Wednesday, March 23, 2011

An almost constant band of mist has engulfed the island for the last few days. But the full moon, coupled with the thickness of the mist, has meant that only two Redwings, a Song Thrush and a Blackbird have been attracted. Indeed there have been several times that we haven't been able to see the lighthouse or its beams when stood within 100m of the tower. A few migrants continue to pass through with double figure counts of Chiffchaff and Goldcrest, the first Blackcap and Swallow of the year, and a few Sand Martins and Wheatears.

The first Blackcap of the year was a male in Cristin Garden. We later caught it in the newly refurbished Heligoland Trap (c) Richard Brown

Carreg Bach is just visible in the thick mist which has been covering Bardsey (c) Richard Brown

A Collared Dove somehow found the island through the mist and took to using the feeders at Ty Bach. Only 50 have been ringed by the observatory and we failed to increase this tally as this bird fed around, but not in, our trap (c) Richard Brown

Polly is a Rose-ringed Parakeet which arrived on the island in June 2010. She has survived her first winter and the autumn migrant and over-wintering raptors. Although native to Sub-Saharan Africa and India, there are currently thought to be roughly 30,000 in the UK which, unlike the self-introduced Collared Dove, originated from escaped cage birds. They first regularly bred in the UK in 1969 and have now become abundant breeders in some cities and possibly compete with our native birds for food and nest sites. Our closest breeders seem to be in Merseyside so it is possible that Polly has crossed North Wales although it seems more likely that she has escaped more locally. There is a positive correlation in the UK between parakeet density and the number of detached and semi-detached houses, suggesting that they do best in areas where more bird food is provided by residents. And it is Bardsey's bird tables where she spends most of her time. (c) Richard Brown

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