Friday, 30 September 2011

Burton Mere RSPB

Roadtested the new Burton Mere RSPB wetlands today with John Roberts and had a decent day with a great white egret giving excellent views infront of the new double-sided hide while at the reception viewing area a pec sand was showing very well. Four curlew sands were also seen from here but a trip round to the Inner Marsh Farm hide produced 14 of these waders and 2 spot reds. We also called in at the new wonderfully named Donkey Stand flash at Parkgate and had 2 little stint, greenshank, c120 dunlin and c20 ringed plover. Burton Mere looks a promising site and won't be surprised if a few more goodies turn up here.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Dotterel, Great Orme 29.09.11

Still west of cairn:

 Pensive ear:
 Billies & Co stinking the place out:

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Autumn Buzzard Movements

I recorded a flock of 7 1st winter Common Buzzards flying east over Porth Meudwy, Aberdaron this morning amongst a few other migrants.

I had a flashback to a similar movement last autumn when there was a kettle of 20+ birds over Uwchmynydd in similar weather.

I wonder if such migrants are encountered anywhere else in North Wales e.g. Great Orme or South Stack? 

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Very Scilly Indeed

St.Mary’s started to pick up momentum kicking off with a Solitary Sandpiper on Newford Duckpond on 13th along with a Blue-winged Teal.  A probable Northern Waterthrush was spotted on the 16th and confirmed the next day but remained very elusive.  With only 9 previous records this was a much sought Nearctic land bird but more was to follow.  Birders searching for the thrush found a female Black-and-White Warbler; with only 4 previous records.  A first winter female Baltimore Oriole, of which there have been 24 previous records, was also present on the Garrison 20-21st.  Added to this was more than likely multiple Red-eyed Vireos with the earliest British record of one on 13-14th at Sallyport, one on the Garrison on 19th and another was reported on 21st at Porth Hellick and again more were to follow!  
Something had to be done.  An event was unfolding and as each record emerged each felt like a bang on the head with a frying pan to awaken my senses.  I wanted to go.  I wanted to see.  Everything was there on Wednesday evening and after booking everything on the 22nd news on all the megas began to dwindle.  Nightmare scenario! 
Not many birders I asked could make the trip so it ended up being just Ken Croft and I.  We arrived on the Scillonian and were due to fly back on Monday 26th so we had the equivalent of 3 days birding.  The waterthrush wasn’t playing ball.  Was that it?  Was that the last of the megas departing?  We patched the southern half of the island and saw 2 Pectoral Sandpipers (Porth Hellick) and a Buff-breasted Sandpiper (airfield) and a Whinchat (Lower Moors).  With more gen on the Waterthrush dawn on the 24th began at the Project Pool, a small pool created at the back of the Island’s dump accessed from a increasingly squidgy footpath from the Dump Clump out through the juncus to the back of the dump.  After 30 minutes a bird flew in and tucked in under some overhanging juncus emerging in little spurts of walking.  It was the Northern Waterthrush showing to around 8 metres for around 30 mins.  The weather turned and rain came in so we took shelter at Lower Moors looking out at nothing I took the opportunity to get some sleep.  Many birders came in out of the rain and then left at 10am when it lightened and only 3 people remained; us and visiting artist Richard Thewlis.  At 10:05 a bird flew in and called with a harsh metallic 'teck', Richard got onto it first; it was the Waterthrush again and showing at around 3 metres!  I ran out of the hide to try and catch up with those that had left but they’d gone.  I texted news out as the bird moved round the edge of the water for a couple of minutes but then it left just as people arrived 5 minutes later.  Not the best scenarios for them but we had just watched this cracking bird at very close range.  Internally three of us were buzzing.  Luckily it was getting tracked down, despite having a huge range and it showed again at Project Pool at dawn and dusk.  
As the rain finally cleared we headed up to the airfield and saw the adult Woodchat Shrike and then 3 Buff-breasted Sandpipers.  News broke that the Solitary Sandpiper was on Project Pool.  Back we went and the bird showed ridiculously at around 8 metres.  We then missed a Wryneck at Old Town churchyard then ventured in search of the Bee-Eater further north but that effort only produced a Spotted Flycatcher.  We tried again at Old Town Church and just as we walked in through the gate a bird flicked up from about a metre away and resettled just behind a headstone about 3 metres away.  It was the Wryneck and it showed for about 40 minutes and we left it roosting in a Cordyline with Old Town Bay as a backdrop.  What a day.
Sunday was slower.  We patched the Garrison and Sallyport, picking up a Turtle Dove and went up to see the Woodchat again which showed a bit better despite a stiff breeze coming in from the southwest.  An Ortolan Bunting was missed on the airfield as was a Melodious Warbler at Carn Friars.  News came over of a Red eyed Vireo showing well in the Old Town churchyard.  I ran from Carn Friars but there was no bird and no birders looking when we got there!  We had a good look round but drew a blank so we tried birding in the shelter of Lower Moors again.  Another birder came into the hide and mentioned that the Solitary Sandpiper was showing again on Porthloo Duckpond and as the morning had been quiet we thought we’d go and have another look knowing it would be showing well there. 
On arriving we saw a wader asleep on the edge of the mud around 1 metre from the road!  I looked at it and knew it wasn’t the Solitary Sandpiper.  It was more slender, had a darker mantle with much more spotting than the Sandpiper, it lifted its head and showed a thin, short, all dark bill and as it hopped out of the water it revealed bright yellow legs.  It was Lesser Yellowlegs and seemed to be fresh in and fairly tired.  I texted news out and it took ten minutes for a few birders to arrive.  The resident assortment of ducks on the pool were a nuisance and kept disturbing the bird but allowed us to see the neat white rectangle on the rump and fine baring on the tail.  The tide was in at Porthloo hence the Yellowlegs was taking refuge nearby but there were 3 Med Gulls on the beach.  
Heading back to town news came over again of a Red-eyed Vireo in the Clump Dump.  Astonishingly a visiting birder tried a bit of pishing in the elms at the Dump and the Northern Waterthrush popped up followed 2 seconds later by a Red-eyed Vireo but by the time I got there it wasn’t seen again.  We still had the next morning but time would be tight for our scheduled flight out at 14:30.  News came out early the following morning that the REV had been seen only 30 yards from where it showed in the Dump Clump.  We got there but again it had vanished, the 4th dip!  After a bit of patching nearby we retraced our efforts back to where it was last seen and within an hour a group of birders watched it for a priceless two minutes or so feeding and flitting low in the elms by the new School.  Brilliant!  That morning the Waterthrush, Solitary and Lesser Legs were all together on Project Pool!
We headed for the airport looking out at a rolling sea mist advancing and unfortunately within an hour the airport closed and we would have to get the Scillonian back to Penzance delaying us by around 5 hours and meant it was going to be a very late night.  On the bright side we still had some seawatching to do and the crossing turned out rather good.  10+ Stormies, 2 Sooty, 3 Balearic were seen along with 20+ Common Dolphin, I saw a probable Risso’s breach very distantly and just as we came to Boscowan a Minke Whale surface 4 times with 3 Small Porpoise nearby.  What a finish to our 3 days!
 Crippling thrush:
 1 of 2 Pec at 3 metres at Porth Hellick
 Red Underwing, Catocala nupta at Longstones:
 Solitary Sandpiper at Project Pool:
 Wryneck at Old Town church:
 Wryneck contemplating the nights accommodation:
 The famous Mourning Point albino Blabi:
 Lesser Legs found at Porthloo Duckpond:

