Recent Sightings


For a fairly cloudy day we had a few notable butterflies, including two Large Whites, and two Green-veined Whites. Today saw more warbler action with a Garden Warbler at the Wick along with 140 Willow Warbler, 16 Chiffchaff, seven Sedge Warbler and two Grasshopper Warblers. Our notable regulars seen again today included the Hen Harrier, the White Wagtail, Black Redstart and Common Redstart. Today also included a Lapwing again, and a Tree Pipit south of the farm. Around the coast 52 Gannets and 27 Porpoise were seen. Seven Reed Bunting, three Stonechat, one Whinchat, 24 Sand Martin, 113 Barn Swallow, four House Martin and five of both Whimbrel and Curlew made up the best of the rest.

The bird of the day (and at least this season so far) though goes to a male Eastern Subalpine Warbler photographed by a volunteer at Moorey Mere at around 4pm. This is potentially a first for the island!

Eastern Subalpine Warbler showing the broad white moustache

Eastern Subalpine Warbler. Note the broad white moustache and deep 'brick-red' throat

A busy day on the island meant many of us were barely able to get out and count, however we still managed good numbers of many species, with 135 Willow Warbler, 75 Barn Swallow, 43 Sand Martin, 54 Wheatear, 26 Blackcap, 14 Shag, nine Sedge Warbler, eight House Martin, eight Chiffchaff, seven Curlew, six Peregrine Falcon, six Peacock butterflies, three Short-eared Owl, three Turnstone, three Stonechat, two Kestrel, two Redstart, a Black Redstart, a White Wagtail, a Whinchat, a Grasshopper Warbler, a Goldcrest, a Pied Flycatcher, a Little Owl and the Hen Harrier. It was also a good day for thrush's with seven Blackbird, one Fieldfare, two Song Thrush and one Ring Ouzel. The day also included two Common Sandpiper, a Lapwing, and our first Great Black-backed Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull eggs, and our second all-island puffin this time counting 17,400 puffins, a lower number, most likely as many birds may already be on eggs.

One of 17,000 Puffins counted this evening

Peregrine keepng an eye out

Another stunning spring evening with thousands of auks in the air, on the water and on the cliffs. The Razorbills were forming large rafts just offshore and sounded like a pond of croaking frogs when hundreds made their rasping purring noises simultaneously.
All the action was around the centre of the island, with two Dunlin on Moorey Mere, sitting happily right in front of the hide, at a distance that would challenge the close focusing of many people's cameras! Also on Moorey Mere was the White Wagtail. Later in the evening an Osprey flew over the South of the island, setting off all of the gulls. On the Northern side a Cuckoo was sitting in North Valley crossing willows for much of the morning, and calling. The Hen Harrier (Ringtail) was seen again albeit briefly, and a Rook flew over the farm during the day. A Spotted Flycatcher was seen briefly on the north coast and warbler wise there were two Grasshopper Warblers and two Sedge Warblers around the island.

Cuckoo in North Valley

Black Redstart

Today Jason found the first (very early) Razorbill eggs on the cliffs at Tom’s House and in North Haven the birds were busy mating. The first Puffin eggs of the year were also found in North Haven today. With thousands of Puffins there is no chance of getting some privacy but it seems that the Razorbills don’t mind their colourful neighbours looking on.

The highlight of the morning was a Little Egret which flew west past North Haven at 08:30. The rest of the day saw the ringtail Hen Harrier, seven Whimbrel, six Turnstone, 18 Sand Martin, 130 Swallow, four House Martin, three alba wagtail, a female Black Redstart, 21+ Wheatear including a couple of Greenland race birds, a single Blackcap, five Chiffchaff and eight Willow Warbler. On top of a few migrant Goldfinch and Linnet, at least two pairs of Linnets were nest building in North Valley and a pair of Goldfinch are showing some interest again at the Farm.

Two Turnstone in North Haven, starting to turn the colour of Arctic tundra!

The ringtail Hen Harrier was seen again today plus one Kestrel, four Peregrine, three Snipe, one Common Sandpiper on North Pond, four Turnstone, two Short-eared Owl, 290 Swallows, 19 Sand Martins and four House Martins. Again the female Black Redstart was at the farm and there were 13 Wheatear (including two Greenland birds), a Grasshopper Warbler at the Harold Stone, 17 Blackcap, six Chiffcaff, 40 Willow Warblers, 17 Chough, 20 Goldfinch and 21 Linnet.
Grasshopper Warbler at the Harold Stone

Highlights from today include seven Shoveler (including mating on North Pond), a ringtail Hen Harrier, back after an absence of two days along with one Kestrel, one Merlin, five Peregrine, two Snipe (one of which almost became Merlin food), 20 Curlew, six Turnstone, one Little Owl and three Short-eared Owls. There were small numbers of Hirundines today with only one Sand Martin and 83 Swallows. The best of the rest include Black Redstart, our first Common Redstart of the Spring seen briefly at the Wick, 22 Wheatear, two Blackcap, two Chaffinch, seven Goldfinch and 25 Linnet.

The dominant wind direction of the day was WSW and combined with rain in the evening it made it feel relatively chilly. Highlights from today include one Kestrel, six Peregrine, 14 Curlew and eight Turnstone. Numbers of Puffins started to build early in the morning and meant we were able to carry out our first full island Puffin count of the year, resulting in an incredible 25,844 individuals, up by 3,305 individuals on last year. The Little Owl was also seen along with three Short-eared Owls, plus six Sand Martins, 45 Swallows and one House Martin. The female Black Redstart remained at the Farm and there was one Blackcap, 7 Chiffchaff, 13 Willow Warblers (including two P, t, acredula type birds), 14 Chough, 14 Goldfinch and 20 Linnet.

Just one of the 25,844 Puffins seen today....

A fine day with winds from the NW but light. Highlights from the day include: the third Stock Dove record of the spring (Stock Dove is a former breeder which hasn't bred in recent years so we will be watching for possible recolonisation), a Collared Dove, 27 Sand Martin, 15 Swallow, a female Black Redstart still at the Farm, 20+ Wheatear (including the first Greenland Wheatear of the spring), four Chiffchaff (including one very pale, grey bird), three Willow Warbler (also including a greyish bird, possibly of the northern race P, t, acredula), 13 Goldfinch and 20 Linnet.

Greenland type Wheatear

A westerly breeze meant a sunny but slightly chilly day today. Three Shelduck, two shoveler, four teal and ten Mallard were on or around the ponds. Around the island there were Six Buzzard, one Hen Harrier, one Kestrel, one Merlin, five Peregrine, eight Curlew, a Dunlin and four Turnstone. Puffin numbers continued to increase with 2032 noted in North Haven, most of which returned in the late afternoon. One Little Owl and three Short-eared Owl were also seen. A slow day for hirundines with only eight Sand Martins, seven Swallows and four House Martins. The female Black Redstart remained at the farm, and also recorded were, five Stonechats, 22 Wheatear, six Chiffchaff, five Willow Warbler, 12 Goldfinch and 26 Linnet.

Wheatear at the Wick 

A lovely warm day with light winds again. On the ponds there were four Shelduck, four Teal and six Mallard. The ringtail Hen Harrier was seen once again, along with three Buzzards, one Kestrel, two Merlin and four Peregrine. Eight Turnstone were seen whilst counting the seals on North Haven beach. Numbers of Auks were low again but the Puffins did start to return in the evening with 1075 being noted in North Haven. Two Short-eared Owls were seen making the most of the calm conditions and small numbers of hirundines were passing over again with 12 Sand Martins, 11 Swallows and three House Martins. The female Black Redstart was again seen at the Farm and one Blackcap, one Chaffinch, eight Goldfinch and 27 Linnet were the best of the rest.

The final full day of our birdwatching weekend led by Dave Astins from West Coast Birdwatching was blessed with relatively good weather again. There were six Shelduck, six Shoveler and eight Mallard which now only includes three ducklings. The ringtail Hen Harrier was seen again along with nine Buzzards, one Kestrel, one Merlin and four Peregrine. A count of the main roost sites of Oystercatchers resulted in a whopping 175 and mating was also noted. A mixed flock of 15 birds flew over the farm in the morning which consisted of Dunlin and Ringed Plover made up most of the other wader sightings but there were also six Turnstones on North Haven beach. Elsewhere the Little Owl was seen back at its regular haunt near North Pond public hide and there were three Short-eared Owls seen in the valleys. The hirundine passage continued but in lower numbers than yesterday with 89 Sand Martin noted, 31 Swallows and three House Martin. The female Black Redstart remained at the farm, the first Pied Flycatcher of the year was seen at the Farm and there were three Chaffinch, 10 Goldfinch and 21 Linnet. Butterflies seen today were one Small White which was the first of the year, three Small Tortoiseshells, three Red Admiral and one Peacock.

Another good day with the birdwatching weekend led by Dave Astins spotting a whole heap of good birds again. Movements of things like hirundines are bulding up and the diversity of warblers is increasing. The highlights for the day incl.: nine Teal, seven Shoveler and 19 Mallard (which includes eleven ducklings) on the ponds, a ringtail Hen Harrier, 112 Oystercatcher, two Snipe, ten Turnstone, a Stock Dove at Skomer Head, single Little Owl and Short-eared Owls, a whopping 254 Sand Martin over, 154 Swallows, eight House Martins, a White Wagtail and three alba wagtails, four Robins, three Black Restarts (females at the Farm and at the Harold Stone and a male at North Haven), four Stonechats, at least 18 Wheatear, a singing Grasshopper Warbler in North Valley and two singing Sedge Warblers. Minimum counts of other warblers incl.: eight Blackcap, ten Chiffchaff and 19 Willow Warblers. A Rook at the Farm in the morning was the first of the year. Also recorded were three Chaffinch, nine Goldfinch, the first Redpoll of the year and 50+ Linnet.   

Female Black Redstart at the Harold Stone

Male Black Redstart on Bee's new cold frames

Having a little scratch

Partially leucistic Puffin, Welsh Way

After an early shroud of thick fog burned off mid morning, we were treated to sunshine for most of the day. On the ponds 17 Teal were seen, along with the first ducklings of the year with 12 Mallard chicks seen in the centre of the island. Meadow Pipits were seen carrying nesting material near the Farm. We felt the affects of a bird watching group staying in the hostel, with impressive counts of 67 Barn Swallow (and nine Sand Martin), the first Sedge Warblers of the year with two seen, six Blackcap, twelve Chiffchaff, 19 Willow Warblers, seven Reed Bunting, a Merlin, Hen Harrier, four Short Eared Owls, a White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Ring Ouzel, and 15 Turnstone.

Birds continued to pass over, with 58 Barn Swallows seen, along with twelve Sand Martin and three House Martin. A flock of twelve Chough were seen early on at north haven contributed to a whole island count of 23. The Hen Harrier was around again, and two Ring Ouzel were seen on South Plateau. Seven Morhen, seven Curlew, four Stonechat, 13 Chiff Chaff and eleven Willow Warblers made up the best of the rest. Spring is progressing, as marked by Razorbills seen mating on the cliffs.

The Hen Harrier was seen once again, along with four Peregrine Falcon. Off the coast 21 Gannet were seen, and seven Black Headed Gulls were the first of the year. Over the Island 43 Barn Swallow and 16 Sand Martin were seen, along with two Redwing and 35 Linnet. We had the first Whitethroat of the year (at the farm) and the Blue Tit was seen again.

A day with excellent visibility, with the smalls lighthouse easily visible. The Bird Of The Day was a Blue Tit in North Valley. Swallows and Sand Martin were both seen (four of each) along with three Curlew singing around the centre of the island. 45 Gannet were seen around the coast, and it was a good day for birds of prey with a female Hen Harrier seen again, along with six Buzzard, five Peregrine Falcon, one Kestrel, one Little Owl, and three Short Eared Owl. The Grey Seal numbers in North Haven were highest of the year with 198 on the main beach alone.

A busy sunny day on the island brought unexpectedly early views of a large pod of around 30 Common Dolphin out from jack sound which day trippers on the Dale Princess were treated to. Also around the coast were 21 Gannet and three Cormorant, with Guillimots and Razorbills on the cliffs around the Island. The ponds were also busy with three pairs of Shoveler, twelve Teal, five Shelduck, 13 Moorhen, six Snipe, and 17 curlew. Six Skylark were seen or heard, along with 25 Sand Martin passing over, and six Swallow. The Hen Harrier was seen again, along with four Short Eared Owl, a Kestrel, twelve Buzzard, five Peregrine Falcon and 18 Raven. Six Blackcap, 16 Chiff Chaff, 23 Willow Warblers, 29 Linnet and four Goldfinch made up the rest.

The first Raven nest hatched today and Rock Pipits and Blackbirds were nest building.

Not a great day again but a few birds passing through nonetheless. A Grey Heron caused great consternation amongst the gulls in North Haven in the morning fog. The ringtail Hen Harrier was seen once again (it wasn't seen yesterday). 120 Oystercatcher were counted. Six Sand Martins and 27 Swallows passed through. There were two Black Redstarts again - a female at North Haven and a male at the Farm. Three Song Thrushes was an increase on recent days. A Blackcap and two Chiffchaffs were the only warblers recorded and there were nine Linnet.

A big count of Oystercatchers (152), ringtail Hen Harrier, 7,370 Puffins in North Haven in the evening, two Sand Martin, a Swallow, two Black Redstart, three Wheatear, a Song Thrush, a Blackcap, eight Chiffchaff, four Willow Warbler and four Goldcrest the highlights today.

A few migrants today including 24 Chiffchaff, 17 Willow Warbler, three Goldcrest and a Blackcap. Single Song Thrush and Redwing were recorded. There were five Wheatear and two Sand Martin and the same Sparrowhawk and Hen Harrier as the last few days were seen again. Resident birds include three Short-eared Owl, big numbers of Puffins, including counts of 2,580 in South Haven and 5,755 in North Haven pm, and five Peregrines were logged.

Still enjoying the lovely spring like weather and plenty of opportunity to be outside. Raptors abounded today with Hen Harrier, Sparrowhawk, 14 Buzzard, Kestrel, a female Merlin and three Peregrines being seen. Little Owl and Short-eared Owl were also seen. The Puffins came in for a short period during the mid afternoon and there were Razorbills and a few guillemots around for most of the day. Three Swallows passed over. Other migrants incl.: seven Stonechat, eleven Wheatear, four Blackcap (our first of the year), ten Chiffchaff, three Willow Warbler, two Goldcrest, five Starling, one Goldfinch and ten Linnet. Not a classic day by any means but very pleasant.

A lovely sunny day, with our first volunteers joining us on the island. A possible first for the island- three Common Cranes were seen flying over North Haven at around 10am, heading towards the mainland. The Hen Harrier was seen once again, continuing to be more reliable than the owls! 40 Meadow Pipits were seen in North Haven alone. On the ponds nine Teal and two Shoveler were seen, and ten Wheatear coming gradually more centrally into the island with one seen on the wall by the main track to the farm. On the sea there were quite a few razorbills, and once again several thousand Puffins.

A racing pigeon keeps its eys on the skies, possibly looking for cranes

A clear fine day brought a good day for birds of prey with our first sighting of a Red Kite this year, flying to the north of the farm. We also had five Peregrine Falcon, four Buzzard, a Kestrel, Hen Harrier and a Short Eared Owl. Around the coast we saw two Cormorant, four Shag, 120 Oyster Catcher, three Purple Sandpiper, ten Turnstone and the Auks were on the cliffs in good numbers. Four Shoveler were on the ponds, and eleven Goldcrest were seen along with another sighting of a Ring Ouzel on the rocks by the Harold Stone.

Here a little video of the Puffins in North Haven on the evening of the 23rd.

A sunny but blustery day and temperatures dropped to almost zero overnight. There were three Shelduck on North Pond, 13 Curlew around the island, two Sparrowhawks, one Merlin, one Kestrel and five Peregrine. It was a fantastic day for Puffins, with thousands wheeling in North Haven, with estimates reaching over 5,000 in North Haven alone, with quite a few touching down on land. 10 Wheatear were seen around the coast with a few females present as well, plus the first Ring Ouzel of the year in North Valley this morning. There were ten Goldcrest and 28 Chiffchaff around the island and the first Willow Warbler of the year was seen at North Haven. 110 Jackdaws were seen going to roost at sunset and two Goldfinch, nine Linnet and three Reed Bunting make up the rest.

The first calm day in a while and the sun broke through the clouds for good periods of the day. On North Pond there were two Shoveler, four Teal, three Wigeon and a Shelduck. It was a good day for raptors with the Hen Harrier being seen again plus a Sparrowhawk, 20 Buzzards (14 of which were seen flying high over the island), one Kestrel, one Merlin and five Peregrine. There was also two Water Rail, six Purple Sandpipers, one Snipe, seven Curlew and seven Turnstone. The Little Owl was seen and heard calling outside the farm in the evening and one Short-eared Owl was hunting around the farm also. We also had our first House Martins of the year with two seen along with two Swallows and 16 Sand Martins. An increase in passerines overnight with seven Robins, eight Stonechat and six Wheatear but only two Chiffchaffs and 10 Goldcrest. 20 Chough, 18 Ravens, three Goldfinch, four Linnet and five Reed Bunting were the best of the rest.
Merlin sat over looking North Haven 

Some really heavy hail and rain inbetween the sunshine today. The Hen Harrier was seen again, as was a male Merlin (the first of the recording year), ten snipe and eleven Turnstone were also recorded. There were literally one or two auks of most species. A Short-eared Owl was seen. Other migrants include a Wheatear, two Goldcrests and four linnets.

The highlights today were a Hen Harrier, 135 Oystercatcher (the highest count of the year), two Snipe 14 Curlew and eleven Turnstone, a Sandwich Tern fishing in North Haven during the morning, 150 Puffins, 15 Wood Pigeon, a Stonechat, seven Blackbird, a Song Thrush and a Redwing, three Chiffchaff and three Goldcrest. 

