Monday, 30 July 2012

Shear Madness

There are staggering numbers of Manx Shearwaters being seen daily off the coast of mid-Wales, a true wildlife spectacle! Very difficult to estimate the numbers, they are over whelming, but a good guess would be at least 30,000 Manx Shearwaters! It is well worth seeing and surely there are rare Shearwaters amongst this mass feeding frenzy? Already one Balearic Shearwater has been picked out and more will follow for sure. Check out For Janet Baxters amazing pics which give an idea of what a stunning sight this is! We are running a trip to see the Shear Madness this Saturday, 4th August, come and join us! Email or call Alan on 07778 677141 Closer to home today 44 Black tailed Godwits, a Whimbrel and 3 Common Sandpiper at RSPB Conwy.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Some holiday snaps for you to look at until something good shows up in the area.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Terns and scoters building up

Around 130 sandwich terns roosting at Rhos Point this morning, nice to see a decent number of juvs among them. Offshore a handful of manxies among the gannets. Further round at Old Colwyn common scoter numbers have already built up to around 3,000 mark.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Friday bird news

The Autumn is slowing getting going, rare bird are turning up around the UK but seem to be avoiding N Wales! Two Pratincoles sp were in Pembrokeshire yday! Roller on Orkney and Long billed Dowitcher still at Slimbridge WWT in Gloustershire today. Ken had Short eared Owl and Med Gull on the Alaw Estuary today, Rob had Med Gull at Beddmanarch Bay and 10 Black Guillemots in Holyhead Harbour. At RSPB Conwy this am Greenshank, Black tailed Godwits and 2 Whimbrel. A Garden Warbler showed well but no sign of ydays Pied Flycatcher. We are running a Wader Identification day on Weds 8 August - in time for the main passage, chance to improve your ID skills. Also another Anglesey tour on Sat 11th August. This weekends tours full booked. Good Birding Alan and Ruth

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Corncrake gone!

No sign of the Tregele Corncrake tonight at 10.40 pm in ideal conditions and Tony's Father in Law who lives by the field said he hadn't heard it for three days.

New species for RSPB Conwy

Early morning walk around RSPB Conwy produced a good selection of birds. Highlight was a juvenile Pied Flycatcher in the willows by the Tal-y-fan hide a new species for the reserve! A little surprising that there has not been one before, given Redstart is fairly regular post breeding. Still space on Sundays tour of Anglesey sure to be a great day out. To book or for more details Alan and Ruth

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Owt about?

Has it ever been this dead before? Has anyone seen any good birds? Had an early morning walk around RSPB Conwy yday nowt mega but 60 species in a circular walk around the reserve, pretty good. Got me thinking what would be possible on a July Bird Race? Anyone done one? Still space on our Anglesey tour this Sunday 29th July - we could see what total we could knock up? If you fancy coming along for great birds and great fun email For details. Hope someone sees some birds soon! Alan and Ruth

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Med Gulls on the move

Med Gulls are certainly on the move with 3 at Morfa Madryn, 3 at Abergele and 1 super adult on the front at Rhos on Sea today. Up to 120 birds also together at Llanrhystyd on the Ceredigion coast.
Bird below was taken with my iPhone - point and shoot (hence the quality!) Was showing to 5 yards at times.

Manx Madness

Had a brilliant day around the Dyfi Estuary yday. The Manx Shearwaters put on a stunning display with thousands and thousands just offshore feeding with Gannets, a real wildlife spectacle! We also enjoyed the Dyfi Ospreys, seeing at least 4 Ospreys during the day, Goshwak and Red Kites boosted the raptor list. Called in at Ynys-hir RSPB and Llyn Trawsfynydd to round off a great day. Alan and Ruth

Friday, 20 July 2012

From dusk till dawn!

The Tregele Corncrake cranked up good and proper tonight starting at 10.30 pm. It was calling almost continuously until 11pm when I left, even little Sion my 2 year old son got it on his heard list! It was very audible from the Service Station itself calling from smack bang in the middle of a Barley field. It seems most active in the hours of darkness.

