Bardsey Bird Observatory 2015

From the 21st to the 29th of August, Myself and 7 other members of Next Generation Birders visited the Welsh island of Bardsey to stay at the Bird Observatory. For the first two days there was only four of us on the island since the other four had gone to Birdfair, Myself, George, Ephraim and David had a two days to have a wander and get to know the island and what Steve and the team expected of us, the first day consisted of just getting to know each other more but it was the Sunday where everything kicked off! The day started with Steffan finding a Balearic Shearwater which unfortunately none of us managed to get on, by noon we were just having a chat in the common room and doing quick seawatching sessions which resulted in me finding a Black Tern flying about Carreg Yr Honwy which is a small cluster of rocks off Bardsey, David had a look to confirm my ID and then quickly ran outside to find everyone else which failed miserably, by the time people had got the scopes on the area the bird had disappeared, Steve had two Black terns in the morning meaning mine was likely one of the two. Each night were all gathered in the Common Room to do Log, this is just collecting the sightings and counts from throughout the day, its a brilliant way to keep track of everything being seen on one day aswell as the amount of banter going on is brilliant!

#TeamBardsey group photo

Monday arrived and after setting up the nets in the garden and doing a few rounds, the other four and Ben arrived and everyone got stuck in with the moth trap. It was a regular event to rush to the scopes to watch either Common or Risso’s dolphins jump or splash around in the sea as well as listening to the Seal’s calling to each other from all over the island. One evening Steve, Steffan and Ben led a walk for everyone to get to know the Manx Shearwaters of Bardsey, due to the moon and the lack of clouds it meant that there wasn’t a great deal of Manxies around, but some youngsters were coming out of their burrows meaning we could ring them! Mark and Jeff had set up some Storm Petrel nets and after almost giving up and beginning to head back to the lodge, Mark radioed to say they have two Stormies in the nets! As you can probably tell by the face in the picture, I was ecstatic! The smell of them is just divine but hard to describe.

From Monday to Friday, both NGB teams: #TeamBardsey and #TeamSkokholm were competing in a Welsh Islands Bird Race. #TeamBardsey got off to a great start by racking up some common island birds meaning by day three we were already on 60/70 species and just relying on some more species to be pushed in by the winds. Since there was a lack of Manxies on the night, we decided to go down to the North End to search the burrows for Manxie chicks were haven’t fledged yet. The day was a huge success having ringed 5 birds myself! Even the non-ringers were allowed to ring a bird under the guidance of Steve who is an A permit holder for Ringing. Everyone had an amazing time shoving their arms down burrows and pulling the little balls of fluff out and carrying down to where we had set up the ringing station, most of the birds were well behaved with only minor scratches and bites off the birds except one of mine which decided my whole front was the perfect place to do it’s business!

Overall, everyone had a great time on Bardsey and NGB cannot thank Steve, Emma, Steffan, Mark and all the guests who were so friendly towards us and cannot wait to start planning the next NGB trip to the island as well as a few personal trips for myself.

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