More drizzle but conditions not too bad today. A Black-tailed Godwit on North Pond was the highlight of the day. Five Shoveler was the highest count of the year and the three Wigeon remained on North Pond. At least one Hen Harrier was seen again and there was a female Kestrel around the Farm again. 111 Oystercatcher was also the highest count of the year. There were four Snipe and 17 Curlew. There were also five Chiffchaff, six Goldcrest, one Chaffinch and three Reed Bunting.

After hearing our first Manx Shearwaters on the island last night, we woke up to fog. It lifted periodically, and we had a few hours of glorious sun. On North Pond three Wigeon were back after a few days absence, now accompanied by three Shoveler, and eight Teal across all the ponds. The first Puffins were seen on land. Around the island there were twelve Stonechats, seven Goldcrest, three Reed Bunting and 25 Chiffchaff. A Black Redstart was at the farm most of the afternoon, and a Hen Harrier, two Short-eared Owls, Kestrel, and a couple of Peregrine Falcons were also seen.

Black Redstart at the Farm

A nice day with plenty of sun, with six Sand Martins spotted flying over. Two Hen Harriers around the farm, and 17 Chough (including a flock of 14) around the coast. There were nine Chiffchaff, two Skylarks, four Stonechats and the second male Wheatear of the year.

A mild day on Skomer which started with three Wigeon and 12 Teal on North Pond. There was also one Hen Harrier, six Buzzards and one female Kestrel as well as three Peregrine. 109 Oystercatchers was the highest count of the year so far as was 11 Snipe. One Short-eared Owl, a Black Redstart, our first Wheatear of the year, one Chiffchaff and five Goldcrest made up the best of the rest.
The first Wheatear of the year was found at the Harold Stone

A beautifully sunny day on Skomer today, where at times it felt almost like summer. The highlights were, seven Puffins off North Haven, the first of the year, three Wigeon still on North Pond, one ringtail Hen Harrier, a Kestrel, three Water Rail, four Purple Sandpipers on the Neck, four Snipe, five Curlew and two Short-eared Owls which spent the afternoon hunting outside the farm. We also had the first Stonechats of the year with a female on the Neck and two males at Moorey Mere, a Chiffchaff in North Valley along with three Goldcrest and 20 Goldfinch fly over along with three Linnet.
Purple Sandpipers on South Castle, the Neck

Misty fog and drizzle cleared periodically and we were able to get out to most parts of the island. 15 Manx Shearwaters off the Garland Stone in the evening were a welcome sight although none were seen or heard on Skomer in the night. Highlights elsewhere were three Wigeon on North Pond, eight Teal, one Hen Harrier, one Kestrel, three Water Rail, nine Snipe, 47 Oystercatchers and six Curlew singing and displaying all over the island. There were also two Chaffinch, eight Chough, 11 Song Thrush and five Short-eared Owls.

The weather finally cleared enough today to allow us to get to Skomer. Although conditions were less than ideal we're all very glad to be back. Birding highlights today were Great Northern Diver on the crossing, two ringtail Hen Harriers, one Snipe, two Guillemots, two Razorbills, one Short-eared Owl and three Chough.


Quiet today but Hen Harrier seen and a Lapland Bunting over. The only other birds of note were: lots of gulls still in St Brides including 150+ Black-headed Gulls, three Snipe, three Curlew, three Turnstone, five Redwing, a Goldcrest, seven Chaffinch, five Goldfinch, a Siskin and 23 Linnet.

A flock of five Great Northern Divers through St Brides at midday was definitely a highlight on a georgeous day. Yesterdays Siberian Chiffchaff was still in South Stream and has a ring on it's right leg so may be one of the two ringed on Skokholm this autumn. Other highlights include: a Wigeon with the Mallard (19) and Teal (15), two Hen Harriers, six Snipe, two Curlew, three Turnstone, five Skylark, 16 Blackbirds, 19 Song Thrush, four Redwing, a Mistle Thrush, two Blue Tit, 200 Starling, six Chaffinch, three Goldfinch and 67 Linnet. Nine Short-eared Owls emerged out of roost and a Little Owl was in Shearing Hayes. A big feeding frenzy of gulls, almost a mile long and thousands strong, was just visible as a sparkling mass in the middle of St Brides Bay but only 70 Black-headed Gulls and a few Kittiwakes ventured close enough to ID. It was even nice enough for a Small Tortoiseshell to venture out and about. 

Siberian type Chiffchaff in harsh morning light

Two Hen Harrier today, including one flushed off the carcase of a female Pheasant. Two Snipe, one Woodcock and eleven Curlew made up the wader highlights. Birds passing over included: six Skylark, 28 Blackbird, four Fieldfare, 14 Song Thrush, 12 Redwing, at least one Mistle Thrush, 650 Starling, twelve Chaffinch, one Goldfinch and a Lapland Bunting. A 'tristis' type Chiffchaff in South Stream wasn't confirmed until the next day (luckily it was still there next morning).

A fine day with ENE wind and double figure temperatures. A juvenile Red Kite spent the day roaming the island. There were 33 Teal, 31 Mallard and a Wigeon on North Pond, plus eleven Skylark, three Redwing, 685 Starling, seven Chaffinch, three Goldfinch and 23 Linnet.

The weather was fine for the roost count this evening. Unfortunately the harriers didn't play the game and only one was seen briefly over last nights roost site before flying off again to the south. At least six Short-eared Owls were seen coming out of roost and two Little Owls became vosiferous just before dark. A very quiet day otherwise.

Light winds and wintery showers. After suspecting at least three Hen Harriers for a while now, three were seen together today and, as tomorrow evening is an official Hen Harrier roost count, a watch was made over North Valley at dusk (to recce and just in case the weather is too foul tomorrow). Only two harriers were seen going into roost, so the third either roosted somewhere slightly away from the other two and was undetected or went somewhere else entirely to roost. At least eight Short-eared Owls came out of roost. Counts of other species today include: nine Water Rails, 21 Curlew, six Turnstone, 25 Skylark, 22 Meadow Pipits, ten Blackbirds, 24 Song Thrush, one plus Redwing, a Chiffchaff, three Goldcrest, 216 Starling, 30 Chaffinch and a fly over Lapland Bunting.

A nice day with light NW winds and plenty of birds. Thrushes and larks were moving again with plenty of other species in good numbers too. The highlight was a Pallas's Warbler in South Stream in the afternoon. Some other totals are as follows: 120 Fulmar, two Wigeon, 40 Teal, at least one Hen Harrier, a Sparrowhawk, a Merlin, two Snipe, two Woodcock, three Turnstone, nearly 300 Black-headed Gulls seen in Broad Sound with several Mediterranean Gulls and a few Kittiwakes, a flock of c.360 Wood Pigeon, a Short-eared Owl, 105 Skylark, 36 Meadow Pipit, 23 Rock Pipit, 27 Blackbirds, four Fieldfare, 24 Song Thrush, eight Redwing, a Chiffchaff, two Goldcrest, 115 Jackdaw (moving E), 125 Starling, eleven Chaffinch, four Goldfinch, ten Linnet and three Reed Bunting.

The seven striped sprite from Siberia
The highlight today was an adult Great Northern Diver which came into North Haven in the late afternoon. It was seen feeding and resting and was quite close to the wardens house. Also logged today were a Tufted Duck on North Pond, a single Woodcock, a 'normal' Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest.

Adult Great Northern Diver, still moulting out of summer plumage

Changeable winds and heavy rain from lunchtime onwards made conditions challenging but there was some passage and a highlight in the form of a 'Siberian' Chiffchaff in the Ivy at North Haven. This one luckily stuck around long enough to get a really good look at and the distictive mournful Bullfinch like call was heard several times. Fulmar numbers are building up again and there were a few hundred Guillemots on the cliffs at Bull Hole. Late autumn passage was provided in the form of a Woodcock, 13 Curlew, a single Skylark, 23 Blackbirds, five Fieldfare, eleven Song Thrush and six Redwing. Two Blackcap and five Goldcrest (as well as the 'Siberian' Chiffchaff) had to search hard for insects in the cold wet contitions. 340 Starling passed through as well as seven Chaffinch and a Siskin was heard.

'Siberian' Chiffchaff or Phylloscopus collybita tristis

'Siberian' Chiffchaff, showing well

Four swans flew east through St Brides Bay at 08:30 this morning but were just a bit too distant to ID. After a few days with horrible weather and no migration there was some movement again today with 35 Skylark, a slightly increased number of thrushes including a Mistle Thrush, a Chiffchaff, four Goldcrest, 325 Starling, 32 Chaffinch and a single Goldfinch. Probably the highlights of the day were a Snow Bunting and three Lapland Buntings caught up in the movement of birds to the east.

The best birds of the day were six White-fronted Geese which flew over North Valley at 09:45. Six 'Greenland' White-fronted Geese turned up on Marloes Mere later in the day so it is presumed that these were the same birds which settled at the mere soon after leaving Skomer. Some migration continues with 73 Skylark, a few thrushes, a Chiffchaff, a Goldcrest, 310 Starling and ten Chaffinch

White-fronted Geese

Migration good again today with some good day totals and a few scarcities. A Barnacle Goose was recorded amongst the canadas, 35 Common Scoter flew through Jack Sound am, there were 13 Snipe on North Pond and eight Turnstone in North Haven. In terms of visible migration there were at least 23 Skylark, 25 Blackbird, twelve Fieldfare, 18 Song Thrush, 30 Redwing, 650 Jackdaw, 700 Starling, 130 Chaffinch, one Brambling, four Goldfinch, one Siskin, two Linnet and a Redpoll passed over (most of these were going East).  A Lapland Bunting also went East and four Reed Bunting were recorded. A Chiffchaff with a 'tristis' type call was seen briefly in North Valley in the morning, there were nine Blackcap, three Chiffchaff (including the aforementioned) and two Goldcrest. The usual raptors were kept busy with the glut of prey (Wheatear, Song Thrush and Robin have all been recent victims of predation).

Barnacle Goose on North Pond

Hen Harrier



Autumnal view across to Skok
Some good migration am included: a single Lapwing, five Snipe, a Woodcock, eleven Skylark, 22 Meadow Pipit, 21 Blackbird, a Fieldfare, eleven Song Thrush, 20 Redwing, a Mistle Thrush, two Blackcap, one Yellow-browed Warbler, five Chiffchaff, four Goldcrest, three Blue Tit, 200 Starling, 73 Chaffinch, a Brambling, one Goldfinch, one Linnet, a female Bullfinch (the first in two years) and five Reed Bunting. Raptors included: Hen Harrier, a Merlin and a Peregrine hunting corvids in North Valley pm.

Yet another Yellow-browed Warbler; 2016 is a record breaking year for this species

More westerlies provided good conditions for a bit of visible migration and some light finch and lark passage. The undoubted highlight was a Serin which was found feeding around the wardens accommodation early am. A Little Egret flew west passed North Haven at 14:00. In terms of raptors a Hen Harrier passed over the Neck and there was a Kestrel, eight Buzzards and three Peregrines in North Haven. Seven Short-eared Owls came out of roost in North valley pm. One hundred and eighty five Skylark were logged in a two hour period during the morning. Finch passage involved eight Chaffinch, four Goldfinch (which carried the Serin away east with them), and four linnet. A Black Redstart was pesent at North Haven and there were two Chiffchaff.

This Serin was was the unboubted highlight of the day
The wind swung round towards the west today after weeks of easterlies. Two Greylags were seen amoungst the Canadas and a Common Scoter was seen in North Haven. At least one Hen Harrier was present as well as two Sparrowhawks and a Merlin and nine Short-eared Owls came out of roost in North Valley at dusk. Two Black Redstarts (one at North Haven and one at the Farm) were present and there were two Wheatears. Small numbers of thrushes passed through. There was one Blackcap, one Yellow-browed Warbler (at North Haven), one Chiffchaff and five Goldcrest. Small numbers of finches included 28 Chaffinch, 2 Siskin and a single Linnet.

A record year for Yellow-browed Warblers

After seemingly many days with very little migration the flood gates appeared to open today. A broad range of species and some good counts of some common migrants made for a good day. Highlights and totals incl.: a Red-throated Diver flying west over the north coast and calling, the islands 3rd ever Long-tailed Duck in South Haven pm, two Hen Harriers in North Valley at roost (going in) and two Short-eared Owls (coming out), two Sparrowhawks, two Merlins, three  Golden Plover, five Snipe, 640 Skylarks, a single Swallow, seven Grey Wagtails, 46 Robin, 26 Dunnock, a Ring Ouzel, 20 Blackbirds, 28 Song Thrush, 28 Redwing, four Blackcap, five Chiffchaff, 28 Goldcrest, five Blue Tit, 400+ Jackdaw, two House Sparrow, 46 Chaffinch, three Brambling, three Greenfinch, 16 Goldfinch, seven Siskin, 97 Linnet, the first Snow Bunting of the year and at least 14 Reed Bunting

A quieter day on the whole, despite the ongoing easterly winds, though finch passage was again good in the morning. Highlights included a female Redstart in East Bog; our first of the autumn, a Willow Warbler in the same location, three Golden Plovers, 16 Mediterranean Gulls in Broad Sound, 23 House Martins, a Whinchat, one remaining Ring Ouzel, one Yellow-browed Warbler, 31 Goldcrests, 12 Chaffinches, 80 Goldfinches, 2 Siskin and 167 Linnets.

Another good day, with a nice selection of migrant birds including 2 Sparrowhawks, 5 Kestrels, a Hobby, the first Jack Snipe of  the autumn, 42 Mediterranean Gulls in Broad Sound along with 13 'commic' Terns, 10 Skylarks overhead, 2 late Tree Pipits, 2 Grey Wagtails, 3 Wheatears, 2 Ring Ouzels, 10 each of Song Thrush and Redwing, 12 Blackcaps, a single Yellow-browed Warbler, 41 Chiffchaffs, 23 Goldcrests, the lingering Firecrest at the well, 3 Spotted Flycatchers, 13 Rooks, 2 Blue Tits, 8 Chaffinch, the first Brambling of the autumn, a Greenfinch, 2 Siskins, 131 Linnets, 22 Goldfinches and 20 Reed Buntings (a clear influx).

The easterly winds continue and they are bringing record numbers of Yellow-browed Warblers with them, four were seen today which is a record day total for Skomer. Also seen today were: five Snipe, ten Turnstone; an adult Mediterranean Gull, two juvenile Common Gull and ten Black-headed Gull in Jack Sound; hirundine passage between 11:00 and dusk involved at least three Sand Martin, 470 Swallow and 29 House Martin; a Whinchat, a Wheatear, eleven Song Thrush, six Redwing, 20 Blackcap, 13 Chiffchaff, seven Golcrest, two Firecrest, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Blue Tit, five Chaffinch, 17 Goldfinch, six Linnet and ten Reed Bunting.

Yellow-browed Warbler - quite a dull individual

Firecrest - an active little 'sprite' feeding in the Ivy at North Haven

On a wet and windy day the bird highlights were a Lapland Bunting on North Pond, three Purple Sandpipers at South Castle and a Wryneck at the Farm. Other commoner migrants include; a Snipe, two Curlew, 20 Turnstone, 56 Kittiwake, 43 Razorbill, a Grey Wagtail, three Stonechat, one Wheatear, a Willow Warbler, ten Goldcrest and a Spotted Flycatcher.

The non bird highlight were a Risso's Dolphin and six Porpoise off the Garland Stone in the morning.  

The south coast was battered by strong winds today but that doesn't seem to bother the Purple Sandpipers

They are surprisingly well camouflaged and seem to choose rocks that match their colour perfectly. How many can you see?... There should be three!

There were two Little Stints still present on North Pond. Other highlights include; three Short-eared Owls in North Valley at dusk and three Wrynecks (a good day total with one at North valley outfall, one at Green Pond and one at the Farm - assessing turnover of Wrynecks in autumn is tricky but day totals are a sign of how many may be passing through). A Wheatear was seen on the Neck. There was a Blackcap at the Farm, ten Goldcrest in total as well as three Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler. There were also at least 18 Goldfinch and 25 Linnet. 

Wryneck - one of three

That's why they're called Wrynecks

Wryneck - the second of three present today

Clear highlight from today was the arrival of the first Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn in North Valley; apparently the first in Wales this year. This bird was joined by a Pied Flycatcher. A ringed plover flew over, while the two Little Stints remain. the first Swift in ages drifted over, while one Wryneck remains. Six Whinchat arrived, but it was as you were as far as numbers were concerned for most other notable species.

Four Common Dolphins were seen offshore, along with six Harbour Porpoises, a real feature of this time of year.

Imagination needed! An artists impression of a Yellow-browed Warbler

Eleven Common Scoter were noted, along with the usual wildfowl, while waders included a Ringed Plover calling overhead, four Grey Plovers during a seawatch, the lingering Little Stints and two Dunlin still. Further sightings included 16 Black-headed Gulls, five Razorbills offshore, potentially two Wrynecks at the Farm, six Grey Wags and 11 Goldcrests, along with small numbers of the usual warblers and finches.

Plenty of Stonechats around at the minute

The juvenile Little Stint on North Pond was joined by a smart amigo (another Little Stint, that is), while a further treat was our first Hen Harrier seen by Steve Sutcliffe from Moorey Mere being harassed by gulls. Twelve Buzzards was an impressive count, while other sightings included three Kestrels, three Water Rails, two Dunlin on North Pond, the Bar-tailed Godwit, a Wryneck at Green Pond, 90 Swallows, two Whinchats, 11 Stonechats, the Icterine Warbler for at least its 9th day, six Chiffchaffs and seven Goldcrests and the usual small trickle of finches in the morning.

Eleven Porpoises were noted offshore through the day.

