Dawn broke to glorious blue skies, warm sunshine and a light south-westerly wind; the sea conditions were calm enough on the ebb of the afternoon tide to allow for the weekly changeover of visitors to take place a day early, so it’s been a pretty busy afternoon! Rising early to check out the election results before heading out, my morning walk was somewhat brisk – at that point the Conservatives had only reached 310 seats and results were still being collated. I was elated to learn that 74% of 18-25 year olds had cast a vote, and that Labour had gained 36 seats across the country. Whilst the Conservatives failed to claim a majority, the final outcome was somewhat less satisfying – it could have been a lot worse though!
I headed over to check out some of the island’s southerly Guillemot colonies in the bright morning sun, spending a fair bit of time counting breeding pairs and watching the incessant activity of such bustling colonies. Choughs wheeled about overhead with the fledged family of Ravens; a plethora of micro moths flushed up from underfoot amongst the Thrift (mainly Pyrausta despicata and Lobesia littoralis); and Rock Pipits and Wheatears flitted about on the steep grassy slopes
A short video of the Guillemots on the cliff ledges: the first chicks I’ve seen this year, and the usual neighbour bickering that goes on in such close-nesting aggregations!
Most of the afternoon was spent shifting visitor’s luggage to and from the island’s houses and the boat, but it was great to see Red Admirals and Green-veined Whites on the wing as we ferried back and forth up the island’s bumpy track. A distant band of grey on the horizon appeared late-morning, gradually easing closer until by the early afternoon this cool 22° halo had developed around the sun…a sign of the approaching storm system!
This amazing rainbow-like ring is formed as light is refracted through hexagonal-shaped ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. So-named due to the radius of the halo invariably being around 22 degrees to either the sun or the moon. These halos usually appear as the sky becomes shrouded in high cirrus or cirro-stratus cloud: often precursors to storm fronts moving in. It’s certainly done it’s job in forecasting tomorrow’s storm!!!
A pair of Carrion Crows are currently nesting in the Tamarisk tree in our garden, and the wheezy cries of chicks have been crying out for a few days now. I had a quick look in the nest today to check out the contents and see if they were big enough to be ringed – two bright red gapes greeted me as I peeked above the rim of the nest, but their near-naked bodies and small tarsi meant they were a little young to fit with BTO rings as yet
Another beasty storm system is rolling in from the atlantic overnight, tracking west and north of Ireland tomorrow. We’re due to receive a hefty deluge of rain through the night and into tomorrow, accompanied by storm-force southerly winds. More indoor activites on the cards I think: check out these wind speed maps from earth.nullschool.net and windyt!