Saturday, 28 February 2015

Anglesey Tree Sparrow still present today

It took me a while but I managed a shot of the Tree Sparrow that I first saw on Tuesday, today, 
in my garden in Cemaes Bay. A garden tick!
I was stood tippy-toed, looking through the skylight and thought my Achilles was going to snap as I tried to get a shot! (Thankfully it didn't). What's all the fuss about a Tree Sparrow you may say?
Well, it's one of those birds. As a child in St Helens there were local sites you could see them and occasionally they turned up in the garden and occasionally bred there or in a neighbours garden (and still do)! But when I moved to Anglesey in 1996, they were a localised species, that required a specific site visit, especially when doing a bird-race! Pili-Palas in Menai Bridge, Llyn Alaw East Car Park, the stable near Wilpol Farm, Llangaffo and the Braint Estuary Car Park were all potentially good sites for this species. But as the years went by the sites dried up, with the last records coming from near Wilpol in May 2006. There were several years with no records, but in 2010 5 migrants flew over Penmon Point in the Autumn. That winter, there was a 2000 strong finch flock at Cemlyn and it also contained 5 Tree Sparrows on the 30th October, peaking at 9 on the 7th Nov with some birds recorded until the end of the year. Since then there have been just ones and twos, occasionally in the winter months, usually in the north at Cemlyn or Tregele or in this case Cemaes, with my bird being the only bird on Anglesey at the moment, as far as we know.
Just let me know if anyone wants to see it as it was present on and off throughout the day but mornings is best.

American Green Winged Teal still present today

This is a photo I took on Tuesday of the Green winged Teal on the River Seiont, but it was seen today (birdguides).Whilst it goes out as being at the Manweb building, that's what it's know as to the locals but it has been the Scottish Power building now for many years now. Go from Bangor, through Caernarfon past Mc Donald to the next round-about, and turn to the right on the road that skirts the River Seiont back towards the Castle. Pull into the Scottish Power car park and view the river. It was just upstream when I saw it.

Photogenic Iceland Gull still on Abergele beach today - but don't forget your bread!

Norman and Alex enjoying the Iceland gull this afternoon.
What a great bird!

Returning Norwegian ringed Black-headed Gull at Llanddulas.

 There is a darvic ringed Black-headed Gull at Llanddulas which I first saw in the Feb 2013. It was ringed in Oslo in 2008. After a year’s gap I re-sighted the bird in exactly the same carpark and was able to get more recent details on the birds movements. Since it was darviced it has returned every year to breed near Oslo and seems to use Llanddulas as a regular wintering site, approximately 700 miles away. I wonder how many more of our BH Gulls are from the same area?

Friday, 27 February 2015

Photography talk

Dr Richard Shucksmith, who won wildlife photographer of the year in 2011 has come down from Shetland to Bangor to give a talk . He specialises in the wildlife of Shetland. It is in the Powis hall at Bangor Uni tonight at 7pm. £6 entry/ £3 concessions, all welcome.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Iceland Gull

Iceland Gull

Decided to take a trip down to Pensarn and try my luck for the recently resident large white winged gull, and struck lucky! 

The bird can be found between the caffe and large car park just at the end of the bridge, well worth the visit. 

More here

Wednesday, 25 February 2015


On 28th January Jean and I watched a pair of Dippers nest-building near Talybont. Yesterday I watched one of the birds fly to the nest where it remained, presumably to incubate eggs. Its mate remained watchful nearby.
 I stopped for the Green-winged Teal at Caernarfon on my way home this afternoon and managed this distant digi-scoped pic. What a great find at that spot by somebody.
Ceredigion is not exactly the land of the Hawfinch but in my absence one appeared in a nearby garden!  See 'Ceredigion Birds' blog for a rather nice photo of a mega rarity for us.

The Teal and the Tree Sparrow

I was on a course in Bangor yesterday and managed to squeeze a little bit of lunchtime birding in, 5 minutes to be precise! But luckily the American Green Winged Teal was showing well on the Afon Seiont in the usual spot from the Scottish Power car park. I also had a female peregrine fly over at Penrhosgarnedd.
This morning I heard a Song Thrush singing in the back garden, as I looked out of the sky-light I noticed it was fighting with a starling for the best singing perch in the hawthorn tree. I looked down near the feeders and there was a cracking little Tree Sparrow, a garden tick and the first I've seen onAnglesey  for quite a few years!

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Mark Cocker comes to Bangor this Thursday!!!!!


Special talk by
Birds and People

Author (of ten books), naturalist, writer and broadcaster on nature and wildlife

 Thursday 26th February
7.30 pm start

Everyone welcome
£2 to non-members

For further information 
telephone: 01248 714678   

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Iceland comes to Bangor Birdgroup at the Uni

Ron Evans is doing a talk on Photographing birds in Iceland at the Brambell building at 7.30 tonight. I hope you can make it :-)Doors open at 7.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Iceland Gull- Pentre Mawr Park, Abergele

Ashley Cohen found and put the news out via twitter today. Great find Ashley and nice pics! Bird was in Pentre Mawr Park, Abergele. He also saw a Chiff-chaff there.

