldcrest, three Reed Bunting and 25 Chiffchaff. A Black Redstart was at the farm most of the afternoon, and a Hen Harrier, two Short-eared Owls, Kestrel, and a couple of Peregrine Falcons were also seen.
|Black Redstart at the Farm|
A nice day with plenty of sun, with six Sand Martins spotted flying over. Two Hen Harriers around the farm, and 17 Chough (including a flock of 14) around the coast. There were nine Chiffchaff, two Skylarks, four Stonechats and the second male Wheatear of the year.
A mild day on Skomer which started with three Wigeon and 12 Teal on North Pond. There was also one Hen Harrier, six Buzzards and one female Kestrel as well as three Peregrine. 109 Oystercatchers was the highest count of the year so far as was 11 Snipe. One Short-eared Owl, a Black Redstart, our first Wheatear of the year, one Chiffchaff and five Goldcrest made up the best of the rest.
|The first Wheatear of the year was found at the Harold Stone|
A beautifully sunny day on Skomer today, where at times it felt almost like summer. The highlights were, seven Puffins off North Haven, the first of the year, three Wigeon still on North Pond, one ringtail Hen Harrier, a Kestrel, three Water Rail, four Purple Sandpipers on the Neck, four Snipe, five Curlew and two Short-eared Owls which spent the afternoon hunting outside the farm. We also had the first Stonechats of the year with a female on the Neck and two males at Moorey Mere, a Chiffchaff in North Valley along with three Goldcrest and 20 Goldfinch fly over along with three Linnet.
|Purple Sandpipers on South Castle, the Neck|
Misty fog and drizzle cleared periodically and we were able to get out to most parts of the island. 15 Manx Shearwaters off the Garland Stone in the evening were a welcome sight although none were seen or heard on Skomer in the night. Highlights elsewhere were three Wigeon on North Pond, eight Teal, one Hen Harrier, one Kestrel, three Water Rail, nine Snipe, 47 Oystercatchers and six Curlew singing and displaying all over the island. There were also two Chaffinch, eight Chough, 11 Song Thrush and five Short-eared Owls.
|Siberian type Chiffchaff in harsh morning light|
Two Hen Harrier today, including one flushed off the carcase of a female Pheasant. Two Snipe, one Woodcock and eleven Curlew made up the wader highlights. Birds passing over included: six Skylark, 28 Blackbird, four Fieldfare, 14 Song Thrush, 12 Redwing, at least one Mistle Thrush, 650 Starling, twelve Chaffinch, one Goldfinch and a Lapland Bunting. A 'tristis' type Chiffchaff in South Stream wasn't confirmed until the next day (luckily it was still there next morning).
A fine day with ENE wind and double figure temperatures. A juvenile Red Kite spent the day roaming the island. There were 33 Teal, 31 Mallard and a Wigeon on North Pond, plus eleven Skylark, three Redwing, 685 Starling, seven Chaffinch, three Goldfinch and 23 Linnet.
The weather was fine for the roost count this evening. Unfortunately the harriers didn't play the game and only one was seen briefly over last nights roost site before flying off again to the south. At least six Short-eared Owls were seen coming out of roost and two Little Owls became vosiferous just before dark. A very quiet day otherwise.
Light winds and wintery showers. After suspecting at least three Hen Harriers for a while now, three were seen together today and, as tomorrow evening is an official Hen Harrier roost count, a watch was made over North Valley at dusk (to recce and just in case the weather is too foul tomorrow). Only two harriers were seen going into roost, so the third either roosted somewhere slightly away from the other two and was undetected or went somewhere else entirely to roost. At least eight Short-eared Owls came out of roost. Counts of other species today include: nine Water Rails, 21 Curlew, six Turnstone, 25 Skylark, 22 Meadow Pipits, ten Blackbirds, 24 Song Thrush, one plus Redwing, a Chiffchaff, three Goldcrest, 216 Starling, 30 Chaffinch and a fly over Lapland Bunting.
A nice day with light NW winds and plenty of birds. Thrushes and larks were moving again with plenty of other species in good numbers too. The highlight was a Pallas's Warbler in South Stream in the afternoon. Some other totals are as follows: 120 Fulmar, two Wigeon, 40 Teal, at least one Hen Harrier, a Sparrowhawk, a Merlin, two Snipe, two Woodcock, three Turnstone, nearly 300 Black-headed Gulls seen in Broad Sound with several Mediterranean Gulls and a few Kittiwakes, a flock of c.360 Wood Pigeon, a Short-eared Owl, 105 Skylark, 36 Meadow Pipit, 23 Rock Pipit, 27 Blackbirds, four Fieldfare, 24 Song Thrush, eight Redwing, a Chiffchaff, two Goldcrest, 115 Jackdaw (moving E), 125 Starling, eleven Chaffinch, four Goldfinch, ten Linnet and three Reed Bunting.
|The seven striped sprite from Siberia|
The highlight today was an adult Great Northern Diver which came into North Haven in the late afternoon. It was seen feeding and resting and was quite close to the wardens house. Also logged today were a Tufted Duck on North Pond, a single Woodcock, a 'normal' Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest.
|Adult Great Northern Diver, still moulting out of summer plumage|
Changeable winds and heavy rain from lunchtime onwards made conditions challenging but there was some passage and a highlight in the form of a 'Siberian' Chiffchaff in the Ivy at North Haven. This one luckily stuck around long enough to get a really good look at and the distictive mournful Bullfinch like call was heard several times. Fulmar numbers are building up again and there were a few hundred Guillemots on the cliffs at Bull Hole. Late autumn passage was provided in the form of a Woodcock, 13 Curlew, a single Skylark, 23 Blackbirds, five Fieldfare, eleven Song Thrush and six Redwing. Two Blackcap and five Goldcrest (as well as the 'Siberian' Chiffchaff) had to search hard for insects in the cold wet contitions. 340 Starling passed through as well as seven Chaffinch and a Siskin was heard.
|'Siberian' Chiffchaff or Phylloscopus collybita tristis|
|'Siberian' Chiffchaff, showing well|
Four swans flew east through St Brides Bay at 08:30 this morning but were just a bit too distant to ID. After a few days with horrible weather and no migration there was some movement again today with 35 Skylark, a slightly increased number of thrushes including a Mistle Thrush, a Chiffchaff, four Goldcrest, 325 Starling, 32 Chaffinch and a single Goldfinch. Probably the highlights of the day were a Snow Bunting and three Lapland Buntings caught up in the movement of birds to the east.