Manx Shearwater madness

Heading down to Borth again tomoz, Sat 21 July, to look for the staggering numbers of shearwaters offshore, last weekend was amazing. We will also call in at the Dyfi Osprey Project where the juv is almost ready to fly. Sure to be a great day. If you fancy joining us call Alan on 07778 677141 or email Alan and Ruth

Corncrake still here

The Corncrake was still calling by early this morning on Friday the 20th July.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Anglesey Woodchat Shrike

For the record here is the photo of the Woodchat Shrike Laura Palmer took near Cemlyn last Thursday. The bird was looked for over the weekend but couldn't be relocated unfortunately. If you are in Cemlyn over the next few days it may be worth scanning the hedges as you approach the reserve. The photo was taken near the Jam Factory at SH 3368 9137.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Gyr Crakes does it again!

If you have ever birded on the Isles of Scilly in the good old days check this out it's pure class!! Alan and Ruth

Anglesey Corncrake

A Corncrake was calling in Tregele yesterday near the service station, found by Tony White's Father-in-law. Park carefully in the village and walk carefully along the busy main road towards valley. Stand in the gateway overlooking the barley field on the right side/cemlyn side of the road with the wet patch in front of you. The bird calls periodically half way up the field. Chance of seeing the bird - nil, but it's there to hear if you want. Dawn and dusk is best. Be careful if you do go as it is an accident black-spot. The above photo is not the Tregele bird!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

poss Hudwit at Frodsham

pic of the possible on the frodsham blog

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Waders continue to move

After the suprise of 12 Black tailed Godwits pitching down on our school field in Craig y Don yesterday (late on the flooded part of Bodafon Fields) , it bode well for some waders this morning. Conwy RSPB at high tide produced a cracking count of 47 Black tauled Godwits, all in gorgeous summer plumage, a superb Red Knot, 6 Common Sandpiper, 62 Little Egrets, 2 Dunlin and many Redshank and Curlew. A juvenile Peregrine caused panic as it hunted. I think we can safely say that autumn passage has begun.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Manx Madness!

Huge numbers, tens of thousands, of Manx Shearwaters are being seen off Borth in mid Wales a true wildlife spectactle! Over 6,000 past in just 20 minutes yday as many many more fed offshore! We are running a trip this Sunday, 15th July, to see this staggering concentration of seabirds. If you would like to join us email or call 01492 872407 for details. We will also visit the Dyfi Osprey Project. Good Birding Alan and Ruth

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Great day on Anglesey

We took a trip around the isle of Anglesey today and enjoyed great wildlife and some sunshine! At Newbrough Forest we watched a beautiful Red Squirrel feeding in the sun. Just up the road at Malltraeth we quickly found a Mediterranean Gull and waders included 2 Greenshank, 5 Common Sandpiper and 2 Black tailed Godwit in fine breeding dress. At Beddmanarch Bay a flock of Bar tailed Godwits fed with many Curlew and 7 Arctic Terns plunged for fish. Nearby a Whimbrel on the saltmarsh. Holyhead Harbour held 5 Black Guillemots and we had brilliant views. RSPB South Stack next and as always great birding, frame filling scope views of Puffins, two noisey gangs of Chough and plenty of Manx Shearwaters. Over at Point Lynas more wonderful views of a family of Chough, lots of Manx Shearwaters, Black Guillemot, feeding Gannets and Sandwich Terns. At least three Harbour Porpoise showed in the tide race. Last stop Penmon Point and we watched 6 Eider, more Puffins and hundreds of other seabirds and even had time for some excellent cake at the cafe here! We have lots of day trips coming up, next Anglesey day is 22 July for details email us on Good birding! Alan and Ruth ps just heard an Osprey on the River Clwyd this evening!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Green(ish) debate continues

I have been doing a bit of digging into Green and Greenish Warblers following the bird on Bardsey two weeks ago. I have been in contact with Peter Kennerley (co author of the Dutch Birding Paper on Breen, Greenish and Two Barred Greenis) who has given comments on the bird. I have sent on the comments to Rich B who has done more 'stuff' on his blog and I have copied below. It may be that we are never able to ID the bird in question, as it appears to be at the extreme end of the range for Greenish and even within the bounds of Green. Any comments on this bird would be most welcomed!