More Dotterel Pics

Showing superbly this evening by the cairn on the limestones.

Dotterel Great Orme

A dotterel is on the Great Orme for its second day relocated this morning by Pete Alderton on the cliff edge opposite the limestone cairn. The bird was present there early morning but flew off towards the summit and wasn't relocated at its original spot until this afternoon. Bird is flighty but hopefully it will hang around for a while.

Morfa Madryn waders

A good show of waders at Morfa Madryn over the high tide today. Three greenshank and a spot red were on the west pool while another greenshank, 24 barwits, 2 godwits, 60 knot, 3 grey plover, a whimbrel, c350 curlew, c2,500 oycs, 50 dunlin, 10 ringed plover, 20 redshank and a sanderling were roosting on the shingle spit. Up to 30 pintail now in along with 40 wigeon.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Lleyn Crossbills & Curlew Sandpiper

Highlights of a walk with the Cambrian Ornithological Society today were several mobile groups of Crossbill in the conifer plantations by Ty'n y Parc, Rhiw. We recorded 6 flying over then a flock of 14 birds followed by 9. I suspect that these were all different birds at what is proving to be a reliable site for the species. A good flock of 40+ Siskin and a single Lesser Redpoll were around the alders by the new ponds here with a nice selection of other typical woodland birds in the area including Long-tailed Tits and Bullfinch, Green Woodpecker, Nuthatch and Jay.
After lunch the group visited Pwllheli Harbour. Highlights were Kingfisher, two adult Mediterranean Gulls on the Cob Pool, great views of at least one Peregrine buzzing over the water and a selection of waders including  Curlew Sandpiper and 5 Bar-tailed Godwit. 