A quieter day all in all, with a highlight of a female Wigeon (surprisingly our first of the autumn) which arrived with a single Shoveler and about 50 Canada Geese. The Little Stint remained, as did the Icterine Warbler, while a Greenfinch was the first of the autumn. Otherwize numbers of other species remained more or less similar to previous days.

Highlight of today was the arrival of a juvenile Little Stint onto North Pond, joining out duo of Godwits and singles of Snipe and Dunlin. Rarer in island terms was a Greylag Goose which joined the daily arrival of Canada Geese onto North Pond, while other wildfowl numbers were an improvement on recent days; 27 Mallards and 10 Shoveler. Further sightings of note included six Common Scoter, 27 Moorhen, mostly on North Pond, the lingering Wryneck, one House Martin, four Grey Wagtails going west, one White Wagtail, 32 Robins, a Whinchat, the resurfacing Icterine Warbler, eight Chiffchaffs, three Willow Warblers, 11 Goldcrests, one Chaffinch, 33 Goldfinches and 34 Linnets.

Seven Water Rails were heard across the island, suggesting that they are back with us for the autumn. North Pond harboured the usual juv Barwit, but was joined by a juvenile Black-tailed Godwit and a Snipe. A Mediterranean Gull off North Haven was also notable, as was the lingering Wryneck. Further sightings included one Grey Wagtail, two Whinchats, one Blackcap, one Whitethroat, eight Chiffchaffs, two Willow Warblers, eight Goldcrests, 19 Goldfinches and five Linnets.

Another decent day with highlights including the lingering Icterine Warbler at North Valley Crossing, Wryneck still at the farm and a Grey Plover on North Pond (scarce birds out here). Further notable sightings included 42 Common Scoter, small numbers of lingering Teal and Shoveler on North Pond, two Sparrowhawks and the first Merlin of the autumn, five Ringed Plover, the lingering Bar-tailed Godwit, five Whimbrel, 229 Great Black-backed Gulls roosting in various parts of the isle, two each of Sand and House Martin, plus a small migration of Swallows, a Tree Pipit, 11 Grey Wagtails (a good count), five White Wagtails, 8 Whinchats, 13 Wheatear, one Reed Warbler, eight Blackcaps, 12 Whitethroats, three each of Chiff and Willow Warbler, two Goldcrests, a Spotted Flycatcher and an impressive morning passage of finches, including two Chaffinches, 74 Goldfinches and 280 Linnets.

Insect migration was more subdued than yesterday, but still produced totals of 35 Red Admirals, 10 Whites, 24 Small Coppers and four Painted Ladies. Sixteen Silver Ys were also noted, along with large numbers of Nettle-taps. Two Common Darters and a Migrant Hawker were also noted.

A further highlight was a pod of 20 Common Dolphins off Skomer Head.

A good day for Whinchat

The best counts of Small Copper butterflies have been during this month,
with the earlier broods being poor

Winds with easterly elements brought anticipation of good birds and some pretty good migration. A Great White Egret which flew NE over South Haven and the Neck at 11:50 was the highlight but the migration of Swallows, butterflies and moths was just as spectacular. The highlights were as follows: one Balearic Shearwater, 18 Teal, 26 Mallard, two Shoveler, twelve Golden Plover, a Knot, two Dunlin, two Snipe, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 28 Turnstone, two Great Skua, one adult Mediterranean Gull, 22 Black-headed Gull, 60 Kittiwake, three commic tern, one Wryneck, seven Sand Martins, 2,958 Swallows SE (extrapolated from timed counts), 8 House Martins, one Tree Pipit, a Yellow Wagtail, four Grey Wagtail, ten Stonechat, six Wheatear, the Icterine Warbler, six Blackcap, ten Chiffchaff, four Willow Warbler, four Goldcrest, over 100 Ravens, 14 Goldfinch and 26 Linnet. Red Admirals (c. 1,000) were seen migrating to the S all day, as were Silver Y moths (c. 100). There were also a few migrating dragonflies, a Banded Demoiselle at Moorey Mere and a Vestal moth on the Neck. An adult Risso's Dolphin with a calf just off North Haven were the first sightings from the island this year.

Great White Egret, the second record for Skomer 

A Kestrel eating a small mammal, in flight!

There were still lots of seabirds in St Brides today although the wind had dropped and was swinging to the N. The morning produced a Balearic Shearwater, 61 Common Scoter, one Arctic Skua, a juv. Little Gull and a juv. Sabine's Gull, 130 Kittiwake, nine Sandwich Terns, 30 Common Terns, 60 commic terns, one Arctic Tern, three Black Tern and good numbers of Guillemots and Razorbills. There were also seven Snipe, 15 Turnstone, a Wryneck, four Grey Wagtail, a Reed Warbler, the Icterine Warbler, six Chiffchaff and single Willow Warbler and Goldcrest. A flock of 40 Linnet also dropped in during the morning.  

Dave Astins (West Coast Birdwatching) guided birdwatching weekend really turned up some good birds. Even before Dave got to the island on Saturday morning he had found a Buff-breasted Sandpiper on Dale Airfield. Highlights from today include: two Balearic Shearwaters, a Grey Plover, 16 Dunlin, one Snipe, 13 Bar-tailed Godwit, two Arctic Skua, three Great Skua, a Common Gull, 60+ Kittiwake, 20+ Commic Terns, up to 16 Black Terns, a Wryneck, the lingering Icterine Warbler, three Chiffchaff, two Willow Warbler and four Goldcrest

A nice morning but a very windy afternoon. An Ortolan Bunting was found at North Haven, thankfully in the morning, and showed well on and off for 10mins before flying off to the SW. Other good birds included a Dunlin, two Snipe, a Black-tailed Godwit, three Bar-tailed Godwit, a Whimbrel, 23 Curlew, a Redshank, a Common Sandpiper and six Turnstone. Two Sandwich Terns were seen fishing in St Brides Bay with 31 Black-headed Gull and 20+ Gannets. Meadow Pipit numbers were bolstered in North Haven with around 60 there. There were also four Wheatear, three Common Whitethroat, a Chiffchaff, three Willow Warbler and a Goldcrest.

Ortolan Bunting in North Haven am

The Melodious Warbler from yesterday evening was not relocated this morning but the Icterine Warbler was seen again in North Valley. There were eight Common Scoter in St Brides Bay. A Sparrowhawk was mobbed by 25+ Swallow at 08:30. A flock of Ringed Plover flew over first thing. North Pond held five Dunlin, a Ruff and two Bar-tailed Godwit (not bad for North Pond!). There were also three Snipe, a Whimbrel, four Curlew and 20 Turnstone. Two Wrynecks were once again seen around the Farm. At least six Sand Martin, 100+ Swallow and a House Martin moved through. Seven Grey Wagtail were seen. There were also two Reed Warbler (one of which was singing), six Whitethroat, a singing Chiffchaff, seven Willow Warbler, three Goldcrest and an increased flock of Linnet (30+).

Wryneck at the Farm
Sparrowhawk mobbed by Swallows

Sparrowhawk in the morning light

An Icterine Warbler was found in North Valley at 18:00 and, remarkably, a Melodious Warbler was found at Moorey Mere at around the same time. Five Dunlin were on North Pond as well as a Snipe. The flock of Turnstone were in North Haven along with a Bar-tailed Godwit, three Whimbrel and six Curlew. There were also two Grey Wagtail, a Whinchat, a Chiffchaff, four Willow Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcer.

Icterine Warbler in North Valley
29 Sandwich Tern, a Puffin, one Wryneck and a Grey Wagtail were the best birds of the day.

After a bit of a blow yesterday and overnight a few seabirds were pushed into St Brides Bay and a seawatch at dawn produced; seven Sooty Shearwaters, four Balearic Shearwaters, plenty of manxies, five Common Scoter, a few Kittiwakes, two Puffins and plenty of other winter plumaged auks. Things were a bit quieter on the passerine front although one of the Wrynecks was still present at the Farm. Other migrant bird totals from the day include: one Snipe and one Whimbrel, three Grey Wagtail, two Whinchat, 14 Stonechat, six Wheatear, three Sedge Warbler, a Garden Warbler, seven Common Whitethroat, two Chiffchaff, two Willow Warbler and four Goldcrest.

The best day of the Autumn so far for migrant birds and scarcities, with stand out highlights of an Icterine Warbler in the farm elders in the morning (our first since 2014), two Wrynecks by the end of the day (the lingering bird, joined by a second bird in the afternoon) and a Great-spotted Woodpecker in the chicken sheds first thing in the morning.

In addition to these standout highlights, other sightings included 13 Common Scoter, four Sparrowhawks (including a female which ate a small juvenile Pheasant), a Water Rail in the North Valley, the lingering Black-tailed Godwit, one Whimbrel, two Redshanks, a Common Sandpiper, one juvenile Mediterranean Gull in Jack Sound, 12 Black-headed Gulls, one Swift, two Sand Martins, 170 Swallows, one House Martin, a Tree Pipit behind the farm, two Grey Wagtails over the farm am, eight Wheatears, a Grasshopper Warbler in North Valley, two Reed Warblers, a male Blackcap, 24 Whitethroats, 17 Willow Warblers, four Goldcrests, a Spotted Flycatcher and two Pied Flycatchers.

A Sunfish was seen off the North Haven in the morning, while 11 Common Dolphins were also seen off the west coast (much to the delight of the shrieking visitors on the Dale Princess cruise).

No prizes for the photographer in this picture (photo by Jason Moss)

The Icterine Warbler showed well in the morning behind the farm (photo by Jason Moss)

This image really shows of the slate grey legs, long primary projection and
pale fringes to the secondaries and tertial of this Icky. (photo by Jason Moss)

A Wryneck was found at the farm first thing; our first of the year and always a treat. Additional highlights included a Greenshank which joined the lingering Black-tailed Godwit on North Pond, a Bonxie past the Garland Stone during a short evening seawatch. Further notable sightings included 96 Gannets offshore, three Teal, two Shoveler, 10 Common Scoter in Jack Sound, two Sparrowhawks, 10 Buzzards, one Kestrel, four Peregrine, one Golden Plover past Skomer Head, three Dunlin, one Whimbrel, one Common Sandpiper in North Haven, a very distant probable Arctic Skua, 11 Black-headed Gulls, 189 Lesser Black-backed Gulls at the various roosts, 66 Kittiwakes offshore, six Guillemots and two Razorbills, one Short-eared Owl, two Sand Martins, 122 migrant Swallows, two Grey Wagtails, 13 Robins, 1 Whinchat at the Wick with 10 Stonechats, plus four more of the latter, seven Wheatears, five Blackbirds, a Reed Warbler, 13 Whitethroats, six Willow Warblers, a Pied Flycatcher, five Goldfinch, three Linnets and four Reed Buntings.

A Rusty-dot Pearl was the only day-flying moth of note, while 19 Harbour Porpoise were noted around the island.    

The Wryneck showed well on occasions, but went to ground after mid-morning 

The sparrowhawks have been patrolling the island keenly, probably
following the trickle of migrant birds moving through the islands. 
A few more migrants today, most notably a juvenile Black-tailed Godwit and two Dunlin on North Pond, two Whimbrel over, a single Swift, two Whinchats, 10 Wheatear, a Reed Warbler at Moorey Mere, 17 Willow Warblers, two Goldcrests and Spotted Flycatcher at the North Valley Crossing.

Other sightings included 1840 Manx Shearwaters offshore late on (small numbers really), 60 Gannets, a Grey Heron, two Teal, three Shoveler, two Sparrowhawks, three Kestrels, three Buzzards, four Peregrines, 38 Moorhen, 28 Oystercatchers, six Curlew, two Black-headed Gulls, one winter plumaged Razorbill off the Garland Stone, two Little Owls, two Short-eared Owls, one Skylark, 27 Swallows, 49 Meadow Pipits (numbers appear to be steadily building on the island), 24 Rock Pipits, nine Pied Wagtails, 15 Robins, 15 Magpies, 22 Chough, 65 Jackdaw at the evening roost, 30 Raven, 10 Starlings, nine Goldfinches and seven Linnets.

A better day for butterfly sightings today with one Peacock, four Small Tortoiseshell, five Red Admirals, five white sp., two Large Whites, six Small Whites and three Painted Ladies. Two Silver Y's were also seen along with a Migrant Hawker, a single Marmalade Hoverfly, four Eristalis tenax and two Helophilus trivittatus.

Helophilus trittavus

Eristalis tenax

The juvenile Black-tailed Godwit on North pond

Fairly slow on the migrant front, with highlights probably being a Short-eared Owl drifting over North Valley late on and 40 Ravens at Toms House; the beginnings of the large island flocks which will form as the Shearwaters begin fledging. Other sightings included 64 Gannets offshore, three Teal and three Shoveler on North Pond, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and four Peregrines, Water Rail and South Stream, 31 Moorhen, Dunlin, Redshank, three Curlew, 23 Meadow Pipits, six Robins, eight Stonechat, four Sedge Warblers, seven Whitethroats, just one Willow Warbler, six Goldfinch and eight Linnet.

Butterflies included singles of Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, white sp., Small Copper and Painted Lady; a poor showing all in all, considering the fine weather. One Rush Veneer was also noted, along with two Migrant Hawkers and an Emperor Dragonfly. Twenty-five Harbour Porpoise were also noted offshore.

Small Tort
Newly fledged Swallows

A slightly better day, with improved variety in the form of a juvenile Pied Flycatcher at Moorey Mere and two Whinchats. Further sightings included a Grey Heron, four Teal, five Shoveler, Sparrowhawk, two Kestrels, four Water Rails, 27 Moorhen (some sizeable families around now), one Curlew, Sand Martin, 90 Swallows, 15 Robins (a decent arrival), six Wheatear (apparently migrants along the central track), eight Sedge Warblers, 10 Whitethroats, eight Willow Warblers, six each of Linnet and Goldfinch and six Reed Buntings.

Quiet for butterflies with only four Red Admirals noted.

Yet again, with North Wales enjoying the rares, we are basically just enjoying the weather! Though there are still one or two bits to be seen, including eight Teal, four Shoveler, two Golden Plover, a Dunlin on North Pond, two Curlew, four Redshank on North Pond, one Razorbill, a Short-eared Owl, nine Willow Warblers, 24 Ravens (numbers are beginning to build in anticipation of Manxie fledglings!), 25 Starlings and 10 Goldfinches.

More settled conditions today, but things remain fairly quiet on the migrant front on the island (especially when we see what a certain North Wales bird observatory was drowning in today). Sightings included eight Canada Geese, four Teal, two Shoveler, a female Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Water Rail, 24 Moorhen, five Black-headed Gulls, 80 Swallows (so clearly some movement), 12 Rock Pipits, nine Pied Wags, three Robins, 12 Stonechats, five Wheatear, 13 Sedge Warblers, 18 Whitethroats, 21 Willow Warblers, four Spotted Flycatchers, 21 Chough and 17 Linnets (a slight passage).

Butterflies were out in better number today, with two Peacocks, five Small Torts, 10 Red Ads, Wall, four Large Whites and a Meadow Brown. Common Darter, two Migrant Hawkers and an Emperor Dragonfly were also noted, while seven Common Dolphins were also seen off the Garland Stone.

21/08/2016 to 22/08/2016
A rather wet and windy period, with slim pickings as far as notable birds. Highlights mostly came on 21st, including another sighting of Balearic Shearwater off the Garland Stone, 10 Teal, three Shoveler and a Common Scoter, Water Rail, Little Stint and Dunlin still on North Pond, seven Curlew, one Redshank, 13 Turnstone on 22nd, Little Owl, nine Sedge Warbler, 12 Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher,      

The weather started getting nasty today with strong winds, rough seas and rain. A seawatch first thing was fairly unproductive although there was at least one Balearic Shearwater amongst the few manxies that passed. The ponds produced some birds including seven Teal and ten Shoveler. In terms of waders the Little Stint and Dunlin were still together and there were two Whimbrel and a Curlew as well as nine Turnstone (North Haven). A Swift was recorded and there were four Willow Warbler and a Pied Flycatcher.

A Dunlin and a Green Sandpiper joined the Little Stint on North Pond today and there was a Redshank on Moorey Mere, four Whimbrel, 29 Curlew and six Turnstone. There were ten Stonechat and a Whinchat at Bull Hole.

Nice muddy edges to the ponds at the moment means that there is quite a variety of waders popping in to feed like this Redshank on Moorey Mere

I think he thinks that we cant see him

Dunlin and Little Stint seemingly enjoying eachothers company
Eight Teal, three Mallard, a Shoveler and Two Common Scoter represented the ducks today. A Marsh Harrier flying over Moorey Mere, two Sparrowhawks, nine Buzzards, a Kestrel and two Peregrines represented the birds of prey. The first two Water Rails of the autumn were seen and there was a big count of 34 Moorhen. The Little Stint was still present with a Snipe, five Whimbrel and five Curlew. One Puffin was seen. There was a short period of Swallow passage when just over 100 were recorded (160 were recorded over the whole day). A Tree Pipit was present briefly in North Valley first thing before continuing on migration. Seven Robin were recorded. Other chats included nine Stonechat and eleven Wheatear. There were plenty of Sedge Warblers and Whitethroats (9) and a Reed Warbler and 17 Willow Warbler were recorded. There were also four Spotted Flycatchers and two Pied Flycatchers.  

Some more new birds to keep the autumn ball rolling, with a juvenile Mediterranean Gull over North Haven, Lapwing and Ringed Plover on and over North Pond and a Whinchat the first of the autumn. Further sightings included 12,000 Manx Shearwaters off North Haven in the evening (the vanguard of a busy night), Grey Heron, four Teal, two Mallards, the lingering juvenile Little Stint, a flock of 30 Dunlin past North Haven, a Whimbrel, three Common Sandpipers, four Turnstones, 50 Black-headed Gulls drifting over the island and offshore, three Guillemots, one Puffin (all but gone now), one Swift, a second brood of Stonechat Chicks in North Valley (its been a good year, with three pairs producing four broods of chicks), three Chiffchaffs, eleven Willow Warblers, six Spotted Flycatchers and a Pied Flycatcher,

Linnets have had a good year on the island, with at least six pairs breeding

Many of the families congregate around the farm (mixing with families which come
over from he mainland), making for entertaining viewing. FEED ME!


