Bardsey in April 2021 – a cold month, with northerlies and migrants struggling to get through

The first full month of the season turned out to be one of the coldest Aprils on record, with snow briefly on the island and northerly winds holding migrants up. Continuing refurbishment work took place, with attention to the gardens and shrub clearance.

Most of the expected warblers turned up – Blackcap, Sedge and Reed Warblers, Grasshopper Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff, with hirundine passage throughout. Surprisingly, the first Spotted Flycatcher arrived on 30th, before Pied Flycatcher, Redstart and Whinchat had been recorded at all! Throughout the month a trickle of Siskins and Lesser Redpolls moved through and waders varied from Purple Sandpipers in winter plumage to Bar-tailed Godwits and Turnstone in full summer plumage. As across the rest of north Wales, there was a good passage of Whimbrel.

13th April was one of the few days when the northerlies relented and the increase in bird numbers was dramatic, with a total of 58 Blackcaps, 139 Willow Warblers and 32 Chiffchaffs counted across the island, with the most birds recorded in the Observatory Garden and at Nant. The nets in the Observatory garden were opened early and almost 100 new birds were ringed up to midday. The majority of the catch was attributed to Willow Warblers and Blackcaps. A male Stonechat was also ringed, which was the first of the year.The first Cuckooflower was seen flowering in the Wetlands today whilst setting up the mist nets in the Withies. It is said to flower at the same time as the Cuckoos arrive, which should be in the next few weeks. So far, Cuckoos have been conspicuous by their absence!

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Spotted Flycatcher – 30th April
Hooded Crow
Greylag Goose – an unusual visitor
Turnstone in full summer plumage
Sunrise from Cristin
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