Saturday, 29 December 2012

Birdrace -1st Jan - on foot!

In the style of "foot it" being organised by the BTO hows about having a 1 Jan Birdrace solely on foot from and back to your front door? I'm going to be doing it on the 1st Jan around my Cemaes home so it will be more interesting if there is some competition. Remember walking only allowed, no cars, public transport or bikes. Anyone else up for it? Tony from Tregele is also competing. Let us know if you are up for it and post your results and pics here on the blog. Good luck and all the best for 2013!

Lens for sale

Hi everyone,

I was thinking of upgrading my lens soon, and so thought I would post a little advertisement here in case someone is interested. The lens I am selling is a Canon 100-400mm f4-5.6 L series zoom lens. I have had it since August 2010, and it has served me well. Almost all the images on the Bardsey Wildlife blog were taken with this lens, on a Canon 7D body.

The lens itself is still working perfectly fine, although has quite a few scratches on the lens hood, and the writing on the lens is a bit faded. I still have most of the bits and pieces that it first arrived with, including a lens case, the lens hood etc. 

Attached to Canon 40D
 Fully extended plus lens hood
Fully compacted with inverted lens hood

If anyone is interested, please contact me at:

Friday, 28 December 2012

Clwyd Sandpiper Sp.

Had quite a good selection of birds down on the Clwyd lately with a male and female Merlin, Wildfowl consisting of Shoveler, Goldeneye, Tufted Duck, plenty of Wigeon, 3 Little Grebes, the odd Little Egret and a few Swans and Geese.
Waders have been good too with Grey Plover, Bar Tailed Godwit and over 1000 Lapwing wintering at the site. On 27th December I came across a Common Sandpiper type species. By the time I saw it, it was 3.30pm, light was fading and the bird was quite a distance. Although not a clencher for Spotted Sandpiper, it did appear to have a less of a primary projection than what a Common would have, it appeared to have 'light' legs and was very active, and ocassionally getting chased by a Redshank.
Probably the most unhelpful picture i.d wise, but it brightens up the post a little!
If anyone in the area, the bird was seen on the muddy banks along the water's edge just south of the railway bridge and I was on the Rhyl side viewing. Weather was horendous today and the tide came in quicker than I wanted so only got 30 mins this morning but worth a look if in the area. It was last seen heading in the direction of Rhuddlan and there are a few shingle edges and islands that way that Common Sands like to favour in the Summer.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Conwy RSPB - festive treats!

The Bittern showed well to one lucky observer along the boardwalk this morning before melting into the reedbed. Could well be feeding on dead or injured starlings that roost here each night. Unfortunately no sign for birders soon on site. A single zitting Firecrest was near the Bridge Pool while Lesser Redpoll, Siskin and Bullfinches were also in the area. Trotting ponies flushed 2 Jack Snipe, 10+ Common Snipe and a Woodcock from the flooded marshy area at the far end of the reserve. Gadwall, Shoveler, Tufties, Pochard, Teal, Wigeon, Goldeneye and Red Breasted Merganser were all present too. This fine cock Pheasant followed me around for at least half an hour- I'm sure I'm going mad as I found myself chatting away to it!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Bittern in the rain.

A few bits and pieces around and about in the rain today.
Bittern outside the RSPB coffee shop at Conwy while at least one Firecrest present by the bridge pond.
4 Waxwings were just east of rainbow bridge along the side of the A55 while a single Great northern diver was off Rhos on Sea.
A spectacular sight was a flock of 2000 Lapwing along the River Clwyd. 5 Goosander, 4 Golden Plover and a Merlin here too.

Friday, 21 December 2012

South Africa trip

I have recently returned from 7 weeks in South Africa. I spent most of that time at Tswalu game reserve in the Kalahari. It is South Africa’s largest game reserve.  I was working on a project looking at the association between Sociable Weavers and Pygmy Falcons. This study aims to determine the nature of the interaction between these two species, and delve into the demography and life history of the Pygmy Falcon. We spent most of my time looking for Pygmy Falcon nests and monitoring the nests we found. We also looked at which other species share their nests. In my spare time we spent time birding and ringing in the area.

