The Bardsey team, led by Steve Stansfield, were finally able to cross to the island on Tuesday 16th March. They found a lot of damp in the Observatory buildings and much of the first week was spent dealing with repairs, roofing, leaks and cleaning and painting to get the buildings properly ready for habitation and visitors. Most of the birds in the first week were winter waders and gulls (including a probably hybrid Glaucous Gull), but Meadow Pipits were already on the move in good numbers, and the first trickles of Wheatears, Chiffchaffs, Sand Martins and Firecrests were appearing.
Spring arrived with a bang on a glorious Tuesday 30th March, when the island was alive with Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, Blackcaps, Swallows and Sand Martins, with a Firecrest and an early Sedge Warbler to brighten the mix. But by the first days of April the weather had turned very wintry again, with hail, very strong north-westerly winds and biting cold. This has obviously held up the summer migrants, but hopefully they’ll catch up now the worst of the bleak spell is over. Some Shags are already on eggs and the first few Manx Sheatwaters have been recaptured, including a bird originally ringed as an adult in 1999, some 22 years ago.
We’ll be featuring monthly updates from Bardsey from now until the end of October, but if you want to keep up to date with comings and goings on a daily basis, have a look at the Bardsey blog, which is updated almost every evening. Here’s our first set of Bardsey 2021 photos below: