Saturday, April 23, 2011

The last couple of days have seen a continuation of the excellent spring we've had so far. The first Pied Flycatchers, Spotted Flycatchers, Reed Warbler and Turtle Dove of the year have all passed through and good numbers of common migrants have been logged. Whitethroat numbers have reached 16, Blackcap 18, Chiffchaff 8, Willow Warbler 65, Grasshopper Warbler 21 and Sedge Warbler 76. Scarcer migrants have included a few Tree Pipits, Yellow Wagtails (including the first Blue-headed Wagtail of the year), Garden Warblers and Common Redstarts. The second Marsh Harrier of the year, this time a cream-crown, briefly crossed the island.

Scarcer migrants trapped have included two first-year male Pied Flycatchers and a few Garden Warblers (c) Richard Brown

The second Marsh Harrier of the year. The wing could be interpreted as showing six fingers, and at a distance was reminiscent of Black Kite, but the tail and positioning of the wings when gliding, gave the identity away. (c) Richard Brown

Following a beautiful day on Friday, a band of rain and cloud reached the island just as the night set in. An attraction was almost inevitable but the large number of passerines we expected did not arrive. But just over 100 Manx Shearwater circled the tower during the night and we trapped 39. We also trapped small numbers of Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat and Grasshopper Warbler along with a Knot. The Knot was the first to be trapped since 2008 and took the number of species ringed on the island in 2011 to 42. 

One of the Manx Shearwater attracted last night and Rich letting it go. Manx Shearwater need a long run up or a strong breeze to get airborne so we have to launch the birds into the air to get them back out to sea where they can feed for the day. (c) Richard Brown and Giselle Eagle. 

This Knot dropped down at Giselle's feet as she was reaching to pick up a Sedge Warbler. Despite its encounter with the Lighthouse, the bird flew to the coast when released and began to feed in the saturated ground. (c) Giselle Eagle.

Every lighthouse attraction is documented. We record measures of weather and visibility along with the numbers of birds attracted, trapped and killed. (c) Richard Brown

Drinker moths have only been recorded on the island in the last few years. This caterpillar, found by Giselle, is probably the first evidence that they are now breeding here. (c) Giselle Eagle

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