The morning dawned warm and still; the ground heavily laden with dew from a clear night, although this moisture evaporated away rapidly as the intense sun climbed to its azimuth, producing orographic cloud over the mountain throughout the morning .
A placid sea meant the weekly visitor change-over could go ahead, and so it was another very busy Saturday for everyone on the island! Five boat-loads of visitors arrived on the island, and some 45 people headed off. My day consequently consisted of shifting everyone’s luggage to and from the houses…
Above: my view for most of the day! Admittedly not too shabby, with a number of noteworthy observations made from the rather bouncy vantage point:
- the first adult Six-spot Burnets of the year hatched out from its trackside pupae
- my first Meadow Brown butterfly of the year in the grassy verge
- the island’s first fledgling Swallows were tentatively flying about with their anxious parents near our house
- two Swifts powered southward – part of a recent passage that marks the start of autumn and southward-bound migrations!
Aside the wildlife, it was brilliant to welcome back a number of good friends to the island, whilst saying farewell to those departing after their week’s stay. The young Wirral birder Elliot Montieth arrived mid-morning, who will be helping out with the work of Bardsey Bird Obs for the next two weeks. David Elias is also staying for the week with his wife: a long-time visitor to the island from mid-Wales, an excellent naturalist and a superb writer. Check out his blog here: https://dispatchesfromtheundergrowth.com/
I managed to get out for a quick look around before the marathon luggage run commenced: it was a stunning morning, and so I decided to take a walk over Pen Cristin to the seabird colonies on the East Side, whilst checking up on some of my tagged Manx Shearwater burrows en route.
As I descended the slope, the piercing cries of juvenile Choughs could be heard from some way below me. I edged along the path before I was able to catch a glimpse: there was a lovely family of two ragged-looking adult birds with three fledglings. It’s great that another of the island’s eight pairs have successfully fledge their young – I hope the rest of the Bardsey Chough population will fair well this year.
And some more shots of the family party…
Also on the East Side were several pairs of Wheatears, calling anxiously as I passed their nest sites. Most of the island’s Wheatears are now feeding young in the nest, and they will be fledging imminently. Unfortunately most of the Wheatear’s nesting locations (in stone walls or in rocky clefts) are out of access for us to ring the juveniles.
The Guillemot ledges below Pen Cristin were a noisy metropolis of activity too, with several birds flying in from the sea with a Sand Eel to stuff down its expectant chick’s throat!
After a long day, I returned to have a look at the wall where yesterday’s Ruby-tailed Wasps had been performing so well. At least two wasps were still fastidiously investigating ever nook and cranny in the hope of caching in on an unsuspecting bee nest!
Looking forward to a stunningly calm day tomorrow, and hopefully delving into the island’s marine world with some coastal snorkelling.
Thanks for reading!