Saturday, 30 November 2013

Belated news - Possible Bufflehead at Llanfairfechan shore on thursday 21st November!

Dafydd Ellis had a small duck on the sea at Llanfairfechan on the above date. It was similar to a female goldeneye but it had a white 50p sided bright white patch behind its eye. It had no other white/pale on it's head. It had a small blue-grey duck's-bill, dark head and back. He looked in the books and felt it was definately a female Bufflehead, but after speaking to a few friend's was reassured it was probably an escapee, and wouldn't be accepted as a wild bird - doh!!! So that's why the news is only coming out now.
If you park in the Llanfairfechan promenade car park, walk west past the little boating lake, just past the posh victorian houses on the left it was 15 meters offshore just past the houses. So anywhere along that stretch of the coast or on the Anglesey side may be worth keeping an eye out. Dafydd is a local well known birdwatcher from the Cambrian Ornithological society who's birded in North Wales for many years now.
ps. he also said it didn't look very well, so it may be worth walking the high tide line as well!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Woodcock and Barn Owl

I flushed a Woodcock in the Wygyr Valley, Cemaes on Saturday the 23rd but there was no sign of the Lesser Whitethroat. My wife had a Barn Owl at the top end of Llanerchymedd last monday the 18th Nov.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Just a quickie... say that a female black redstart was a nice surprise for me on the way to Welsh class in Holyhead this afternoon, needless to say that I was late for class!

I called Ken Croft and pointed him in the right direction and he re-found it just minutes later.

It was last seen around the tall flats behind the South Stack pub facing the port.

Hopefully see some of you at Bangor Bird Group tonight and for those of you who haven't been yet, check out for our weekly delights!


Sunday, 17 November 2013

Lesser Whitethroat in Cemaes

I had a few birds today. Whilst making a wildlife pond in the garden there was a bit of vis-mig going on, with a few groups of fieldfares, chaffinches, goldfinches, meadow pipits and a Snipe going over.A cracking male Brambling dropped into a tree on the estate but bird of the day was a Lesser Whitethroat in the Valley by the River Wygyr in the blackthorn scrub at the By-pass end of the Valley.I only saw it through the bins but after checking in the books I think it was just the nominate race. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera and I couldn't relocate it later when I went back. Eddie also had one near Llanbedrog today.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Winter birding

A nice day's birding with Eddie today. Began at Cricieth where a late swallow was hawking over the west prom. The sea was flat calm and visibility near perfect. Common scoter, red throats great crests peppered the sea and also a single sleeping goosander. 4 long tailed duck were visible off Black Rocks beach so that's where we headed. Having arrived, a close in scaup got my attention and as I scoped the scaup, a female surf scoter popped up next to it - result : )
I managed some pretty dire record shots.
The surfie dived frequently with that characteristic half open-winged hop - reminiscent of razorbill and shag (!)
More scanning produced a Great Northern and an adult Little Gull feeding in the river channel. The beach was plastered with many hundreds of birds - mostly oystercatcher and herring gulls but mixed in were over a hundred sanderling, knot, dunlin, a few barwits, and other commoner gulls.
On to Llyn Bach Porthmadog where we dipped the long tailed duck and phalarope but had a brief kingfisher as well as the usual waders and wildfowl. Back to Cricieth where the swallow had been joined by another one. Hope they head south soon!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Hoopoe at the Spinnies

Rhion Pritchard told me that he'd had an email today off someone who saw a hoopoe in the car park by the shore at the Spinnies pool Aber Ogwen yesterday. It was last seen flying towards Llanfairfechan.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Richard's Pipit and Yellow-legged Gull at Aber Ogwen

'Richard's Pipit at Aber Ogwen in field south of car park found by H Cook. Flew off tho.'

Ros Green, Chris Bridge and I gave it a go about 1 hour after the original sighting, but there was sadly no sign. When giving up and heading back to the car, Ros noticed a gull flock on the sands and me being me, I couldn't leave them unchecked. I hoped for a white-winger, but a quick scan revealed a very chunky, very dark mantled Lesser Black-backed Gull which was possibly intermedius, but not much else.

