Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wow! Today was our first real migrant fall of the spring. We set our alarm for 2am this morning as we expected low cloud and an absent moon to produce good conditions for an attraction. As we tumbled from the LSA hut it was soon apparent that we were right, but only a few birds were present with about 25 Starling, six Redwing, five Wheatear and about 20 phylloscs attracted. We trapped a Wheatear and two Chiffchaffs and monitored the attraction for the next hour. With little change we set a 6am alarm and returned to bed.

The first bird of the morning was a cracking adult male Black Redstart outside our front door. We then opened the garden net and trapped 12 Blackcap, a Goldcrest, six Chiffchaff and five Willow Warbler. A Golden Plover flying overhead was later found freshly predated in the Gorse.

As we headed to Nant it was obvious that a large fall was taking place. We opened a single 60 foot net and caught 103 birds in the following 90 minutes, the majority of which were Willow Warblers and one of which was a control. A conservative estimate would be that over 350 Willow Warblers passed through the island today.

It really feels like the start of spring now with dozens of Wheatear lining the walls of the island. (c) Richard Brown

This smart first year male Stonechat found the nets at Cristin. With only one pair nesting last year its great to see at least three males at the moment. (c) Richard Brown

The Western Conifer Seed Bug is originally native to Western USA, but was accidentally introduced to Northern Italy in 1999 with an import of timber. By 2007 it had expanded its range over much of Europe from Slovenia to France. A large influx arrived on the south coast of England in 2008. This was believed to be natural range expansion from the original 1999 introduction in Italy. They have also reached as far a field as Japan. The Western Conifer Seed Bug feeds on the sap of developing pine cones, with one of its host plants being Scots Pine, of which there are a few on the island. Amazingly this insect has also evolved to feed on the compounds made by trees to deter herbivores. This is the second island record following one last year. (c) Giselle Eagle


  1. Beautiful photo's. What cameras/lenses are you using?

  2. Thanks Dave. It's a 50D with a canon 100-400 IS Lens. Saving for a 7D. Giselle is using a little Leica c-lux 2 for the close up stuff.