The best birds of the day were six White-fronted Geese which flew over North Valley at 09:45. Six 'Greenland' White-fronted Geese turned up on Marloes Mere later in the day so it is presumed that these were the same birds which settled at the mere soon after leaving Skomer. Some migration continues with 73 Skylark, a few thrushes, a Chiffchaff, a Goldcrest, 310 Starling and ten Chaffinch
Migration good again today with some good day totals and a few scarcities. A Barnacle Goose was recorded amongst the canadas, 35 Common Scoter flew through Jack Sound am, there were 13 Snipe on North Pond and eight Turnstone in North Haven. In terms of visible migration there were at least 23 Skylark, 25 Blackbird, twelve Fieldfare, 18 Song Thrush, 30 Redwing, 650 Jackdaw, 700 Starling, 130 Chaffinch, one Brambling, four Goldfinch, one Siskin, two Linnet and a Redpoll passed over (most of these were going East). A Lapland Bunting also went East and four Reed Bunting were recorded. A Chiffchaff with a 'tristis' type call was seen briefly in North Valley in the morning, there were nine Blackcap, three Chiffchaff (including the aforementioned) and two Goldcrest. The usual raptors were kept busy with the glut of prey (Wheatear, Song Thrush and Robin have all been recent victims of predation).
|Barnacle Goose on North Pond|
|Autumnal view across to Skok|
Some good migration am included: a single Lapwing, five Snipe, a Woodcock, eleven Skylark, 22 Meadow Pipit, 21 Blackbird, a Fieldfare, eleven Song Thrush, 20 Redwing, a Mistle Thrush, two Blackcap, one Yellow-browed Warbler, five Chiffchaff, four Goldcrest, three Blue Tit, 200 Starling, 73 Chaffinch, a Brambling, one Goldfinch, one Linnet, a female Bullfinch (the first in two years) and five Reed Bunting. Raptors included: Hen Harrier, a Merlin and a Peregrine hunting corvids in North Valley pm.
|Yet another Yellow-browed Warbler; 2016 is a record breaking year for this species|
More westerlies provided good conditions for a bit of visible migration and some light finch and lark passage. The undoubted highlight was a Serin which was found feeding around the wardens accommodation early am. A Little Egret flew west passed North Haven at 14:00. In terms of raptors a Hen Harrier passed over the Neck and there was a Kestrel, eight Buzzards and three Peregrines in North Haven. Seven Short-eared Owls came out of roost in North valley pm. One hundred and eighty five Skylark were logged in a two hour period during the morning. Finch passage involved eight Chaffinch, four Goldfinch (which carried the Serin away east with them), and four linnet. A Black Redstart was pesent at North Haven and there were two Chiffchaff.
|This Serin was was the unboubted highlight of the day|
The wind swung round towards the west today after weeks of easterlies. Two Greylags were seen amoungst the Canadas and a Common Scoter was seen in North Haven. At least one Hen Harrier was present as well as two Sparrowhawks and a Merlin and nine Short-eared Owls came out of roost in North Valley at dusk. Two Black Redstarts (one at North Haven and one at the Farm) were present and there were two Wheatears. Small numbers of thrushes passed through. There was one Blackcap, one Yellow-browed Warbler (at North Haven), one Chiffchaff and five Goldcrest. Small numbers of finches included 28 Chaffinch, 2 Siskin and a single Linnet.
|A record year for Yellow-browed Warblers|
After seemingly many days with very little migration the flood gates appeared to open today. A broad range of species and some good counts of some common migrants made for a good day. Highlights and totals incl.: a Red-throated Diver flying west over the north coast and calling, the islands 3rd ever Long-tailed Duck in South Haven pm, two Hen Harriers in North Valley at roost (going in) and two Short-eared Owls (coming out), two Sparrowhawks, two Merlins, three Golden Plover, five Snipe, 640 Skylarks, a single Swallow, seven Grey Wagtails, 46 Robin, 26 Dunnock, a Ring Ouzel, 20 Blackbirds, 28 Song Thrush, 28 Redwing, four Blackcap, five Chiffchaff, 28 Goldcrest, five Blue Tit, 400+ Jackdaw, two House Sparrow, 46 Chaffinch, three Brambling, three Greenfinch, 16 Goldfinch, seven Siskin, 97 Linnet, the first Snow Bunting of the year and at least 14 Reed Bunting
A quieter day on the whole, despite the ongoing easterly winds, though finch passage was again good in the morning. Highlights included a female Redstart in East Bog; our first of the autumn, a Willow Warbler in the same location, three Golden Plovers, 16 Mediterranean Gulls in Broad Sound, 23 House Martins, a Whinchat, one remaining Ring Ouzel, one Yellow-browed Warbler, 31 Goldcrests, 12 Chaffinches, 80 Goldfinches, 2 Siskin and 167 Linnets.
Another good day, with a nice selection of migrant birds including 2 Sparrowhawks, 5 Kestrels, a Hobby, the first Jack Snipe of the autumn, 42 Mediterranean Gulls in Broad Sound along with 13 'commic' Terns, 10 Skylarks overhead, 2 late Tree Pipits, 2 Grey Wagtails, 3 Wheatears, 2 Ring Ouzels, 10 each of Song Thrush and Redwing, 12 Blackcaps, a single Yellow-browed Warbler, 41 Chiffchaffs, 23 Goldcrests, the lingering Firecrest at the well, 3 Spotted Flycatchers, 13 Rooks, 2 Blue Tits, 8 Chaffinch, the first Brambling of the autumn, a Greenfinch, 2 Siskins, 131 Linnets, 22 Goldfinches and 20 Reed Buntings (a clear influx).
The easterly winds continue and they are bringing record numbers of Yellow-browed Warblers with them, four were seen today which is a record day total for Skomer. Also seen today were: five Snipe, ten Turnstone; an adult Mediterranean Gull, two juvenile Common Gull and ten Black-headed Gull in Jack Sound; hirundine passage between 11:00 and dusk involved at least three Sand Martin, 470 Swallow and 29 House Martin; a Whinchat, a Wheatear, eleven Song Thrush, six Redwing, 20 Blackcap, 13 Chiffchaff, seven Golcrest, two Firecrest, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Blue Tit, five Chaffinch, 17 Goldfinch, six Linnet and ten Reed Bunting.
|Yellow-browed Warbler - quite a dull individual|
|Firecrest - an active little 'sprite' feeding in the Ivy at North Haven|
On a wet and windy day the bird highlights were a Lapland Bunting on North Pond, three Purple Sandpipers at South Castle and a Wryneck at the Farm. Other commoner migrants include; a Snipe, two Curlew, 20 Turnstone, 56 Kittiwake, 43 Razorbill, a Grey Wagtail, three Stonechat, one Wheatear, a Willow Warbler, ten Goldcrest and a Spotted Flycatcher.
