Friday, 28 February 2014

Friday, 21 February 2014

Bangor Diving Club

This winter period is astonishing for someone who's been at Bangor University for 4 winters and only previously ever seeing a single Great Northern Diver in the Menai once in January 2013. There have been 3 Great Northern Divers almost without fail so far in 2014, all of which visible from Bangor Pier.

Today was no exception. Had nice views of a lone bird up the Menai and 2 more distant birds that seemed unsettled a little further out towards Beaumaris.

What happened next was completely unexpected. I picked up a 4th diver that looked a lot smaller and I could see a more rounded crown and a patch on the flanks. It looked really good for Black-throated which would be a patch mega! It dived before I could confirm and when it rose, it started to look a lot more like a Red-throated with a slightly up pointing bill. This was odd as the white patch on the flanks disappeared. When it dived again, it emerged looking like a Black-throated Diver again...what was going on!
I soon got my answer on my next scan for the emerging diver when I spotted both a Black-throated AND a Red-throated!
Three species of diver and two of these being patch ticks...fantastic!

Whilst the Red-throated got progressively closer, the Black-throated drifted further out towards Beaumaris. I managed to pick up 2 Kittiwake (another patch tick) blogging about half way between Beaumaris and Bangor.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Tern Around!

A tern, thought to be a Sandwich Tern, seen in Holyhead Bay this morning. The bird was distant and seen only with binoculars so ID not certain. At this time of year the possibility of Forster's Tern is real! Keep looking!

We are giving a fund raising talk in Porthmadog, Gwynedd on Saturday 22 February on "Our Birding Year" do come along and help the Glaslyn Wildlife Group. 7pm at Porthmadog Football Club all welcome. Our talk takes us from N Wales, Spain, Thailand and the Scottish Highlands with lots of photos! Hope to see you there!

Still one place left on our Finland/Norway tour last week of May first week of June, amazing birding inc Arctic Norway it could be you!

Alan and Ruth

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Mealy Redpoll in mid Wales

Paul Leafe caught this cracker of a Mealy Redpoll in his garden in land locked mid Wales this morning. With two Two-barred Crossbills in Nercwys Forest and a Mealy in a random mid- Wales garden, what other goodies are lurking around in inland North Wales. Nice one Paul :) 

Earth observations to support farmland birds...

Bangor Bird Group is back on this week after the terrible weather that befell us last Wednesday!

This week you can hear from Alex Harris about his recent research into using techniques such as satellite imagery to keep an eye on agri-environment schemes and the direct effects on the wildlife they're there to protect.

7:30pm in the Brambell Building of Bangor University. Not been before? See number 38 on this map:

Hope to see you there!

Monday, 17 February 2014

Llay Pool - top little spot!

I  popped over to Llay pool yesterday on my way back from twitching Flora Butterbum :)
It's a top little spot and the Slav and Ross's Goose were showing well giving great photo opportunities. It's just west of Llay near Wrexham. On the satnav photo Llay is the built up area on the right of the photo. My car was the red triangle and the pool was immediately to the right of the car. It was well worth a trip. These were some digi-scope shots as I've not downloaded my SLR images yet.

Two-barred Crossbill at Nercwys, Mold

There's a pair of 2B Xbill at Nercwys Forest near Mold at SJ214593 west of the north access gate Nr the top of the hill. Great find for GM and first in Wales since 1991. About time they reached here this winter!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Stay in tonight!

Due to the severe weather, tonight's Bangor Bird Group is cancelled.

Stay safe and warm...

And we'll see you next week!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014


Had a short Break in Ronda, Andalusia last week. Not really a birding break but took bins and camera anyway. We flew into Malaga and briefly checked the Rio Guadalhorce reserve - Noisy but hidden Monk parakeets, black redstart and a close in Black necked grebe on the sea were the highlights.
Ronda is a dramatic clifftop town

with a healthy chough population 
and resident spotless stalings and Crag Martins    

Choughed to bits

spotless starlings


Being so close, I had to visit Llanos de Libar, An upland valley that I last visited with Eddie and Simon 2 yrs ago in spring. trip report here  Despite the pouing rain and low cloud there were some good birds including  Black wheatears, Blue Rock Thrush, Cirl and Rock Buntings, a flock of Ring ouzels including one Redwing and an Iberian Grey Shrike
Black Wheatear

Iberian Grey Shrike

We also visited Grazalema and  the highlight of the trip for me was stopping at a random lay by-by on the way back when a Bonelli's Eagle popped up and started attacking the Griffons that were cruising over. It later settled in some clifftop trees so was probably holding territory. Such cool stroppy birds

Bonelli's Eagle

No butterflies or dragonflies but I did get a mammal tick - Beech Marten - roadkill unfortunatley.

Slavonian Grebe, Llay Pool.

First reported at lunchtime today. Managed to get to the pool at 540 this evening and the Slav was still there alongside a great crested. Not sure who found it but this is the first record around Wrexham that I know of. Kev.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Long tailed a Ducks at Trawsfynydd

John Davies was on a jaunt up north from Ceredigion today to see Hawfinches (of which there were plenty about). He stopped off at Llyn Trawsfynydd on his was back and rewarded with the two Long tailed Ducks that have been present since last month. Great pic John! 

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Snowy Owl - Photo from the archives

This isn't current news, but I found it fascinating! On a recent trip to a charity shop, I discovered a programme for an exhibition of Charles Tunnicliffe's paintings in 1983. Inside the programme was this photo of Tunnicliffe examining a dead Snowy Owl which had been given to him to compose one of his 'measured drawings'. The story behind this photo is a bit sketchy too! According to Birds in Wales (Lovegrove et al. 1994) a "female was found dead at Mynachdy, Anglesey in May 1972"(near Carmel Head). This is undoubtedly the impressive bird that is pictured here. However according to the programme I found, the bird was "shot and mutilated", and Tunnicliffe was extremely angry at its treatment, as it went against all his principles as a countryman and naturalist. I was completely unaware of this record, and just cant believe that such a magnificent bird could have been shot. And this was only about 40 years ago! Obviously I'm not aware of the whole story, but wouldn't it be great to see a bird like this on the island nowadays? Makes those hikes around Cemlyn and Carmel Head seem a little more tempting. Anyone know any other details about this picture or story?

Monday, 3 February 2014

Grey Plovers

I thought I would post about a "life first" sighting that Sally and I made yesterday near the mouth of the River Dwyfor ~ a flock of 41 Grey Plovers. The weather was reasonable; but the location was wrecked compared with my/our last visit. I presume this was a bad weather movement which arrived at this location due to better feeding conditions which now prevail at the estuary mouth compared with other areas where the feeding has disappeared? Comments most welcome.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Scotland in February :-)

Well day one and after Dave Jones drove all the way from Denbigh upto Inverness today we where lucky enough to catch up with a joint Lifer for us in the form of an American Coot on Loch Flemington near Inverness. A stunning bird which almost looks like it could be a mistake from a moorhen crossing with a coot lol, what a brill start to a short break up here , hope you like the pics :-) Grahame aka Mogs