Bardsey in July: successful seabirds and magical moths

Apart from breeding birds it was, as expected, a relatively quiet month ornithologically and the island was exposed to the extremes of 2021 weather, from a week of searing dry heat to the gales and rain of Storm Evert. On Wednesday 14th – one of the days of early fog clearing to hot sunshine – a Big Day count generated 62 bird species in twenty-four hours, which is about par for the course in July.

Most of the seabirds have had a pretty successful breeding season: Manx Shearwaters continue to impress and Shags, Kittiwakes, Herring Gulls and Puffins have done well – up to 400 Puffins were seen flying around and landing on the island on 27th, which is remarkable considering that the first ever Puffin chick was only ringed in 2000. As the Manx Shearwater and Storm Petrel ringing sessions continued, a Storm Petrel was controlled and Manx Shearwaters from 1990 and 1996 were retrapped – the 1990 bird still has some way to go towards the UK age record of 57 years!

Wader passage trickled through throughout the month, with Dunlin, Whimbrel, Curlew, Redshank, Common and Green Sandpipers and Turnstones in varying small numbers but there were relatively few small passerines on the move yet, apart from young Willow Warblers. Singles of Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and Grasshopper Warbler towards the end of the month were perhaps the first signs of autumn passage.

It was moths that stole the show in July, with a number of excellent catches and records, including a number of island and Welsh rarities.

Rock Pipit chick with Darvic ring
Kittiwakes on their breeding ledge
Clouded Magpie – a new moth species for Bardsey
Lunar Hornet Moth – a great mimic!
Storm Petrel
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