The non bird highlight were a Risso's Dolphin and six Porpoise off the Garland Stone in the morning.
|The south coast was battered by strong winds today but that doesn't seem to bother the Purple Sandpipers|
|They are surprisingly well camouflaged and seem to choose rocks that match their colour perfectly. How many can you see?... There should be three!|
There were two Little Stints still present on North Pond. Other highlights include; three Short-eared Owls in North Valley at dusk and three Wrynecks (a good day total with one at North valley outfall, one at Green Pond and one at the Farm - assessing turnover of Wrynecks in autumn is tricky but day totals are a sign of how many may be passing through). A Wheatear was seen on the Neck. There was a Blackcap at the Farm, ten Goldcrest in total as well as three Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler. There were also at least 18 Goldfinch and 25 Linnet.
|Wryneck - one of three|
|That's why they're called Wrynecks|
|Wryneck - the second of three present today|
Clear highlight from today was the arrival of the first Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn in North Valley; apparently the first in Wales this year. This bird was joined by a Pied Flycatcher. A ringed plover flew over, while the two Little Stints remain. the first Swift in ages drifted over, while one Wryneck remains. Six Whinchat arrived, but it was as you were as far as numbers were concerned for most other notable species.
Four Common Dolphins were seen offshore, along with six Harbour Porpoises, a real feature of this time of year.
|Imagination needed! An artists impression of a Yellow-browed Warbler|
Eleven Common Scoter were noted, along with the usual wildfowl, while waders included a Ringed Plover calling overhead, four Grey Plovers during a seawatch, the lingering Little Stints and two Dunlin still. Further sightings included 16 Black-headed Gulls, five Razorbills offshore, potentially two Wrynecks at the Farm, six Grey Wags and 11 Goldcrests, along with small numbers of the usual warblers and finches.
|Plenty of Stonechats around at the minute|
The juvenile Little Stint on North Pond was joined by a smart amigo (another Little Stint, that is), while a further treat was our first Hen Harrier seen by Steve Sutcliffe from Moorey Mere being harassed by gulls. Twelve Buzzards was an impressive count, while other sightings included three Kestrels, three Water Rails, two Dunlin on North Pond, the Bar-tailed Godwit, a Wryneck at Green Pond, 90 Swallows, two Whinchats, 11 Stonechats, the Icterine Warbler for at least its 9th day, six Chiffchaffs and seven Goldcrests and the usual small trickle of finches in the morning.
Eleven Porpoises were noted offshore through the day.
A quieter day all in all, with a highlight of a female Wigeon (surprisingly our first of the autumn) which arrived with a single Shoveler and about 50 Canada Geese. The Little Stint remained, as did the Icterine Warbler, while a Greenfinch was the first of the autumn. Otherwize numbers of other species remained more or less similar to previous days.
Highlight of today was the arrival of a juvenile Little Stint onto North Pond, joining out duo of Godwits and singles of Snipe and Dunlin. Rarer in island terms was a Greylag Goose which joined the daily arrival of Canada Geese onto North Pond, while other wildfowl numbers were an improvement on recent days; 27 Mallards and 10 Shoveler. Further sightings of note included six Common Scoter, 27 Moorhen, mostly on North Pond, the lingering Wryneck, one House Martin, four Grey Wagtails going west, one White Wagtail, 32 Robins, a Whinchat, the resurfacing Icterine Warbler, eight Chiffchaffs, three Willow Warblers, 11 Goldcrests, one Chaffinch, 33 Goldfinches and 34 Linnets.
Seven Water Rails were heard across the island, suggesting that they are back with us for the autumn. North Pond harboured the usual juv Barwit, but was joined by a juvenile Black-tailed Godwit and a Snipe. A Mediterranean Gull off North Haven was also notable, as was the lingering Wryneck. Further sightings included one Grey Wagtail, two Whinchats, one Blackcap, one Whitethroat, eight Chiffchaffs, two Willow Warblers, eight Goldcrests, 19 Goldfinches and five Linnets.
Another decent day with highlights including the lingering Icterine Warbler at North Valley Crossing, Wryneck still at the farm and a Grey Plover on North Pond (scarce birds out here). Further notable sightings included 42 Common Scoter, small numbers of lingering Teal and Shoveler on North Pond, two Sparrowhawks and the first Merlin of the autumn, five Ringed Plover, the lingering Bar-tailed Godwit, five Whimbrel, 229 Great Black-backed Gulls roosting in various parts of the isle, two each of Sand and House Martin, plus a small migration of Swallows, a Tree Pipit, 11 Grey Wagtails (a good count), five White Wagtails, 8 Whinchats, 13 Wheatear, one Reed Warbler, eight Blackcaps, 12 Whitethroats, three each of Chiff and Willow Warbler, two Goldcrests, a Spotted Flycatcher and an impressive morning passage of finches, including two Chaffinches, 74 Goldfinches and 280 Linnets.
Insect migration was more subdued than yesterday, but still produced totals of 35 Red Admirals, 10 Whites, 24 Small Coppers and four Painted Ladies. Sixteen Silver Ys were also noted, along with large numbers of Nettle-taps. Two Common Darters and a Migrant Hawker were also noted.
A further highlight was a pod of 20 Common Dolphins off Skomer Head.
|A good day for Whinchat|
|The best counts of Small Copper butterflies have been during this month, |
with the earlier broods being poor
|Great White Egret, the second record for Skomer|
|A Kestrel eating a small mammal, in flight!|
There were still lots of seabirds in St Brides today although the wind had dropped and was swinging to the N. The morning produced a Balearic Shearwater, 61 Common Scoter, one Arctic Skua, a juv. Little Gull and a juv. Sabine's Gull, 130 Kittiwake, nine Sandwich Terns, 30 Common Terns, 60 commic terns, one Arctic Tern, three Black Tern and good numbers of Guillemots and Razorbills. There were also seven Snipe, 15 Turnstone, a Wryneck, four Grey Wagtail, a Reed Warbler, the Icterine Warbler, six Chiffchaff and single Willow Warbler and Goldcrest. A flock of 40 Linnet also dropped in during the morning.
Dave Astins (West Coast Birdwatching) guided birdwatching weekend really turned up some good birds. Even before Dave got to the island on Saturday morning he had found a Buff-breasted Sandpiper on Dale Airfield. Highlights from today include: two Balearic Shearwaters, a Grey Plover, 16 Dunlin, one Snipe, 13 Bar-tailed Godwit, two Arctic Skua, three Great Skua, a Common Gull, 60+ Kittiwake, 20+ Commic Terns, up to 16 Black Terns, a Wryneck, the lingering Icterine Warbler, three Chiffchaff, two Willow Warbler and four Goldcrest
|Ortolan Bunting in North Haven am|
|Wryneck at the Farm|
|Sparrowhawk mobbed by Swallows|
|Sparrowhawk in the morning light|
|Icterine Warbler in North Valley|
After a bit of a blow yesterday and overnight a few seabirds were pushed into St Brides Bay and a seawatch at dawn produced; seven Sooty Shearwaters, four Balearic Shearwaters, plenty of manxies, five Common Scoter, a few Kittiwakes, two Puffins and plenty of other winter plumaged auks. Things were a bit quieter on the passerine front although one of the Wrynecks was still present at the Farm. Other migrant bird totals from the day include: one Snipe and one Whimbrel, three Grey Wagtail, two Whinchat, 14 Stonechat, six Wheatear, three Sedge Warbler, a Garden Warbler, seven Common Whitethroat, two Chiffchaff, two Willow Warbler and four Goldcrest.
