Monday, 31 October 2011
Only other birds of note today were a few Crossbills overhead.
Sunday, 30 October 2011
All in all a pretty good weekend. This sooty looking melanistic Great tit was in Nefyn in the same garden as the Rose Coloured Starling. I remember over 10 years back reports of Great tits in Brynsiencyn with all black hoods. Maybe there are melanistic traits in NW Wales Great tits? Brents and Barwits are showing well in Beddmanarch bay now with the fresh juvvy geese showing quite spangly looking backs. I'm chasing up a ringed Black headed Gull I had there today as well. South Stack had a Halloween Treasure hunt which the kids enjoyed. I also enjoyed the Choughs, Coffee and a nice bit of Cottage Pie! Also here are the best shots of the Lesser Yellowlegs that I could manage (not as good as Robs!). It was still on the Alaw East end near Llanfachraeth at 12.30 at least today.
Here is a sonogram of a Water Rail that I recorded on my Remembird device (http://www.remembird.com) this afternoon at the old reservoir on the Great Orme. It was first heard this morning and was still present late afternoon, only the second known live record (one was also found dead many years ago). The sonogram has been created using Raven Lite 1.0 (Raven Lite web-site), a free interactive sound analysis software available on-line and really easy to use.
Other birds seen this morning included a fine Lapland Bunting in off the sea (found by Paul Leafe), Merlin, calling Snow Bunting and 11 Long tailed Tit.
Saturday, 29 October 2011
Friday, 28 October 2011
My first twite of the winter showed from west hide with 3 linnet. Great numbers of waders showed at close range. C400 knot, 2 bar wit, 50 black wit, 3 greenshank and 8 spotted reds were the highlights.
One of the great egrets showed very very distantly looking across the river towards Neston.
Four Snow Buntings are now showing very well at the cairn on the limestone pavements on the Great Orme. Their chattering trills and whistles can be heard as you walk around the headland. A quiet couple of mornings but a decent passage of Mistle Thrushes (7 yesterday and 13 today) as well as a few Brambling and Crossbills over. Bullfinches (up to 6) and a treecreeper are unusual species for the top of the Orme and are presumed migrants. A few Siskin and Redpolls also over while a fem / imm Merlin has been chasing migrant finches and a male Sparrowhawk had one of the two remaining Wheatears for its lunch! With a few days left of October, things seem to be qietening down, but there's always enough time for bird of the autumn to be found yet.
Wednesday, 26 October 2011
Video clip of Yellowhammer on the limestone pavement wall - a scarce bird on the Orme but becoming more regular with a few records each autumn and early spring.
A total of seven birders were on the headland at dawn and this was reflected in the number of birds seen. The Richard's pipit was still present in the sheep fields, while two Black Redstarts were new in. One was near the limestone carpark (PA) and another in the cemetery (AD). The two Snow Buntings continued to show very well near the cairn. A nice selection of buntings produced at least one Yellowhammer along the wall, a good bird here as well as at least 6 Reed Buntings. Seven Bramblings were noted amongst the small passage of finches, while 10 Crossbills passed over head. Four Wheatears were dotted around the pavements, while a Golden Plover and two Snipe represented the waders. A female Merlin hunted a Goldfinch along the cliffs (PA).
Tuesday, 25 October 2011
Monday, 24 October 2011
Alan and I had a SEO in-off the sea at Penmaenmawr on the way. It was high over the east roundabout on the A55 and headed south.
I recently went on an excellent birding trip to Costa Rica. One of the highlights was finally catching up with Elegant tern after I missed the Porthmadoc bird. It was on a boat trip around the mangroves and estuary near Carara national Park on the mid-Pacific coast. There were 2 amongst 40 -50 Royal terns and a bunch of Brown Pelicans. They were on a sandbank at the mouth of an estuary. In fact the back-drop, in the rain with a grey sky reminded me a bit of Porthmadoc. Obviously the "Welsh" bird must have felt at home when it found Porthmadoc. Pity it didn't hang around a little longer!
Sunday, 23 October 2011
I spent last night and this morning wandering the Woodlands around Welshpool in mid-Wales. Last night I was with mid Wales birder Paul Leafe and we managed to catch a ring a fine Woodcock. It was great to watch Badgers, Hares, Goosanders, Snipe and Woodcock in the torchlight and at such close quarters. It amazes me that they allow such close approach at night.
This morning a wander through the woodlands produced 3 Marsh tit, a few flocks of Crossbill and at least a thousand Redwings at Powys Castle. A Tawny Owl frightened the living daylights out of me as I investigated some aggitated thrushes and Tits. A fine Stag also showed well amongst several hinds and at one point tried to outstare me.
Saturday, 22 October 2011
Friday, 21 October 2011
Sadly no rare migrants in the Warren. Blackcap, chiffchaff, redwings and a few goldcrests were the best migrants.
A nice female merlin was on the saltmarsh.
