Saturday, 29 July 2017

The Anglesey Skerries

I was lucky enough to get out to the Skerries last week, one night after work. We usually stop off first at Middle Mouse to see the Guillimot Colony. As it is coming to the end of the season there were just a few chicks visible and I couldn't find a single Razorbill, which are normally present in small numbers. There were good numbers of Manx Shearwaters on the crossing to The Skerries and even a few flocks of Common Scoters passing by. The Skerries is a fabulous place, with 2000+ pairs of Arctic terns. Although numbers were a little down this year they have still had a good breeding season with lots of chicks around. There are also 2-300+ pairs of Puffins, with dozens milling over our heads as we left this small Archipelago. Atlantic Grey Seals were showing well and we also had a few Porpoises on the crossing over there. It was a great evening and thanks to Warden Will et al for permitting us onto the island under his supervision.







Interesting head pattern on this Arctic Tern









North Wales Little Terns

The North Wales Little Tern Population has had a successful breeding season at Gronnant , east of Rhyl. After a potentially problematic start due to some high spring tides the population ended up doing very well due to swift action from the wardens and the birds re-laying. 
There were 161 pairs, 289 nests in total, 640+ eggs but 250+ chicks with a maximum count of 480 birds on the 4th July! I went a few weeks back and there was still a lot of activity. There should still be some birds around but I would highly recommend putting it in your diary for a trip there next year in June/July.



Sea-Holly


Spot the chick

Sightings board


Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Cycling for Curlews

Hi everyone. Writing this whilst looking south to Bardsey’s Lighthouse, and with autumn migration feeling like it’s certainly cranking up a gear: hundreds of Swallows on the move with Swifts and martins, fresh juvenile Willow Warblers and Sedge Warblers flitting around the bracken, waders filtering through in steady numbers…shouldn’t be long before the jobs garden welcomes back its obligatory fest of hippolais warblers!

As some of you may have seen, this autumn I am planning on cycling back to university in Falmouth from the tip of the Llyn - some 700km. My primary goal - besides actually pulling it off - is trying to raise awareness of the plight of Curlews.



Birders in Wales more so than most should be aware of the catastrophic decline in breeding Curlews we’ve witnessed since 1990. The estimate is an 81% decrease in the breeding population in Wales from 1993 to 2006. This situation is mirrored across the UK, Ireland and further afield, with various factors mused as causal agents.

It seems, though, that the exact reasons behind the decline aren’t entirely clear as yet, and so organisations such as the BTO, Birdwatch Ireland and the RSPB have launched various conservation initiatives and campaigns to increase the monitoring work focussed on finding out what can be done to halt their disappearance.

I’ve chosen to support the BTO’s ‘Curlew Appeal’ for my cycle ride, and am trying to raise as much money as possible through a JustGiving page. I’d really appreciate any donations that can be spared, and if you fancy joining me for a stretch of the cycle, just get in touch!

Good birding! 

(Bardsey) Ben 

A link to my JustGiving page: the Curlew Cycle

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Nightjars at Llyn Bodgynydd

Geoff Gibbs from the NWWT has been up to Llyn Bodgynydd in the Gwydyr Forest above the Ugly house twice recently and only briefly heard the Nightjars churring. He would be interested to know if anyone else has had much luck with them this year? On a similar note I would be interested to know if anyone has had Woodcock or Snipe displaying up there in the last year or two? Please let me know and I will pass on the news to Geoff, thanks.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Anglesey Shrike and other news

Pete Verity's photo of his Rhos Goch Turtle Dove. A cracking addition to this chaps back garden list. Check out
 his professional photography FB page (including licenced Drone shots - FB Pete Verity Photography.

Directions to the Male Red Backed Shrike seen on the evening of 27/5/17.  Take the minor road from
the church at Llanfwrog SW to the Beach where the arrow is. The bird was just inland from the outfow pipe
 where X marks the spot. Mark Sutton's Purple Patch continues!

After ringing 250+ Woodcock in North Wales, Chris Bridge has come up trumps
 with a bird recently recorded / returned from Russia!