Juvenile Linnet

A bit more movement today, with two Green Sandpipers on North Pond with the lingering Little Stint and the first Tree Pipit and Redstart of the autumn the highlights. Further signs of passage included a flyover Grey Heron, three Teal, the first Shoveler of the autumn, a Sparrowhawk, two Kestrels, two Snipe, two Redshank, a Common Sandpiper, nine Black-headed Gulls and a Common Gull, five Swifts, ten Sand Martins, five House Martins and 50 Swallows moving through, a Reed Warbler at Moorey Mere, nine Willow Warblers, ten Spotted Flycatchers, one Pied Flycatcher and seven Reed Buntings. Eight Harbour Porpoises were seen around the coast, along with four Common Dolphins off Pigstone Bay.

A few photos of the Little Stint from yesterday; a very neat juvenile

The first Little Stint since one arrived in September 2014

It's difficult to get any photos of birds on Skomer at the moment without
 having a Lesser Black-backed Gull chick photo-bomb, so why bother trying to avoid it.

A good day for waders today. Warm ESE winds and sunshine made for a rather nice day as well. Overnight guests found a Little Stint and four Greenshanks feeding on Moorey Mere and they stayed on the island long enough for most people to see them. A Common Snipe was seen at North Pond. Fifteen Common Scoter flew over the island during the morning. A Cuckoo was seen and three Swift flew over. There were also four Sand Martin, 30+ Swallow and a House Martin, two Chiffchaff and 18 Willow Warbler. A Pied Flycatcher was seen at North Valley Crossing.

Three of the four Greenshank

And the whole gang (Little Stint on the right)

A few migrants today with two Sand Martins and three House Martins, two Reed Warbler and two Willow Warbler being the highlights.

Reed Warbler at Moorey Mere

A Willow Warbler in the same spot
A Redshank flew over North Haven first thing and four Turnstones in breeding plumage, also in North Haven, were the first sign of a returning flock. A light movement of Swallows (80 odd in total) was noted going west as well as eight House Martins. Five Willow Warblers were also logged.

Sea watches on the evening of the 3rd and morning of the 4th didn't produce the desired large shearwater but three Storm Petrels, two Sandwich Terns and an Arctic Skua were at least notable.

Notable reports included 13,700 Manx Shearwaters off North Haven, two Common Sandpipers, the lingering Cuckoo, a family of 6 Stonechats; the result of a third breeding attempt, having failed on the first two, by a female which was ringed as a chick on Skomer last year and 5 Willow Warblers. An Oak Eggar moth was seen on the wing at Skomer Head  

A slight increase in the number of Willow Warblers over the last few days. Two Yellow Wagtails and a Grey Wagtail were briefly present in North Haven on the 23rd; a Cuckoo has been seen everyday since the 25th; the Ruff was seen again on the 24th and Dunlin were heard over the island today; Willow Warbler numbers peaked at 10 on the 26th. Breeding birds are going about their business and although most of the Razorbills and Guillemots have gone, the Puffins are still here in large numbers at the moment. There are plenty of juvenile Meadow Pipits around and a small handful of young Skylark; Stonechats have also had a good year and there are plenty of young presently on the island.

Juvenile Skylark

Female Stonechat
No news for a while but migration has begun again now so there will be more regular updates from now on. On the 19th a Spotted Flycatcher was at the Farm and there was some hirundine movement (33 Sand Martin and 13 Swallow). Whimbrel and Common Sandpiper were both recorded on the 20th. Yesterday saw some huge flocks of Manx Shearwater offshore, a Common Sandpiper, 4 Black-headed Gull, a Cuckoo in North Valley and a Willow Warbler at the Farm. An Oystercatcher was seen at Moorey Mere with colour rings, telling us that it had been caught and ringed as an adult on the Gann estuary on the 14th of March this year and had possibly been one of our breeding population this summer.

Orange A4

The Puffins have been in and out in the last few days. Two days ago there were thousands in North Haven but there were noticeably less the next day. Today the Puffins were back in their usual impressive numbers. The highlight today(22nd) was an adult Ruff on North Pond.

Impressive numbers of Puffins on the 20th


Our family of Chough from South Castle Beach Cave (SCBC) has multiplied from 3 to 4 young, breaking more records and joins a family with at least 1 young from Paynes Ledge. The SCBC family has now been seen all over the island from North Haven to Garland Stone so could be seen almost anywhere. There is also a family of Buzzards on the Neck with 4 young which are close to fledging and appear, by the evidence on the photo below, to be living on a diet of Puffins. A Snipe which has spent the last 2 weeks on Moorey Mere is still present but there is very little wader passage otherwise. A Blackcap was feeding around the Warden's house in North Haven first thing.

Buzzard chicks at Roberts Wick
Apart from the impressive amount of activity amongst our breeding birds, with thousands of auk chicks jumping and shearwaters hatching, the migrant highlights of the last few days have included a Great Skua past Skomer Head on the 1st and a Grey Wagtail on the 3rd.  

A few things moving today with the first returning flock of waders; 7 Curlew west in the evening. 17 Starling were gathering and there were 7 Goldfinch and 9 Linnet.  

After initial rain and fog the afternoon was bright and fine. Whilst conducting our boat based seabird counts a quick visit was made to South Castle Beach Cave where Chough have been breeding. The sight we eventually saw is one of the nicest we could have hoped for. A brood of 3 chicks had just left the cave and were getting fed by both parents. This is the biggest brood seen in at least the last 4 years and very welcome too. 

Three chicks with adult flying off

The highlight today was a Barn Owl that flew from the Isthmus, where it had been seen a lot (after dark) in the early spring, along the Neck, where it was chased by a host of gulls and other birds, finally landing in a Puffin burrow. It appeared to be a very dark bird with two dark stripes within the facial disk and a darkish breast. The upper parts were a very rich golden brown. An odd colour form to show up in summer on the west coast of Wales. Five Short-eared Owls were also logged today, a day after 7 fledged chicks were seen from a single brood. Two pairs bread this year, the other pair fledging a min. of 4 young. The Little Owls have also fledged at least 1 chick west of the Farm.
The Barn Owl sitting in a burrow on the Neck

Seven Common Scoter in St Brides were the first for a while. There were 2 Kestrels present and a Snipe was seen at Moorey Mere. Other migrants came in the form of a single Swift, a Spotted Flycatcher and 3 Starling. The Shelduck creche had moved/walked from North Pond to Moorey Mere but still consisted of 12 goslings.

Two broods of Shelduck in one!
Very few migrants in the last few days but a lot is going on with the breeding birds. Two families of Shelducks (5 goslings and 8 goslings) on North Pond were merged into a super creche by the more aggressive pair of adults. All 13 survived for over 2 weeks but have now become 12. Our first Chough chick fledged over the last day or two at Paynes Ledge (between Garland Stone and Bull Hole). Two broods of Short-eared Owls are still being fed by their very active parents and a Curlew chick is still present just south of the Farm. The few migrants seen today incl.: 7 Swift and a Spotted Flycatcher.

After the dramatics of the last few days, things have settled down somewhat. The Red-backed Shrike remained until 27th, when it was heard singing and mimicking Chaffinch song! Further sightings highlights included Shoveler ducklings on 28th, a 1st summer Red Kite on 30th, Kestrel on 29th and 30th, Whimbrels on 28th and 30th, 1st Guillemot chick on 31st and 1st Razorbill Chick on 28th, 1st Puffins with sandeels on 29th, sand martin on 30th, Blackcap on 30th, Willow Warbler on 29th and 30th, three Spotted Flycatchers on 30th, 4 Starlings on 31st, a male House Sparrow on 31st, 14 Goldfinch on 30th and flyover Redpoll sp. on 28th and 29th.

Light variable winds am, mostly overcast, going northerly and clear pm. A male Red-backed Shrike joined yesterdays male Woodchat Shrike making for an amazing double in North Valley, much to the delight of everyone on the island.

Male Red-backed Shrike

Distant male Woodchat Shrike
There were a few other visible migrants incl.: 18 Swift, 60 Swallow, 28 House Martin, a Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 5 Goldfinch and a Siskin.

Another great day with Kestrel, 2 Curlew, 6 Swift, a House Martin, a female Ring Ouzel, a Reed Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler, 5 Spotted Flycatcher, the second Woodchat Shrike of the year and a Redpoll.

ESE winds today seemed conducive to rare migrants and it didn't disappoint. A male Black-headed Bunting was found at the Farm at 08:30 and showed very well on the paths there until 300 people hit the trails at 10:00. The other highlight of the day was our second Osprey of the spring which flew N over the Neck at lunch time. There were also 4 Spotted Flycatcher and 3 Redpoll.

Our third Black-headed Bunting in three years on paths around the Farm am

NW wind today. The highlight was two female type Marsh Harriers going W between 09:00 and 10:00. Also seen was a Kestrel, 4 Whimbrel, 30 House Martin, a Spotted Flycatcher and a redpoll.
Two different female type Marsh Harriers moving W between 09:00 and 10:00
Rain and fog today hampered efforts but there was a Reed Warbler in South Stream, at least 4 Swift and 6 Whimbrel passed over and a White Wagtail was around the Farm. A Black Redstart was seen in North Valley and a redpoll was heard.

Reed Warbler in South Stream

White Wagtail at the Farm
The past few days has brought gentle winds, beautiful blue skies and some more unusual sightings here on Skomer. A Nightingale was spotted on the morning of the 13th at Moory Mere which ducked into the brambles not too long after being spotted. Collared Doves have been fairly regular the last week with an individual at a time being seen around the Farm, however on Monday 14th a flock of 9 were recorded! Arguably the highlight was the Nightjar that was found early Sunday morning. Initially flushed from the Willows near Green Pond it settled by some brambles and stayed long enough for us to fix a scope on it all day! Other  notable sightings included Redpoll, Reed Buntings, Goldcrest, Spotted Flycatchers and very active Short-eared Owls across North Valley.

Nightjar on 15th May at Green Pond. Photo by Elisa Miquel Riera

Nightingale at Moorey Mere on 14th

A quieter day today but highlights include the Iberiae type Yellow Wagtail still on Moorey Mere, a flock of 7 Dunlin, 1 Golden Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 1 Common Sandpiper, 4 Short-eared Owl, 4 Spotted Flycatchers 1 Chaffinch and 7 Goldfinch. 

A difficult day for birding on Skomer with thick fog and heavy rain at times still produced, 1 Golden Plover, 2 Dunlin, 4 Whimbrel, 2 Short-eared Owl, the Iberiae type Yellow Wagtail, 1 Whinchat, 6 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Chaffinch and 7 Goldfinch. Not bad considering at times you couldn't see your hand in front of your face....

What a day! Arguably the highlight was an adult Gull-billed Tern which drifted over North Valley during the evening; the islands first record. This was followed shortly after by a male Yellow Wagtail at Moorey Mere which, on close scrutiny, appears to be spot on for the race Iberiae; an extremely rare race in the UK with no currently accepted records. Unfortunately the bird didn't call whilst being observed, though hopefully the bird will linger. A final highlight came in the form of a brief drake Garganey which spent 10 minutes on North Pond in the morning. further notable sightings included 1 Dunlin, 11 Whimbrel, 1 Whinchat, the second Garden Warbler of the year, 5 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Chaffinch and 12 Goldfinches.

5 - 8/05/2016
Some good birding during this period, with the continued presence of the Woodchat Shrike pleasing many of the day-trippers over the course of the weekend. Further to this a trip of 12 Dotterel which flew NW over the Farm on the evening of 6th represented only the 7th island record and the first since 2008. Another highlight has been a nice arrival of Spotted Flycatchers, with numbers building up to a maximum of 20 on 7th. Other notable sightings included a Lesser Whitethroat and Greenshank on 8th, Cuckoo , Collared Dove and the first Yellow Wagtail (flavissima) of the year on 5th. Other sightings included 2 Storm Petrel at the North Haven colony on 6th, Sparrowhawk on 5th and 6th, Dunlin on 6th, the first Tree Pipit of the year on 5th, Robin on 6th, Black Redstart at North Haven on 5th, Grasshopper warbler on 6th, peaks of 38 Sedge Warblers, 26 Blackcaps, 16 Whitethroats, 7 Chiffchaffs and 14 Willow Warblers on 5th, 3 Goldcrests on 6th, 2 Chaffinches on 5th and 7th, 16 Goldfinches on 5th, Siskin on 5th, Lesser Redpoll on 5th and three Redpoll sp. on 6th (interesting pale birds that weren't confidently assigned to race).

Highlight of the day, and indeed the spring so far, was a male Woodchat Shrike which turned up below the farm at around 7pm, where it remained showing well to all staff, researchers and overnight guests. Other records of note included a small, but long-overdue arrival of Whitethroats and Sedge Warblers, one Dunlin and Greenshank on Moory Mere (the latter being the first of the year), 13 Swifts, 13 Willow Warblers and 20 Goldfinches. 

Male Woodchat Shrike

Likes Bees (watch out Skomer warden)

Fair weather allowed for a bit of passage, with swallows noted in particularly large numbers. A series of 5 minute counts through the day gave an impressive 3108 birds moving through; likely an underestimate. Further sightings of note included Kittiwakes collecting nesting material from Moory Mere, the first Spotted Flycatcher of the spring, a juvenile Red Kite drifting around over North Valley, four Rooks, nine Whimbrel, three Short-eared Owls, one Swift, 40 Sand Martins, 15 House Martins, nine Sedge Warblers, 13 Blackcaps, 26 Willow Warblers, one Goldcrest, one Blue Tit, two Chaffinches and 21 Goldfinches.

A windy morning gave way to a calm sunny evening which pleased guests, staff and owls alike. The highlight of the day was three Barnacle Geese on North Pond, a scarce bird on Skomer. Other highlights included three Short-eared Owl making the most of the calm weather, 14 Whimbrel, 2 Swift, small numbers of Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff and a Sedge Warbler singing at North Pond.

A quiet few days with strong Northerly winds dominating the weather, meaning colder than average conditions and few birds of note. The seabirds have been busy over the past few days though with the first Razorbill egg seen on 26th and the first Guillemot egg was seen on the 27th, albeit in a Ravens beak. Today also saw the first Manx Shearwater egg of the year! Other highlights include, Kestrel on the 26th and 27th, a Dunlin on the 24th and 26th, a Common Sandpiper in North Haven on the 27th, at least one Short-eared Owl present every day since the 24th with a maximum count of three and small numbers of both Willow Warbler and Chiffchaffs.

Beyond the usual suspects, highlights today included the first Tree Pipit of the year over South Plateau, Water Rail at North Valley Crossing, a Grasshopper Warbler by Bread Rock, 2 Rooks overhead, a flyover Redpoll, male Redstart at Gorse Hill and a female Black Redstart at the Garland Stone. 

Female Black Redstart. Photo by Chris Lawrence

Sunrise in St Brides Bay

A further reduction in numbers of migrants, but a male Whinchat at Gorse Hill was a treat, and a Grey Heron was new for the year. Linnets were seen nest building at the farm and, following last years success, will be only the second breeding occurrence since 2009. Further sightings included 2 Goldcrests, the lingering ringtail Hen Harrier, a Merlin at Skomer Head, 2 Dunlin, a Whimbrel, 4 Sand Martins, 5 House Martins, a Redstart, Song Thrush and Lesser Whitethroat.

LBBGUs getting busy

Making these gems!

Lesser Whitethroat

A much quieter day today but highlights included, 1 Dunlin on Moorey Mere, 6 Whimbrel, 3 Short-eared Owls, 1 Redstart, 25 Wheatear, 2 Sedge Warblers, 1 Garden Warbler, 14 Chiffchaff, 24 Willow Warbler and 1 Siskin.

Dunlin at Moorey Mere

This Willow Warbler was feasting on the flies at Moorey Mere this afternoon

A busy day on the island with nearly every bush hopping. Totals for today included, 1 Hen Harrier, 1 Merlin, 1 Hobby which flew over North Haven, 1 Water Rail, 2 Whimbrel, a male Redstart, 1 Whinchat, 139 Wheatear, 3 Ring Ouzel, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 4 Sedge Warbler, 60 Blackcap, 1 Lesser Whitethroat,  11 Chiffchaff including one 'Tristis' type, 60 Willow Warbler, 22 Goldfinch and 2 Lesser Redpoll.

The ringtail Hen Harrier was still present and a Kestrel was logged. Migrant highlights incl.: 16 Sand Martin, 116 Swallow, 2 House Martin, a male White Wagtail, 2 Robin, 23 Wheatear, a Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler, a female House Sparrow, 40 Goldfinch and 20 Linnet.

Todays Hooded Crow

An overcast and drizzly morning was enlivened by an Osprey swiftly moving west. The Hen Harrier was seen as was a Kestrel. The first Common Sandpiper of the year was on Moorey Mere. In terms of passage migrants highlights including 6 Sand Martin, 4 House Martin, 62 Barn Swallows, Goldfinch, Linnet and the first White Wagtail of the Spring.
Bad pictures of todays Osprey

A fantastic day with nice weather and our first 'proper' fall of the spring. By 10:00am the wind had died to a light ESE and the rain that had been forecast never came. Migrants were widespread and moderately abundant. The birdwatching group on the island, led by Dave Astins, helped with coverage and ensured some good totals, which incl.: 1 ringtail Hen Harrier, 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 8 Peregrine, 4 Water Rail, 10 Snipe, 5 Turnstone, 3 Black-headed Gull, an interesting hybrid Herring x Lesser Black-backed Gull on North Pond, 1 Little Owl, 2 Short-eared Owl, 3 Skylark, 35 Sand Martin, 24 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 2 Robin, 1 female type Black Redstart, 2 male Common Redstart, 9 Stonechat, at least 25 Wheatear (including at least 4 definitely from the Greenland race O.o.leucorhoa), 2 male Ring Ouzel, 5 Blackbird, 2 Song Thrush, 32 Blackcap, 35 Chiffchaff, 65 Willow Warbler, 1 Goldcrest, 1 male Pied Flycatcher, 2 Starling, 8 Goldfinch and 19 Linnet.
Yesterday the birdwatching group had already pulled Little Ringed Plover out of the hat, making for a very successful weekend. We will publish a blog post on the main page in the next week or so describing the Birdwatching Weekend, giving details of how to join the next time.

