Thursday, 31 March 2016

Cemlyn this morning - and Water Pipit Summering-up at Conwy!

I had a good selection of Hirundines at Cemlyn this morning, in a few little groups. The total count was 2 House Martins, 3 Swallows and 15 Sand Martins. There was also Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff singing, there were around 15 Sandwich terns and at least one of the over-wintering Whimbrels was still around. Other North Wales news of note includes the Water Pipit at Conwy RSPB that is in near breeding plumage, on the island from the Carneddau hide. They are always a treat to see!

Monday, 28 March 2016

RSPB Conwy sightings board

This was our first week of 'proper' Spring migration, with small groups of sand martins passing through since the first on Sunday evening (20th), swallow on Wednesday (23rd), wheatear on Saturday and Sunday (26th/27th), and a willow warbler reported yesterday (the latter does seem early but Bardsey has already recorded a couple). Several chiffchaffs are now singing around the reserve, and house martin seen on Friday and over the weekend is our earliest ever sighting. (Wheatear pic by Rob Sandham from last year).

More recent sightings are on the nature reserve blog, and details of forthcoming events are on the website.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

From Cemlyn to Cockermouth

Yesterday was a lovely day and it was very Spring-like at Cemlyn in the morning. Me and Tony had 3 Sandwich Terns a male Wheatear, 2 Sand Martins, 2 Whimbrels, Purple Sandpiper, Peregrine, Mippet and Pied Wag movement with the accompanying fine male Merlin, 300 Golden Plover (previously c.500), 6 Gannets, lots of Med Gulls, Common Lizard and a fine showing of Lesser Celandine. Then we bumped into Martin and started chatting about all things Bird! We all agreed the photos of the Demoiselle Crane in Cumbria looked pretty nice and before we knew what was happening we checked we all had the appropriate day-passes from our Wives and we were heading for the Lake Distict on Good Friday, the start of the Easter Holidays. Needless to say, the M6 was horrible so I cut a corner through St Helens, to join it at Orrell, then back off at the M55, with a detour via Pilling Lane, Glasson Dock and Lancaster, to avoid the major congestion. It took about 6 hours to get there, not the predicted 4. However, although it is presumably an escapee, although it has no rings, it was a great opportunity to see a rather beautiful species of Crane, in a wild state, free-flying, allowing us experience of the species to compare to the more familiar Common Crane. They do breed in the Crimea and migrate though the Middle East including Cyprus, but I suppose it's the fact hat it isn't that uncommon in Captivity in the UK. Anyway, we were back home in 4 and a half hours around half ten. It was a bit of a crazy day, but good fun was had by all!

Thursday, 24 March 2016

North Wales Twite project.

It would appear that the wintering Twite flock at Connah's Quay nature reserve have started to disperse back to their breeding grounds.

During the late winter ringing at CQNR only 1 definite Nant Ffrancon bird was re caught with other recaptures being from NW Scotland. A number of birds ringed there last winter were also recorded.

Could north Wales birders over the next couple of weeks keep their eyes peeled for Twite on the coast as they travel back to their Snowdonia breeding grounds.

The recent BTO Atlas shows some records on the edge of the Berwyn mountains, a site where historically they have occurred. The Clwydian range appears to be perfect habitat for them so there may well be some hiding up there as well.

Any sightings to either Kelvin Jones at BTO Cymru or Ian Spence, Clwyd Bird recorder please. All birds that have been ringed have individual colour combinations which allows us to accurately monitor this fast declining species.

Monday, 21 March 2016

A Corking day at Cemlyn

Corkwing Wrasse at Cemlyn Yesterday

Yesterday (Sunday) I had a little wander around Cemlyn as Spring was kind of in the air. A single quiet Sandwich tern was on the rocks, and later fishing in the bay, my first of the Spring, and perhaps the first record in North Wales this Spring? I think Ken had a Wheatear on the Range on the Saturday, but I couldn't find one over the weekend or tonight as I searched the Trwyn at Cemlyn with my 6 year old son, Sion. Even though we didn't spot one tonight, Sion was amused by the fact that a bird's name Wheatear, meant "White-bum!" We did have a few goodies though. The over-wintering Whimbrel was still present, on the tip of the Trwyn. The Barn Owl, that occasionally flies in the day was giving great views at dusk around Tyn Llan pool, and we saw Little Owl at one of the two Cemlyn sites. The lagoon is coming to life again, with upto 16 Med Gulls of various ages with the Black heads recently (Martin/Tony), but the numbers of Meds will typically decrease over the next month or so. 30 Pale bellied Brents also paid an unusual and brief visit to the lagoon yesterday morning. They will be on their way back to Arctic Canada soon.
The weekends highlight at Cemlyn for me though was this fish. For my 10 year old son Rhys's birthday-bash, he wanted to go Rock-pooling with some of his friends. Last year on his birthday we had a red-letter rock-pooling day with Octopus, Common Lobster, Squat Lobsters and a foot long 5-bearded Rockling. It was a Spring tide day though and yesterday, I didn't feel their was enough Spring in the tide. However, under one of the first rocks I turned over was a fish, a real corker, my first ever Corkwing Wrasse! It's the sort of fish that would look more at home in the tropics. A real treat for the kids and myself :-)

Friday, 11 March 2016

Anglesey Red Kite

A Red Kite was flying west over Llanfechell near Cemaes at 3pm today. A scarce bird on the Island!