Dispelling rumors that we never leave the island we returned to Ramsey yesterday after a 4 week break! We spent 2 fantastic weeks birding in Costa Rica with ace birder Diego Quesada where we saw an impressive 372 species including 29 species of hummingbird! Visits to family and friend made up the rest of our break
The aptly named Green-crowned Brilliant!
We then bumped our way back across Ramsey Sound yesterday to find the island in good shape. The weather had been pretty benign in our absence but it looks like a series of storm systems are pushing in this week.
Crossing the Sound yesterday
Today saw the biggest high tide we will see in 2015 at 7.84m - by contrast the low tide, just 6 hours later was a mere 0.06m (the second lowest we will see in 2015). We took advantage of the low tides to explore some areas we don't get to very often.
Comparison between high and low tide today
We scrambled down to the foot of our highest seabird cliff at Glyma.It was quite impressive looking back up at the 100m high cliffs. It won't be long before the birds are back and they will be echoing to the growls and cries of guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes (the fulmars have kept us company all winter of course!)
The empty seabird cliffs on the west coast of Ramsey
Water running off the cliffs at the bottom of Glyma
You know a westerly storm is coming when the RNLI bring the boat across to the sheltered east side of the island! Batten down the hatches again it would seem....
As forecast today was a stormy affair! Winds gusted to 60mph (force 10 to 11) around the middle of the afternoon at Milford Haven so you can probably add a few on for out here!
Not one to miss a weather phenomenon, Dewi and I crawled out to the island's west coast (literally at times in my case - the dog fared better) and tried to grab some video and photos. We then came back to the house and went down to get some of the harbour and the Axe - if you have ever waited for the boat on Ramsey you might well have looked down on this view but probably not seen it looking quite like this this!
Photos never quite do it justice with a small compact (I wasn't taking our good camera out!) but hopefully it gives you a feel for what it was like. It might look like some of the photos have got 'soft focus' on them but they haven't - that's just the never ending salt spray that was drenching us!
Short video showing firstly the west coast and the harbour wall and the Axe
Colomennod on the west coast
Carreg Gwylan opposite Trwyn-yr-allt
The Bitches just after high tide
The harbour wall and the archway of the 'Axe'
A wet and windswept border collie! He loved it really!
A female bullfinch feeding on what remains of the blackberry seeds on the garden bramble bushes was a good find by Lisa this morning. We only had one record in the whole of 2014 so nice to get it on the year list. The bullfinch was quite secretive, initially given away by her repetitive soft 'pew-pew' call. She did break cover on one occasion though which allowed us to get the following photos:
Meanwhile I battled my way up to the seawatch hide in a NW force 9 and was rewarded with 2 'bonxies' (great skuas) heading south. These are the first January records for Ramsey for this species - most are recorded in September and October on migration from their northern breeding sites. Plenty of guillemots were passing too - at an impressive rate of 1600/hr at one point (count all you can in 30 mins and x2 to get an estimate of hourly passage). Kittiwakes were passing at 350/hr and in 90 mins I also logged two red-throated divers and 20 gannets.
As I write this the wind has eased slightly since this morning but there is more to come and it looks like its getting colder too!