Wardens Greg and Lisa with Matt Baker from BBC Countryfile
This week we
popped Matt Baker over to Ramsey Island with his film crew to make
an episode on Ramsey Island for BBC Countryfile. Lisa said
It was a beautiful day, full of chough, seals, peregrines and deer.
In fact, everything on our wish list performed for the
cameras, we even managed a sheepdog training session with our
trainee Border collie, Dewi, Greg and presenter Matt Baker, who gave
us some valuable tips. Dewi seemed to know he was on film and
was on his best behaviour, showing good style and stealing the show!
This weeks guided
walk on Ramsey Island was lead by local birder Lyndon Lomax, besides
the lovely secenery here are some of the sightings spotted by the
2 x Peregrine Falcon . 8 x Chough
. Ravens . Buzzards
Lots of Atlantic Grey Seals and their pups
6+ Porpoise in Ramsey Sound
1 x Bottle Nosed Dolphin in Ramsey Sound
A brief bird and
seal report for the season on Ramsey Island so far.
With the breeding season approaching an end (for birds if not
seals!) here is a breakdown of some of the highs and lows:
Chough fledged 17 young from 7 nests (2.42 per pair, joint
3rd highest productivity on record).
Lapwing 2 pairs managed to fledge 1 young between them (not a
Wheatear 106 pairs surely the densest site in Wales for this
Stonechat down from 25 pairs in 2009 to 6 pairs this year.
No doubt a casualty of the cold winter. In fact we noticed
that all small passerine species that are resident in the UK and
breed on Ramsey (e.g. Meadow and rock pipit, blackbird,
dunnock) were also slightly down this year too.
Seabirds a good year generally. No sign of food shortage
although kittiwakes were down from 225 pairs in 2009 to 191 pairs
(following 3 years of increase) and how low productivity at the
study site (0.26 per pair, although the Cantwr site at the southern
end seemed to do much better based on very helpful reports from boat
A full storm petrel survey on the Bishops and Clerks revealed 149
occupied sites (the highest estimate for this site). The few,
newly discovered, birds on Ramsey continue to do well with all 5
from 2008 relocated and a new site found too.
Kestrel 1 pair fledged 4 young. Good news for a species
that is in decline in Wales (red kites now outnumber them!).
Peregrine 2 pairs although no young seen to fledge.
Grey seals going well with well over 100 seal pups born so far
on our 9 monitored sites so far.
7 pairs of chough
confirmed as breeding. An 8th pair was
settling down when a 3rd bird intervened and put everyone
off! Only 2 pairs of lapwing made it back this year
unfortunately, presumably not helped by the cold winter. There
are 3 peregrine territories this and a pair of kestrel. 4
pairs of raven are on the verge of fledging young while the
whitethroats are only just arriving back.
included hoopoe (2+3/4), a female yellowhammer on 10/4 (4th
record since RSPB records began), snow bunting (21/4 to end month),
5 ring ouzels through April, Cettis warbler (25/4), bullfinch
(16/4), black redstart (7/4), 4 common redstarts in April, barn owl
(16/4), grasshopper warbler (23+30/4), green sandpiper (12/4),
hooded crow (21/4), jack snipe (24/4), white wagtail (14/4), redpoll
(15/4), hobby (24/4), yellow wagtail (21/4), 5 red kites in the
period plus a female/juv merlin through March and April, joined by a
male at times.
dates: wheatear (7/3) plus Greenland race on 3 dates in April, sand
martin (19/3), chiffchaff (25/3) swallow and house martin (3/4),
blackcap (4/4), willow warbler (7/4), whitethroat (18/4) and swift
An otter was seen
on the west coast of the island by boat staff on 17/4 and a fresh
spraint was found on the harbour steps on 22/4. Grey seal haul
outs peaked at 150+.
A cold month
following on from a very cold winter has affected some species.
Chough were a bit late to get going, more interested in
feeding up after a tough few winter months than getting round to
breeding. First nest building was on 22/3. By the end of
the month 5 pairs had been confirmed with another 3 on territory and
we hope they will start nest building soon.
Lapwing had an
equally tough winter and although it is too early for us to
establish final breeding numbers yet, a max of 6 birds displaying is
down on recent years at this stage.
seemingly hit by the weather is stonechat. They disappeared
from the island after Christmas and only a very few have returned so
which spend the winter in Africa, have returned in apparently good
numbers. In 2009 we had 115 pairs nesting on Ramsey (over 25% of the
Pembrokeshire population) and the first migrants returned on 7/3
this year. Male birds are the first to be seen as they head back in
advance of the females to reclaim their territories.
breeders setting up territory are peregrine falcon (2 pairs),
buzzard (2 pairs) and raven (4 pairs). Skylarks and
meadow pipits have been singing for most of the month, a sure sign
that spring is round the corner
dates include chiffchaff (25/3) and sand martin (19/3). Two
merlins (a male and a female) were seen on and off during March.
A red kite on 25/3 was a relatively rare sight out here.
Our cliff nesting
auks (guillemots and razorbills) have been on and off the ledges
throughout March. They will keep up this sporadic attendance until
they lay their eggs in late April / early May.
seals can be readily seen around the island at this time of year. Up
to 150 have been hauled out on the main beaches during March and
good numbers should continue through April. Anyone approaching by
boat should do so with care as they are very jumpy at this time of
year and moulting is a very important process for them; the quality
of their new coat affecting their health for the remainder of the
year. An out of season seal pup was born in early March. It has done
very well and is on the verge of weaning