1st summer male Pied Flycatcher

Male Ring Ouzel

Female Wheatear of the race O.o.leucorhoa
Male Little Ringed Plover yesterday


Very much a day of two halves again with wind and rain in the morning letting up to lighter winds and sunshine in the afternoon. The Hen Harrier was seen regularly throughout the day again and on closer inspection looks like a juvenile with more rufousy underparts and pale tips still visible on the upperwing coverts (see below). There was a Kestrel in North Haven as well as at least 3 Peregrines. There were also 5 Skylark, at least 3 Sand Martin, 2 Swallow, 6 Stonechat, 13 Wheatear, 2 Blackcap, 18 Chiffchaff, 12 Willow Warbler, 4 Goldcrest, 1 Chaffinch, 16+ Goldfinch and 7 Linnet.


A blustery day that improved slightly as the day went on. A female type Hen Harrier was present again. A Sparrowhawk was seen plucking a Sand Martin out of the air as it was feeding in a flock over Green Pond in the afternoon. A single Snipe was present on North Pond amid a roost of 35 Oystercatchers and 5 Turnstone were counted in North Haven. A Short-eared Owl was seen late afternoon in North Valley. There were 19 Sand Martin (the above mentioned flock of 15 over Green Pond in the afternoon) and 5 Swallow throughout the day, 8 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler and 1 Goldcrest were recorded and a single male Siskin was the only finch of the day. 

No boats today and the weather went from bad to worse. A quick walk in the morning and a dash to North Pond to try and relocate a white-winged gull briefly seen over the Farm at lunch time produced a few birds (but not the white-winged gull!). There were 21 Teal on the ponds, a Sparrowhawk, 8 Snipe, 7 Turnstone, 2,905 Puffins in North Haven was half the number of the evening before (5,400), a House Martin being blown in the wind was the first of the year and looked like it wanted to roost on the farm buildings. There were also 4 Chiffchaff, 9 Goldfinch and 2 Linnet.   

A lull in the bad weather today saw the island opening to visitors and a sunny pleasant morning saw a few migrants but few of our breeding birds, including Puffins, much to the chagrin of our first day trippers (only two day trippers saw a Puffin). Migrants seen today incl.: a female Kestrel (which may or may not be a migrant), a female type Merlin (below), 3 Skylark, 5 Sand Martin (first of year), 7 Swallow (the first of the year were seen on the 23rd), 3 Robin (many fewer than previously), 3 Stonechat, at least 6 Wheatear, 9 Chiffchaff, 5 Goldcrest, 30 Starling, 2 Goldfinch and 1 Linnet.

Female type Merlin


Male Stonechat

Male Wheatear

Overcast but more or less windstill for most of today. The first sighting of a Chough with nesting material follows a sighting of Peregrine copulation yesterday. Guillemots and Razorbills are also at it and our Ravens are mostly incubating now. Other sightings today incl.: a Sparrowhawk, 13 Turnstone, 2 Wheatear, 10 Redwing, at least 2 Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest, 8 Goldfinch and a Linnet.

Highlights on a sunny(ish) day with fresh NE and relatively poor vis. incl.: the first Shoveler of the season with a male on North Pond, a Sparrowhawk and a Merlin, 130 Puffins (our first three figure count and the first seen on land), 5 Stonechat incl. 1 male in song, 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 2 Chaffinch and 11 Linnet.

Yet another nice day, this time with E winds though, and a few new birds. 21 Teal was a good count, a Sparrowhawk was recorded, 51 Oystercatcher were roosting in South Haven, a Dunlin flew over North Pond with 25 Snipe, a Woodcock was seen near the Farm, 15 Curlew were recorded and a single Turnstone was with the seals on the beach at North Haven. The first Puffins of the year were seen with at least 12 off North Haven. A Stock Dove over the Farm was a good bird. Also a short-eared Owl was seen near the Farm. 6 Skylarks were recorded (most of them singing) along with 9 Stonechat, 10 Blackbird, 4 Song Thrush, 12 Redwing, a Chiffchaff (also the first recorded this year) and 8 Goldcrest, 2 Chaffinch, 3 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin and 2 Linnet rounded off proceedings.

Another fine day with SW winds. Today saw the first signs of active thrush movement since we have been out here incl.: 12 Blackbird, 8 Fieldfare, 6 Song Thrush and 92 Redwing. The Hen Harrier was seen, a Jack Snipe was flushed from near Green Pond, 101 Meadow Pipits were logged as well as 6 pied Wagtails. There were also 21 Robin, 11 Stonechat, 8 Chaffinch and 1 Goldfinch.

The first real nice warm spring day since the first few days of our return. The weather since the end of Feb has been pretty grotty and several sheets of roofing material have been blown off the library roof in a gale (since repaired). Todays highlights have been 12 Common Scoter, the female Hen Harrier, a female Merlin, 4 Snipe, a Woodcock, 20 Curlew, a Turnstone, 1 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull in Jack Sound with a dozen Black-headed Gulls, 3 Redwing, a Firecrest in North Valley, 2 Blue Tit, 6 Chaffinch, 1 Goldfinch and 4 Linnet.

Seals on North Haven beach

Fulmars seem to positively love the wind!

Guillemots on cliffs at Bull Hole
We moved out to the island on Sunday the 28th. The island looks extremely baren and bare but there were plenty of seabirds around on our arrival. Jack Sound was well used by Black-headed Gulls, Mediterranean Gulls, Kittiwakes, Common Gulls, Gannets and Porpoises. There was also a flock of 18 Common Scoters seen on two consecutive days in St Brides Bay. Fulmars, Razorbills, Guillemots and Kittiwakes have all been on the cliffs at some point in the last few days. Other highlights include ringtail Hen Harrier, Merlin, Short-eared Owl, moderate numbers of Robins, Song Thrushes and Blackbirds as well as at least 7 Stonechats between North Haven and the Farm today.
All we need now is our first warbler, wheatear or swallow and it will really feel like spring.
The first Manxie was seen on the 5th but we still await our first Puffin.

A slight break in the weather meant a bit of birdwatching could be done. Highlights were: 1 Hen Harrier, 1 Sparrowhawk, 3 Snipe, 265 Herring Gull, 65 Kittiwake, 1 Short-eared Owl (1 was seen hunting in North Valley during the day but also 1 was found dead outside the house at North Haven in the morning), 53 Skylark, 5 Stonechat, small numbers of Blackbird and Song Thrush, 3 Chiffchaff, 8 Goldcrest, 4 Blue Tit, 3 Chaffinch, 5 Goldfinch, 1 Linnet and 2 Reed Bunting. There were some big flocks of Startling during the morning and, although it was difficult to get an accurate count, we think about 8,000+ passed through during the day. Also of interest was the highest count of seals during or intensive seal mornitoring work in 2015; 363 were counted around the Neck and North Haven alone.

windy but slightly less so than yesterday. A few seabirds were moving out of St Brides Bay first thing in the morning as the wind swung round to the west. Highlights were: a single Common Scoter, a ringtail Hen Harrier, 1 Purple Sandpiper in North Haven with 19 Turnstone, 18 Curlew, 6 Snipe, 2 Great Skua, 125 Kittiwake, 10 Guillemot, 5 Razorbill, 1 Black Redstart, 2 Stonechat, small number of thrushes, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, 520 Starling and 1 Chaffinch.

Windy! Highlights were Black Redstart, 2 ringtail Hen Harriers and a Jack Snipe.

Slightly less wind and rain today. There were two Black Redstarts at North Haven, a female type and an adult male. Single Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest were recorded. In terms of waders, 13 Oystercatcher, 18 Curlew, 1 Snipe and 14 Turnstone were recorded. A juv. Hen Harrier was hunting over the Neck in the aternoon and a male Sparrowhawk and 2 Peregrines were recorded in North Haven.

Adult male Black Redstart
A challenging day weather wise with highlights being 4 Stonechat, a female type Black Redstart, 2 Song Thrush, 2 Blackcap and 2 Chiffchaff.

On a very wet and windy day the highlights were a Little Egret over North Haven in the morning, 1 Hen Harrier, 21 Oystercatcher, 16 Curlew, 5 Turnstone, small numbers of thrushes, 2 Blackcap, 2 Goldcrest, 3 Blue Tit, 9 Chaffinch, 18 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin and 2 Reed Bunting. There is also a pair of Stonechats at North Haven that seem to have become fixated by our windows. They are clearly finding lots of spiders and things around the frames but also seem to just be saying hello a lot of the time.

'Hello, anybody there?'
The weather is starting to turn and, although the temperature remains high, the wind and rain are starting to gain a foothold. Manx Shearwaters are still being heard at night (especially if there is is rain, cloud or wind (or best of all, all three)), a juv. Grey Heron flew over North Haven in the afternoon. Other highlights incl.: 1 Hen Harrier, 1 Merlin, 3 Snipe, 2 Turnstone, 4 Short-eared Owl, 1 Kingfisher, 23 Skylark, 2 Black Redstart, 2 Stonechat, 30 Blackbird, 71 Fieldfare, 10 Song Thrush, 63 Redwing, 8 Goldcrest, 5 Blue Tit, 1184 Starling, 13 Chaffinch, 1 Brambling, 9 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin, 40 Linnet and 2 Reed Bunting.

One of a few Black Redstarts that have been on the island in the last week

A fine start to the month and a few good birds. Highlights incl.: 1 Shelduck (the first in a while), 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 lapwing, 9 Snipe, 2 Woodcock (plus one found eaten on the Neck), a few Guillemots and Razorbills returning, 1 Barn Owl, 1 Little Owl, 9 Short-eared Owl, 1 Kingfisher, 116 Skylark, 6 alba Wagtail, 2 Black Redstart, 4 Stonechat, 32 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 15 Song Thrush, 10 Redwing, 1 Mistle Thrush, 3 Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaff, 14 Goldcrest, 21 Long-tailed Tit, 4 Blue Tit, 1516 Starling, 54 Chaffinch, 3 Brambling, 4 Goldfinch, 7 Siskin and 3 Reed Bunting.

Two of the 'Puddin Pokes' on Skomer today
A decent enough morning with a bit of migration. Totals incl.: 1 Hen Harrier, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Merlin, 6 Oystercatcher, 11 Snipe, 5 Curlew, 12 Turnstone, 1 Little Owl, 2 Short-eared Owl, 1 Kingfisher, 44 Skylark, 1 Black Redstart, 6 Stonechat, 56 Blackbird, 10 Fieldfare, 15 Song Thrush, 2 Redwing, 4 Chiffchaff, 18 Goldcrest, 1 Firecrest, 10 Blue Tit, 507 Starling, 173 Chaffinch, 1 Goldfinch, 5 Siskin, 4 Linnet and 15 Reed Bunting. As any butterflies are now becoming notable, there were 4 Red Admiral today.

A rainy day but less wind and some welcome sunny spells in the evening. Wildfowl numbers are building with 21 Teal, 53 Mallard and 9 Shoveler today. There were 1, potentially 2 Hen Harrier(s) in various locations around the island. At one point one appeared to gain height and soar off E. Waders were well represented with 27 Oystercatcher, 8 Golden Plover, 39 Lapwing, 7 Snipe and 27 Curlew. 4 Short-eared Owl flushed from a wall in North Valley. The 2 kingfishers that have been present in North Haven for the last week or two were both again present and one can only guess they are feeding on gobies and blennies in rockpools and coves. A Grey Wagtail completed the riparian scene in North Haven. There were also 2 Black Redstart, 6 Stonechat, 11 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 13 Song Thrush, 4 Redwing, 2 Mistle Thrush, 1 Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaff, 6 Goldcrest, 7 Blue Tit, 250 Starling, 5 Chaffinch and 18 Reed Bunting.

Two Kingfishers were a most unusual sight for a local seal

Kingfishers adding a splash of colour in North Haven

A blustery day with winds in the SE. The regular Hen Harrier was in North Valley along with a couple of Sparrowhawks. Migration came in the form of Starlings (740) and Chaffinches (240) all heading E. 2 Lapwing were also present.

A sunny morning with a noticeable drop in wind compared to the last few days and it looked hopeful for an increase in migration over the island. Totals for the day include: 13 Fulmar (Some of the first seen since they departed in September), 15 Teal, 34 Mallard, 13 Shoveler, 1 Hen Harrier, 1 Sparrowhawk, 10 Buzzard, 4 Kestrel, 2 Peregrine, 3 Snipe, 4 Curlew, 12 Turnstone, 4 Razorbill, an impressive 380 Skylark, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Chiffchaff, 6 Goldcrest, 8 Stonechat, 14 Chaffinch, 6 Greenfinch, 6 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin and 12 Linnet.

An incredible ten species of raptor and owl were seen on the island today. There was also a big movement of finches and larks etc. for a few hours this morning. Raptor sp incl.: 1 Red Kite, 2 Hen Harrier, 3 Sparrowhawk, 14 Buzzard, 6 Kestrel, 1 Merlin and 4 Peregrine. A Barn Owl was seen out in the day this morning around the Farm and Moorey Mere and there were 2 Short-eared Owls in South Valley this morning. The third owl came in the form of a Little Owl in Shearing Hays this afternoon. There were 3 Lapwing today as well as 3 Snipe and 12 Turnstone. Passerine totals incl.: 112 Skylark, 36 Swallow, 3 Grey Wagtail, 57 Robin, 5 Stonechat, 18 Blackbird, 4 Fieldfare, 17 Song Thrush, 16 Redwing, 6 Blackcap, 8 Chiffchaff (incl. 1 Siberian type), 8 Goldcrest, 1 Firecrest, 15 Blue Tit, 3 Great Tit, 54 Starling, 35 Chaffinch, 3 Brambling, 3 Greenfinch, 53 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin, 76 Linnet and 17 Reed Bunting.

2 Snipe on North Pond
A Short-eared Owl, taken after dark
Blue Tit on homemade feeder

Female Stonechat

One of two Hen Harriers on the island at the moment

1 of 2 Barn Owls out in the day!

Brief totals incl.: 3 Great Northern Diver, 1 Barnacle Goose, 1 Hen Harrier, 2 Lapwing, 17 Swallow, 1 Ring Ouzel, a male Dartford Warbler, 1 Firecrest, 134 Goldfinch, 4 Redpoll and 19 Reed Bunting.

Today proved to be a Raptorfest on the island. Totals include: 1 Red Kite, 2 Hen Harrier, 1 Goshawk, 20 Buzzard, 6 Kestrel, 3 Peregrine and an incredible 15 Short-eared Owls as we sat overlooking North Valley, looking out for roosting Harriers this evening. Other totals include, 10 Teal, 18 Mallard, 15 Shoveler, 1 Ring Ouzel, 19 Fieldfare, 43 Redwing, 1 Yellow-browed Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Firecrest, 1 Siskin and 1 Redpoll.

A quiet day today with a drop in temperature and lots of cloud. Raptor numbers were good with a juv. Red Kite, a female Hen Harrier, 2 Sparrowhawk, 21 Buzzard, 6 Kestrel and 7 Peregrine. A small number of thrushes were recorded incl.: a female Ring Ouzel, 8 Blackbirds, 2 Fieldfare, 4 Song Thrush and 20 Redwing. Other good birds incl: a Black Redstart and a Firecrest

Highlights today included the first Hen Harrier (a female-type in North Valley) and Mistle Thrush of the autumn, along with 3 lingering Firecrests all together in East Bog.

Other sightings included an adult Red Kite, 2 Sparrowhawks, 17 Buzzards, 5 Kestrels, a Merlin and 6 Peregrines (a bit of a raptor fest!), 4 Water Rails, 2 Snipe, 3 Black-headed Gulls, 1 Little Owl, 2 Short-eared Owls, 36 Skylarks, 2 Grey Wagtails, 4 Stonechats, 5 Blackbirds, 3 Fieldfare, 9 Song Thrush, 31 Redwing, 1 Chiffchaffs, 4 Goldcrests, 8 Blue Tits, 1 Great Tit, 6 Chaffinches, 4 Greenfinch, 33 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin, 29 Linnets and 6 Reed Buntings.

Cant go wrong with a Firecrest!

The good birding continues in beautiful weather, with headline birds being a juvenile Common Rosefinch and a Yellow-browed Warbler both in the North Valley willows am, 4 Firecrests in the North Valley and Moory Mere (A record island count) and 2 Black Redstarts at the farm and North Haven. However the continued variety of passage migrants, particularly in the first few hours of daylight, has been the true highlight these last few days.

Other sightings included a Wigeon on North Pond with 15 Teal, 7 Mallards and 9 Shoveler, a Red Kite, 2 Sparrowhawks, 12 Buzzards, 5 Kestrels, a Merlin, 9 Water Rails, 1 Snipe, a Barn Owl which roosted in the workshop, 1 Little Owl, 76 Skylarks, 60 Robins, 1 Whinchat, 7 Stonechats, 4 Blackbirds, 30 Fieldfare (1st of the Autumn), 9 Song Thrushes, 22 Redwing, 7 Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaff, 19 Goldcrest, 11 Long-tailed Tit, 1 Coal Tit, 20 Blue Tits, 7 Great Tits, 10 Chaffinch, Greenfinch, 13 Goldfinch, 14 Siskin, 10 Linnet and 16 Reed Bunting.

