Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Possible Yellow-legged Gull-Conwy RSPB

This was on the estuary from Conwy RSPB for about 5 minutes this morning before flying over the road/railway towards Conwy. Apologies for the poor picture/screen grab my normal camera has broken so I'm borrowing one. My reservations about calling it 100% Yellow-legged Gull are that the head shape didn't look quite right in the field. Plus there has been a hybrid Herring/LBB Gull in the Morfa roost this winter. Maybe some of you might be able to comment, particularly on the primary patterns from the pictures which I'm not too good at. I have an ok quality video of the bird but I am unable to upload it. No open wing shots unfortunately. Any comments are very welcome. 

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Late March (Eclipse/Crossbill/Black Red and Octopus)!

Last Thursday the 19th March I went over to South Stack to catch up with Ken's Black Redsart. As we arrived a House Martin flew over the car. Speaking to RSPB Mark, Swallow, Sand and House Martin had been reported at South Stack, the day before, the 18th. We also had a metal only ringed Med Gull at Llanynghenedl. Later that day at Cemlyn I had my first Sand Martin of the year. Next day was the Solar eclipse. How good was that eh!! I followed it down the A55 and up the Nant Francon Valley. Then I headed up into Cloc and had a distant Goshawk soaring will a Buzzard. Also I pished in this young female Crossbill. I never tried pishung one before but it worked very well.
Saturday at Cemlyn with Tony was quiet but we had two migrant Hooded Crows fly East, one carried on past Cemaes! Otherwise the usual suspects, Whimbrel, Purps, Grey Plover and a Wheatear. I had fun Rock-pooling with the kids on Saturday afternoon, producing a lifer in the form of an Octopus! Today (Tuesday the 24th) Mike Thompson had a Swallow over Point Lynas so it seems like Spring is happening!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

White wings

 Ringed Med Gull from Cemlyn

The famous Iceland Gull from Abergele

More here:

Cemlyn and Llyn Cefni

I had the Lapland Bunting at Cemlyn at 7.30 this morning but is wasn't seen after that despite people looking and it wasn't there tonight. There were however 8 adult and 1 2nd Summer Med gulls. One of the adult that likes to perch on the bricks has a White ring on its left leg with what looks like E718 but I only saw it briefly. So if you're in the area and its sitting out in good light, wap your scope up-to 60x and see if that is the code for sure. I also had some photos of a ringed Oystercatcher that may have been around for a few years. I got FH86609, is this a full code or is there a digit missing?
Otherwise the Whimbrel and Sanderling are  still at Cemlyn, and at the weekend there were 2 RT Divers and 1 GND in the bay, plus my first Wheatear of the spring was there on Sunday.
I had my first singing Chiffchaff today at Llyn Cefni, Spring is in the air :-)

Monday, 16 March 2015

In search of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper : Wildlife of the Russian Far East

I will be giving a talk on my trip to the Russian Far East last summer, this Wednesday. It's at Bangor Birdgroup, in the Brambell building, doors open at 7 for a 7.30 kick off. 
All welcome. £2 admission for non-members.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Some Great Birds

What a great visit and some digi-scoping opportunities. Today at Cemllyn the lovely Lapland Bunting, the best one I have ever seen.

Yesterday it was the Iceland Gull at Pensarn, the best view of one I have ever had:

The day before there was a Greenshank, my favourite wader, at Morfa Madryn:

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Photogenic Lapland Bunting at Cemlyn

I dropped my camera off at Cambrian Photography today for a service and when I got home I realised the battery charger to my spare Camera was missing the connector. So the scene was set for an early evening walk to Cemlyn without my camera, so I was guaranteed to see something good, and I did! As I walked around the corner from the west Car park onto the Trwyn I almost stood on a male Lapland Bunting! It gave great views down to a few feet at times! Thankfully Florence and Mike Smith let me use their camera to get a few shots, thanks :-) Also I put down some millet and nyjer seed to hopefully keep it there for a short while if possible. See map for directions. I'll check first thing tomorrow if the weather is ok.