For more information on the Pygmy Falcon project see

At the end of my stay at Tswalu, I flew down to Cape Town for 3 full days of birding Table Mountain, Kirstenbosh Botanical Gardens and the peninsula for more endemics.
In total I managed 216 species of bird. Birds marked in bold are endemic species of Southern Africa.
More photos under the list.
African Penguin
Cape Gannet
Greater Flamingo
White-breasted Cormorant
Bank Cormorant
Cape Cormorant
Crowned Cormorant
Reed Cormorant
African Sacred Ibis
Hadeda Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Black-headed Heron
Little Egret
Cattle Egret
Little Grebe
White-faced Whistling Duck
Egyptian Goose
South African Shelduck
Yellow-billed Duck
Cape Shoveler
Red-billed Teal
Hottentot Teal
White-backed Vulture
Lappet-faced Vulture
Verreaux's Eagle
Martial Eagle
Black-chested Snake Eagle
Yellow-billed Kite
Jackal Buzzard
Steppe Buzzard
Forest Buzzard
Black-shouldered Kite
Pale-chanting Goshawk
Gabar Goshawk
Black Sparrowhawk
Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk
Peregrine Falcon
Rock Kestrel
Pygmy Falcon
Common Ostrich
Helmeted Guineafowl
Orange River Francolin
Cape Spurfowl
Common Buttonquail
Red-knobbed Coot
Common Moorhen
African Swamphen
Kori Bustard
Red-crested Koorhan
Northern Black Koorhan
Black-winged Stilt
African Black Oystercatcher
Spotted Thick-knee
Blacksmith Lapwing
Crowned Lapwing
Ringed Plover
Three-banded Plover
African Snipe
Wood Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
Little Stint
Kelp Gull
Grey-headed Gull
Hartlaub's Gull
Swift Tern
Sandwich Tern
Common Tern
Namaqua Sandgrouse
Double-banded Sandgrouse
Burchell's Sandgrouse
Speckled Pigeon
Feral/Rock Dove
Lemon (Cinnamon) Dove
African Mourning Dove
Red-eyed Dove
Cape Turtle Dove
Laughing Dove
Namaqua Dove
Grey Go-away-bird
African Cuckoo
Black Cuckoo
Jacobin Cuckoo
Dideric Cuckoo
Klaas's Cuckoo
Pearl Spotted Owlet
Verreaux's Giant Eagle Owl
Spotted Eagle Owl
Western Barn Owl
Rufous-cheeked Nightjar
Alpine Swift
African Black Swift
Common European Swift
Little Swift
White-rumped Swift
African Palm Swift
Speckled Mousebird
White-backed Mousebird
Red-faced Mousebird
European Bee-eater
Swallow-tailed Bee-eater
Lilac-breasted Roller
African Grey Hornbill
Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill
Common Greater Scimitarbill
African Hoopoe
Crested Barbet
Acasia Pied Barbet
Greater Honeyguide
Lesser Honeyguide
Golden-tailed Woodpecker
Cardinal Woodpecker
Ground Woodpecker
Spike-heeled Lark
Sabota Lark
zFawn-coloured Lark
Eastern Clapper Lark
Barn Swallow
White-throated Swallow
Greater Striped Swallow
South African Cliff Swallow
Black Saw-wing Swallow
Common House Martin
Rock Martin
Fork-tailed Drongo
Eurasian Golden Oriole
White-necked Raven
Pied Crow
Cape Crow
Ashy Tit
Southern Pied Babbler
Cape Bulbul
African Red-eyed Bulbul
Dark-capped Bulbul
Sombre Greenbul
Olive Thrush
Karoo Thrush
Groundscraper Thrush
Short-toed Rock Thrush
Familiar Chat
Ant-eating Chat
Mountain Wheatear
African Stonechat
Kalahari Scrub Robin
Cape Robin-Chat
Cape Grassbird
Long-billed Crombec
Cape Penduline-Tit
Yellow-bellied Eremomela
Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler
Layard's Tit-Babbler
Zitting Cisticola
Desert Cisticola
Rattling Cisticola
Grey-backed Cisticola
Black-chested Prinia
Karoo Prinia
Rufous-eared Warbler
Barred Wren-Warbler
Fiscal Flycatcher
Chat Flycatcher
Marico Flycatcher
African Dusky Flycatcher
Spotted Flycatcher
African Paradise Flycatcher
Cape Batis
Pririt Batis

Cape White-eye
Orange River White-eye
Cape Wagtail
African Rock Pipit
African Pipit
Red-backed Shrike
Lesser Grey Shrike
Common Fiscal

Southern Boubou
Crimson-breasted Shrike

Brown-crowned Tchagra
Cape Glossy Starling
Burcchell's Starling
Red-winged Starling
Common Myna
Common Starling
Wattled Starling
Cape Sugarbird
Malachite Sunbird
Orange-breasted Sunbird
Southern Double-collared Sunbird
Marico Sunbird
Dusky Sunbird
Dusky Sunbird
House Sparrow
Southern Grey-headed Sparrow

White-browed Sparrow-Weaver
Sociable Weaver
Red-billed Buffalo Weaver
Southern Masked Weaver
Southern Red Bishop
Pin-tailed Whydah
Shaft-tailed Whydah
Scaly-feathered Finch
Violet-eared Waxbill

Black-faced Waxbill
Green-winged Pytilia
African Quail-Finch
Swee Waxbill
Black-throated Canary
Yellow Canary
Cape Canary
Forest Canary
Cape Siskin
Cinnamon-breasted Bunting
Cape Bunting
Golden-breasted Bunting


Double-banded Sandgrouse

Red-crested Koorhan