Wardens Greg and Lisa with Matt Baker from BBC Countryfile
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!
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 group:
2 x Peregrine Falcon . 8 x
Chough . Ravens .
Buzzards . Kestrels
Lots of Atlantic Grey Seals and their pups
6+ Porpoise in Ramsey Sound
1 x Bottle Nosed Dolphin in Ramsey Sound
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
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 bad effort!).
Wheatear 106 pairs surely the densest site in Wales
for this species?!
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 operators).
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
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.
returning 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 (22/4).
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+.
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.
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.
species seemingly hit by the weather is stonechat.
They disappeared from the island after Christmas and only a
very few have returned so far.
however, 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.
regular 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
migrant 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.
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.
grey 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