Friday, April 1, 2011

We're knackered! The last few days have been a mix of sunny spells (which tempt birds to continue migrating) and appalling squally showers and mist (which mean that birds already in the air struggle to navigate and head for the lighthouse). So we are spending large portions of each night monitoring the lantern to see how many birds, and of what species, are attracted. We also trap grounded birds to stop them flying again at the lantern. There have been up to 50 birds a night, predominantly Phylloscopus Warblers and Redwing, but also Starlings, Wheatears, Blackcaps, two Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Redshank, Blackbird, Goldcrest, Robin, Meadow Pipit, Manx Shearwater and Woodcock. We have trapped and ringed a few Willow Warblers, Blackcaps, Manx Shearwaters, a Wheatear, a Woodcock and a Meadow Pipit. Sadly there have been several fatalities, mainly due to the gale force winds which increase the number of birds colliding with the tower. 

A few of the fatalities. The birds are aged, sexed, measured and weighed before being frozen and sent to the Welsh Museum. (c) Richard Brown

Sadly Water Rails seem particularly prone to striking the lantern. A species typically associated with skulking around reedbeds, it seems strange to think of them as nocturnal migrants (c) Richard brown

The second Woodcock to be ringed this year. This one was picked up at the base of the tower at 2am yesterday morning. (c) Giselle Eagle

Gale force winds continue to batter the island. Bad news for attracted birds as the percentage killed increases in strong winds. (c) Giselle Eagle

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