The best day of the Autumn so far for migrant birds and scarcities, with stand out highlights of an Icterine Warbler in the farm elders in the morning (our first since 2014), two Wrynecks by the end of the day (the lingering bird, joined by a second bird in the afternoon) and a Great-spotted Woodpecker in the chicken sheds first thing in the morning.
In addition to these standout highlights, other sightings included 13 Common Scoter, four Sparrowhawks (including a female which ate a small juvenile Pheasant), a Water Rail in the North Valley, the lingering Black-tailed Godwit, one Whimbrel, two Redshanks, a Common Sandpiper, one juvenile Mediterranean Gull in Jack Sound, 12 Black-headed Gulls, one Swift, two Sand Martins, 170 Swallows, one House Martin, a Tree Pipit behind the farm, two Grey Wagtails over the farm am, eight Wheatears, a Grasshopper Warbler in North Valley, two Reed Warblers, a male Blackcap, 24 Whitethroats, 17 Willow Warblers, four Goldcrests, a Spotted Flycatcher and two Pied Flycatchers.
A Sunfish was seen off the North Haven in the morning, while 11 Common Dolphins were also seen off the west coast (much to the delight of the shrieking visitors on the Dale Princess cruise).
|No prizes for the photographer in this picture (photo by Jason Moss)|
|The Icterine Warbler showed well in the morning behind the farm (photo by Jason Moss)|
|This image really shows of the slate grey legs, long primary projection and |
pale fringes to the secondaries and tertial of this Icky. (photo by Jason Moss)
A Wryneck was found at the farm first thing; our first of the year and always a treat. Additional highlights included a Greenshank which joined the lingering Black-tailed Godwit on North Pond, a Bonxie past the Garland Stone during a short evening seawatch. Further notable sightings included 96 Gannets offshore, three Teal, two Shoveler, 10 Common Scoter in Jack Sound, two Sparrowhawks, 10 Buzzards, one Kestrel, four Peregrine, one Golden Plover past Skomer Head, three Dunlin, one Whimbrel, one Common Sandpiper in North Haven, a very distant probable Arctic Skua, 11 Black-headed Gulls, 189 Lesser Black-backed Gulls at the various roosts, 66 Kittiwakes offshore, six Guillemots and two Razorbills, one Short-eared Owl, two Sand Martins, 122 migrant Swallows, two Grey Wagtails, 13 Robins, 1 Whinchat at the Wick with 10 Stonechats, plus four more of the latter, seven Wheatears, five Blackbirds, a Reed Warbler, 13 Whitethroats, six Willow Warblers, a Pied Flycatcher, five Goldfinch, three Linnets and four Reed Buntings.
A Rusty-dot Pearl was the only day-flying moth of note, while 19 Harbour Porpoise were noted around the island.
|The Wryneck showed well on occasions, but went to ground after mid-morning|
|The sparrowhawks have been patrolling the island keenly, probably |
following the trickle of migrant birds moving through the islands.
A few more migrants today, most notably a juvenile Black-tailed Godwit and two Dunlin on North Pond, two Whimbrel over, a single Swift, two Whinchats, 10 Wheatear, a Reed Warbler at Moorey Mere, 17 Willow Warblers, two Goldcrests and Spotted Flycatcher at the North Valley Crossing.
Other sightings included 1840 Manx Shearwaters offshore late on (small numbers really), 60 Gannets, a Grey Heron, two Teal, three Shoveler, two Sparrowhawks, three Kestrels, three Buzzards, four Peregrines, 38 Moorhen, 28 Oystercatchers, six Curlew, two Black-headed Gulls, one winter plumaged Razorbill off the Garland Stone, two Little Owls, two Short-eared Owls, one Skylark, 27 Swallows, 49 Meadow Pipits (numbers appear to be steadily building on the island), 24 Rock Pipits, nine Pied Wagtails, 15 Robins, 15 Magpies, 22 Chough, 65 Jackdaw at the evening roost, 30 Raven, 10 Starlings, nine Goldfinches and seven Linnets.
A better day for butterfly sightings today with one Peacock, four Small Tortoiseshell, five Red Admirals, five white sp., two Large Whites, six Small Whites and three Painted Ladies. Two Silver Y's were also seen along with a Migrant Hawker, a single Marmalade Hoverfly, four Eristalis tenax and two Helophilus trivittatus.
|The juvenile Black-tailed Godwit on North pond|
Fairly slow on the migrant front, with highlights probably being a Short-eared Owl drifting over North Valley late on and 40 Ravens at Toms House; the beginnings of the large island flocks which will form as the Shearwaters begin fledging. Other sightings included 64 Gannets offshore, three Teal and three Shoveler on North Pond, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and four Peregrines, Water Rail and South Stream, 31 Moorhen, Dunlin, Redshank, three Curlew, 23 Meadow Pipits, six Robins, eight Stonechat, four Sedge Warblers, seven Whitethroats, just one Willow Warbler, six Goldfinch and eight Linnet.
Butterflies included singles of Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, white sp., Small Copper and Painted Lady; a poor showing all in all, considering the fine weather. One Rush Veneer was also noted, along with two Migrant Hawkers and an Emperor Dragonfly. Twenty-five Harbour Porpoise were also noted offshore.
|Newly fledged Swallows|
A slightly better day, with improved variety in the form of a juvenile Pied Flycatcher at Moorey Mere and two Whinchats. Further sightings included a Grey Heron, four Teal, five Shoveler, Sparrowhawk, two Kestrels, four Water Rails, 27 Moorhen (some sizeable families around now), one Curlew, Sand Martin, 90 Swallows, 15 Robins (a decent arrival), six Wheatear (apparently migrants along the central track), eight Sedge Warblers, 10 Whitethroats, eight Willow Warblers, six each of Linnet and Goldfinch and six Reed Buntings.
Quiet for butterflies with only four Red Admirals noted.
Yet again, with North Wales enjoying the rares, we are basically just enjoying the weather! Though there are still one or two bits to be seen, including eight Teal, four Shoveler, two Golden Plover, a Dunlin on North Pond, two Curlew, four Redshank on North Pond, one Razorbill, a Short-eared Owl, nine Willow Warblers, 24 Ravens (numbers are beginning to build in anticipation of Manxie fledglings!), 25 Starlings and 10 Goldfinches.
More settled conditions today, but things remain fairly quiet on the migrant front on the island (especially when we see what a certain North Wales bird observatory was drowning in today). Sightings included eight Canada Geese, four Teal, two Shoveler, a female Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Water Rail, 24 Moorhen, five Black-headed Gulls, 80 Swallows (so clearly some movement), 12 Rock Pipits, nine Pied Wags, three Robins, 12 Stonechats, five Wheatear, 13 Sedge Warblers, 18 Whitethroats, 21 Willow Warblers, four Spotted Flycatchers, 21 Chough and 17 Linnets (a slight passage).
