Saturday, 8 May 2010

Continious Northerlies but Stonechats raise the spirits

Nothing much in the way of migrants early morning - a single intrepid Willow Warbler had made it to the hawthorns on the limestones and was being battered by a very brisk cold north easterly wind. Two Wheatears, both Greenland birds were still present while six Swallows flew west. Offshore, seven Gannets, 30+ Sandwhich Terns and hundreds of Guillemots and Razorbills on the sea below the cliffs, while several pairs of Fulmars are chattering away on the limestone cliffs above Marine Drive.
I have been extremely worried about the population crash of Stonechats this spring. Last year saw a healthy population of at least 8-9 pairs. Until this week, I haven't seen a Stonechat up here since mid-March. These birds were presumably migrants moving through as no birds set up territory in the limestone pavement area, the first time this has happened since I've been birding up here. A search further afield revealed a few pairs though, two pairs by the summit and a couple on the gun site. This is a great relief to me and is hopefully enough of a basis to re-populate the Orme over the next few years.

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