A second scan and I noticed a striking 1stw LWHG that instantly stood out to me. It was remarkably long winged with very black primaries and black tertials with a very thin pale border (no pale notching). This contrasted to the grey brown mantle and darker brown coverts. It also had a very white headed appearance with a darker smudge on the ear coverts with a black eye and very black bill. The bill was really chunky with an obvious blob tip. I was pretty happy this was a first winter Yellow-legged Gull, but wanted to see it flap. When it did, it revealed a very white rump and only very slight windows in the inner primaries which helped confirm my suspicions.

Consolation for dipping the Richard's Pipit.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Foreign bird guides for sale

Selling off some of my foreign bird guide books as described below with price. They are also placed on Ebay and other sites so it's on a first come first served basis. Postage or pick-up to be arranged. Birds of Jamaica a Photographic Guide by Downer and Sutton £6 Birds of Panama 2nd edition covering also Costa Rica, Nicuagua and Honduras by Ridgly and Gwynne £15 Field Guide to Birds of Hawaii and Tropical Pacific by Pratt, Brunner and Bennett £13 Birdwatching in Eilat by David Yekutiel (bought in Israel, 33 pages covering all aspects of birding in Eilatwith checklist) £4.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Starlings, Corvids and Pipits.....

Starlings were one of the most numerous birds today with 2500 of them scrabbling about on the beach feeding on sand fly lavea
 Some of them like the one below were just fantastic in the bright morning sun.

Some slower shutter-speeds trying to give the impression of the movement and noise of the birds in front of the hide

 Also there was a Darvic-ringed Black-headed Gull on the beach. We await news of the bird's origin.

 About 43 Chough were on the beach, with about 1/2 of them being coulour-ringed too...

 Our resident Hooded Crow, likes to keep a safe distance between it and us!

 A Purple Sandpiper spent a few minutes on the beach

About 35 Rock Pipits were on Solfach, many of them our colour-ringed breeding birds, The one below (although not colour-ringed) looks very green/grey and is boldly marked, quite dingy, with grey outer tail feathers and dark legs and probably a local bird
The bird below is quite a pale individual, has paler legs and paler outer-tail feathers and may well be from the Scandinavian race A.p.littoralis
 A shot of the same bird as above in flight; note the pale outer tail feathers.

A shot of another bird below with pale legs and near white out-tail feathers which lead me to think this too may be of Scandinavian origin.
Another paler looking bird, again maybe from Scandinavia
 Now for Birds from the island - Dark and dingy looking
 Slightly paler, but still nesting on Bardsey
 Typical dull and dirty islander!

 Again dull dark olive grey resident

And then this appeared.....

Standing out among all the dark Rock Pipits was this bird, my initial thoughts were it looked like a Water Pipit, very brown above and when it flew its outer-tail feathers were blindingly white confirming that the bird was indeed a spinoletta
Legs were paler than those of any pipit on the beach.

At times it looked more like a Meadow Pipit than a rock Pipit

Although not white, the bird did have a good flaring supercilium
It lacked any of the dirtiness that is shown by our Rock Pipits

The underside was very clean with brown streaking
On the only occasion it came close, the very pale legs could be seen
and the bill looked brighter than all the Rock Pipits
The Water Pipit top left and a Rock Pipit right

And also selection of Water Pipits to compare from previous years 

November 2009

 October 2003

Monday, 4 November 2013

Heron Habits

Chris Hurrell reported a Grey Heron feeding on road-kill - a mangled pheasant - just east of Mallwyd on the A458 (SH 875129) today.  Anyone noted or heard of this behaviour before?

Choughs RFI

The autumn flock has gone walk [fly] about this year and not in their usual spots.  Reports this week coming from near Barmouth but only single figures.  If you see a flock in N Wales can you please let me know direct.  Many are colour ringed so a communal flock offers a great deal of insight to their movements and mix so its the best opportunity to read the ring combinations we have.



Woodcock in!

I had my first Woodcock of the autumn yesterday at Holyhead BW country park. Eddie also had one today at Porth Meudwy.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

The Phal was still there yesterday

The Grey Phalarope was still showing well at Gronant yesterday, and there were't many people around either. I don't think it's been reported either way today?