Butterflies were out in better number today, with two Peacocks, five Small Torts, 10 Red Ads, Wall, four Large Whites and a Meadow Brown. Common Darter, two Migrant Hawkers and an Emperor Dragonfly were also noted, while seven Common Dolphins were also seen off the Garland Stone.
21/08/2016 to 22/08/2016
A rather wet and windy period, with slim pickings as far as notable birds. Highlights mostly came on 21st, including another sighting of Balearic Shearwater off the Garland Stone, 10 Teal, three Shoveler and a Common Scoter, Water Rail, Little Stint and Dunlin still on North Pond, seven Curlew, one Redshank, 13 Turnstone on 22nd, Little Owl, nine Sedge Warbler, 12 Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher,
The weather started getting nasty today with strong winds, rough seas and rain. A seawatch first thing was fairly unproductive although there was at least one Balearic Shearwater amongst the few manxies that passed. The ponds produced some birds including seven Teal and ten Shoveler. In terms of waders the Little Stint and Dunlin were still together and there were two Whimbrel and a Curlew as well as nine Turnstone (North Haven). A Swift was recorded and there were four Willow Warbler and a Pied Flycatcher.
A Dunlin and a Green Sandpiper joined the Little Stint on North Pond today and there was a Redshank on Moorey Mere, four Whimbrel, 29 Curlew and six Turnstone. There were ten Stonechat and a Whinchat at Bull Hole.
|Nice muddy edges to the ponds at the moment means that there is quite a variety of waders popping in to feed like this Redshank on Moorey Mere|
|I think he thinks that we cant see him|
|Dunlin and Little Stint seemingly enjoying eachothers company|
Eight Teal, three Mallard, a Shoveler and Two Common Scoter represented the ducks today. A Marsh Harrier flying over Moorey Mere, two Sparrowhawks, nine Buzzards, a Kestrel and two Peregrines represented the birds of prey. The first two Water Rails of the autumn were seen and there was a big count of 34 Moorhen. The Little Stint was still present with a Snipe, five Whimbrel and five Curlew. One Puffin was seen. There was a short period of Swallow passage when just over 100 were recorded (160 were recorded over the whole day). A Tree Pipit was present briefly in North Valley first thing before continuing on migration. Seven Robin were recorded. Other chats included nine Stonechat and eleven Wheatear. There were plenty of Sedge Warblers and Whitethroats (9) and a Reed Warbler and 17 Willow Warbler were recorded. There were also four Spotted Flycatchers and two Pied Flycatchers.
Some more new birds to keep the autumn ball rolling, with a juvenile Mediterranean Gull over North Haven, Lapwing and Ringed Plover on and over North Pond and a Whinchat the first of the autumn. Further sightings included 12,000 Manx Shearwaters off North Haven in the evening (the vanguard of a busy night), Grey Heron, four Teal, two Mallards, the lingering juvenile Little Stint, a flock of 30 Dunlin past North Haven, a Whimbrel, three Common Sandpipers, four Turnstones, 50 Black-headed Gulls drifting over the island and offshore, three Guillemots, one Puffin (all but gone now), one Swift, a second brood of Stonechat Chicks in North Valley (its been a good year, with three pairs producing four broods of chicks), three Chiffchaffs, eleven Willow Warblers, six Spotted Flycatchers and a Pied Flycatcher,
|Linnets have had a good year on the island, with at least six pairs breeding|
|Many of the families congregate around the farm (mixing with families which come |
over from he mainland), making for entertaining viewing. FEED ME!
A bit more movement today, with two Green Sandpipers on North Pond with the lingering Little Stint and the first Tree Pipit and Redstart of the autumn the highlights. Further signs of passage included a flyover Grey Heron, three Teal, the first Shoveler of the autumn, a Sparrowhawk, two Kestrels, two Snipe, two Redshank, a Common Sandpiper, nine Black-headed Gulls and a Common Gull, five Swifts, ten Sand Martins, five House Martins and 50 Swallows moving through, a Reed Warbler at Moorey Mere, nine Willow Warblers, ten Spotted Flycatchers, one Pied Flycatcher and seven Reed Buntings. Eight Harbour Porpoises were seen around the coast, along with four Common Dolphins off Pigstone Bay.
|A few photos of the Little Stint from yesterday; a very neat juvenile|
|The first Little Stint since one arrived in September 2014|
|It's difficult to get any photos of birds on Skomer at the moment without|
having a Lesser Black-backed Gull chick photo-bomb, so why bother trying to avoid it.
A good day for waders today. Warm ESE winds and sunshine made for a rather nice day as well. Overnight guests found a Little Stint and four Greenshanks feeding on Moorey Mere and they stayed on the island long enough for most people to see them. A Common Snipe was seen at North Pond. Fifteen Common Scoter flew over the island during the morning. A Cuckoo was seen and three Swift flew over. There were also four Sand Martin, 30+ Swallow and a House Martin, two Chiffchaff and 18 Willow Warbler. A Pied Flycatcher was seen at North Valley Crossing.
|Three of the four Greenshank|
|And the whole gang (Little Stint on the right)|
A few migrants today with two Sand Martins and three House Martins, two Reed Warbler and two Willow Warbler being the highlights.
|Reed Warbler at Moorey Mere|
|A Willow Warbler in the same spot|
A Redshank flew over North Haven first thing and four Turnstones in breeding plumage, also in North Haven, were the first sign of a returning flock. A light movement of Swallows (80 odd in total) was noted going west as well as eight House Martins. Five Willow Warblers were also logged.
Sea watches on the evening of the 3rd and morning of the 4th didn't produce the desired large shearwater but three Storm Petrels, two Sandwich Terns and an Arctic Skua were at least notable.
Notable reports included 13,700 Manx Shearwaters off North Haven, two Common Sandpipers, the lingering Cuckoo, a family of 6 Stonechats; the result of a third breeding attempt, having failed on the first two, by a female which was ringed as a chick on Skomer last year and 5 Willow Warblers. An Oak Eggar moth was seen on the wing at Skomer Head
A slight increase in the number of Willow Warblers over the last few days. Two Yellow Wagtails and a Grey Wagtail were briefly present in North Haven on the 23rd; a Cuckoo has been seen everyday since the 25th; the Ruff was seen again on the 24th and Dunlin were heard over the island today; Willow Warbler numbers peaked at 10 on the 26th. Breeding birds are going about their business and although most of the Razorbills and Guillemots have gone, the Puffins are still here in large numbers at the moment. There are plenty of juvenile Meadow Pipits around and a small handful of young Skylark; Stonechats have also had a good year and there are plenty of young presently on the island.
