Tuesday, December 13, 2011

We're both busy cracking on with report writing today. Gis is looking at ringing recoveries and I'm concentrating on lighthouse attractions. I've just finished transferring all our hand-written notes to a spreadsheet so we can look at numbers. We recorded 61 attractions to the light between 20 March and 22 November. To put this into perspective there were only 43 recorded in 2010, 34 in 2009, 48 in 2008 and 63 in 2007. 2011 was the first year that we had spent the full season beneath the tower and 2007 was the last time that anybody was based there; so it's really important to have someone there over night if we're to pick up on all the attractions that occur. In terms of the number of birds attracted, 2011 was a great year for the birds with only 710 individuals of 30 species attracted. Of these 86 of 15 species were fatally attracted and 205 of 18 species were trapped to stop them flying again at the tower. The largest attraction of the year was of only 98 birds on 22/23 April (bearing in mind that the largest attraction ever was of 31,573 birds). This year there were 273 Manx Shearwater, 3 Storm Petrel, 1 Leach's Petrel, 1 Water Rail, 1 Golden Plover, 2 Knot, 2 Sanderling, 11 Dunlin, 8 Snipe, 2 Woodcock, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Whimbrel, 3 Redshank, 6 Kittiwake, 2 Woodpigeon, 2 Short-eared Owl, 1 Swift, 1 Meadow Pipit, 25 Wheatear, 2 Robin, 8 Blackbird, 5 Song Thrush, 77 Redwing, 4 Grasshopper Warbler, 12 Sedge Warbler, 29 Blackcap, 8 Whitethroat, 51 Willow Warbler, 8 Chiffchaff, 126 Phylloscopus warblers and 30 Starling attracted. A full account will be available in the 2011 Bardsey Bird and Field Observatory Annual Report.

For more about Lighthouse attractions see the column to the left. These Manx Shearwaters were picked up during a large attraction back in 2009. If they are left below the tower they soon recover their energy and take flight to again throw themselves at the lantern, so we take them in for the night and release them to sea as the sun rises. (c) Richard Brown

Sadly a few deaths are inevitable. The corpses don't go to waste however. We freeze them and send them to the National Museum of Wales for study. (c) Richard Brown


  1. Hi Richard. Always love reading your blog. Very interesting to see the figures on lighthouse attractions. This was one of my favourite parts of living up at the light, though sometimes a bit sad. Love that picture of the Manxies in the hall, especially the clever ones which have turned right and ended up in the bathroom/toilet! David Wright

  2. Actually, looking at that again, I think that was my bedroom! Its a shame you didn't get any really 'big' attractions this year. They usually coincide with the really rough weather.

  3. Hey David, I wish I'd got a photo later in the night when it got even busier. It's a couple of years since the last big attraction when just over 2000 thrushes, predominantly Redwing, were attracted, 600 of which we managed to ground with the gantries. My best attraction was definitely 200 Grasshopper Warblers but lots of people out there have even more impressive memories. Hope to see you out there next year. Rich and Gis