On Sunday myself and six other Northants Ringers journeyed down to Pembrokeshire for a week's expedition on the island of Skokholm. The first site en-route was to the watch-point at Symonds Yat in Gloucestershire where the birds included large numbers of Common Buzzards, several Ravens, a couple of Sparrowhawks and of course Peregrines. Other observations included several Mandarin Ducks, Goosander, Nuthatch and Siskin before we moved on to the Wildlife and Wetlands site at Llanelli. This was a new venue for me and very much like Slimbridge but on a smaller scale.
Wild birds included singles of Glossy Ibis and Spoonbill and Peregrine plus a couple each of Mediterranean Gull and Little Egret. Waders were made up of Curlew, Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwit and Greenshank.
The last birding of the evening was at St Anne's Head on the Pembrokeshire coast where Manx Shearwaters were rafting off-shore and both Chough and Peregrine appeared overhead.
Yesterday morning (Monday), and we successfully boated over to Skokholm and made ourselves ready for our birding and ringing experience. We quickly began making use of the Heligoland Traps and mist-nets and began to catch migrants which included Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Whitethroat. Swallows whizzed overhead, Whimbrel trilled and stalked the island, Raven and Chough skirmished with Jackdaw and Carrion Crow and a pair of Peregrine terrorised the island. Small birds hopping along the short turf included Pied Wagtail, Wheatear, Meadow and Rock Pipit. In the late evening we made our first efforts at the nocturnal catching of Manx Shearwater, with some twenty-eight birds being captured and providing the first opportunity for many of the team in handling these fabulous birds.
Today (Tuesday) and the weather was very nice but there was minimal migration visible on the island. Despite the paucity of migrants, quality birds caught included several species of warbler including a Grasshopper Warbler and a couple of very smart Wheatears. We took the opportunity of taking a RIB to the island of Grassholm which houses a colony of 85,000 Gannets which was pretty spectacular!