Thursday, 17 April 2014

Skokholm, Dream Island week 2

Happy birthday today to Giselle one of the wardens on Skokholm.

The start of the second week was again wet and cold, but, I suppose it is early April and it is to be expected. Much of the work had to be done indoors until the weather improved a few days later with warm sunshine being very welcome. Even though the weather was mixed there was a trickle of migrants arriving every day. Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Wheatear, the first two Swallows and Blackcap.

Richard and Giselle the Skokholm wardens have a bird-log every night without fail. They were able to identify the Meadow Pipit from the few numbers you can see on the ring as D295030, a bird originally ringed in April 2013, which would make it an adult.

I always learn something of interest when I go to the Island. In this case it is the "Pollen Horn" often seen on some of the Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers. Richard informed me that the horn was created by pollen sticking to the feathers when the bird is probing for insects in flower heads. This would suggest that these migrants came from possibly a warmer climate like the Mediteranean (where many flowers will be in bloom) before arriving at Skokholm.

Yes, the birds are far away, the noise they made was very loud which turned my attention to them. They were Peregrine which were tumbling together in the sky. Not sure if this is a territorial thing or maybe some sort of bonding between a male and a female. If anyone knows I would like to hear from you.

Certainly my first Redwing of the year but not the first this year for Skokholm. I had one last year as well which had no tail. I was informed it was caught a few times and eventually left the island once its tail feathers grew back.

First Ringed Plover of the year which hung around North Pond for a few days. It's always nice to see some of the small waders drop in.

For the two weeks I was there migration had been slow, the weather was not good for most of the time but someone soon is going to get lucky as the birds start to arrive in bigger numbers. I was really hoping a Ring Ouzel would turn up, not having seen one for a couple of years. Looking around the country there are a few about, so fingers crossed they get lucky soon.

Thanks to the wardens for everything they do to promote the Island and with their past experiences and knowledge Skokholm will be on list of "must go to places". Personally thanks for all the ringing help and advice.

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