Migrants on Skomer Island in September 2016

Common Whitethroat by Jon Hawkins

Common Whitethroat by Jon Hawkins

Grey Heron by Christopher Dean

Grey Heron by Christopher Dean

Skomer Island Warden, Ed Stubbings, has been monitoring migrant birds that pass through Skomer. This data has been gathering with the help of other members of staff, volunteers and visitors to the island. Here's what Ed recorded during September this year:

A Red-throated Diver was seen off the Garland Stone on the 22nd. Some great seawatching in westerly winds on the 4th produced seven Sooty Shearwaters and four Balearic Shearwaters. There were also records of Balearic Shearwaters on the 12th (two), 13th and 14th.

The islands second Great Egret flew north east over South Haven on the 14th. A Grey Heron was seen flying through Broad Sound on the 2nd. Greylags, which are surprisingly rare on the island, were recorded on the 17th and 27th (two).

The first Wigeon was recorded on the 18th. Other monthly maxima include: 18 Teal on the 14th, 62 Mallard on the 27th, ten Shoveler on the 17th and 61 Common Scoter on the 13th.

A passage Hen Harrier was noted on the 19th. Up to five Sparrowhawk were noted on the 30th and there were eight Kestrels on the same day. The first Merlin of the autumn was recorded on the 15th.

Eight Ringed Plovers were logged, with five on the 15th. Twelve Golden Plovers were recorded on the 14th. There were six records of Grey Plover, with four on the 20th. A knot was seen roosting with the Turnstones in North Haven on the 14th. A Little Stint which arrived on the 17th was joined by a second until the 24th when both departed. Three Purple Sandpipers were on South Castle on the 24th. Dunlin numbers peaked in the first half of the month with 16 recorded on the 12th. A Ruff was present on North Pond on the 7th. Between one and three Snipe were recorded throughout the month and there were seven on the 13th. Up to three different Black-tailed Godwits were recorded on North Pond. A good month for Bar-tailed Godwits produced up to two on North Pond between the 7th and the 19th and there were migrant flocks of 30 on the 9th and 13 on the 12th. Whimbrels all passed through in the first half of the month with a maximum day total of five on the 15th. Curlew numbers peaked at 23 on the 8th. A Redshanks was on North Pond on the 8th. A Common Sandpiper was heard on the 8th. Turnstone numbers peaked at 28 on the 14th.

Arctic Skuas were recorded on the 12th (two), 13th (one) and 25th (three) and Great Skuas on the 2nd (three), 12th (three) and 14th (two). The only records of Mediterranean Gull came on the 14th and 16th and were of lone individuals. A juvenile Little Gull flew past North Haven on the 13th on the same day as a Juvenile Sabines Gull. In a very good month for terns, 29 Sandwich Terns flew west past North Haven on the 5th and there were two on the 8th and nine on the 13th. There were 30 Common Terns in St Brides Bay on the 13th along with at least 60 ‘commic’ terns, one Arctic Tern and three Black Terns. On the 12th there were at least 20 ‘commic’ terns and 16 Black Terns in St Brides. Two Puffins were seen on the 4th and there was one on the 5th.

Common Swifts were recorded on the 21st and 26th. Wrynecks were present all month with three on the 23rd. Sand Martins were mostly recorded on days when there were other hirundines moving, with six on the 7th, at least seven on the 14th and four on the 27th. Swallow numbers peaked at 2,958 on the 14th and 11,040 on the 27th, mostly going east. House Martin numbers also peaked on the same dates with eight on the 14th and six on the 27th. Tree Pipits were recorded on the 1st, 2nd, 14th and 15th (singles). Yellow Wagtails were recorded on the 1st and 14th (singles). Numbers of passage Grey Wagtail peaked at nine on the 1st and 11th. White Wagtails were present on the 11th, 15th (five), 16th (three), 17th, 19th, 29th and 30th (two). Whinchats moved through all month with eight on the 15th and six on the 21st. Stonechat numbers peaked at 30 on the 30th. Wheatear passage slowed as the month progressed with the peak count being 13 on the 15th. The first Song Thrush of the autumn was seen near the Farm on the 30th.

A Grasshopper Warblers was recorded on the 26th. Numbers of Reed and Sedge Warblers peaked in the first half of the month with two and ten being the highest counts respectively. An Icterine Warbler was discovered at North Valley Crossing on the 10th and probably the same bird was present on and off until the 19th. There was also a Melodious Warbler present briefly at Moorey Mere on the evening of the 10th. Blackcap numbers peaked at twelve on the 26th. Garden Warblers were seen on the 4th and 10th. There was a Lesser Whitethroat at Moorey Mere on the 22nd. Common Whitethroat numbers peaked at the start of the month with twelve on the 15th being the highest count. The first Yellow-browed Warbler was seen on the 21st and the same or another individual was present in a different location the next day. Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler numbers peaked at 13 (26th) and 18 (1st) respectively. Goldcrest numbers peaked at 23 on the 30th.

Spotted Flycatchers were seen on seven dates with two on the 26th. There were two Pied Flycatchers on the 1st, one on the 2nd and one on the 21st.

A Rook was seen on the 24th and raven numbers peaked at 105 on the 14th.

Chaffinches started passing through in the second half of the month in small numbers. A Greenfinch was recorded on the 18th. Goldfinch and Linnet numbers peaked at 74 and 280 (both on the 15th) respectively.

A Lapland Bunting was present on North Pond between the 24th and 30th and there was a second in North Haven on the 30th.

A Risso’s Dolphin was seen on the 24th and Common Dolphins were seen on several dates with 70 on the 10th.

Bookings to stay on Skomer Island in 2017 have now opened and members of The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales will receive free landing on the island. To book a stay on Skomer call 01656 724100.