No news for a while but migration has begun again now so there will be more regular updates from now on. On the 19th a Spotted Flycatcher was at the Farm and there was some hirundine movement (33 Sand Martin and 13 Swallow). Whimbrel and Common Sandpiper were both recorded on the 20th. Yesterday saw some huge flocks of Manx Shearwater offshore, a Common Sandpiper, 4 Black-headed Gull, a Cuckoo in North Valley and a Willow Warbler at the Farm. An Oystercatcher was seen at Moorey Mere with colour rings, telling us that it had been caught and ringed as an adult on the Gann estuary on the 14th of March this year and had possibly been one of our breeding population this summer.
|Impressive numbers of Puffins on the 20th|
Our family of Chough from South Castle Beach Cave (SCBC) has multiplied from 3 to 4 young, breaking more records and joins a family with at least 1 young from Paynes Ledge. The SCBC family has now been seen all over the island from North Haven to Garland Stone so could be seen almost anywhere. There is also a family of Buzzards on the Neck with 4 young which are close to fledging and appear, by the evidence on the photo below, to be living on a diet of Puffins. A Snipe which has spent the last 2 weeks on Moorey Mere is still present but there is very little wader passage otherwise. A Blackcap was feeding around the Warden's house in North Haven first thing.
|Buzzard chicks at Roberts Wick|
Apart from the impressive amount of activity amongst our breeding birds, with thousands of auk chicks jumping and shearwaters hatching, the migrant highlights of the last few days have included a Great Skua past Skomer Head on the 1st and a Grey Wagtail on the 3rd.
A few things moving today with the first returning flock of waders; 7 Curlew west in the evening. 17 Starling were gathering and there were 7 Goldfinch and 9 Linnet.
After initial rain and fog the afternoon was bright and fine. Whilst conducting our boat based seabird counts a quick visit was made to South Castle Beach Cave where Chough have been breeding. The sight we eventually saw is one of the nicest we could have hoped for. A brood of 3 chicks had just left the cave and were getting fed by both parents. This is the biggest brood seen in at least the last 4 years and very welcome too.
|Three chicks with adult flying off|
The highlight today was a Barn Owl that flew from the Isthmus, where it had been seen a lot (after dark) in the early spring, along the Neck, where it was chased by a host of gulls and other birds, finally landing in a Puffin burrow. It appeared to be a very dark bird with two dark stripes within the facial disk and a darkish breast. The upper parts were a very rich golden brown. An odd colour form to show up in summer on the west coast of Wales. Five Short-eared Owls were also logged today, a day after 7 fledged chicks were seen from a single brood. Two pairs bread this year, the other pair fledging a min. of 4 young. The Little Owls have also fledged at least 1 chick west of the Farm.
|The Barn Owl sitting in a burrow on the Neck|
Seven Common Scoter in St Brides were the first for a while. There were 2 Kestrels present and a Snipe was seen at Moorey Mere. Other migrants came in the form of a single Swift, a Spotted Flycatcher and 3 Starling. The Shelduck creche had moved/walked from North Pond to Moorey Mere but still consisted of 12 goslings.
|Two broods of Shelduck in one!|
Very few migrants in the last few days but a lot is going on with the breeding birds. Two families of Shelducks (5 goslings and 8 goslings) on North Pond were merged into a super creche by the more aggressive pair of adults. All 13 survived for over 2 weeks but have now become 12. Our first Chough chick fledged over the last day or two at Paynes Ledge (between Garland Stone and Bull Hole). Two broods of Short-eared Owls are still being fed by their very active parents and a Curlew chick is still present just south of the Farm. The few migrants seen today incl.: 7 Swift and a Spotted Flycatcher.
After the dramatics of the last few days, things have settled down somewhat. The Red-backed Shrike remained until 27th, when it was heard singing and mimicking Chaffinch song! Further sightings highlights included Shoveler ducklings on 28th, a 1st summer Red Kite on 30th, Kestrel on 29th and 30th, Whimbrels on 28th and 30th, 1st Guillemot chick on 31st and 1st Razorbill Chick on 28th, 1st Puffins with sandeels on 29th, sand martin on 30th, Blackcap on 30th, Willow Warbler on 29th and 30th, three Spotted Flycatchers on 30th, 4 Starlings on 31st, a male House Sparrow on 31st, 14 Goldfinch on 30th and flyover Redpoll sp. on 28th and 29th.
Light variable winds am, mostly overcast, going northerly and clear pm. A male Red-backed Shrike joined yesterdays male Woodchat Shrike making for an amazing double in North Valley, much to the delight of everyone on the island.
|Male Red-backed Shrike|
|Distant male Woodchat Shrike|
Another great day with Kestrel, 2 Curlew, 6 Swift, a House Martin, a female Ring Ouzel, a Reed Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler, 5 Spotted Flycatcher, the second Woodchat Shrike of the year and a Redpoll.
ESE winds today seemed conducive to rare migrants and it didn't disappoint. A male Black-headed Bunting was found at the Farm at 08:30 and showed very well on the paths there until 300 people hit the trails at 10:00. The other highlight of the day was our second Osprey of the spring which flew N over the Neck at lunch time. There were also 4 Spotted Flycatcher and 3 Redpoll.
|Our third Black-headed Bunting in three years on paths around the Farm am|
NW wind today. The highlight was two female type Marsh Harriers going W between 09:00 and 10:00. Also seen was a Kestrel, 4 Whimbrel, 30 House Martin, a Spotted Flycatcher and a redpoll.
|Two different female type Marsh Harriers moving W between 09:00 and 10:00|
Rain and fog today hampered efforts but there was a Reed Warbler in South Stream, at least 4 Swift and 6 Whimbrel passed over and a White Wagtail was around the Farm. A Black Redstart was seen in North Valley and a redpoll was heard.
|Reed Warbler in South Stream|
|White Wagtail at the Farm|
The past few days has brought gentle winds, beautiful blue skies and some more unusual sightings here on Skomer. A Nightingale was spotted on the morning of the 13th at Moory Mere which ducked into the brambles not too long after being spotted. Collared Doves have been fairly regular the last week with an individual at a time being seen around the Farm, however on Monday 14th a flock of 9 were recorded! Arguably the highlight was the Nightjar that was found early Sunday morning. Initially flushed from the Willows near Green Pond it settled by some brambles and stayed long enough for us to fix a scope on it all day! Other notable sightings included Redpoll, Reed Buntings, Goldcrest, Spotted Flycatchers and very active Short-eared Owls across North Valley.
|Nightjar on 15th May at Green Pond. Photo by Elisa Miquel Riera|
|Nightingale at Moorey Mere on 14th|
A quieter day today but highlights include the Iberiae type Yellow Wagtail still on Moorey Mere, a flock of 7 Dunlin, 1 Golden Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 1 Common Sandpiper, 4 Short-eared Owl, 4 Spotted Flycatchers 1 Chaffinch and 7 Goldfinch.
A difficult day for birding on Skomer with thick fog and heavy rain at times still produced, 1 Golden Plover, 2 Dunlin, 4 Whimbrel, 2 Short-eared Owl, the Iberiae type Yellow Wagtail, 1 Whinchat, 6 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Chaffinch and 7 Goldfinch. Not bad considering at times you couldn't see your hand in front of your face....