The sea produced some good birding. 2 juv Poms drifted east, a bonxie sat on the sea and a single dark arctic skua powered through west. Other seabirds seen included 3 late gannets, a commic tern, 1 red throated diver, 3 guillimots and 6 grey plover with 40 sanderling on the beach.
Gresford flash goose flock held the long standing Ross' goose, along with a barnacle and 180 greylag.
Must be good for a sibe this weekend with the wind shifting to the south east.
Thursday, 20 October 2011
Full details at http://lleyn-birding.blogspot.com/
Mugimaki Flycatcher anyone?
Tuesday, 18 October 2011
On each day i spent at least some days at either the Cazalla or the Algorrobo watchpoint with birders from all over Europe. It was great to get your eye in on the huge numbers of raptors either passing over or just hanging around. For the first 3 days there was a very strong Levante wind (easterly) which meant that very few birds crossed. This meant that more raptors were further west at Algorrobo which is more sheltered.
Short Toed Eagle
Juv Egyptian Vulture
Yellow Legged Gull
This area a little further east is famous for breeding white rumped and little swifts. Sadly despite 3 visits I and many others saw none. They breed in a cave here and when nesting are very reliable. Sadly breeding was over and none were to be seen here or at other sites for these species. In theory the white rumoed should still be around and the littles are resident. The local griffons though put on a show along with blue rock thrushes, sardinian warblers and calandra larks.
A trip to the ancient city of Cadiz was pleasant. Few birds were added to the trip list, although flamingos were seen on route and there is a healthy population of monk parakeets in the city.
I had to leave at lunch to go whale watching. From the boat we saw numerous pilot whales, a few bottle nosed dolphins and sunfish. Sadly only a few seabirds were seen including storm petrel, a single balearic and a few cory's shearwaters and caspian terns. Not many pelagics though produce osprey, short toed eagle and a monty!
We hired the services of a guide for a morning. Jose from Discovering Donana proved good company and knew his birds. He also had access to parts of the reserve we would not be allowed to get to. Highlights of the morning were pin tailed sandgrouse, lesser short toed lark, bluethroat, azure winged magpie, spectacled, western orphean and dartford warbler, slender billed gull, numerous flocks of glossy ibis, spoonbills, herons and egrets (squacco, night and purple heron with all 3 egrets) and best of all stonking views of a melanistic montagues Harrier. Sadly we missed imperial eagle but Jose pointed me in the direction of a good site close to El Rocio. Sure enough later that afternoon I was watching a Spanish imperial eagle soaring with a booted eagle and a griff for company.
The final 3 days of the holiday were spent in Extremadura about 3 hours north of Seville. We stayed with British birder Martin Kelsey and his wife Claudia in their guesthouse Casa Rural El Recuerdo near Trujillo. This was an excellent place to stay with great local food and good company, and hawfinch, red rumped swallow and azure winged magpies in the garden. We went out birding with Martin around the local plains as well as heading to Monfrague national park. This part or Spain is very rural with scattered old towns and villages but full of birdlife.
Monfrague national park is more rugged with steep hills and cliff faces. This is a famous place for watching breeding raptors and there was great numbers of griffs around along with a few black vultures, booted and short toed eagle, a late honey buzzard and peregrine all soaring around the rock faces. A new bird in the shape of a black wheatear showed nicely for us. Dartford warbler, iberian shrike, blue rock thrush, alpine swift and azure winged magpie were also seen whilst watching the skies for raptors.
We had a great 3 days (Fri, Sat, Sun) over in Norfolk where we found Yellow-browed Warbler, Great Grey Shrike, 3 Lapland Buntings and 2 Ruddy Shelduck. We also twitched the Red-flanked Bluetail at Holme and enjoyed a host of other great birds, and all in wonderful sunshine. Check out
http://www.thebiggesttwitch.com/diary/finding-great-birds-in-norfolk for photos and more details.
We're giving a talk on Friday 21st October at Penrhyn Bay on The Biggest Twitch, 7.30 pm. All welcome, so do come along, we look forward to seeing you there.
Good birding !
Alan and Ruth
Sunday, 16 October 2011
A good morning on the Orme with lots of birds - first significant fall of thrushes - 50+ Blackbirds, 20+ Song Thrush and 20+ Redwing, 2 Fieldfare and 4 Mistle Thrushes. Vis-mig over - 5 Snow Bunting, 6 Bullfinch, 10+ Lesser Redpoll, 45+ Crossbill, 20+ Siskin, 2 Reed Buntings, Grey Wagtail, Golden Plover, hundreds of Chaffinch and Greenfinch. A super Merlin showed well and a single Wheatear. A very grey washed out Chiffchaff was seen briefly near the ole cafe - probably an 'abientinus' race bird, but without a call and good views difficult to nail.
Had just talked to Steve Williams from Hilbre about the good feeling the morning had and suggested one of us should be phoning with a mega before the end of the morning. It was the Hilbre crew who struck gold with Steve phoning 30 minutes later to say he had a Bluetail!! Well done to them, and certainly shows that this species should be on our radar along the north Wales coast.
Dear Mr Bluetail, why weren't you on the Orme this morning?