Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Single Chiffchaff in the marshy area at Soldier's point, with Grey Wagtail and Water Rail also. There is an interesting article on wintering Chiffchaff at sewage works (plus 2 YBWs) on the BTO website at: http://btoringing.blogspot.com/2012/02/its-all-about-sewage.html Only a short article and worth a read if you have a spare moment.
A quick stop at Morfa Nefyn had the Surfie east of where it's usually been, just out from the main beach entrance - perhaps because the tide was out. Still obvioulsy intent on eating every last crab in the bay.
Traeth Penllech next and a plenty of gulls but nothing of note (to my eye). No dead birds either
: ( North end of Porth Neigwl next where Andrew acted sherpa leading me down to the beach. Our combined skills proved invaluable as we jointly found a dead swan - HOORA... sorry Oh no , it's dead : (
Actually, may have been a large farm goose - too far gone for us to work out. but it's going down on the record card as a swan sp.
Checking the southern end of the beach I found some more dead birds : ) HO... sorry, ahem, a collection feathers loosely attached to tiny bit of bone that may once have been an auk, maybe a Great one judging fron the advanced decomposition. Next, a pristine guillemot minus its breast fillets - I suspect a peregine kill. Finally a cat's-cradle of seaweed and bone framed by two black- headed gull primaries - Result : )
Way down the south end I was chuffed to find a (locally ) huge gull flock of 500+ gulls bobbing beyond the surf. An Iceland gull stood out obvioulsy and after confidently reporting it as 2nd winter I now suspect it was an advanced 1st winter bird. Further scanning produced two cracking adult Meds and a first winter. I managed some bad digiscoping but too poor even by my standards to post.
A final stop at Abersoch produced another near adult summer-ish Med - Hyfryd.
As Samuel Johnson once said to James Boswell;
"when a man is tired of Med Gulls, he is tired of life."
Tuesday, 28 February 2012
The female long tailed duck still on the river Clwyd opposite the caravan site this morning. Greenland white fronted goose also still around on the marsh next to caravans. Elsewhere 2 adult Med gulls in school playing field by Abergele A55 roundabout and a couple of velvet scoters at Llandulas plus 162 great crested grebes.
Monday, 27 February 2012
Enjoy the birding but please leave the birds in peace for their sake and other birders that follow.
Many thanks and good birding
Alan and Ruth
Long tailed Duck still River Clwyd - Dave J
Still space on this Saturdays gull day sure to be brilliant birding! See posts from Marc below for details.
Alan and Ruth
Sunday, 26 February 2012
Paul Leafe had an interesting Redpoll session at The Flash, Welshpool today. His camera battery went dead after one picture of the Mealy unfortunately. Two Mealies present and a large dark bird which sounds mightily interesting.
The above pictures shows great front on profiles of a Mealy redpoll and a Lesser Redpoll at the Flash today. Note the mealy coloured tones on the face and flanks, as well as the more frosty appearance to the cheeks, flanks and wing. The square headed, bull necked appearance is quite striking and shows that it is a good way of separating the two species.
Green Ringed AHYY adult summer Mediterranean Gull. Looks like it might have travelled from Germany!
Dark mantled Common Gull (at the back) - stood out a mile amongst the regular Commons. Also had reduced white mirrors, but don't know if this is a feature of 'heinei' Common Gull.
Another dark mantled Common Gull (at the back of the group), also some nice streaking on the head. Click on the image for a larger image.Also a possible Russian bird? Hope there are some to quiz Mr Garner with next week.
An extremely dark 1st winter Common Gull - retarded moult? Not sure whether this means it might have come from further north? All other 1st year birds were well on the way the having white bellies and grey mantles. Any suggestions?
With Martin Garner coming to North Wales next week (www.birdingfrontiers.com), I went about searching for flocks to grill when the 'guru' himself arrives. I came across a flock of 3000+ Common Gulls on the beach between Llanddulas and Pensarn and spent an interesting 2-3 hours searching through them.
Six Mediterranean Gulls were on show, 3 near summer plumaged adults, a winter plumaged adult, one 2nd winter and a 1st winter bird. Two of the adults had green darvic rings, one of which I could read. I have sent the ring number off AHYY, but early indications show that it was ringed by the Hamburg team in Germany.
Another bird ringed was a superb leucistic Common Gull, presumably a different bird from the Llanfairfechan bird that has spent at least the past 10 summers there (as that one wasn't ringed whan I last saw it in Sept 2011).
At least 2 probable Russian 'heinei' Common Gulls were with the flock. Their almost 'Lesser Black Backed' tones to the mantle making them stand out. The two adult birds are shown above. Any comments appreciated. The dark and very marked 1st winter Common Gull in the picture above also stood out as it was way behind with it's moult compared with the many hundreds of other 1st winter birds. Could this mean it has come from a long way away? Looking forward to ask these questions to Martin next week.
