Migrant Birds on Skomer in May 2016

Red Kite by Charles Thody Photography

Red Kite by Charles Thody Photography

Dunlin by Tom Marshall

Dunlin by Tom Marshall

Skomer Island has a vast amount of wildlife visitors throughout April to September, including some very interesting migrant birds. Below is a summary of birds that were seen/reported on and around the island during May 2016.

A male Garganey was seen on North Pond on the morning of the 9th. Red Kites were seen on two dates as were Marsh Harriers (with two female types on the 23rd). A Sparrowhawk was present on the 5th and 6th. An Osprey (the 2nd of the spring) flew north over the island and into St Brides Bay on the 24th.

Northward wader passage came in the form of a flock of twelve Dotterel flying north west over the island on the 6th, five minutes after having been watched flying off from a field next to Marloes Mere on the mainland; twelve Ringed Plovers flew over the island, also in a north westerly direction, on the 16th. Golden Plovers were recorded on the 10th and 11th and a Lapwing flew over the Farm on the 14th. There was also a report of seven grounded Dunlin on the 11th, an unusual record for Skomer. Single Snipe were recorded on the 5th and 6th. The highest count of Whimbrel was eleven on the 9th. Greenshank were recorded 4th and 8th. The only Common Sandpiper in May was seen at Moorey Mere on the 11th. The Turnstone flock departed at the start of the month with the last sizable flocks being recorded on the 2nd (10) and 4th (9).

There was a report of an Iceland Gull on the 17th, this being the only report of this species this spring.

Surprisingly the only tern species recorded at all this spring was an adult Gull-billed Tern in summer plumage on the 9th of May. Unfortunately it didn’t hang around and was seen by only two observers.

Nine Collared Doves on the 14th was notable. There were two records of Cuckoo in May, on the 5th and 18th. A Nightjar was flushed from the Willows next to Green Pond on the 15th and spent the rest of the day roosting on the ground. The highest day count of Swift was 18 on the 26th.

Hirundine passage was light with 40 Sand Martin on the 3rd, 3,108 Swallows also on the 3rd and 46 House Martin on the 23rd. Tree Pipits were recorded on the 5th and 13th. A male ‘blue headed’ Yellow Wagtail seemingly of the southern race M.f.iberiae was present between the 9th and the 12th, a ‘British’ Yellow Wagtail was recorded on the 5th and there was a fly over on the 16th. White Wagtails were recorded on the 11th and 19th.

A Nightingale was present at Moorey Mere on the 13th. A Black Redstart was seen at the Farm the same day and there were further records on the 19th, 27th and 30th (two). There was a Whinchat at Bull Hole on the 2nd and one was present in Well Field on the 9th and 10th. The last migrant Wheatears passed through during the third week of May and the last ‘Greenland’ bird was recorded on the 23rd. The only Ring Ouzel of the month was a female on the rather late date of the 25th.

A Grasshopper Warbler was recorded on the 6th. Reed Warblers were recorded on the 14th, 19th, 22nd, 25th and 27th. There were two records of Garden Warbler, on the 9th and 12th and a Lesser Whitethroat was present in North Valley Willows on the 8th. There were 26 Willow Warblers on the 3rd and a ‘Northern’ type (P.t.acredula) bird was present on the 4th. A Firecrest was recorded on the 12th.

The highest day count of Spotted Flycatchers was 20 on the 7th.

A male Woodchat Shrike was present near the Farm between the 4th and the 8th and was heard singing on the 8th. A male Red-backed Shrike was present for two days (26th and 27th), joining the years second male Woodchat Shrike. The Red-backed Shrike was also heard singing on its second day.

There were eight records of Chaffinch, four of Siskin, three Lesser Redpoll (as well as 23 records of redpoll sp).

A Male Black-headed Bunting was seen, in the morning only, around the Farm on the 24th.


If you are interested in migrant birdwatching on Skomer or Skokholm Island you can visit our website, www.welshwildlife.org, for information on how to arrange your trip.