Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fine weather and really good numbers of birds have meant that we have been flat out censusing the island and ringing. By far the best bird of today was a smart male Subalpine Warbler found above the farm. Quite why Bardsey is such a fantastic place for catching up with this species is something of a mystery, but this is about the sixth Subalp I've seen in just over three years here. Yesterday a Twite, rare on the island, joined the Linnet flock in the Northwest Fields. But it's the number of birds passing through that has made the last few days so exciting.

The deep red colouration to the throat which extends downwards only slightly beyond the breast shows this to be an albistriata of Southeast Europe. (c) Richard Brown

Hundreds of Wheatear, a high percentage looking like leucorhoa birds from Greenland and Iceland, have been passing across the island and up the mountain. Over twenty Grasshopper Warbler and Blackcap are being recorded each day and we have already ringed more Blackcap than we do in an average year. Today over 70 Sedge Warbler have passed through and Willow Warbler numbers are again in the high seventies. Scarcer migrants include three Whinchat, three Ring Ouzel, a late Redwing, three Tree Pipit, three Lapland Bunting, a Yellow Wagtail and a ringtail Hen Harrier

Three Whinchat were logged during the morning census. (c) Richard Brown

The number of Whitethroat passing through has also crept into double figures. (c) Richard Brown

Sadly not all iberian chiffchaffs are Iberian Chiffchaffs! This Spanish ringed Chiffchaff was controlled at Nant. (c) Giselle Eagle

On Solfach the number of White Wagtails has been consistently around 50, but the turnover of birds is quite high with double figure flocks departing northwards. We have been using the portable Heligoland Trap I made a few years ago and managed to catch nine new White Wagtails and a control yesterday. 

White Wagtails on Solfach. The top bird, a first year male, has an orange ring above its British BTO ring on its right leg, and yellow over pink over red on its left leg. (c) Richard Brown

The portable Heligoland Trap on Solfach and Giselle ringing a White Wagtail. (c) Richard Brown

Wader numbers continue to increase with ten Dunlin, nine Ringed Plover, five Turnstone, four Common Sandpiper and eight Whimbrel also in and around Solfach. A Sanderling this morning was the first of the year.

Sanderling, Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Turnstone were busy feeding at the waters edge. (c) Richard Brown


  1. Great stuff. Enjoyed the blog. Very jealous. Would love to visit the island sometime.

  2. Portable Heligoland looks awesome, great invention!