Friday, 8 November 2013

bardsey art competition

An impromptu art competition broke out on the island in October when residents and visitors where challenged to provide contributions produced over just two days. The contestants and results below

Judges: Emma and Steve Stansfield and Mark Simmonds

Steves corgette cetations

1 Originality: Steve Porter (for an image he took whilst gliding over the island)

2 Showing the most promise: Ben Porter and Chris

3 The best fine art:
Jointly awarded to Connor Stansfield and Rachel Porter

4 What Bardsey Means to Me: Judith

5 The best use of Camera
Commendation to Vicki James for her video of a seal mother and pup
Winner: Pete Howlett (night sky over light house)
6 Overall winner of the event: Pete Howlett

The awsome trophy prize

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

New Heligoland

 A few generous donations and a bit of funding here and there it was time to have a new trap heligoland trap build. 

 Heligoland traps are a simple but very effective way of trapping birds for ringing. The trap is essentially a large funnel, the birds enter the widest part of the trap (the front), as they make their way deeper into the trap it narrows until they enter the back (the catching area). To capture the bird a ringer will approach from the mouth of the trap and make their way to the catching area, when they get there they must then open the doors to the catching box for the bird to go in. This is achieved by activating flaps on the catching box with a piece of string. The back of the catching box is made with a soft clear plastic so the birds see this as an escape route when it is essentially a dead end. When the bird enters the box the ringer can then close the door behind it and retrieve the bird for ringing.

 Hammer's, crowbars, a few choice words (not repeatable) and the old trap was down now leaving a large heligoland trap hole in the garden. With a space now cleared for the new trap to go up we awaited the arrival of the team on volunteers that were going to build the contraption.

Vast quantities of of wood, wire and post concrete arrive

With a fantastic group of workers constructing the trap, things were taking shape in no time at all

The beginnings of the catching end of the trap

Lunchtime yoga sessions from some of the workers

The final touches of wire mesh to complete the trap

A lot of wood, mesh, saws, hammers, staples, amazing weather hard work and dedication later and the trap was complete, !!!FANTASTIC JOB GUYS!!!

Our first rare bird to stumble into the new trap was this gorgeous yellow-browed warbler, lets hope for many more!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

University Field Studies

For the second year running we had the pleasure of welcoming a group of students from Bangor University to the observatory.

As a part of their degree's it was down to each student to undertake a mini project of their choice, study whatever it was they had chosen and produce some results in a presentation at the end of the week.

Various projects were chosen to study including newts, grasses, plants, mammals, insects and birds.

Using the wildlife and expertise on Bardsey it was also a great opportunity for one of the lecturers from the university to conduct one of his own research projects. This entailed placing GPS trackers and accelerometers on adult Manx Shearwaters to try and build up a better picture of where these birds go to feed, how often they are out during the incubation period and other details of speed and distance traveled.

The gps and accelerometer tags are fastened to feathers on back of the shearwater with special tape which degrades and eventually falls off after a few weeks

Manx shearwater equip with tags

Morning moth trap session with the group

Bardsey is a fantastic opportunity for anyone in education looking to study and learn more about natural history.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

odd jobs, earthquakes and the magic of bardsey

With more guests now starting to arrive and still plenty of jobs to do life at the obs is feeling more and more busy.

The first section of the shearwater productivity survey is just about complete

The ringing of resident and migrant birds is still taking place (spotted flycatcher below)

Including the start of sea bird ringing (Ben with a shag)

Steve ringing pied wagtail nestlings

The occasional dip in the pond (unintentional)

The start of the bardsey gym

Glorious sunshine

Vegetation in net rides to attack

A spot of free time for bardsey golf

One special period this month was the start of our "Magic of Bardsey" week. A course designed to introduce people to the flora and fauna, history and going's on on Bardsey island.

Bob showing some of our course goers the interesting ferns that grow on bardsey

Procuring a usb endoscope for our computers allowed us to show the goings on in some of our shearwater burrows on the island to the delight of our guests

Shearwater incubating an egg in a burrow

Boat trips to see the sea bird colonies on the east side of the island

A fully catered week with some fantastic food (cant remember what this is but it was awesome)

We even had the time to arrange an earthquake measuring 3.8 on the richter scale to top the week off.

Luckily I was on hand catch the lighthouse as it toppled and return it too its original standing...............................I may have embellished this slightly......

It was a fantastic week to introduce people to Bardsey and its wildlife, we hope they all thoroughly enjoyed their time.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Warming up.........slightly

Its chough breeding season so it's time to survey our local breeding choughs on the island. Each year we try and identify each pair of choughs that breed in various locations around bardsey, but how do we identify each bird as an individual you may ask.......

Each bird has its own unique color ring combination consisting of four rings, two on each leg. Three are colored and one is a standard metal BTO ring, using a scope or binoculars these rings are readable in the field. Having these on the legs of the local breeding choughs means we can keep track of who each bird is, where they have been and who they are partnered with, it also means we can identify the birds that are not residents of bardsey, providing useful information about their movements.

An example of some of the color rings, there are solid colors as well as stripes.

Guests and day visitors are also starting to pick up this time of year so Emma is hard at work putting the shop and its stock back together.

Keeping and eye on the proceedings.

Unbelievably its finally starting to warm up now, still quiet on the birding side of things but enjoying the warmth.

Another resident who is enjoying some of the warm spells.