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Thursday 2nd June – what a red-letter day on Bardsey

The magic of Bardsey struck all at once, resulting in a day that none of those present will be forgetting anytime soon! A snifter of south-easterlies overnight gave the hope of some good arrivals; however first thing in the morning there were few signs of any migrant activity whilst carrying out the Breeding Bird census, apart from the continuing Siberian Chiffchaff at Nant. At sea, however, a Black Guillemot flew north and then after breakfast, Ollie King headed down to the Wetlands and found a singing male Red-spotted Bluethroat at Plas Withy! Then 30 seconds later a Golden Oriole flew out from the same withy, a few metres apart from the Bluethroat!

Steve Stansfield then swiftly cancelled the pre-arranged trip to the Gwylans as he knew there was more in store on the Island, and Ed Betteridge returned to Cristin to open the nets as the Oriole was heard singing in the garden. A few minutes later, Steve could see from the Wetlands that the bird had gone into the nets! What an incredible bird to ring!

Red-spotted Bluethroat © Ollie King

 

Red-spotted Bluethroat © Ollie King
Golden Oriole © Steve Stansfield

 

Golden Oriole © Steve Stansfield

After a quick lunch, the staff (and guests) went straight back out with Ed heading out to Nant, with Steve and John not far behind. Ed found a Turtle Dove at the Chapel and then ran to radio it to others! At Nant, Steve saw a phyllosc flick from Nant withy, and felt it was a Wood Warbler. A few minutes later it sat out in full view, showing its lemon and silvery white underside. It was radioed out and the lads came running up to get a look.

Turtle Dove © Ed Betteridge
Wood Warbler © Steve Stansfield

 

Already a surreal day’s birding, the climax was yet to come. Steve had a grey Sylvia warbler that looked exciting (possibly one of the Sub-alpine races), however was not seen or heard again that day. Whilst looking around for it, he heard a deep ‘dook’ call coming from the brambles below Nant mountain. It then began to sing and sat out in full view 20 metres away: a Nightingale species! The song was deep and succinct, with many gurgling and clicking notes in it. It had a faint malar stripe, yellow gape, breast mottling and a darkish back, however appeared somewhat rufous in bright sunlight. After scrutinising photos and sound recordings, alongside comments from other experts, the ID was nailed – it was indeed a Thrush Nightingale – the second Island record!!

Thrush Nightingale © Steve Stansfield
Thrush Nightingale © Steve Stansfield

 

Thrush Nightingale © Steve Stansfield

 

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