Friday, July 15, 2011

Well it's been a rather busy week. A trickle of early migrants has included a Black Redstart, a lingering Redstart, which is today at the Obs, a couple of Grasshopper Warblers and probably a few phylloscs joining the Bardsey breeders. Five Whimbrel have joined the Curlew flock and Redshanks and Common Sandpipers continue to pass through. So why so busy? Well we've had another quick dash away from the Island, radio and TV crews have been visiting and the Heligoland extension continues to go well.

Sadly the TV crew from Countryfile didn't have time to get to the Obs. They decided that watching Emyr's pickled fruit was more interesting than the amazing Manx Shearwater chicks we had lined up for them; John Craven didn't even taste Emyr's fruity morsel. This blob of fluff is only 30 days old and in another 40 or so it will be setting out to fly to the waters off South America, without its parents! Now that's interesting! Happily BBC Radio Wales spent plenty of time hearing about these mega birds. (c) Richard Brown

A smaller chick roughly 20 days old. The chicks fatten up at an impressive rate fed on small fish and squid brought in by both parents. Indeed at about 50 days old the chicks will weigh approximately 600g, a third as heavy again as the adult birds. They then lose this weight as they build up their flight muscles for the last couple of weeks before they depart. If this chick survives as long as our oldest known Manx Shearwater, over 50 years, then it will fly the same distance as to the moon and back, twice! (c) Richard Brown

Graylings are now on the wing across the Island. Graylings spend a lot of their time regulating their body temperature, aiming to keep themselves at around 32 degrees. If they are too cold they lean sideways on to the sun to expose as much wing and body area as possible. If they are too warm they stand head-on to the sun, on their tiptoes. (c) Richard Brown

It's looking like a fantastic year for Hummingbird Hawkmoths with sightings on most days. (c) Richard Brown

Rich has been worrying that all our time on Bardsey is leading to us having a small carbon footprint so our quick trip off the Island was designed to rectify the problem. Here's Rich doing a few hot laps in a V10 Lamborghini Gallardo capable of 0-62 in 4 seconds and 195mph. The crappy Porsche was no match. A massive thanks to Ange and Jas for a perfect present. (c) Giselle Eagle

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