Friday, July 8, 2011

With hundreds of Cory's Shearwaters passing the Southwest corner of Britain and Ireland it didn't seem like too big an ask for one to drift up the Irish Sea a bit. So we've spent a long time staring hopefully out to sea. The only real reward has been the first Balearic Shearwater of the year. A few dozen Black-headed Gulls and twenty-odd Common Scoter passed by with several thousand Manx Shearwater. Inland a young Redstart has been the only new bird of note. 

We've spent the last couple of weeks extending the Heligoland trap in the Obs garden. By lengthening the leading edges we hope to gently coax more birds to work their way into the trap. This male Stonechat, one of only three adult males on the island, was perhaps our first reward. British breeding Stonechats are generally rather sedentary, although a few birds ringed at the nest in the UK have turned up on the Continent. Stonechats breeding elsewhere in Europe, however, are more migratory and this has been reflected by ringing on Bardsey with three birds ringed on migration turning up in Southern Europe. The longest recorded journey of a Bardsey bird was a female ringed in April 1970 which travelled 1603km to Alicante, Spain, before being found freshly dead. (c) Richard Brown

The two Poplar Hawkmoth caterpillars continue to grow rapidly. The eight prolegs and the anal clasper at the rear will be lost during pupation, but the front six are true legs and will form the basis of the adult's legs. The amount of time it takes us to find the boys on just a couple of branches is testament to the amazing camouflage of this species. (c) Richard Brown

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