At the tip of Pen Llŷn, Ynys Enlli is known for its spiritual heritage and a destination for Christian pilgrimage. It is equally significant as a sanctuary for weary travellers migrating up the west coast of Europe. The Bardsey Bird & Field Observatory has played a vital role in the study of bird migration since it opened in 1953, and next year will celebrate its own platinum jubilee.
The everyday work involves counts and bird-ringing, supplemented by monitoring of breeding seabirds through the summer, but last Thursday was one of those that the wardens dream about. A Thrush Nightingale sang into the late evening but moved on overnight. It is a species never seen alive in Wales before, with just a single record of one found dead on the island in 1976. Earlier in the day, a Golden Oriole and a Red-spotted Bluethroat, also spring overshoots from the European mainland, were found in the space of 30 seconds. A supporting cast of Black Redstart, Turtle Dove and Wood Warbler that day wasn't too shabby either, and Spotted Flycatchers continue to arrive there from Africa.
Another Golden Oriole was found there on Saturday and a Marsh Warbler on Monday, while a Siberian Chiffchaff has taken up territory on the island. Although singing enthusiastically, is unlikely to attract a female, since those should all be on their breeding grounds in Russian forests.
Elsewhere, two Hooded Crows are at RSPB South Stack and another flew ashore at Gronant on Saturday, with a Little Gull at nearby Talacre. Little Stints were at Point of Ayr, Afon Wen and the Alaw estuary last week, and a Curlew Sandpiper at Foryd Bay on Sunday. A Roseate Tern is on Cemlyn lagoon and a Black Tern spent several hours at RSPB Conwy last Tuesday. A Quail is calling above the Conwy Valley, and four have been ringed near Pengroeslon in the last week.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales.