Saturday, 30 June 2012

Little Owls in Conwy

Having just checked out a report of Little Owls down the Conwy Valley I finally saw one and have put up a couple of boxes for next year.  Great to have them in Conwy! If you know of any more sites locally I don't mind supplying boxes- they really make the monitoring much easier. 

They don't seem to have done too well during the last decade in central north wales but its great to know they're still holding on.

Birding is a good Hobby on the Clwyd.

Cracking few hours birding on the River Clwyd between Rhuddlan and Rhyl today. Pride of place went to a superb adult Hobby hunting over the Old Tip and along the river, being mobbed by hirundines.
A 2nd summer Mediterranean Gull looked very smart with it's full black hood, while 350+ Sandwhich Terns were making a right racket.
Waders are slowly starting to move with 11 summer plumaged Blacked taield Godwits, a Greenshanks and 2 Common Sandpipers along the river.
Wildfowl was represented by 5 Goosander and 3 Teal.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Anglesey RCS

The Rose Couloured Starling near Valley was there from the 18th to the 24th June. On the 25th June it or another was seen briefly in a garden in Bodffordd near Llangefni.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Puffin Island Spectacular

A few snaps from a trip out to Puffin Island today, my second time but still fantastic! The sights, sounds and smells made it a real experience.

The main reason for the visit was to survey and ring gulls as part of an RSPB project. A big thanks to Rob for arranging for me to be able to tag along.

Here's the first gull ringed on the day, I believe over 150 ringed in total. It may be cute now but will soon be thieving your fish and chips at a seaside town near you!

While I did help a bit with some gull bagging, I was there for a bit of indulgence with my trusty Canon. A few of my better snaps as follows:

More photos here if you fancy a look

Monday, 25 June 2012

PGP at Cley

Its great when you book a night away and the day before you go a mega turns up 2 miles from where you're going to be staying.  Even better when its still there when you get there.  A brisk walk round to the north scrape at Cley saw the Plover a good range.  Only phone-scoped as 'someone' has dropped my compact!

I knew it was there but I hadn't realised it was going to be s/p so that was a nice surprise.  Started panicking tho because I hadn't swotted up the subtle differences!  Last one I saw was in Cairns in winter plumage in 2008!

 One of several Spotted Redshank at Titchwell where there were also several Little Gull and 2 Green Sand. Phone-scoped.

Rhiw Quail

Had a new garden tick tonight when I heard a blast of Quail song at dusk. Bird was calling from direction of cereal fields near Ty Croes Bach -  approx grid ref SH 221279.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Rose Coloured Starling, Pensarn

I had a lady contact me today to say she'd had a RCS feeding her garden most of last weekend at the same time the Rhos bird was about so I'm guessing that would rule out the Rhos bird! Her bird feed all weekend and left on Monday. Here's a couple of pics anyway!

Doesn't seem to have much of a crest unlike the Rhos bird... I reckon its a different bird, what does everyone else think?

Friday, 22 June 2012

Rose Coloured Starling on Anglesey near Valley

When leaving work tonight I got a phone-call from someone with a Rose Coloured Starling in their garden. I went to check it out and it was still there when I arrived feeding in the back garden. Whilst still a nice bright adult bird it was nowhere near as bright as the Adult Male at Rhos on Sea. It had a small crest and the black feathers on the back of the neck, primaries and secondaries were quite browny and not that glossy. Also the scapulars are a bit dirty looking. I'm not sure if this would be an adult female or 2nd cal year ( 1 year old) male. Any ideas? I asked about putting the news out and he wasn't keen as it has been hunkering down in back gardens in a busy estate where observing the bird would be difficult. Also some neighbours weren't keen on the idea of twitchers on the estate and he quoted bad behaviour at the Baillion's Crake as being one of his reasons!. I told him it probably wouldn't be a big issue due to most people from North Wales and the North West having had access to the bird at Rhos on Sea recently.
However if anyone has a massive "NEED" to see this bird let me know and if things change I will let you know ASAP. The bird has been there for 3 days now.

Mega Little Swift, New Brighton

A collage of dodgy record shots, as you might have guessed, not ideal conditions for photography!

Little Swift at New Brighton

Some images of the little swift here:


Little Swift at New Brighton!

Just had absolutely superb views of a Little Swift at New Brighton showing up to 5ft away! Went as soon as news came out and well worth the petrol! I should have some pics loaded up later!

Crossbills at Llyn Cefni

30 birds were milling around the NE end over the Pine/Spruce Woods this morning.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Colour Ringed Twite

We had a group of two then three Twite fly over us and drop down to feed at the south end of the Nant Francon Valley last night. One bird was ringed. Black over Red on it's left leg and W1on an orange ring on its right leg over a BTO Aluminium ring. Hopefully Kelvin can give us some feedback on this bird?

BBFO 2010 Report review from BirdGuides

Taken directly from
********OUT NOW******* *******2010 BBFO******* ****Annual Report**** Click the report for a preview

At 170 pages, the Bardsey Bird and Field Observatory Report 2010 is an incredibly detailed and impeccably produced title for such a small expanse of land: occupying just 440 acres off the Lleyn Peninsula, the island is no more than a mile in length. Compare this to the Norfolk Bird and Mammal Report for the same year, which weighs in at 240 pages and covers the entirety of one of Britain's most dynamic and 'birdy' counties! Any fears that 170 pages could equate to low quality and extensive waffle were quickly swept aside on the first flick-through: the content looked fascinating and well presented, and there were plenty of gripping photos to boot. I couldn't wait to get started.
Following the introductory warden's report, a 23-page seasonal summary takes us on a journey from March through to December, discussing the arrival and occurrence of birds on the island, as well as giving an overall summary of breeding success in the summer section. Essentially, this is a condensed annual review that allows the reader to apply chronological order to the following, more detailed, species accounts. Unsurprisingly, September and October are the most detailed months, and give an almost daily breakdown of ornithological events and occurrences on Bardsey, while accompanying photos and extracts from finders' accounts make the entire section a fascinating read.