Taken From Rich B's blog (Photos (c) Rich B

We've been given a few more pointers on the separation of Greenish Warbler and (Bright) Green Warbler. It's not going to help to secure the identification of our bird, but it does provide a few more talking points. The reason that Green Warbler has been suggested is due to the extent of yellow in the supercilium and ear coverts, which seems to be on the extreme side for Greenish Warbler, however see: for photographs ofGreenish Warbler in South Kazakhstan (but different light conditions). The chin, throat and upper breast have a pale yellow wash in our bird, but this seems to be within the realms of Greenish Warbler.

A new feature to us (and apparently said by some to be diagnostic) is the possibility that the feathering along the lower edge of the eye is white (thus contrasting with the ear coverts) in Greenish Warbler and matches the colour of the ear coverts in Green Warbler. It is important that this is assessed in good light conditions so perhaps we can't look at it with any certainty using these photos. However it seems fair to say that our recent bird has feathering more concolourous with the ear coverts than the other two birds, but perhaps not to the extent expected in Green Warbler? The three photos below are full size so anyone out there who's interested can blow them up a bit bigger for a closer look. The lack of yellow in the wing bar seems to have no relevance as fresh Green Warblers on the Turkish Black Sea Coast can show white wingbars when fresh. Ultimately it seems that some extralimital, worn birds cannot be identified without DNA analysis or a sonogram.

We would be very interested if anyone out there knows about leg colour (which was surprisingly pale in this bird), or the patterning of white on the inner web of the outer tail feather which in this bird was as would be expected in Greenish Warbler.

The Bardsey Green(ish) Warbler (upper photo) clearly differs from our two other recent Greenish Warblers (middle photo 11 June 2010, lower photo 8 June 2012). (c) Richard Brown

BMW fun and games

The Great white Egret was again at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands today showed well from Marsh Covert hide then flew to the border pool in Flintshire. A Black Swan is also here and was joined by two Sacred Ibis early afternoon, mass break out or are we seeing two potential additions to the British list becoming established here in the UK? If you can't make tonight talk "more tales of The Biggest Twitch" at Eirias High School, Colwyn Bay at 7.30pm you can donate to Brain Tumour UK at www.justgiving/biggest-twitch Many thanks Alan and Ruth

RSPB Conwy

Male scaup still present this morning on the Deep Lagoon, while a male redstart near Tal-y-fan Hide is new in. Wader roost in front of Benarth Hide includes 46 black-tailed godwits and the knot that's been here since Sunday.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Waders moving

Loads of waders on the move, early this year perhaps due to poor breeding success? Just back from three days guiding in Norfolk loads of waders their including Golden Plover back on saltmarshes alreadys, loads of Spotted Reds and Ruff. Neraer to home 1,000 Blk t Godwits at Frodsham and yday a Pectoral Sandpiper at Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB so well worth checking local sites for rare waders! Scaup still at RSPB Conwy this am. Giving a talk on "More adventures of The Biggest Twitch" with lots of different pics tomoz at Eirias High School, Colwyn Bay at 7.30pm. Do come along and help raise funds for Brain Tumour UK, be great to see you there! Next Norfolk trip is 8 - 10 September sure to be loads of waders on that one! See for trip report on latest Norfolk birding break. Good Birding Alan and Ruth

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Puffin Island with SCAN

 SCANS third of three trips saw the team concentrate on Kitiwake pulli and pole-noosing adults.  Please keep an eye out for colour ringed Kits as there are a several schemes around the country.  A team from Liverpool Uni have also been tagging adults as part of a project to learn more about feeding patterns and distance covered.  Lucky 'ANN' below was ringed by the RSPB's Guy Anderson.

 A nice Bridled guille:
 PI from the east:
 I think there were 6 Puffins caught during the afternoon.

Scaup still at RSPB Conwy

The male scaup was seen again on the Deep Lagoon (Glan Conwy end) this morning by Glyn Roberts.  He also saw a couple of juvenile common sandpipers, confirming that they have nested here again. 12 dunlins came in on the tide, but today's black-tailed godwit count was just a single bird, well down on yesterday's 40.  And this afternoon, a superb summer-plumage knot is with dunlins on the high tide roost outside Benarth Hide.