For anyone still interested, I have frustraitingly had a cancellation tonight so there is a place available. The cost is £35 for a 9am - dusk gulling experience with top identification expert, BBRC member, finder of Britain's first Caspian Gull...Martin Garner. Get in touch through email@example.com if you would like to fill that place.
A lovely walk down the River Clwyd this morning was very rewarding. The female Long tailed Duck was seen immediately on arrival feeding under the flyover at the Rhuddlan end before flying way to the north with Goldeneye. I followed it down river and had a good list of birds; Knot, Bar tailed Godwit, Black tailed Godwit, Golden plover, Grey Plover, Little Egrets and the Greenland White fornted Goose in the fields opposite the River Elwy. The Long tailed Duck was also in this area for a short while, but by the time I had walked back to Rhuddlan it was back in its favoured place opposite the caravan park. Many birds in song included Skylarks, Reed Bunting while a pair of Rock pipits here were nice to see.
On my way to the Clwyd I stopped at the roundabout by the Abergele Macdonalds and was treated to two lovely Mediterranean Gulls in the football field - a lovely adult in near full summer plumage and a 2nd winter bird amongst the Black headed Gulls.
Few bits from yday
GG Shrike again Worlds End
Rose coloured Starling Holyhead also Black Redstart
Surf Scoter still Porth Dinllaen
We had a brilliant day yday guiding in Cheshire and Lancashire seeing Great white Egret, Spoonbill, amazing views of Bittern, Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Merlin and masses of wild swans, wildfowl and waders! Finsihed off with a lovely Barn Owl. Why noy join us soon for a cracking day out?
Alan and Ruth
firstname.lastname@example.org for details of tours.
Saturday, 25 February 2012
The female long tailed duck was showing very well this afternoon on the River Clwyd near the caravan park best viewed from the east side of the river. It was associating with half a dozen goldeneye and similar number of goosander when I arrived but then flew off on its own and then kept apart from the other ducks. A single white-fronted goose was with the goose flock.
What a cracking record!
Usually seeing 2 drake Surf Scoter would be the highlight, or perhaps a 1st winter Iceland Gull moving through with the Herring Gulls early morning? Not today at Rainbow Bridge, Old Colwyn. This morning's early morning scoter spectacle was truly awsome with 15-20,000 Common Scoter wheeling about in the sky - got to be one of my year's highlights so far. The picture above is a very small section of what went on for miles and miles! With the flock were 2 drake surf Scoter, at least 15 Velvet Scoter, four Eider, 2 Pale bellied Brent Geese, lots of Red throated Divers, Great Crested Grebes and Mergansers, while a lovely 1st winter Iceland Gull made its way steadily west with a good passage of large gulls.
What a pre-breakfast birding session!
The adult Iceland Gull left it late on Friday evening to make an appearance and flew in at 5.40pm. The gull rosst can be found just east of the new coastal development and breakwater. A few hundred Gulls can be found here during the afternoon but during the hour before dark this number increaces dramatically with 1000+ Gulls making their way to the cordoned off section of beach. 12 Lesser black backed Gulls, some nice juv 'argentatus' Herring Gulls, 5 Greater black backed Gull, many Common and Black headed join the large number of Herrings each night.
This will be a site which we visit in next weekends Martin Garner gull i.d. day. One place has been made available and if you would like to take this place get in touch with me. This should be a superb day in the Conwy area searching through gulls, talking i.d. and learning about sound recording. Martin is full of knowledge and there will be a lot of learning going on.
GG Shrike Worlds End
Surf Scoter Porth D
Iceland Gull Colwyn Bay
Tundra B Goose Aber Ogwen
As ever Birdline 09068 700249 has all details
Off guiding in Cheshire and Lancs today so hoping for some great birds....
Alan and Ruth
ps many thanks to Kathy for getting everyone together last night great fun!
Thursday, 23 February 2012
Loads of scoter offshore but to much haze to see anything with them.
Alan and Ruth
www.thebiggesttwitch.com - pics of BT Diver Holyhead
Posted some pics of the Blk t Diver at Holyhead on our blog please take a look
Alan and Ruth
Still one place left on our trip to Burton Mere Wetlands, Dee Estuary and Martin Mere WWT this Saturday why not join us?
Common Yellowthroat still in Gwent
One place left on Burton Mere Wetlands, Dee Estuary, Martin Mere WWT on Saturday sure to be a great day! Why not come along?