If the summary was impressive, the main body of the publication — the species accounts — are simply excellent. Concise (yet complete) text is illustrated by a plethora of graphs, tables and images that portray each species recorded with an intricate level of detail. The statuses of many of the commoner species are expressed in tables containing maximum counts and 'bird-days', while migrant counts are often represented by graphs illustrating the fluctuation of maximum counts throughout the migration season. Many of the more notable migrants (e.g. Grey PhalaropeBlack Redstart) are illustrated with photographs taken on the island during the year. Following this is a section detailing Bardsey's breeding birds, providing information on the number of pairs and young produced, productivity, and trends in comparison to recent years. Towards the end of the report, a similar section is dedicated to the butterflies and moths of the island, successfully fulfilling the wider 'Field Observatory' status given in the report's title. While it is easy to marvel at the depth and quality of content, it must be remembered that such data has to be obtained via fieldwork in the first place and, for that, full credit must go to the Bardsey crew — what an observant, enthusiastic and patient bunch they must be!

For me, one of the highlights was the appealing collection of colour photo-collages following the species accounts, which depict some of the many highlights of Bardsey's birding year over seven pages. In contrast to many bird reports that simply list images in a taxonomic order, the report's collages are produced with both thought and taste: themes such as "Rarities", "Ringing" and "Autumn Sea Passage" are each given a one-page spread, and help to give a feel for birding on the island. For completeness, an eighth collage is dedicated to some of the non-avian highlights of the year.
Next up are several features; these are more extensive articles which discuss the Manx Shearwater breeding census, migrant dates, ringing totals and recoveries, and accounts of some of the rarest birds seen during the year among other topics. Once again, these provide a fascinating insight into the birds of the island as well as the day-to-day efforts of the observatory to monitor migration. I found the ringing total table of significant interest: it was amazing to learn that almost 38,000 Manxies have been ringed on the island in the observatory's history. I also particularly enjoyed the finder's account of the White-throated Sparrow, which occurred on the island the same day as a Greenish Warbler — a true definition of east meets west!

To summarise, this really is a fantastic piece of work, which has evidently had a great deal of focus and effort poured into its production; let that be a lesson to those annual reports that are assembled half-heartedly and lack any sort of attention to detail! It conveys the quality of bird and wildlife-watching on Bardsey throughout the seasons in colourful and enthusiastic manner, while also proving informative and educational. When combining a read of this report with a quick look at the bird news from the fantastically productive spring that Bardsey has just enjoyed, the temptation to book a visit the island becomes almost irresistible, particularly during the peak migration seasons. Priced at a very reasonable £10 (iPad version available for £5), this is a great publication from a great team on a great little island — congratulations all round!
170pp, 8 colour plates, £10 inc. p&p.
iPad version available as PDF for £5
To order, contact

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Night(mare) Heron

I was asked on Monday (18th) if I could confirm a report of a Night Heron in Montgomeryshire. Sure enough when I got there, this fine chap was sat on the edge of the river feeding. What a result I thought until I looked at the photo a little more closely. The bird has a ring on its right leg, and from the photo I cant tell if it's a ringers ring or whether it's an escaped bird from a collection?

I haven't revealed the location, because as yet I haven't been able to sort out permission for access as it is on private land, and the bird has not been seen since, despite several more visits to look for it. Should the bird reappear, I will do my very best to arrange access.

Any comments welcome.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Snowdonia to Rhos on Sea

Had a nice day out on Sunday. Starting with the Showy Rose coloured Starling at Rhos on Sea with a playful pod of Dottle nosed dolphins offshore. The top end of the Nant Francon Valley produced a fine male Ring Ouzel, baby Wheatears and some calling Twite. Swallow Falls was full to bursting and a Red Kite sailed above the Migneint. Ospreys gave reasonable scope views from the Fishermans layby and Nantmor had at least 3 Small perl bordered Fritilaries. All in all a nice day out!

More Rosey pics

More Rose tinted spectacles, above by Pete Wood and follow link to Mike Nesbit's cracking images:

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Catalunya, NE Spain - 19-21 May 2012


White Stork
Fan-tailed Warbler
Melodious Warbler
alpestris Ring Ouzel
Rock Bunting
Honey Buzzards
diomedea Cory's Shearwater
I've only just had a chance to blog about my recent holiday to Spain. I thought I'd share a few photos on here.
I have been to this area of NE Spain for the past 6 years so know the area very well. The area comprises of the Parc Natural Cap de Creus (A rocky/coastal habitat where the Pyrenees goes into the Med), the Aiguamolls de l'Emporda wetlands and the eastern Pyrenees (Val de Nuria)
We saw 141 species in 3 days and I managed to get 5 lifers in the form of Little Crake, Black Stork, Red-footed Falcon, Lammergeier and Wallcreeper.

More information on my personal blog -