SEO on Clwyd

Tony found a nice Short eared Owl on the River Clwyd this morning, originally seen half way between Rhyl and Rhuddlan it moved to the Caravan site at Rhuddlan a while later. It was still there at 9.30am sat on a post.

Waders have started to move and at elast 9 Common Sandpipers were along the length of the Clwyd, a single Dunlin and 2 Black tailed Godwits. 3 1st summer Common Gulls and a single adult were also back on site.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Scaup at Conwy RSPB

As Julian has said earlier, a nice drake Scaup was present at Conwy RSPB this morning although it did appear to be quite oiled as you can see from the pic below.

Other birds included up to 4 Common Sandpipers, 2 Lesser Whitethroats and a handful of Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers. A Sedge Warbler made an appearance and a brief view of a young Reed Warbler was also nice to see.

House Martins and a couple of Swallows drifted past and atleast 40 Black Tailed Godwits were also reported earlier in the morning along with a female and juvenile Redstart.

Conwy RSPB

Male scaup seen from the second hide at Conwy RSPB this morning, appears to be oiled underneath. Also lesser whitethroat, whitethroat, redstart and common sandpiper seen today.

Traeth Dulas

Two summer plumage Black-tailed Godwits, 8 Dunlin, 4 Little Egrets.  Best of all - female Red-breasted Merganser with two young chicks (on river, close to the road).  Good photo' opportunity if you are over this side of the Island.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Skerries- an hour in heaven

My first trip to Skerries today with the RSPB and with only an hour there the main objective was to ring as many Arctic Tern chicks in the time allocated.  Think we did 130+ in 40mins but always keeping disturbance to as little as possible and moving to different spots to allow birds to return in with food.  Everything soon resettles.  The island is totally buzzing with life, 2700 pairs of Arctics, 300 Common and similar number of Puffin.
Few images taken quickly after ringing.  The island is wardened with 2 RSPB staff/vols.

Return migration

Two whimbrel east calling high over the house in Penrhyn Bay tonight, presumably first signs of return migration getting underway.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Spring is now just about over.....we think (but there is time for that July Mega to arrive), and autumn is just around the corner (well if you count post breeding dispersal of Stalings and returning  waders, autumn has begun!)

Here are just a few highlights in pictures of what turned out to be a fairly good list of species for Spring. Though numbers of birds were never massive, we have had a good run of stuff.

Red Sword Grass

Lapland Bunting

This shot of the Lap Bunt was chosen as a 'notable photo' in the birdguides weekly round up.

Black Redstart


Glaucous Gull

Lapland Bunting


Ring Ouzel

Tufted Duck - 25th Island Record!

Mealy Redpolls


Glaucous Gull



Pied Flycatcher

Snow Bunting


Short-eared Owl

Blackcap - record numbers were seen and ringed

Pied Flycatcher

North-western type Redpoll

Yellow Wagtail

Red-rumped Swallow - 3rd for the island and the start of our run of good birds


Grasshopper Warbler

Lesser Whitethroat

Common Redpoll - we think

Whinchat -  a stunner!

Snow Bunting - Ditto!

Greenland Wheatear - normal and leucistic

Whitethroat - after a late and slow start numbers were good.
Pied Flycatcher - another belter

Yellow Wag - Ditto

Turtle Dove
Subalpine Warbler - a very skuly bird indeed
Phyllosc sp - Chiff, willow, hybrid or Iberian!
RED Knots
Black Kite
Common Rosefinch - three were seen
Bar-tailed Godwit
Little Owl
Another Rosefinch
Red Kite
European Bee-Eater

Melodious Warbler

Woodchat Shrike
Red-breasted Flycatcher
Greenish Warbler
'Dombrowskii's' type Wagtail
Pomarine Skua (Rich B)
Green(ish) Warbler - second of the year! (Rich B)
So, that was spring in a nutshell, a fantastic array of birds not to be sniffed at. RBA said in their review of the week that Bardsey must be site of the spring!