What a day! Arguably the highlight was an adult Gull-billed Tern which drifted over North Valley during the evening; the islands first record. This was followed shortly after by a male Yellow Wagtail at Moorey Mere which, on close scrutiny, appears to be spot on for the race Iberiae; an extremely rare race in the UK with no currently accepted records. Unfortunately the bird didn't call whilst being observed, though hopefully the bird will linger. A final highlight came in the form of a brief drake Garganey which spent 10 minutes on North Pond in the morning. further notable sightings included 1 Dunlin, 11 Whimbrel, 1 Whinchat, the second Garden Warbler of the year, 5 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Chaffinch and 12 Goldfinches.
5 - 8/05/2016
Some good birding during this period, with the continued presence of the Woodchat Shrike pleasing many of the day-trippers over the course of the weekend. Further to this a trip of 12 Dotterel which flew NW over the Farm on the evening of 6th represented only the 7th island record and the first since 2008. Another highlight has been a nice arrival of Spotted Flycatchers, with numbers building up to a maximum of 20 on 7th. Other notable sightings included a Lesser Whitethroat and Greenshank on 8th, Cuckoo , Collared Dove and the first Yellow Wagtail (flavissima) of the year on 5th. Other sightings included 2 Storm Petrel at the North Haven colony on 6th, Sparrowhawk on 5th and 6th, Dunlin on 6th, the first Tree Pipit of the year on 5th, Robin on 6th, Black Redstart at North Haven on 5th, Grasshopper warbler on 6th, peaks of 38 Sedge Warblers, 26 Blackcaps, 16 Whitethroats, 7 Chiffchaffs and 14 Willow Warblers on 5th, 3 Goldcrests on 6th, 2 Chaffinches on 5th and 7th, 16 Goldfinches on 5th, Siskin on 5th, Lesser Redpoll on 5th and three Redpoll sp. on 6th (interesting pale birds that weren't confidently assigned to race).
Highlight of the day, and indeed the spring so far, was a male Woodchat Shrike which turned up below the farm at around 7pm, where it remained showing well to all staff, researchers and overnight guests. Other records of note included a small, but long-overdue arrival of Whitethroats and Sedge Warblers, one Dunlin and Greenshank on Moory Mere (the latter being the first of the year), 13 Swifts, 13 Willow Warblers and 20 Goldfinches.
|Male Woodchat Shrike|
|Likes Bees (watch out Skomer warden)|
Fair weather allowed for a bit of passage, with swallows noted in particularly large numbers. A series of 5 minute counts through the day gave an impressive 3108 birds moving through; likely an underestimate. Further sightings of note included Kittiwakes collecting nesting material from Moory Mere, the first Spotted Flycatcher of the spring, a juvenile Red Kite drifting around over North Valley, four Rooks, nine Whimbrel, three Short-eared Owls, one Swift, 40 Sand Martins, 15 House Martins, nine Sedge Warblers, 13 Blackcaps, 26 Willow Warblers, one Goldcrest, one Blue Tit, two Chaffinches and 21 Goldfinches.
A windy morning gave way to a calm sunny evening which pleased guests, staff and owls alike. The highlight of the day was three Barnacle Geese on North Pond, a scarce bird on Skomer. Other highlights included three Short-eared Owl making the most of the calm weather, 14 Whimbrel, 2 Swift, small numbers of Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff and a Sedge Warbler singing at North Pond.
A quiet few days with strong Northerly winds dominating the weather, meaning colder than average conditions and few birds of note. The seabirds have been busy over the past few days though with the first Razorbill egg seen on 26th and the first Guillemot egg was seen on the 27th, albeit in a Ravens beak. Today also saw the first Manx Shearwater egg of the year! Other highlights include, Kestrel on the 26th and 27th, a Dunlin on the 24th and 26th, a Common Sandpiper in North Haven on the 27th, at least one Short-eared Owl present every day since the 24th with a maximum count of three and small numbers of both Willow Warbler and Chiffchaffs.
Beyond the usual suspects, highlights today included the first Tree Pipit of the year over South Plateau, Water Rail at North Valley Crossing, a Grasshopper Warbler by Bread Rock, 2 Rooks overhead, a flyover Redpoll, male Redstart at Gorse Hill and a female Black Redstart at the Garland Stone.
|Female Black Redstart. Photo by Chris Lawrence|
|Sunrise in St Brides Bay|
A further reduction in numbers of migrants, but a male Whinchat at Gorse Hill was a treat, and a Grey Heron was new for the year. Linnets were seen nest building at the farm and, following last years success, will be only the second breeding occurrence since 2009. Further sightings included 2 Goldcrests, the lingering ringtail Hen Harrier, a Merlin at Skomer Head, 2 Dunlin, a Whimbrel, 4 Sand Martins, 5 House Martins, a Redstart, Song Thrush and Lesser Whitethroat.
|LBBGUs getting busy|
|Making these gems!|
A busy day on the island with nearly every bush hopping. Totals for today included, 1 Hen Harrier, 1 Merlin, 1 Hobby which flew over North Haven, 1 Water Rail, 2 Whimbrel, a male Redstart, 1 Whinchat, 139 Wheatear, 3 Ring Ouzel, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 4 Sedge Warbler, 60 Blackcap, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 11 Chiffchaff including one 'Tristis' type, 60 Willow Warbler, 22 Goldfinch and 2 Lesser Redpoll.
The ringtail Hen Harrier was still present and a Kestrel was logged. Migrant highlights incl.: 16 Sand Martin, 116 Swallow, 2 House Martin, a male White Wagtail, 2 Robin, 23 Wheatear, a Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler, a female House Sparrow, 40 Goldfinch and 20 Linnet.
|Todays Hooded Crow|
An overcast and drizzly morning was enlivened by an Osprey swiftly moving west. The Hen Harrier was seen as was a Kestrel. The first Common Sandpiper of the year was on Moorey Mere. In terms of passage migrants highlights including 6 Sand Martin, 4 House Martin, 62 Barn Swallows, Goldfinch, Linnet and the first White Wagtail of the Spring.
|Bad pictures of todays Osprey|
A fantastic day with nice weather and our first 'proper' fall of the spring. By 10:00am the wind had died to a light ESE and the rain that had been forecast never came. Migrants were widespread and moderately abundant. The birdwatching group on the island, led by Dave Astins, helped with coverage and ensured some good totals, which incl.: 1 ringtail Hen Harrier, 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 8 Peregrine, 4 Water Rail, 10 Snipe, 5 Turnstone, 3 Black-headed Gull, an interesting hybrid Herring x Lesser Black-backed Gull on North Pond, 1 Little Owl, 2 Short-eared Owl, 3 Skylark, 35 Sand Martin, 24 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 2 Robin, 1 female type Black Redstart, 2 male Common Redstart, 9 Stonechat, at least 25 Wheatear (including at least 4 definitely from the Greenland race O.o.leucorhoa), 2 male Ring Ouzel, 5 Blackbird, 2 Song Thrush, 32 Blackcap, 35 Chiffchaff, 65 Willow Warbler, 1 Goldcrest, 1 male Pied Flycatcher, 2 Starling, 8 Goldfinch and 19 Linnet.
