Saturday, 21 March 2015

Spring update

Well, its been an exciting few days on the island: on the night of the 16th, we were treated to an amazing display or aurora, with faint green curtains to the north turning into a spectacular scene once a camera and 30 second exposure were taken to it. Yesterday (the 20th), the awesome solar eclipse took place in clear blue skies between 0830 and 1000 in the morning- it was very cool to watch the whole spectacle unfold with the aid of a white light filter, my Dad's telescope and my own camera and lens. The results of the near-total eclipse are pictured below.

Its not just the meteorological side of things that have been interesting- spring is really warming up now, with moths emerging, migrants arriving, and lambs appearing. The first Sand Martins of the year have flown North over the island (18th+19th), and more and more Wheatears continue to arrive, accompanied on the 18th by some 20 Stonechats. Chiffchaffs are starting to sing, and are also increasing in number, along with Goldcrests. Finches have been on the move in the last day or so, with Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Siskins, Lesser Redpoll, Bullfinch and House Sparrow all recorded. A pair of Puffins have been seen off the North End too, which is quite early for their arrival here. Manx Shearwaters are now on the island too, and can be heard every now and then at night. I have uploaded a small selection of images from the last few days: 

This was pretty flipping awesome!! The Northern Lights from Bardsey, with the Celtic Crosses and 13th century Abbey in the foreground

The Solar eclipse was an awesome spectacle, taking place between 0830 and 1000 on the 20th. Using a white light filter in the clear blue skies, it was great to be able to get images of the sun and look directly at it. Towards the end of the eclipse some cloud rolled in and acted as a natural filter (lower image)

Honey Bees have been out collecting pollen from a variety of sources, including gorse and pussy willows (above)

I have had a small heath trap (moth trap) out in the last few days, and on the calmer nights this attracted a small range of species, including classic earlies like Dotted Border, Early Grey, Mottled Grey, Red Chestnut, Hebrew Characters and some micro moths such as Agonopterix heracliana and Emmelina monodactyla 
Hebrew Character

Early Grey

Dotted Border

Common Buzzard

Chiffchaffs have been moving through in decent numbers, although they have not arrived in true force as yet. Its been great to hear a few singing, and feeding in a classic spring setting of these pussy willows

A selection of Wheatear images taken in the last few days around the coast. It has been interesting to see how virtually all the birds at the moment are males. The first two females have only just arrived today (21st), which is over 10 days since the first males arrived on the island. This is presumably so that males can start singing and displaying on territory before the females arrive


Raven flying in front of Bardsey Lighthouse

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