A small movement of butterflies included 15 Red Admirals, 2 Peacocks, 1 Large White, 2 Small Whites, 1 Painted Lady, a Speckled Wood and a Clouded Yellow.

Welcomed by us, but not by the islands corvids! This Barn Owl will probably spend most of the winter on the island

An early morning Common Rosefinch (by no means rosy, but nice all the same), our second this year.

Who could ever tire of these little jems! Wonderful birds 

Garden birds to most people, but '4 tit days' like we have been having lately are stuff of dreams
for us stalwart offshore islanders!

This autumn has provided somewhat of a tit-fest on the island and today saw 4 species zipping around in the dying bracken. Totals incl.: a Red Kite, 2 Golden Plover, 15 Skylark, 5 Swallow, 1 Grey Wagtail, 11 Stonechat, 3 Wheatear, 5 Song Thrush, 10 Redwing, 5 Blackcap, 5 Chiffchaff, 10 Goldcrest, 1 Firecrest, 7 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Coal Tit, 24 Blue Tit, 2 Great Tit, 18 Chaffinch, 28 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin, 3 Linnet and 15 Reed Bunting. Also a Barn Owl was seen at the Farm last night.

A few calm hours in the morning saw some migration with good numbers of Skylarks, Starlings and finches. Totals incl.: 196 Skylark, 3 Sand Martin, 13 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 1 Tree Pipit, 1 Grey Wagtail, 35 Robin, 2 Stonechat, 1 male Ring Ouzel, 9 Song Thrush, 4 Redwing, 2 Blackcap, 1 Chiffchaff, 13 Blue Tit, 2 Great Tit, 15 Rook, 430 Starling, 43Chaffinch, 53 Goldfinch, 7 Siskin, 48 Linnet, 2 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Redpoll sp and 11 Reed Bunting. My highlight of the day however was a Kingfisher in North Haven in the afternoon. 

A Woodlark flew over Moorey Mere this morning and appeared to land somewhere near the Farm but was not seen again. There was a Reed Warbler at Moorey Mere and a female Black Redstart at North Haven. Other totals incl.: 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 9 Snipe, 1 Mediterranean Gull, 4 Black-headed Gull, 4 Skylark, 5 Swallow, 1 Grey Wagtail, 32 Robin, 8 Stonechat, 2 Song Thrush, 1 Blackcap, 1 Chiffchaff, 10 Goldcrest, 13 Blue Tit, 4 Great Tit, 22 Starling, 28 Chaffinch, 12 Goldfinch, 10 Linnet and 11 Reed Bunting.     

ESE wind, mostly fine, clouding over in the afternoon. The Cettis Warbler from yesterday remained at North Pond and a Dartford Warbler was found nearby. Both are relatively scarce on the island and represent the 7th (1st since 2011) and 3rd (first since 2010) records for the island respectively. The first Dartford Warbler on Skomer was in 1971 and was the first record for the county.

Other totals incl.: 1 Red Kite, 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 Merlin, 20 Skylark, 2 Whinchat, 8 Stonechat, 6 Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaff, 7 Goldcrest, 10 Blue Tit, 3 Great Tit, 9 Chaffinch, 5 Goldfinch, 15 Linnet and 6 Reed Bunting.
Dartford Warbler, the islands 3rd record, expertly predicted by Eddie the night before! 

Another lovely day. This autumn can't really get any better in terms of weather and warm calm conditions. Bird highlights incl.: 1 Short-eared Owl, 185 Skylark, 210 Swallow, 3 House Martin, 190 Meadow Pipit, 3 Grey Wagtail, 67 Robin, 14 Stonechat, 2 Song Thrush, the first Redwing of the autumn, a Cettis Warbler, 14 Blackcap, 7+ Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler, 25 Goldcrest, 11 Blue Tit, 3 Great Tit, 3 House Sparrow, 16 Chaffinch, 16 Goldfinch, 107 Linnet, 1 Lesser Redpoll, a female Snow Bunting at the Wick (there was a male at Pigstone Bay yesterday) and 9 Reed Bunting.

Yesterdays smart male Snow Bunting

Rain hampered efforts in the morning but we were able to get out in the afternoon. On a quick seawatch 10 Common Scoters were possibly the highlight, 25 Razorbills, a Guillemot, 15 Gannets and a second year Mediterranean Gull were also seen. Notable waders were 4 Snipe and 12 Turnstone. Visible migration was slow but there were 5 Skylark, 29 Swallow and 145 Meadow Pipit. There was also a Whinchat near the Farm, 5 Stonechat around the island, 2 Song Thrush, 7 Blackcap, a Yellow-browed Warbler at Moorey Mere, 9 Chiffchaff, 4 Goldcrest, 1 Coal Tit, 16 Blue tit, 1 Great Tit, 4 Chaffinch,1 Goldfinch, 4 Linnet and 11 Reed Bunting.

Another fine day with wind increasing from the NW in the afternoon but mostly fine and warm. A Red-breasted Flycatcher in South Stream first thing was the highlight but there was a good mixed supporting cast of migrants. Wildfowl numbers continue to increase with 10 Teal, 20 Mallard and 15 Shoveler as well as 108 Canada Geese. At least one Red Kite is still touring the island and there were 13 Buzzard, 1 Sparrowhawk, 5 Kestrel, 2 Merlin and 5 Peregrine. A Grey Plover, 2 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper and 6 Turnstone were seen. Small birds were represented by 50 Skylark, 10 Swallow, 82 Meadow Pipit, 1 Grey Wagtail, seemingly small arrivals of Wrens and Dunnocks (21 and 24 recorded respectively), 86 Robins, 1 Whinchat, 7 Stonechat, 11 Blackbird, 3 Song Thrush, 22 Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler, 11 Goldcrest, 1 Pied Flycatcher (at the Wick), 45 Blue Tit, 11 Great Tit, 10 Chaffinch, 10 Goldfinch, 10 Siskin, 16 linnet, 1 Redpoll and 5 Reed Bunting. All in all an interesting and fine day.

A bad picture of the Red-breasted Flycatcher, although you can tell what it is.
The sunshine persists and we won't complain as long as it lasts. Good birds today incl.: 10 Common Scoter in St Brides Bay, 2 Red Kite, a Sparrowhawk, 5 Water Rail, 3 Snipe, 2 Turnstone, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Whinchat, 15 Stonechat, 2 Wheatear, 2 Ring Ouzel, 1 Song Thrush, 4 Blackcap, 1 Yellow-browed Warbler, 8 Chiffchaff, 8 Goldcrest, 3 Firecrest (incl. the long staying bird at Moorey Mere), 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 16 Coal Tit, 11 Blue Tit, 6 Great Tit, 67 Raven, 39 Goldfinch, a single Siskin, 91 Linnet and a single Lesser Redpoll.   

A relatively quiet day in terms of birds. Two Pied Flycatcher were found in North Valley this evening and there was another new Firecrest was at Moorey Mere. Other highlights incl.: 2 Red Kites, a Merlin chasing the local Meadow Pipits and a smattering of small migrants incl. a Reed Warbler.

A fantastic day of early Autumn sunshine, with some good Autumn migrants, highlighted by 2 Yellow Warblers (in the North Valley and in Calves Park), our 3rd and 4th of the autumn. A new Firecrest was also found in the North Valley, while the lingering bird remains near Moory Mere. Other notable sightings included 5 Teal and 9 Shoveler on North Pond, 1 Red Kite, our first Merlin of the autumn, 12 Buzzards, 1 Sparrowhawk, 3 Kestrel, 4 Water Rails, 2 Snipe, 6 Curlew, 6 Skylarks, 176 Swallows, 30 House Martins, 3 Grey Wagtail, 2 White Wagtails, 5 Stonechat, 1 Whinchat, 51 Robins, 1 Sedge Warbler, 3 Blackcaps, 5 Chiffchaff, 8 Goldcrest, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Coal Tits, 11 Blue Tits, 2 Great Tits, 150 Jackdaws, 26 Starlings, 9 Chaffinches, 13 Goldfinches, 4 Siskins, 44 Linnets and 2 Reed Buntings. Migrant Hawkers saw an increase in numbers, with 9 logged, while butterfly highlights included a Speckled Wood and the first Clouded Yellow of the Autumn.    

Big news today was a large arrival of 'garden birds', specifically tits! An impressive 12 Coal Tits were noted, along with probably yesterdays Great Tit and 16 Blue Tits. These were the first Coal tits since 2012. Exciting for a little island in the Celtic Sea! Sightings included 5 Teal, 8 Mallards, 5 Shoveler, 1 Red Kite, a ringtail Hen Harrier, 2 Sparrowhawks, 2 Water Rails, 3 Mediterranean Gulls in St Brides Bay, 25 Black-headed Gulls, 1 Little Owl, 3 Skylarks, 3 Sand Martins, 111 Swallows, 8 House Martins, 5 Grey Wagtails, 3 White Wagtails, 38 Robins, 1 Whinchats, 5 Stonechats, 1 Wheatears, 1 Sedge Warblers, 2 Blackcaps, 3 Chiffchaffs, 1 Willow Warbler, 3 Goldcrests, the lingering Firecrest, 25 Starlings, 10 Chaffinches, 1 Goldfinch, 3 Siskins, 2 Linnets and 5 Lesser Redpolls.


The stand out bird of today was a smart and very vocal Yellow-browed Warbler in the Ivy at North Haven, our second of the Autumn!

Yellow-browed Warbler
Other totals for today include : 2 Water Rail, 2 Snipe, 16 Turnstone, 1 Short-eared Owl, 50+ Swallows, 5 Grey Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 3 alba Wagtail, 4 Stonechat, 5 Blackcap, 1 Wheatear, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler, 10 Goldcrest, 4 Blue Tit, 2 Goldfinch and 35 Linnet.

A seawatch first thing produced a single Common Scoter, 70 manxies, 4 Fulmar, 100+ Gannet, 1 dark morph Arctic Skua, 80+ auk sp (mostly Razorbills) and 160 Kittiwakes plus a few Porpoises and Common Dolphins. Other interesting sightings incl.: a Coot on Green Pond, a Common Sandpiper and 6+ Turnstone, 50+ Swallow, 1 House Martin, 20+ Robin, 1 Whinchat, 1 Stonechat, 1 Wheatear, 1 Reed Warbler, 4 Blackcap, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 7 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler, 16 Goldcrest, 1 Firecrest, 3 Blue Tit, 65 Raven, 8 Goldfinch, 2 Siskin and 1 Linnet. A Convolvulus Hawkmoth was found on a wooden sign near Tom's House. The biggest surprise of the day, however, was the discovery of the tracks of an Otter on the path between the Farm and the Garland Stone first thing this morning. We will try and capture some images of it, if it remains on the island, and will post these on the blog if we do...

Robin shakin it off!

Lesser Whitethroat

Warm and sunny conditions on the island today. Totals incl.: 1 Sparrowhawk, 5 Water Rail, 2 Curlew, 1 Common Sandpiper, 15 Turnstone, 1 Little Owl, 1 Short-eared Owl, 3 Sand Martin, 40 Swallow, 37 Robin, 3 Stonechat, 2 Reed Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Firecrest, 12 Blue Tit, 65 Raven, 3 Goldfinch and 2 Siskin.

Highlight of today was an exciting arrival of at least 13 Blue Tits  (or at least we thought it was exciting!) Other sightings of note included a Sparrowhawk in North Valley, 3 Water Rails, a Common Sandpiper in North Haven, 294 Herring Gulls apparently feasting on flying ants, a Little Owl, A large passage of Swallows, with bare minimum counts totalling 710, though there were more likely many 1000s moving through, 8 Grey Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 2 Whinchats, 11 Stonechats, at least 60 Robin, 7 Willow Warblers, 7 Goldcrests, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Greenfinch, 9 Siskin and 142 Linnets.

Sightings included 1 Water Rail, a Golden Plover, 10 Turnstones, 3 White Wagtails, 3 Whinchats, 7 Goldcrests, 1 Firecrest, 2 Blue Tits at Moory Mere, 92 Ravens taking advantage of the islands Shearwater feast, 1 Chaffinch, 2 Goldfinch and 60 Linnets

Sightings included 2 Shoveler, 5 Teal, 4 Water Rails, 1 Grey Plover, a minimum of 5421 Swallows east, 11 Sand Martins, 4 Grey Wagtails, 40 Robins, 10 Stonechats, 11 Wheatears, The first Song Thrush of the autumn, 1 Reed Warbler, 20 Blackcaps, 6 Whitethroats, 11 Chiffchaffs, 14 Willow Warblers, 14 Goldcrests, 1 Firecrest, 5 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Pied Flycatchers, 1 Blue Tit at Moory Mere, 100 Ravens, 29 Goldfinches, 6 Siskins, 80 Linnets, 1 Redpoll sp and 5 Reed Buntings. A Hummingbird Hawkmoth was also noted.
A windy but mostly fine day. The highlight was what must be one of the earliest Pembrokeshire records of Yellow-browed Warbler, but there were impressive movements of both hirundines and finches as well. Totals incl.: 6 Sand Martin, 1,590 Swallows, just 1 House Martin, 2 Grey Wagtail, 2 White Wagtail, 35 Robin, 6 Stonchat, 30 Wheatear (mostly Greenland types), 6 Blackcap, 1 Yellow-browed Warbler, 20 Chiffchaff, 14 Willow Warbler, 3 Goldcrest, 2 Firecrest, 6 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Chaffinch, 11 Goldfinch, 18 Siskin and up to 200 Linnet.

Heavy rain yesterday caused some local flooding and high winds hampered efforts. Best use was made of the north westerlies this morning with a seawatch producing 2 Balearic Shearwater, an Arctic Skua, a Long-tailed Skua and 620 Kittiwakes in an hour. Other good birds incl.: single Whimbrel and Curlew, 13 Turnstone, 3 Short-eared Owl, a steady, though by no means impressive, flow of Swallows, 1 White Wagtail, 8 Robin, 1 Wheatear, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler, 3 Goldcrest, 2 Firecrest and 4 Siskin.

The Spotted Crake remained on North Pond, showing only intermittently along the northern shore. Further sightings included 4 Grey Herons, 152 Canada Geese, 6 Teal, 14 Mallards and 3 Shoveler on North Pond, 6 Kestrels, 10 Buzzards, 2 Peregrines, 2 Water Rails, 1 Snipe, a Green Sandpiper on Green Pond, both Little and Short-eared Owls, 2 White Wagtails, 8 Robins, 3 Whinchats, 4 Stonechats, 2 Wheatear, 1 Blackcap, 7 Willow Warblers, 2 Goldcrests, the lingering Firecrest at Moory Mere, 8 Spotted Flycatchers, an impressive 87 Ravens and 11 Chough.

Star bird today was an elusive juvenile Spotted Crake which was found in the morning on North Pond, and seen there again in the evening. This is only the 3rd confirmed Skomer record. The Goshawk and Wryneck remained. Other sightings included 1 Grey Heron, 8 Teal, 3 Shoveler, 1 Sparrowhawk, 14 Buzzards, 4 Kestrels, 2 Water Rails, 5 Snipe, 2 Common Sandpipers, a Barn Owl (or at least the feathers of one in the North Valley!), 1 Swift, 10 Sand Martins, 500 Swallows, 1 House Martin, 74 Meadow Pipits, 4 Yellow Wagtails, 15 Robins, 5 Whinchats, 7 Stonechats, 1 Wheatear, 1 Reed Warbler, 2 Blackcaps, 3 Chiffchaffs, 13 Willow Warblers, 4 Goldcrests, the long-staying Firecrest, 10 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Siskins and 2 Linnets. At least 35 Small Tortoiseshells were logged, along with 5 Red Admirals, 2 Small Coppers and 4 Painted Ladies. 163 Silver Y's was a bare minimum, with likely more than 1000 on the island.     

Spotted Crake. An exciting find!

Large numbers of these migratory Silver Y moths are being seen on the island lately, perhaps arriving on a similar weather system as which brought all of the migrant birds?

A good day with highlights of an immature female Goshawk which was flushed from North Valley and a Wryneck on the main track, both found in the morning. Other notable sightings included 2 Teal, 2 Shoveler, 3 Sparrowhawks, 4 Kestrels, 1 Water Rail, a Redshank on North Pond, Common Sandpiper, 18 Sand Martins, minimum of 100 Swallows through, 15 House Martins, 2 Tree Pipits, 2 Grey Wagtails, 13 Pied Wagtails, 6 White Wagtails and 10 unidentified Alba wagtails, 14 Robins, 2 Whinchats, 6 Stonechats, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaffs, 15 Willow Warblers, 5 Goldcrests, a good spread of 20 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 60 Ravens, 11 Siskins and 2 Linnets. A large influx of Silver Y's saw a minimum of 200 counted.

Spot the Gos! An impressive beast which took a liking to the islands Woodpigeon population!

Another lovely day on Skomer today with birds moving slowly through. Highlights include 7 Snipe, 48 Sand Martin, a minimum of 94 Swallow passing through with 1 House Martin. There were also 12 Grey Wagtail, 3 White Wagtail, 3 alba Wagtail, 10 Stonechat, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Chiffchaff, 4 Willow Warbler, 6 Goldcrest and 1 Firecrest still present at Moorey Mere.

A cracking day on Skomer with common migrants starting to move through. Highlights from today include: 5 Kestrel, 2 Sparrowhawk, 12 Buzzard, 1 Grey Plover flew over, 2 Dunlin on North Pond, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Ruff, 8 Grey Wagtails, 4 White Wagtail, 41 Alba Wagtail, 4 Whinchat, 12 Stonechat, 1 Firecrest, 18 Whitethroat, 17 Sand Martins and 12 Siskin. The evening was topped off with a pod of 50 Common Dolphin past the North Coast. Lets hope for more tomorrow!