Yesterday the birdwatching group had already pulled Little Ringed Plover out of the hat, making for a very successful weekend. We will publish a blog post on the main page in the next week or so describing the Birdwatching Weekend, giving details of how to join the next time.
|1st summer male Pied Flycatcher|
|Male Ring Ouzel|
|Female Wheatear of the race O.o.leucorhoa|
|Male Little Ringed Plover yesterday|
Very much a day of two halves again with wind and rain in the morning letting up to lighter winds and sunshine in the afternoon. The Hen Harrier was seen regularly throughout the day again and on closer inspection looks like a juvenile with more rufousy underparts and pale tips still visible on the upperwing coverts (see below). There was a Kestrel in North Haven as well as at least 3 Peregrines. There were also 5 Skylark, at least 3 Sand Martin, 2 Swallow, 6 Stonechat, 13 Wheatear, 2 Blackcap, 18 Chiffchaff, 12 Willow Warbler, 4 Goldcrest, 1 Chaffinch, 16+ Goldfinch and 7 Linnet.
A blustery day that improved slightly as the day went on. A female type Hen Harrier was present again. A Sparrowhawk was seen plucking a Sand Martin out of the air as it was feeding in a flock over Green Pond in the afternoon. A single Snipe was present on North Pond amid a roost of 35 Oystercatchers and 5 Turnstone were counted in North Haven. A Short-eared Owl was seen late afternoon in North Valley. There were 19 Sand Martin (the above mentioned flock of 15 over Green Pond in the afternoon) and 5 Swallow throughout the day, 8 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler and 1 Goldcrest were recorded and a single male Siskin was the only finch of the day.
No boats today and the weather went from bad to worse. A quick walk in the morning and a dash to North Pond to try and relocate a white-winged gull briefly seen over the Farm at lunch time produced a few birds (but not the white-winged gull!). There were 21 Teal on the ponds, a Sparrowhawk, 8 Snipe, 7 Turnstone, 2,905 Puffins in North Haven was half the number of the evening before (5,400), a House Martin being blown in the wind was the first of the year and looked like it wanted to roost on the farm buildings. There were also 4 Chiffchaff, 9 Goldfinch and 2 Linnet.
A lull in the bad weather today saw the island opening to visitors and a sunny pleasant morning saw a few migrants but few of our breeding birds, including Puffins, much to the chagrin of our first day trippers (only two day trippers saw a Puffin). Migrants seen today incl.: a female Kestrel (which may or may not be a migrant), a female type Merlin (below), 3 Skylark, 5 Sand Martin (first of year), 7 Swallow (the first of the year were seen on the 23rd), 3 Robin (many fewer than previously), 3 Stonechat, at least 6 Wheatear, 9 Chiffchaff, 5 Goldcrest, 30 Starling, 2 Goldfinch and 1 Linnet.
|Female type Merlin|
Overcast but more or less windstill for most of today. The first sighting of a Chough with nesting material follows a sighting of Peregrine copulation yesterday. Guillemots and Razorbills are also at it and our Ravens are mostly incubating now. Other sightings today incl.: a Sparrowhawk, 13 Turnstone, 2 Wheatear, 10 Redwing, at least 2 Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest, 8 Goldfinch and a Linnet.
Highlights on a sunny(ish) day with fresh NE and relatively poor vis. incl.: the first Shoveler of the season with a male on North Pond, a Sparrowhawk and a Merlin, 130 Puffins (our first three figure count and the first seen on land), 5 Stonechat incl. 1 male in song, 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 2 Chaffinch and 11 Linnet.
Yet another nice day, this time with E winds though, and a few new birds. 21 Teal was a good count, a Sparrowhawk was recorded, 51 Oystercatcher were roosting in South Haven, a Dunlin flew over North Pond with 25 Snipe, a Woodcock was seen near the Farm, 15 Curlew were recorded and a single Turnstone was with the seals on the beach at North Haven. The first Puffins of the year were seen with at least 12 off North Haven. A Stock Dove over the Farm was a good bird. Also a short-eared Owl was seen near the Farm. 6 Skylarks were recorded (most of them singing) along with 9 Stonechat, 10 Blackbird, 4 Song Thrush, 12 Redwing, a Chiffchaff (also the first recorded this year) and 8 Goldcrest, 2 Chaffinch, 3 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin and 2 Linnet rounded off proceedings.
Another fine day with SW winds. Today saw the first signs of active thrush movement since we have been out here incl.: 12 Blackbird, 8 Fieldfare, 6 Song Thrush and 92 Redwing. The Hen Harrier was seen, a Jack Snipe was flushed from near Green Pond, 101 Meadow Pipits were logged as well as 6 pied Wagtails. There were also 21 Robin, 11 Stonechat, 8 Chaffinch and 1 Goldfinch.
|Seals on North Haven beach|
|Fulmars seem to positively love the wind!|
|Guillemots on cliffs at Bull Hole|
We moved out to the island on Sunday the 28th. The island looks extremely baren and bare but there were plenty of seabirds around on our arrival. Jack Sound was well used by Black-headed Gulls, Mediterranean Gulls, Kittiwakes, Common Gulls, Gannets and Porpoises. There was also a flock of 18 Common Scoters seen on two consecutive days in St Brides Bay. Fulmars, Razorbills, Guillemots and Kittiwakes have all been on the cliffs at some point in the last few days. Other highlights include ringtail Hen Harrier, Merlin, Short-eared Owl, moderate numbers of Robins, Song Thrushes and Blackbirds as well as at least 7 Stonechats between North Haven and the Farm today.
All we need now is our first warbler, wheatear or swallow and it will really feel like spring.
windy but slightly less so than yesterday. A few seabirds were moving out of St Brides Bay first thing in the morning as the wind swung round to the west. Highlights were: a single Common Scoter, a ringtail Hen Harrier, 1 Purple Sandpiper in North Haven with 19 Turnstone, 18 Curlew, 6 Snipe, 2 Great Skua, 125 Kittiwake, 10 Guillemot, 5 Razorbill, 1 Black Redstart, 2 Stonechat, small number of thrushes, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, 520 Starling and 1 Chaffinch.
Windy! Highlights were Black Redstart, 2 ringtail Hen Harriers and a Jack Snipe.
Slightly less wind and rain today. There were two Black Redstarts at North Haven, a female type and an adult male. Single Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest were recorded. In terms of waders, 13 Oystercatcher, 18 Curlew, 1 Snipe and 14 Turnstone were recorded. A juv. Hen Harrier was hunting over the Neck in the aternoon and a male Sparrowhawk and 2 Peregrines were recorded in North Haven.