Sunday, 15 February 2015


This morning on Llyn Trawsfynydd: 16 Great Crested Grebes, 8 Goosander, 4 Red-breasted Merganser and a couple of drake Pochard plus several scattered Goldeneyes and seemingly countless Tufted Ducks.
A fisherman took 20 minutes to land this huge Pike which he had foul-hooked while fishing for Trout. No wonder few little ducklings seem to survive there.
 (540 Herring Gulls there on 7th.)
 Further towards home, 2 Hawfinches at Llanelltyd Church and this distant digi-scope shot.

Anglesey news

Alan D had BN Grebe off the HH fish quay this morning and a juv Glauc over HH bay. Possibly the bird David W had in Red Warf Bay yesterday ( with a Velvet and 900 Common Scoter). Yesterday Norman had the Whitefronts 4 fields in from Pont Marquis. A Spotshank was with 600 Goldies at Malltraeth from the bridge. A Bittern and 28 Goosanders were at Llyn Coron and 6 Pinks were with 250 Greylags nearby at Llyn Padrig.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

New Zealand in Bangor

The World Record holding Biggest Twitchers are at Bangor Birdgroup tonight talking about their recent trip to New Zealand. It should be a good talk. I hope to see you later at bangor Uni in the Brambell building :-)

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Day Trip Sunday 8th Feb 2015

A quick run down of a fantastic day out in N.Wales today. Started off by leaving the fog in England and heading to Connah's Quay NR. 36 Twite were in the tree by the West Hide car park. They were pretty flighty and flew over the fenceline of the field by the pool, this was in response to the car creeping along the track, much flightier than they were last year! Next we headed up to Old Colwyn & from the top lay-by, once the sun came out, we saw 2 drake Surf Scoters,7 drake Velvet Scoters and 5 Red-throated Divers amongst thousands of Common Scoters. Down the Conwy Valley many Buzzards were in the air but no Red Kites this time. However in what is generally agreed to be a lean year for them, it was nice to see a single Hawfinch in the big trees to the L.of the uphill lane at Llanbedr-y-cennin. Finally to the Nant Ffrancon valley in Snowdonia . The drive was really spectacular with the snow-topped mountains glistening in the sun. At the lay-by on the A5 (so well described in posts below) we immediately saw 5 Ring Ouzels in the field at the base of the slope on the lay-by side of the road. Calling Choughs were heard and eventually a mobile party of 5 birds was seen in the pony fields several fields behind the Ouzels.
All in all a great day out, in superb weather, a few other sites were visited but nothing else out of the ordinary to report! Managed a distant record shot of a Ring Ouzel, taken into the sun!!

Starling Swarm-muration at Llanfaelog!

I went to Llyn Bodgyllched near Beaumaris a few weeks ago to see the Starling roost which seemed a bit low and I thought it was due to low immigrant numbers this winter. But I didn't realise they were all at Llanfaelog! Wait for the next calm clear evening and head for the Llanfaelog turn-off for Rhosneigr/Oyster catcher restaurant (Abeffraw end of the A55 - Rhosneigr/Aberffraw road). Especially if there is a nice sunset it should be awesome!
Please park sensibly, take care and enjoy!

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Geese still around!

David Wright had the Whitefronts again in the same area as in the previous post east of Pont Marquis at midday yesterday.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

German Common Gulls in North Wales- Kiel City to Colwyn Bay.

Over the past few years, several Norwegian ringed Common Gulls and a couple of Danish birds have been sighted along the North Wales coast. Two years ago I came across a 1st winter bird that had been ringed in Kiel City in Germany. Amazingly, today I came across an adult bird (A73E) and I've just heard from German ringer Matthias Haupt that today's adult bird was ringed on 17.06.2010 on exactly the same flat roof as the 1st winter bird!!!!! Seems like we're getting a good idea of where our wintering Common Gulls come from.
Matthias is forwarding the up to date  history of both birds so I'll update the blog once he does. 
The 1st winter ringed on a Kiel City roof in 2012 and seen on Llanddulas beach on 10th March 2013. 
The adult bird seen today on Old Colwyn beach- ringed in 2010 on the same Kiel City roof!
The Kiel City Common Gull nesting colony from where both North Wales birds came from. 
Young Common Gulls on the Kiel City Roof. How many will make it to North Wales? 
Breeding adult Common Gull on the Kiel City roof- a good probability that it winters in North Wales. 
Matthias and his team ringing the gulls and adding to scientific knowledge in the process. 
The journey many of these birds make each winter where they also join Norwegian and Danish birds.

Watching the Nant Francon Ring Ouzels

On my second attempt I managed to catch up with the over-wintering Ring Ouzels in the Nant Francon Valley this afternoon. They can move around the valley but they do have two favourite spots (see map). Thanks to Connor John and his Bangor Uni Birders for the heads up whilst me and Tony were having a Coffee break at Ogwen Cottage. If you haven't seen them yet, it's worth the effort as they were easier to see and more showy than the birds I normally see in the breeding season.

The old road is a lovely drive throughout the year.

The birds were viewed well from the A5

We saw 5 birds together. 4 adult males and this
first winter male (I think).

They have been showing very well

4 of the 5 birds we saw. I think there have been 6 or 7 in total?

Bangor Uni Birders, Cheers!

Be ready for unscheduled stops!

And don't forget the carrots!

The fields between the lay-by and the house was best.

Happy birder Tony White

They have shown by the lay-by by the cattle grid at B.
They can get in with the mixed thrush flock, but not when we had them.
We had 5 by the lay-by at Point A, off the A5, giving great views.