House martin survey

We know surprisingly little about House Martins despite the fact that they breed alongside us, using our houses on which to build a nest made of hundreds of beakfuls of mud.

                                                                                                                                    Photo Doug Welch

We need to discover more about House Martins to help us identify why they are declining and provide scientific evidence to help inform policy decisions that could reverse the declines.

The House Martin survey over the next two years will collect more information on population size, breeding ecology and habitat preferences, so we can begin to tackle some key questions about this eagerly awaited summer visitor.

In 2015 the nationwide random square survey will involve volunteers visiting 2,000 – 3,000 ‘random’ (i.e. pre-selected) 1-km squares throughout the UK. By surveying random squares we can produce a robust population estimate to monitor future changes. 

Find out more about what the 2015 House Martin Count Survey involves, and request a square to survey.

BTO Cymru

Spring is coming (SEO at Cemlyn).

As there's been a few records of Wheatear and Sand Martin in Wales I thought I would try Lyn Cefni in my lunch break yesterday. It was great weather but I had no migrants, but a Red Admiral, Comma and Bumble-bee made me feel some-what "Springy"! I took the kids for a rock-pooling walk around the Trwyn at Cemlyn in the evening (not looking for Wheatears, honest). A large Shanny and some Broad clawed Porcelain crabs was the "marine" highlights whilst flushing a Short eared Owl from under our feet on the bay side of the Trwyn was undoubtedly the Avian highlight. The kids highlight was watching how fast I could sprint to get over the small hillock in front of me, to try and see where the Owl had landed. They didn't realise I could run so fast :-)

Monday, 9 March 2015

Tasmania comes to Bangor

Dr Richard Birch will be showing one of his films that he made this week at Bangor Birdgroup. It is showing the wildlife of the Australian  island of Tasmania. Hopefully see you there. All are welcome .

Sunday, 8 March 2015

North Wales today

Rob had the first Wheatear of the spring on the Little Orme today. I'm sure Sand Martin will be here tomorrow. I had Black Grouse near Wrexham, male Mandarin on the Dee from Llangollen bridge. Two male Surfies and 7 Velvets were with the Common Scoters from Old Colwyn from up top where the old Hotel used to be. The Iceland Gull was at Abergele shore and the flock containing 4 species of Swans is still showing well at Shotwick boating lake.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Introduction to the Breeding Bird Survey and other BTO Surveys

Over the past few years we had very successful  Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) training sessions across Wales.This year we are taking a slightly different approach and having a sessions which will also be covering several of the other key BTO surveys.

You are invited to come to a meeting to meet other volunteers, share experiences and learn about existing and future BTO surveys. The agenda has not been finalised so we are asking you what you would like to be included. We will be covering an introduction to BBS, update on BirdTrack (if you don’t already use this system for your bird recording or would like to know more), learn about the Waterways Breeding Bird Survey, the Wetland Bird Survey, the Heronries Census, the 2015 House Martin survey and whatever you may want to discuss.

There is a choice of two venues, both hosted by Kelvin Jones, BTO Cymru Development Officer.

Clawddnewydd Village Hall, near Ruthun LL15 2ND, Saturday 14th March at 13:30.

Pensychnant Conservation Centre, Conwy, Sunday 12th April 10:30

Tea/Coffee will be available, and we would appreciate knowing whether you can attend in advance so please RSVP by  10th March for Clawddnewydd,  and1st April for Pensychnant.

We would love to hear from you about what you would like to get out of these meetings and if you know of anyone who would like to get involved in BTO surveys do please bring them along.

For more details contact either your regional rep or Kelvin at the BTO Cymru office.

Kelvin Jones,
BTO Cymru,
Tel: 01248 383285

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Birdwatch Ireland comes to Bangor

We are looking forward to seeing Niall Hatch fromBirdwatch Ireland, who is coming over to give us a talk this Wednesday at Bangor Birdgroup. He will be talking about bird conservation in Ireland. It should be a good talk. Hopefully see you there. Doors open at 7 at the Brambell building. £2 for non-members. All are welcome.