Alan and Ruth
Wednesday, 22 February 2012
Alan and Ruth
A speculative visit to Glanwydden Lane after dark to look for Woodcock proved a success. Chis Bridge http://www.traineebirdringing.blogspot.com and I walked the length of the fields during darkness thanks to permission from Mostyn Estates and the local farmers. Eight Woodcock were seen, including superb views of five of them in one field. Chris managed to expertley catch his first ever Woodcock, whose statistics were recorded and then ringed before being released back to its favoured field. Other birds seen or heard during the evening included at least four calling Tawny Owls, a Skylark, Moorhen, Jackdaw and a flock of Wigeon. Mammals were represented by a fox and a strange calling cat sp. that put the wind up us!
Thanks to Chris for the accompanying pictures.
Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Iceland Gull still at Eddie's house, don't know what he is feeding it but it must be good!
Loads of seabirds back at Puffin Island, from Penmon, today most in breeding plumage.
Plenty of Eider and Grey Seals here too.
Again no sign of Snow Buntings Kinmel Bay looks they have moved on.
Running a trip to Dee Estuary, Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB and Martin Mere WWT on Saturday - why not join us for great birds?
Alan and Ruth
Sunday, 19 February 2012
What a cracker of a bird - the Glossy ibis at Borth.
I've been five times for this bird and this is only the second time I've seen it - great views today.
Part of the Yellowthroat twitch - note that everyone is excellently behaved.
Views were much better than this honest! What a superb little bird.
Not often do you get to visit all four compass points of Wales in a day, but we did today. Eddie, Alex, Alan and I visited Rhiwderyn during the morning where we were treated to brief but superb views of the Common Yellowthroat. Next on to Cosmeston for great views of the Lesser Scaup, a bird present for the past few winters. Back up through Ceredigion for the long staying Glossy Ibis which put on a tremendous show. Red Kites were in abundance on the journeys and kept us entertained while on the road. Great trip, superb birds and good company and good to catch up with old friends at various sites around Wales.
Other gulls of interest included 3 Med Gulls; an adult still in winter plumage, a first winter and an intriguing bird with fully white primaries but a dull, 2nd winter-type beak - perhaps a third winter, although this age doesn't appear to be acknowledged much as most references seem to jump from 2nd winter straight to adult, any comments welcome...
Also 27 Bewick's Swans with Mutes in Shotwick fields whilst on my way to visit the in-laws earlier on.
Saturday, 18 February 2012
It will be interesting to see where this one comes from. A dead Common Gull found by Rob and I at Pensarn a few winters ago was ringed in southern Norway as a chick.
A dark mantled bird. Just a variation of our 'canus' race or a possible Russian 'heinei'?
1st winter Med Gull - the first of the season here. Numbers should build up to double figures between now and mid March.
Paler mantled bird in the middle of the flock.
Another picture of the paler mantled bird. Any comments welcome?
An exciting couple of hours on the beaches between Colwyn Bay and Llanddulas this evening as the gulls came in to roost. There has been a big build up of birds over the past week and upwards of 2000 Common Gulls were present by dusk. Mixed in were a single 1st winter Med Gull, 800+ Herrings (including 20+ argentatus), 12 Lesser Black backed Gulls, many GBBGs and BHGs.
Above are some photos of the Med Gull at Llanddulas, a darvik ringed Common Gull (in the past white darviks have come from the Netherlands but I'll let you know when info comes back), a darker mantled Common Gull which stood out on every scan was possibly a Russian Common Gull of the 'heinei' race. The last two pictures have me puzzled, the bird was very pale mantled and quickened the pulse when I saw it. Unfortunately, the flock flew as I was trying to get a picture and I missed it's head structure. The mantle looks good for Ring billed Gull, but not sure about the worn coverts and tertials. Any comments?
Photos by Pete Wood:
After years of failling to see Goshawks in the County of Conwy, today I finally came across a displaying pair deep in the depths of the county. Superb views - a real treat. A distant picture of the male above.
Other birds seen were a female Merlin, 6 Gadwall on an upland lake along with 2 summer plumaged Great crested Grebes and a Dabchick.
There was an obvious build up of seabirds off Rhos Point this morning with 30+ Red throated Divers spread out offshore between Penrhyn Bay and Colwyn Bay pier, many close inshore. A similar number of Great Crested Grebes were present too with smaller numbers of Red breasted Mergansers, Guillemots and Razorbills. A single drake Eider was off the Point while 5 Kittiwakes were feeding here. Four Purple Sandpipers were in the high tide roost along with 200+ Dunlin.
This is second record for Wales first was on Barsey in October 1996.
Hoping to go tomoz....
Alan and Ruth
Friday, 17 February 2012
Best D-scoped Shots:
Orderly twitch site! Bird was just right of firs but in corner of field. Cheers