Thursday, August 25, 2011

It's been a bit longer than usual since our last post as we were far too busy each night of the Birdfair drinking and watching over 400 Common Pipistrelle bats flying around the beer garden. We returned to Bardsey two days ago to news that not one, but two Icterine Warblers were on the island, one of which had already been trapped and ringed in Cristin Withy. We set out on yesterday's census hoping to bump into at least one of these cracking Hippo's, and we did, only it wasn't one of the two already described as it lacked a ring and the amount of yellow on the underparts was clearly different to a bird seen two days previous at Nant! We then saw the ringed bird in Cristin Withy following a sighting of two probable Ickies in this one stand of Willows. So the actual number of Icterine Warblers currently on Bardsey is far from clear, on the 23rd it was definitely three, but over the last three days it is possible that FOUR birds have been sighted! Elsewhere the number of migrants has been poor, although the blustery wind and occasional torrential rain which has hampered the Icky survey is not helping the search. Indeed the bad weather overnight led to the demise of a Knot which struck the lighthouse in heavy rain. The fact that the only other attracted birds were two fledgling Manx Shearwaters suggests how few birds are currently moving.

Five Sanderling joined 43 Turnstone, five Dunlin, 12 Redshank, a Common Sandpiper, six Whimbrel and a Knot on Solfach today. This photo provides a good comparison of the different plumages to be expected at this time of year. The central bird, a juvenile, is nice and fresh with black feather centers and white fringes giving a neatly spangled look to the upperparts. The remaining three birds, all adults, currently retain a lot of this summer's breeding finery although now in a very worn state. A few very fresh pale grey feathers are a sign that the moult into winter plumage has commenced. (c) Richard Brown

With the Sanderling proving so approachable it seemed that we may be able to gently walk the flock along the tideline and into a spring-trap or two. This worked almost immediately and we trapped this smart juvenile. (c) Richard Brown and Giselle Eagle

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