Bardsey in October – last full month of the season

With almost constant westerly winds, often of gale force, and a lot of almost horizontal rain this was not a month for great passerine migration. The first Redwing of the autumn was not recorded until 7th and although there were days with fair numbers of Redwings, Chaffinches, Starlings, Bramblings, Blackcaps and corvids passing through, the more spectacular movements were of seabirds. There were only three Yellow-browed Warblers – two of them being found in the same net on 9th – and one day of large Goldcrest movement, with 54 ringed on 6th. The passerine highlight of the month was the sighting, subsequent capture and re-capture of a Red-eyed Vireo on 2nd/3rd.

There was a good spread of birds of prey, with Peregrine, Buzzard, Merlin, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Red Kite, Barn Owl and Short-eared Owl all recorded. Waders were unremarkable, with the best being a single Grey Phalarope. Local ‘rarities’ included five species which are largely sedentary and frequently seen in suburban surroundings: House and Tree Sparrows, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch and Mute Swan.

The season finished with over 4000 birds handled, the majority of which were Manx Shearwaters and Willow Warblers. The awful weather at the end of the month meant that much of the data inputting and initial analysis has already been completed. Let’s hope for a more normal and post-Covid year in 2022.

A flock of foraging Choughs
Horizontal rain – the theme of the month!
The two Yellow-browed Warblers caught in the same net
Red-breasted Flycatcher
Sunset on the season

POSTSCRIPT: Steve Stansfield and the last of the team finally left Ynys Enlli on 5th November – safely, with no fireworks and all packed up ready for next year. The fireworks came two days early, on 3rd November with a large fall of autumn migrants: over 1000 Chaffinches, 37 Bramblings, a Richard’s Pipit, a Woodlark, a Hawfinch, a Water Pipit, two Siberian Chiffchaffs and 1850 Starlings!

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