Distant Dolphin performing for the local fishermen

Highlights on another blustery day on Skomer incl.: 3 Mallard, 2 Teal, 1 Shoveler, 1 Sparrowhawk, 7+ Buzzard, 2 Kestrel, 2 Peregrine, the first Water Rail of the autumn, 70+ Meadow Pipit, 21+ Rock Pipit, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 10 Robin, 1 Stonechat, 5 Wheatear, 3 Sedge Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 3 Willow Warbler, 4 Goldcrest, 19 Chough and 52+ Raven.   

A pleasant day on Skomer today, with the Northerly wind providing a sight nip in the air this evening. Bird highlights include 20 Whimbrel flying past the Neck, 1 Short-eared Owl hunting in South Valley at Dusk, 1 Juvenile Whinchat at the Lime Kiln, a Goldcrest and a Firecrest at Moorey Mere and Raven numbers keep building with a minimum count of 55 today.

The first day of September held high hopes of some migration and although it wasn't the most classic day ever, there were a few interesting birds, incl.some migrants. Highlights incl.: 1 Teal and 3 Shoveler on North Pond, 1 Sparrowhawk, 10 Buzzard, 4 Kestrel and 2 Peregrine; a Dunlin flew over the Neck, Green Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper were both recorded and there were 13 Turnstone in North haven at high tide; 80 Kittiwake were feeding just outside North Haven in the afternoon with some big rafts of manxies a bit further out; a Tree Pipit was with a flock of Meadow and Rock Pipits on the Neck and 2 Grey Wagtail flew over Moorey Mere; there were also 9 Robin, 3 Stonechat, 1 Wheatear, Sedge Warbler, 3 Common Whitethroat, 1 Willow Warbler, 15 Chough, 45 Raven, 5 Linnet and a Reed Bunting.    

Cloudy all day and drizzly rain pm. A few good totals today incl.: 6 Cormorant E, a Juv. Grey Heron that toured the island throughout the day, 6 Mallard, the juv. Marsh Harrier again, 6 Common Buzzard, 2 Sparrowhawk, 4 Kestrel, 4 Peregrine, 21 Moorhen, 4 Whimbrel, 2 Curlew, 10 Knot, 10 Wood Pigeon, 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Sand Martin, 2+ House Martin, 1 Tree Pipit, 58 Meadow Pipit, 7 Pied Wagtail, 3 Grey Wagtail, 21 Robin, 7 Stonechat, 15 Sedge Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 12 Whitethroat, 7 Chiffchaff, 4 Willow Warbler, 1 Firecrest, 54 Raven and 17 Linnet.   

Another nice day on the island. Highlights include, a juv. Marsh Harrier again, our first Snipe of the Autumn, small flocks of Meadow Pipit adding up to 106 seen today, 46 Raven and 11 Reed Bunting. There was also a pod of 25+ Common Dolphin seen off the Garland Stone just before sunset.

A fairly nice day with only a few heavy showers. Lots of raptors about incl.: a juv. Marsh Harrier, at least 2 Sparrowhawk, 11+ Buzzard, at least 3 Kestrel and 4 Peregrine. Also recorded were: 2 Whimbrel, 1 Curlew, 2 Common Sandpiper and 6 Turnstone, 5 Robin, 2 Stonechat, 3 Wheatear, a few Sedge Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow warbler and 2 Goldcrest, Raven flocks are building and there were a few Goldfinch and Linnet.

Juv. Marsh Harrier

One of the Teal is still present and is now the only duck on the island:( There were also 7 Buzzard, 2 Kestrel, 2 Peregrine, 3 Curlew and 4 Turnstone. There was also an unidentified wader that flew NE over the island at 07:00 which called 'chu it' two or three times! 2 Short-eared Owls were seen in the morning. There were also 20 Swallow, 2 Tree Pipit,  9 Robin, 2 Stonechat, Sedge Warbler, 5 Whitethroat, a female Blackcap, 1 Chiffchaff, 12+ Willow Warbler, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 10 Starling, 6 Goldfinch and 1 Linnet. There was a pod of around 30 Common Dolphins in St Brides Bay and the third Grey Seal pup of the season was born on the island.

Heavy rain in the morning and sunshine in the afternoon made for an interesting day weather wise. Highlights from the day incl.: A single Teal, a Sparrowhawk, 5 Buzzards and a Kestrel, 2 Whimbrel, a Redshank, a Common Sandpiper, 1 Turnstone, a Short-eared Owl, a Whinchat, 7 Stonechat (incl. 3 recently fledged chicks from a second brood in North Valley), 7 Sedge Warbler, 2 Whitethroat, 1 Chiffchaff, 7 Willow Warbler, 1 Firecrest, 8 Chough, 4 Goldfinch, 4 Linnet and 2 Reed Bunting. There were a few butterflies around in the afternoon and a Hummingbird Hawkmoth was seen nectaring on Honeysuckle at North Haven. The second Grey Seal pup of the season was born at the Wick two days ago.

A brightish start, but mist and rain plus increasing wind in the afternoon meant more office work and less birdwatching today. Of interest were a Grey Heron over in the morning, 4 Buzzards, a late Puffin feeding a chick in North Haven, a Grey Wagtail, a few Robins, a Willow Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher. There were also 6+ Common Dolphins and plenty of Porpoises in St Brides Bay in the morning.

Similarly gorgeous day on Skomer Island, with sightings including 8 Common Buzzards, a Sparrowhawk, 3 Kestrels, a flyover Ringed Plover, 1 lingering Ruff, a Swift, 3 Sand Martins, 130+ Swallows, 9 House Martins, 5 Robins, the lingering Firecrest, 3 Spotted Flycatchers and 2 Pied Flycatchers. A Holly Blue and 2 Common Blues were good insect records for the island.

Beautiful sunny day on the island today. Fairly quiet on the bird front, however, highlights were a Firecrest and Pied Flycatcher at Moorey Mere and 2 Ruff still present on North Pond.

A lovely day on the island, with the sun shining most of the day! Highlights include, 2 Ruff on North Pond, 1 Redshank over the North Valley and 2 Teal on North Pond along with 18 Moorhen (22 were seen in total on the island). Also seen were 3 Kestrel, 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 Mediterranean Gull and both Common Dolphins and Porpoise were seen again today.

A day with slightly less wind and rain than expected and merely some drizzle and cloud. A few waders again and a trickle of other stuff.  A Kestrel was seen in several places, a Ringed Plover and a Dunlin flew over North Haven in the morning and a juv. Ruff and a Dunlin were seen on North Pond. There were also 7 Curlew, 40 Meadow Pipit in off the sea at Skomer Head, 4 Robin, 6 Stonechat, 2 Wheatear, 1 Garden Warbler (the first of the autumn), 15 Willow Warbler and a Goldcrest, at least 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 200+ Starling, 15 Goldfinch, 6 Linnet and 3 Reed Bunting. Porpoises and Common Dolphins were also seen again today. 

Light north westerlies and a trickle of migration today. 2 Wood Sandpipers briefly on North Pond at 18:00 were the highlight. The best of the rest included: a group of 4 Grey Herons over in the morning, a Kestrel, 4 Robin, 4 Stonechat, 10 Wheatear, 15 Willow Warbler, a Spotted Flycatcher, 80 Starling, 2 Goldfinch and 13 Linnet. An Ocean Sunfish was also seen in North Haven

Highlights today incl.: 3 Mallard and a Wigeon over North Valley, 46 Common Scoter, 10 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 2 Whimbrel, 6 Curlew, a hint of a build up of Swallows at the Farm, 5 Stonechat, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler, 32 Starling and 19 Goldfinch. Guillemots and Razorbills were not recorded in birdlog today but some Puffins are still rafting off the island or feeding chicks in burrows.

The seabird breeding season is over, however some Puffins are still feeding chicks, 6 were seen at the Wick and several in North Haven, also a group of 25 Guillemots are still on the cliffs at the Wick. Other sightings included 15 Common Scoter, 3 Peregrines including one juvenile, 1 Whimbrel, 30 Starling, 8 Porpoise off Skomer Head, 39 Grey Seals.

Another good day with some exiting finds including a juv Marsh Harrier which sailed over the island in the morning and an unexpected Firecrest at Moory Mere. Other sightings included 1 Green Sandpiper calling over the farm, a juvenile Cuckoo, a Short-Eared Owl, 8 Willow Warblers, 50 Starlings, 5 Goldfinch and 9 Linnet. A small pod of Common Dolphins were also spotted off North Haven in the evening.

Juvenile Marsh Harrier spent the morning causing havoc among the islands gulls.

An unexpected (and rather elusive) July Firecrest.

What has potentially been the same juvenile Cuckoo has been roaming the island for a few days now.

Butterflies have been slightly more evident of late, including a small number of Large Skippers at North Valley Crossing. A scarce island species.

A few unexpected birds today: a Greenish Warbler in the Ivy at North Haven was unseasonal and hot on the heals of another record on the 12th of June and a juv. Coot on North Pond was the first in a few years. Other records incl. 21 Curlew, 1 Cuckoo, 1 Swift, 3 Willow Warbler, 24+ Starling, 4+ Goldfinch and 2+ Linnet. A few Red Admirals and Painted Ladies were seen as well as a Hummingbird Hawkmoth. A Large Skipper and 2 Grayling were also seen on what will be the nicest day for a while now.

Greenish Warbler
A few waders passed through today incl. 2 Dunlin and 3 Green Sandpiper. A Cuckoo, 2 Swift, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 80 Starling, 20 Goldfinch and 8+ Linnet were the best of the rest.7+ Porpoise and a pod of Common Dolphins (underneath a big flock of diving Gannets) were also seen around the island.

A trip to The Smalls this afternoon, in pretty adverse conditions at times, produced 15 Common Scoter, 3 ad. Common Tern and a 1st summer commic tern, a juv. Mediterranean Gull and a few pufflings out at sea. In terms of cetaceans, a few Porpoise and some brief dolphin sightings were the highlights in difficult conditions. Not much in the way of migrants on the island yet, 3 Dulnin being the days highlights.

Not a huge amount recorded on the island today with a Broad-bodied Chaser, the first Ringlet butterflies of the year and a Grey Heron being the highlights. The real action lay 20 miles SW of the island. Ollie Padget from Oxford University led a team of researchers out to the Celtic Deep to release 10 Manx Shearwaters as part of a navigation experiment. The team saw 30 Common Dolphins, 20+ Porpoise, a Great Skua and 2 Storm Petrels. They also saw Guillemot, Razorbill and Puffin chicks way out to sea. By far the highlight, and a once in a lifetime, was a Humpback Whale which they saw breach at the Celtic Deep.

Today saw soaring temperatures, the first returing waders and an distinct increase in insect life. The highlights of the day incl.: 1 Grey Heron, 1 Kestrel, 2 Common Sandpiper, 5 Turnstone, 10 Swift, 40 Starling, 20 Goldfinch and 10 Linnet. In terms of insects the highlights were: 5 Small Tortoiseshell, 10 Red Admiral, 20 Meadow Brown and 2 Dark Green Fritillary, a Rush Vaneer moth and a Black-tailed Skimmer dragonfly. 

There were at least 40,000 Manx Shearwaters rafting off the island in fairly calm conditions this evening; one of the first big rafting events so far this year. 35 Common Scoters flew W past North Haven. Also seen were 2 Grey Herons, 1 Kestrel, 4 Peregrines, 1 Collared Dove, 1 Little Owl, 2 Short-eared Owl, 9+ Swift, 7 Goldfinch, 10 Linnet and 3 newly fledged Reed Buntings near Farm. 

One unusual sighting today: Mistle Thrush, otherwise Short-eared Owls, Little Owls, 8 Linnet, 7 Goldfinch and one fledged Chough at the Lantern. Lots of Comb Jellyfish and Moon Jellyfish in the water and first observations of the year of Glow-worms.  

More good island birds today, with a female-type Common Rosefinch at the farm and a Wryneck in North Valley. Two Cuckoos also arrived in North Valley, while other sightings included 9 Swifts, 6 Swallows, 4 House Martins, 2 Chiffchaffs, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Starlings, 2 Goldfinches and 9 Linnets. 

Still some migration today with: 2 Shelduck, a Greenish Warbler in the Ivy at North Haven, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Goldfinch and 6 Linnet. There was also some insect migration with at least 50 Red Admiral, 40 Painted Lady, a Hummingbird Hawkmoth and 10 Silver Ys. 

A bit quiet over the last few days but a few good birds today incl.: 2 Grey Heron, 1 Golden Plover, an Arctic Tern over the islands interior, 1 Cuckoo, 1 Little Owl, 2 Short-eared Owl, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Starling, 1 House Sparrow, 2 Goldfinch, 6 Linnet and 16 Common Crossbill. A trip offshore also saw Common Dolphins and Storm Petrels.

20 Common Scoter passed through Broad Sound late morning, a Sparrowhawk was present, 2 Sand Martin, 6 Swallow, 3 House Martin, 4 Spotted Flycatcher, 11 Goldfinch (incl. the first family parties of the year) and 15 Linnet. There was some insect migration also, with 15+ Painted Ladies, 1 Red Admiral, a Hummingbird Hawkmoth and a Silver Y.

Today was the first day of boat based seabird counts, taking several staff members off the island. There were still lots of people on the island however and there were some interesting sightings at evening log. Highlights include: 1 Grey Heron, 2 Little Owl, 2 Short-eared Owl, 8 Swift, 1 House Martin, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Spotted Flycatcher and 2 Goldfinch. 

A very quiet day for birds and no boats due to north westerly wind. We have now had the second report in two days of Puffins with fish, so it seems we now have Pufflings. Other highlights were: 1 Whimbrel, 2 Short-eared Owl, 11 Swift, 1 House Martin, 1 Chiffchaff and 4 Linnet. 

A female Sparrowhawk again today plus 2 Short-eared Owl, 2 Swift, 120+ Swallow, 21 House Martin, 2 Stonechat, 3 Chiffchaff, 13 Chough (in one flock at North Haven) and 16 Linnet.

A female Sparrowhawk, 5+ Peregrine (incl. a juv. chasing Puffins at the Wick), 4 Whimbrel, 2 Sandwich Tern, 1 Swift, 50 Swallow, 21 House Martin, 2 Stonechat, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Spotted Flycatcher and 12 Linnet. Short-eared Owls and Curlews now have chicks.

Today provided an absolutely star island bird, but for two observers only! Mike and Ted Wallen were busy counting the Lesser Black-backed Gull colonies when they spotted a Black Stork flying over. They called the wardens and ran up the hill to try and see it again but it had disappeared by they got to the top. Unbelievable for such a large obvious bird. They did, however, manage to get a few record shots of it as it flew over. Other migrants include: 6 Whimbrel, 217 Swallow, 45 House Martin, 5 Sand Martin, 11 Swift, 1 Garden Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler, 10 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Goldfinch and 10 Linnet (several of which may now be breeding). A juvenile Robin was also seen near North Pond and there are now quite a few Wheatear chicks fledging.  

Black Stork, photo by Ted Wallen

Sightings include a stunning summer plumaged Great Northern Diver high over the Neck, 3 Shoveler, a Collared Dove, 4 Swifts moving thrugh along with 40 Swallows and 22 House Martins, 2 Stonechats, the first Wheatear fledglings on South Plateau, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Spotted Flycatcher and 12 Chough.

Highlights today included a Storm Petrel seen from the Dale Princess, a Cuckoo in North Valley, a fly-over Turnstone, a summer plumaged female Golden Plover west of the farm, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Short-eared Owls, 22 House Martins, a Sand Martin, at least 60 Swallows, a Blackcap and a Willow Warbler. 

Very little migration again today. A few hirundines etc. but otherwise highlights were: 11 Shoveler chicks, 2 Curlew chicks, Leach's and European Storm Petrels seen from a RIB several miles SW of Skomerere recorded on the island.

A couple of quiet days on the whole, with much time devoted to visitor work and breeding seabirds. However highlights include a ring-tail Hen Harrier over the Garland Stone on 20th and an adult Common Gull on the same day. Further notable sightings have included 4 Whimbrel, a Grasshopper Warbler on 21st, Spotted Flycatcher on both days, Goldfinch and 7 Linnets. On the breeding bird front, the first Herring Gull and Greater Black-backed Gull chicks have hatched.

Greater Black-backed Gull chicks are hatching all over the island

As are the Carrion Crow chicks. Charming little beasts

Linnets are attempting to breed on the island this year, representing the first breeding attempt on the island since 2009

A fine morning on the island saw the arrival of a first. This immature Great Egret was a first for Skomer, perhaps surprisingly, but a welcome addition. Also seen were: 3 Whimbrel, 15 Curlew, 5 Black-headed Gull, 2 Short-eared Owl, 1 Swift, 5 Sand Martin, 75+ Swallow, 2 House Martin, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 House Sparrow, 3 Goldfinch and 20 Linnet.

Heavy rain in the morning prevented a thorough search and not many people went out until midday. However, the bird of the day was a cracking male Whinchat which was joined by 2 Stonechats and several Wheatears and other sightings include: a Kestrel, a Dunlin in breeding plumage and 2 Turnstone, 2 Little Owls and 2 Short-eared Owls, a Cuckoo, 3 Sand Martin, 100 Swallow, 8+ House Martin, 4 Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaff and 1 Willow Warbler, 5 Spotted Flycatcher, 13 Linnet and a male House Sparrow.

One of the Golden Orioles remains on the island, though it has been elusive in South Valley, while a Lesser Whitethroat in the North Valley is probably a lingering bird from 11th. Other sightings included 2 Whimbrel, 2 Collared Doves at the Farm, 2 Short-eared Owls (and confirmation of the first chick of the year), a good hirundine passage including 29 House Martins, 17 Sand Martins and at least 560 Swallows, a Tree Pipit over Green Pond, a Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail chicks in the farm nest, a few Greenland Wheatears, 30 Sedge Warblers in South Stream alone, a Reed Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 7 Spotted Flycatchers, 10 Goldfinches and 17 Linnets. A small arrival of Painted Ladies saw 10 noted, along with 8 Small Coppers.   