More details on my blog at:

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Richard's pipit and Firecrests - Orme

Autumn started properly today with an early Richard's Pipit on the Great Orme (2nd earliest ever here, the 1st being a day earlier in 2005). Richard Pipits have got scarcer up here over the past few years with only one brief record last year and then having to go back to 2006. The bird was mobile and vocal and was regularly mobbed by Meadow pipits. It was first seen coming in off the sea over the lone hawthorn at he bottom of the small valley. However it is now best viewed from the summit overlooking the barn area but was also seen flying out over the dung heap.
2 Firecrests were also present - one in the pines at st Tudn's chuch and the other at Powell's well along the track to pink farm. Other migrants included 3 Snipe, 2 reed Bunting, 2 Mistle Thrush, 3 Chiff chaff, 7 Wheatear, 50+ each of Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Goldfinch over, 2 Coal Tit, 2 Blackcap and 20+ Goldcrest.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Grey phalarope at Conwy

A grey phalarope was found at Conwy RSPB reserve this morning seen in a small bay to the left of Carneddau hide and showing well at times. Two greenshank also seen but a search for an unusual dove seen early morning failed to turn anything up by lunchtime.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

recent moths 21.09.11

None uncommon but still coming to light:

Setaceous Hebrew Character:
 Big range in markings of these Common Carpet:
 Angle Shades:

Rhos Point

With the winds picking up again this afternoon spent a couple of hours at Rhos Point over the high tide and managed juv long tailed skua, bonxie, black tern and 2 arctic skuas. Plenty of Manxies, gannets, kittiwakes and auks blown close in.

Sunday, 18 September 2011



Timor Sparrow


Monserat Oriole

Socorro Dove

Red and Yellow Barbet

Northern Hawk Owl

Chestnut backed thrush

It was my daughters birthday this weekend so we had a day out to Chester Zoo so I couldn't do any "proper" birding. However there are some quality birds to be had on our doorstep all-be-it in captivity. They are all well housed and they are doing their best to breed their stuff for conservation purposes. A great example being the pair of Monserat Orioles feeding their recently fledged chick - good luck I say! They also have Socorro Doves which are extinct in the wild, so Chester zoo is as good a place as any to see that bird. It also gives good photo opertunities for birds that are difficult to get in the wild providing you can even get there in the first place. Quality birds like Sunbittern were flashing there wings - until I showed it the camera of course. All in all a great day out! And the family loved it as well ;-)

Anglesey 18.09.11

BBS showed all day at Conwy but we headed to Lynas with NWesterlies forecast but it wasnt that windy until we arrived and it picked up nicely.  2 Sabs, an adult and juv were seen straight away, followed by 5 Black Tern, 5 Arctic Skua, 2 Bonxie, 3 Pom, 2 RTD, and 3-5 Balearic, two of which landed.  Most birds passed close with little passing distantly.
Above: Balearic Shearwater showing well but in poor light
Below: Big feeding flock beneath the headland.
Grey Phalarope showing on flooded horse paddock just before the reservoir on the road to South Stack.  Prints available!
BBSs were showing again on the 2nd headland from the lighthouse on the Range. 

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Buff breasts still on the Range

Tonight the two Buff breasted sandpipers were showing very well on the western area of the Range at South Stack (accessed from North Car park - straight out). They were on the short heather with little furrows between, not on the short grassy areas. Me and Tony had a moment togeather with them after we showed them to some visiting birders for whom these were lifers, which was great for them. They were very approachable (the birds that is) and obviously couldn't see me and Tony approaching due to the way we blend into the background! After getting a few hundred shots we crept off leaving them feeding happily at about 7pm. I also got a shot showing that the gold at the end of the Rainbow can be in the form of a nice pair of Buff breasts!

River Clwyd Waders

The River Clwyd was teeming with waders this afternoon on the falling tide. Highlight were four cracking Little Stints amongst the 300+ Dunlin. The size difference between the two Ruff had me going for a bit with the Reeve being a lot smaller than the male it was accompanying. A single Culew Sandpiper, 5+ Greenshank, 2 Common sandpiper, a Bar tailed Godwit, 2 Turnstone and 50+ Ringed Plover were alos present. 3 Kingfishers at the mouth of the gele showed superbly. Hundreds of Gulls were scrutinized with just one Med Gull for the hard work. However a darvic ringed Greater Black backed Gull (blue 2CJ) will hopefully have an interesting history. 100+ Cormornat were roosting on the saltmarsh too - quite a spectacle.
Here's a photo to get Rob's juices going......... :-)

BB Sand and Black Tern

Buff Breasted Sandpiper still showing very well from Tal-y-Fan hide today. Black Tern dropped in on the reserve after a heavy shower mid morning (of which i personally missed) to later finding one off the Little Orme mid afternoon!

2 Buff Breasted Sands still showing at South stack, a Sabs Gull was reported off Criccieth and four Grey Phalaropes still remain on Glaslyn Marshes!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Recent Moths 16.09.11

Few attracted to light recently-no trap:

Sliver 'Y'
 Common Wainscot
 A worn Flounced Rustic i think
 A pale Small Dusty Wave
 Wormwood Pug
Also a few Brimstones and a Setaceous Hebrew Character around this eve.

Buff B Sand, Conwy 16.09.11

First record for the rez, 2nd for Conwy county i think in 1977?.
How many more out there in coastal fields?! Couple more pix:

Buff breasted Treat.

Conwy RSPB reserve - 3 Spot Shank, 5 Greenshankm 1 Curlew Sand, 2 Ruff and this beauty!

Great start to the weekend!