Migrants on Skomer
Many of this month’s peak counts were caused by the extreme cold spells at the beginning and middle of the month. Monthly maxima of wildfowl include five Wigeon on the 2nd and 3rd, 28 Teal on the 1st, 13 Mallard on the 1st and four Shoveler on the 31st. Manx Shearwaters were first heard, at night, on the 7th. A Little Grebe was present on North Pond between the 26th and the 28th.
One Red Kite was seen on the 24th and there were two the next day. Up to two Hen Harriers were present all month.
Monthly maxima of waders were 154 Oystercatchers on the 28th, at least 500 Golden Plover on the 2nd, at least 1,000 Lapwing on the 2nd (both being extremely high counts for the island, caused by the severe cold snap at the start of the month), 36 Curlew on the 8th, 13 Turnstone on the 11th, six Purple Sandpipers on the 10th, five Woodcock on the 2nd and 3rd and 80 Snipe on the 2nd. Additionally, there were single Bar-tailed Godwits on three dates, up to two Dunlin on seven dates and up to two Jack Snipe on four dates.
The first Puffins were seen on the 13th and there was a high count of 5,440 in North Haven on the 30th. There were 16 Black-headed Gulls on the 2nd. There were single Common Gulls on the 1st and 3rd. An immature Iceland Gull flew over the Farm on the morning of the 27th. Short-eared Owls were seen on several dates with four plus on the 3rd and one was found fresh dead on the morning of the 28th. A female Kestrel was on and off throughout the month. There were multiple records of Merlins throughout, including an adult male on the 20th, with two on the 26th.
The first Goldcrest was recorded on the 12th (one) and there were six on the 27th. At least one Blue Tit was present for most of the month and there were three on the 10th. A male Great Tit was present from the 5th and was heard singing towards the end of the month.
The first Sand Martins were recorded on the 30th when three were seen. The first Chiffchaff with pollen horns was seen on the 12th and there was a clear arrival on the 30th when 13 were recorded. The first Willow Warbler was seen on the 24th and there were three on the 30th.
Thrush numbers were also much higher than usual due to the two cold snaps. There were an incredible 1,700 Fieldfare on the 2nd and numbers gradually dwindled after that. Redwing numbers were equally incredible on the 2nd when at least 7,500 were recorded either passing over or trying to feed and shelter on the island. Song Thrush numbers peaked at ten on the 8th and Blackbird at eleven on the 12th.
A male Black Redstart was seen along the main track on the 17th. Numbers of migrant Stonechats peaked at ten on the 7th and there were nine on the 16th. The first Wheatears arrived on the 13th (three). There were two on the 15th and only singles after that.
Six Chaffinch were recorded on the 2nd. There were 14 Linnet on the 2nd and twelve on the 3rd.
Many birds were found dead after the extreme cold weather, especially at the start of the month, with Golden Plover, Lapwing, Fieldfare and Redwing being the worst affected.
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