European White-fronted Goose seen again, plus: 5 Whimbrel, 1 Stock Dove, 1 Collared Dove, Short-eared Owl, 5 Swift, 13 Sand Martin, 200+ Swallow again, 1 House Martin, 14 Wheatear, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Golden Oriole, 3 Goldfinch and 3 Linnet.    

A great day on Skomer. Highlights include: 4 Golden Oriole, 1 Cuckoo, 1 Quail, 1 Nightingale, 2 Tree Pipit, the European White-fronted Goose, 1 Kestrel, 4 Whimbrel, 7 Swift, 17 Sand Martin, 200+ Swallow, 9 House Martin, 4 Stonechat, 3 Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaff, 4 Willow Warbler, 5 Spotted Flycatcher, 12 Goldfinch, 7 Linnet. Also, the first Hummingbird Hawkmoth of the year was seen and at least 4 Painted Ladies. 

Clear highlight of the day was a Golden Oriole (a female-type by the description) seen by two overnight guests near North Pond. Fingers crossed its still around tomorrow! Another first for the year was a female Ruff on Moory Mere all day, in the company of a summer plumaged Dunlin. The White-fronted Goose was also seen again briefly, as was the Turtle Dove. The Peregrines appear to be nesting on High Cliff this year, which could be rather entertaining once the chicks appear. Further notable sightings include a Water Rail at Moorey Mere, 10 Whimbrel, 6 Swifts, a steady Hirundine passage, 8 Wheatear, 2 Blackcaps, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, one Goldfinch and 3 Linnets, including nest building at the farm.

Headline birds on the day were a Turtle Dove which lingered around North Haven during the afternoon, and a European White-fronted Goose which was found at North Pond in the evening. The latter appears to be the first record of this race on Skomer, with the 20 other records all either concerning un-raced or Greenland White-fronts. Further totals included 4 Shoveler, 6 Buzzards, 5 Whimbrel, Short-eared and Little Owl, 14 Swifts, a good passage of Swallows (at least 500 noted), 25 Sand Martins, 22 House Martins, 12 Sedge Warblers, 10 Common Whitethroat, 6 Spotted Flycatchers and a pair of Linnets nest building near North Pond. 

A very windy but sunny day today with gusts of 45 mph. Bird watching was a bit of a challenge. Best birds seen today were 1 Greenland type Weatear, 1 Cuckoo and 1 Great Skua. 

Highlights today included a female-type Marsh Harrier which flew north over Bull Hole in the morning and a stunning summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwit on North Pond in the afternoon - our first since 2013. A Garden Warbler at Moory Mere was our first of the year. Sixteen Whimbrel were noted, including 12 in Upper Shearing Hays. Other sightings included a Swift over the Farm, 5 Sand Martins, 14 Swallows, 11 Wheatears, 5 Blackcap, single figures of Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler and 2 House Sparrows over North Haven (one of which was taken by a Peregrine!)

Small numbers of Whimbrel have been lingering on on the island in the last few days, with passage totals prooving to be better than this time last year.

Willow Warbler

Our first Black-tailed Godwit of 2015, and Skomers first since 2013

A female Cuckoo was seen in various places around North and South Valleys, 4 Turnstone were in North Haven and a Common Swift flew over the Farm. Other migrants include 4 Sand Martin, 30 Swallow, 4 Wheatear, 11 Sedge Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 5 Common Whitethroat, 3 Chiffchaff, 18 Willow Warbler, 7 Goldfinch and 2 Linnet.

Sightings included 2 Teal, 6 Shovelers, 5 Peregrines, a Water Rail, 16 Whimbrel, a Collared Dove (scarce on the island), both Short-eared and Little Owl, 12 Sand Martins, 45 Swallows, a Ring Ouzel, 6 Sedge Warblers, 4 Blackcaps, a Lesser Whitethroat at Moory Mere (another island scarcity), 6 Whitethroats, 12 Willow Warblers, a Spotted Flycatcher, 15 Goldfinches, 21 Linnets and 5 Reed Buntings.

A fairly quiet day in cool overcast conditions, with highlights including a male Sparrowhawk, 7 Whimbrel north, the first Razorbill egg of the year at the Wick, 34 Sand Martins, at least 2 Ring Ouzels and a male Redstart still at the Farm,

A Mute Swan today was unusual. Also seen were: Sparrowhawk, 2 Little Owl, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Common Swift, 6 Sand Martin, 32 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 1 Tree Pipit, 1 White Wagtail, 1+ Common Redstart, 55+ Wheatear (incl. several Greenland type birds), 1 female Ring Ouzel, 2 Grasshopper Warbler, 16 Sedge Warbler, 30+ Blackcap, 11 Common Whitethroat, 14 Chiffchaff, 75 Willow Warbler, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 2 House Sparrow, 5 Goldfinch and 5 Linnet. Also of interest was a Holly Blue which have become extremely rare in recent years and certainly haven't been recorded at all in the last 2 or 3 years. Yesterday also saw the first few Small Copper butterflies of the year.

Sightings included 9 Shoveler, a female Merlin, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpipers on North Pond, a Tree Pipit at the Farm, male and female Common Redstart, 62 Wheatears including 6+ Greenland birds, 3 Ring Ouzels, 3 Song Thrushes, a Grasshopper at the Farm, 2 Sedge Warblers, 35 Blackcaps, 2 Whitethroats, 26 Willow Warblers, the first Spotted Flycatcher of the year, a female Pied Flycatcher, 4 Goldfinches, 8 Linnets and the first male and female House Sparrows of the year at the Farm.

This male House Sparrow arrived in the morning, along with a female, where they noisily patrolled the Farm. A great sound and one that we only hear occasionally on the island, House Sparrows being an uncommon migrant here.

Female Pied Flycatcher

Smart male Wheatear with a pillbug 

9 Shoveler, Green Sandpiper, 3 Common Sandpiper, first Lesser Black-backed and Great Black-backed Gull eggs, 18,614 Puffin, 40 Barn Swallow, 6 House Martin, 1 Black Redstart, 26 Wheatear (5 Greenland type), 30 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, 41 Willow Warbler, 4 Rook, 9 Goldfinch, 22 Linnet.

Fewer species today but plenty of Willow Warblers and Blackcaps still. There was a singing Grasshopper Warbler in North Valley in the morning. Also seen were: a Merlin, 3 Whimbrel, 6 Turnstone, 4,870 Puffins in North Haven pm, 2 Little Owl, 10 Sand Martin, 81 Swallow, 36 House Martin, 50 Wheatear (incl. 2 Greenland types), 1 male Common Redstart, 2 Song Thrush, 2 Sedge Warbler, 43 Blackcap, 1 Common Whitethroat, 4 Chiffchaff, 63 Willow Warbler, 4 Goldfinch and 20 Linnet.

Another good list of birds incl.: Golden Plover, 2 Snipe, 3 Whimbrel, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1,300 Puffins in North Haven, 1 Cuckoo, another Common Swift, 5 Sand Martin, 120 Swallow, 7 House Martin, 1 Black Redstart, 6 Common Redstart, an impressive 140 Northern Wheatear (incl. 10+ Greenland type), 2 Ring Ouzel, 4 Song Thrush, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 42 Blackcap, 2 Common Whitethroat, 7 Chiffchaff, 41 Willow Warbler, 6 Rook, 8 Goldfinch, 40 Linnet and a Common Dolphin close to the Mew Stone.

Northern Wheatear, probably of the Greenland race, O.o.leucorhoa

Lots of eyes around the island meant lots of birds. Highlights were: Red Kite, Sparrowhawk, Merlin, Snipe, 8 Whimbrel, 15 Turnstone, Collared Dove, an early Common Swift, 6 Sand Martin, 30 Swallow, 8 House Martin, 3 Common Redstart, 12 Wheatear, 1 Sedge Warbler, 30 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat, 10 Chiffchaff, 10 Willow Warbler, 2 Goldfinch, 11 Linnet.

A good day for new migrants today with a male Common Redstart and male and female Black Redstarts at North Haven, a Pied Flycatcher at Skomer Head, 31 Common Scoter, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Sand Martin, 26 Swallow, 23 Wheatear, 2 Sedge Warbler, 40+ Blackcap, 1 Common Whitethroat, 4 Chiffchaff, 30+ Willow Warbler, 1 Goldcrest and 34 Linnet.

Male Common Redstart

A male Black Redstart was the mornings highlight whilst a Ring Plover found in one of the central fields around the farm was unusual. Other migrant totals include 78 Blackcap, 5 Sedge Warbler, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 3 Whitethroat and 60 Willow Warbler.

Migrant highlights include the first Sedge Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler and Whitethroat of the year, while the Wryneck was still present at the Farm. A whole island Puffin count resulted in over 21,000 birds, the highest count ever.

A male Blue-headed Wagtail was the bird of the day and the first of the year. Another first for the year was a Common Sandpiper on North Pond. Other highlights included a possible Merlin, 7500 Puffins in North Haven, 1 Short-eared Owl, the lingering Wryneck, 13 Sand Martins, 18 Swallows, 7 Robins, 2 Stonechats, 10+ Wheatears, 5 Song Thrushes, 26 Chiffchaff, 48 Willow Warblers, 2 Goldfinch and 9 Linnet.

1 Wryneck, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Ring Ouzel, 7 Blackcap, 7 Snipe, 11 Wheatear (incl. 1 Greenland type), 52 Swallow, 2 Sand Martin and 20 Curlew.

We still had the lingering Hoopoe, Wryneck and Ring Ouzel at the farm, but blustery conditions meant few other new birds were found. Counts included seven Shoveler, eight Mallards and two Teal on North Pond, six Swallows, four Wheatears (including one 'Greenland' type), two Blackcaps, three Chiffchaffs, two Willow Warblers and six Linnets.

Highlights today include: 1 Water Rail, 78 Oystercatcher, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Hoopoe, 1 Wryneck, 6 Swallow, 10 Robins, 1 Ring Ouzel, 3 Blackbirds, 4 Song Thrush, 17 Blackcap, 8 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler, 1 male Pied Flycatcher, 1 Brambling, 8 Goldfinch, 12 Linnet and 4 Reed Bunting.

A bit colder today but still some good birds. With a major influx of Hoopoes into the south west and after our unprecedented two yesterday, one of our oncoming vols spotted one flying over the road in Marloes today and there was one still present at the Farm on the island. Other totals incl. 6 Sandwich Terns spotted by Dave Astins in Jack Sound in the morning and one in the afternoon, just over 1000 Puffins in North Haven pm, 30 Swallows, 6 House Martins, 6 Robins, 18+ Wheatears, 1-2 Ring Ouzels, 2 Blackbirds, 16 Blackcaps, 1 Chiffchaffs, 20+ Willow Warbler, 1 Goldcrests, 3 Pied Flycatchers, 1 Brambling, 2 Goldfinch, 4 Linnet.

A fantastic day of birding in glorious sunshine, with a stunning selection of eye-popping spring migrants on the island. Top of the pile was not one but TWO Hoopoes discovered in the afternoon, with one at the Well field which, once it relocated to West Pond, was refound along with a second bird! Also two Wrynecks were found at the Farm, where they showed well all afternoon. Further highlights included the first Pied Flycatchers of the spring (six birds in total) and the first Redstart of the spring (a male at the Farm). Other totals on the day include Six Common Scoter, a Kestrel, two Lapwings (first of the year), a Snipe, seven Skylarks, 10 Sand Martins, 58 Swallows, an arrival of 15 Robins, 40 Wheatears, one Ring Ouzel, 13 Blackcaps, 14 Chiffchaffs, 67 Willow Warblers, two Rooks, one Chaffinch, one Brambling at the farm (1st of the year), 14 Goldfinches and 50 Linnets.

Two's company...  Photo by Eddie Stubbings

What a bird! Photo by Eddie Stubbings

One of two Wrynecks at the Farm. Showing well! Photo by Jason Moss

One of up to six Pied Flycatchers on the island. All bar one males! Photo by Jason Moss

Our first Redstart of the season, welcoming guests to the Info Centre! Photo by Eddie Stubbings

Another day with good numbers of migrant birds on the island. Ring Ouzels increased in number to four birds, while other counts included seven Cormorants, one Water Rail, two Short-eared Owls, nine Sand Martins, 41 Swallows, six House Martins, 74 Wheatears, seven Song Thrushes, 12, Blackcaps, 60 Willow Warblers (a likely underestimate), eight Goldfinches and 42 Linnets. Twenty-five Peacock butterflies were also counted.

A cracking day, with the clear highlight being a big arrival of Willow Warblers onto the island. A total of 210 were counted, but there were likely more moving through. Also a highlight were three Ring Ouzels together at Skomer Head, including a colour ringed bird. Further totals include one Grey Heron, Sparrowhawk, a single Black-headed Gull, 7610 Puffins in North Haven pm (one of the highest North Haven counts ever), 10 Skylarks, six Sand Martins, 13 Swallows, four Stonechats, 44 Wheatears, five Blackbirds, four Song Thrushes, four Redwings, eight Blackcaps, 31 Chiffchaffs, two Goldcrests, five Goldfinches and 29 Linnets.

One of three Ring Ouzels today, this one with colour rings. Photos by Des Brommage

A small arrival of warblers today in fine weather, also ideal for soaring raptors, with Red Kite and a female Hen Harrier overhead during the day, along with impressive numbers of Peregrine (at least 6) and Common Buzzard. Other sightings include one Sparrowhawk, 15 Swallows, 10 Wheatear, one Redwing, one Blackcap, 19 Chiffchaffs, 24 Willow Warblers, seven Goldcrests, 21 Carrion Crows on passage, five Goldfinches and 10 Linnets. 5039 Puffins were counted in North Haven in the evening. Also of note were 25 Peacock Butterflies and a Small Tortoiseshell.

While overall numbers of spring migrants dwindled slightly, quality was provided by a female Black Redstart at the Harold Stone; our first of the year. Hirundines also made an appearance, with five each of Sand Martin and Swallow, plus a single House Martin also over. Further counts included two Shelduck, nine Teal, seven Mallards, two Shoveler, eight Buzzards, four Peregrines, six Wheatears, 11 Chiffchaffs, two Goldcrests, three Goldfinches, 11 Linnets and a Reed Bunting. Butterflies also made a significant appearance, with 17 Peacocks noted.

Chiffchaff in North Valley

Peacock Butterfly. One of at least 17 noted

No boats again, wind increasing. A few more birds today incl. Sparrowhawk, 2700+ Puffins in North Haven pm, 6 Robins, 1 Fieldfare, 1 female Blackcap, 11 Chiffchaffs, 6 Willow Warblers, 3 Goldcrests and 1 Chaffinch.

Puffins bill-tapping

Not great weather, with boats cancelled again and mist for large periods. There were 13 Teal, 4 Mallards and 2 Shelduck on the ponds, 1 Water Rail heard, 12 Curlew, 3 Short-eared Owls, 7 Wheatears, 5 Blackbirds, 1 female Blackcap, 2 Goldfinches and 2 Linnets. Puffins were in for most of the day and 3947 were counted in North Haven in the evening.

Highlights include eight Snipe flushed from South Pond, along with 18 Teal. Also seen were two Shelduck, two Peregrines, six Turnstones, singles of both Short-eared and Little Owl, four Wheatears, a Goldfinch and two Reed Buntings. Ravens were busily nest-building at Paynes Ledge and near the Mew Stone, and Puffins also arrived en masse in North Haven this evening, doughnutting spectacularly around the bay.

Sounding a bit like a broken record now, but another day of strong winds saw highlights limited to three Teal, three Purple Sandpipers at South Castle, a female Merlin, and a Song Thrush.

Purple Sandpiper, South Castle. Photo by Jason Moss

Another blowy day saw notable sightings limited to three Linnets, a Chaffinch, five Pied Wagtails, three Shelduck and two Teal.

A windy day with a few highlights including 18 Purple Sandpipers (one of the highest counts on record), 11 Turnstone, a first winter Iceland Gull, a Kestrel eating worms in the Farm courtyard and 3 Wheatears.

Kestrel eating earthworms. Photo by Jason Moss

Dinner time. Photo by Jason Moss
First-winter Iceland Gull on North Pond. Video by Jason Moss


A good number of Chough (c.30) today plus Merlin, Sparrowhawk and 3 Wheatears.

Rather busy day work-wise, with a few boat runs, but that didn't stop the first Willow Warbler of 2015 being found at Moory Mere, two days earlier than last years bird. Also noted were four Chiffchaffs including two singing birds, a female-type Merlin, two Stonechats, eight Pied Wagtails, two Chaffinches, five Linnets  and two returning male Reed Buntings, also in song. Evening highlight was a large arrival of Puffins into North Haven which came onto the colonies for a couple of hours, before departing again just before it got dark.

A sunny day for the most part produced an influx of Ravens (at least 29), a few larger than normal flocks of Choughs and plenty of raptors. A juvenile Marsh Harrier was the best bird but we also recorded 5+ Peregrines, 8 Buzzards, a Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk. The only other birds of note were a Goldcrest at Moorey Mere and 5 Linnet over.

Not many small migrants today but a few good birds for the island, incl.14 Common Snipe, 2 Jack Snipe, 1 Redshank, 5 Rooks, female Sparrowhawk, 1 Goldcrest and Chough nest building.

1 Puffin on land plus 2,250 in South Haven pm, 1 Little Egret, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest and 13 Turnstone.

1 Red Kite, 410 Puffins in North Haven, 3 Short-eared Owl, 1 Little Owl, Manx Shearwater plus 2 Common Lizard.

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