News of the day is Mark Sutton's purple patch continues as he had a male Red Backed Shrike on the NE shore of Beddmanarch bay near Llanfwrog / Llanfachraeth. See map above as the weather this evening isn't much cop so hopefully it will still be in the area tomorrow. Broad billed Sand, Red footed Falcon, Bee-eater, Spoonbill, Quail and now Red backed Shrike, all on his Inland Sea to Cemlyn patch this spring. Whatever next ?
 (White winged lark please Mark if you're taking requests  ;-)  )
There was also a Little Stint in the flooded field by the west car park at Cemlyn today.
A Great White Egret on the deck at South Stack was somewhat unexpected yesterday as was an adult White tailed Eagle over Dylans in Morfa Bwchan ! (Who had that?)
Also a probable Grey Phalarope was heard calling in flight over Cemlyn at night by the warden . David Wright.
On the 25th I had a pair of Whinchat in the paddocks by the shop at South Stack, plus lots of the Endemic South Stack Spatulate fleawort and Small pearl bordered fritilaries in the SW corner of the reserve on the coastal path. The Spotted Rockrose should be showing now / soon.
Also on the 25th, a Crag Martin was seen over the Dam at Llyn Vyrnwy briefly.
As well as Pete Verity's Rhos Goch Turtle dove, another one plus an Osprey was seen over the Great Orme on the 25th.
The Spoonbill was on the SW corner of the Inland Sea from the 18th - 24th May at least.
On the ringing front, North Wales wood-cocker Chris Bridge came up trumps with a bird recorded from North Wales returning to Russia! (see map above).
Also I noticed a Dipper in Llangefni had a ring on it a few weeks ago. Local Dipper ringers Rob and Chris B hadn't ringed it there, so where was it from?  Local BTO head honcho Kelvin got his nets out and managed to catch it yesterday. Funnily enough it turned out to be a bird he himself had ringed in the nest as a chick, 1 of a brood of 5, south of Caernarfon and Pen-y-groes between Bryncir and Pantglas on the 14th April 2012.
Whoever said ringing is obsolete needs to think again.....

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Spoonbill , Quail and Turtle Dove

The Turtle Dove near Amlwch at Rhos-y-bol appears to have departed overnight after a 5 day stay (15th - 19th). However the Spoonbill was still near the Anchorage on the Inland sea this morning and the Quail is still on the Alaw estuary. If you come in from the Llanfachraeth end, cross the new metal bridge and follow the footpath along the estuary for a few hundred yards until you come to the orange rope on the barbed wire fence. The bird appears to be singing at the back of the first field but the grass is quite high so chances of seeing this bird (as usual) are minimal.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Anglesey and North Wales Bird news

Today there is a Spoonbill on the Inland Sea for its second day in the SW corner. A Turtle Dove was near Amlwch on the 18th May. On the 17th May there was a singing Cettis Warbler at Llyn Maelog but no sign of the Bittern that had been there till early to mid April. A singing Lesser Whitethroat was at Cemaes Brickworks and 2 Whimbrel flew over my house in Cemaes at 11pm.
A possible Iberian Chiffchaff was at the Great Orme on the 16th and 17th May. I presume it wasn't singing. Also the reported singing Melodious Warbler turned out to be a Reed Warbler at the Great Orme on the 18th May. Warblers can be a nightmare at this time of year when they sit at the bottom of a bush in atypical habitat sub-singing and failing to show themselves! There  had been a Melodious Warbler there on the 8th May.
A mobile Bee-eater was around the Cemlyn area on the 14th May. 2 Garganey were still at Tygai's Marsh (Malltraeth RSPB) on the 13th, plus 3 Barnacle Geese, Greenshank, 7 Blackwits, 5 Wigeon and a male Whinchat. A male Red footed Falcon was at the Alaw Estuary on the 6th and 7th, with a male Pintail still there on the 7th. A female Citrine Wagtail was at Morfa Madryn on the 6th and 7th May at least and a Broad billed Sandpiper was on the Alaw Estuary on the 1st and 2nd May (possibly this bird was on the Isle of Man on the 6th. 7 Dotterel were near Rhydwyn on the 6th May (visiting birders). I had a garden tick Lesser Whitethroat on the 10th May with a Sedge warbler in the front gardens by my place of work in Cemaes. Also a female Subalpine Warbler was on the Great Orme on the 14th May.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

RSPB Conwy sightings board


Surprise of the week was a second calendar year Caspian Gull found on the Deep Lagoon by Marc Hughes this morning. Read more about it on the latest reserve blog, which also features a roundup of recent sightings.

Wheatears continue to be seen most days, the majority now the larger Greenland race, while a few white wagtails are still on the saltmarsh. We've had more whinchats than usual this Spring, the most recent on Monday (8th), the same day as a redstart and yellow wagtail. A blue-headed wagtail was seen during last Saturday's guided walk (6th).

Small numbers of waders are heading north, with whimbrels still seen daily, and a couple of curlews today, the first for a couple of weeks. Five black-tailed godwits fed on the lagoons today (Saturday 13th), while little ringed plover has been seen a couple of times this week. A flock of 200 dunlins was unusual last Saturday (6th), while the best wader of Spring may prove to be a wood sandpiper on Friday 5th.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

European Breeding Bird Atlas

The European Breeding Bird Atlas is currently on the go. Unfortunately our Bird Atlas finished three years before the European one so the data from that cannot just be moved across. The good news is that it is covered at a 50k resolution, and uses BirdTrack as it's data source. So can I ask all you dedicated BirdTrack users to include breeding evidence in your submissions.

If you visit the BTO website https://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/find-gap-european-breeding-bird-atlas-2 it will show you the coverage for your area.


As you delve deeper into your region you can produce a list of species and easily see what's been unrecorded. Take the Lleyn for example


A quick look at the list shows a couple of species that realistically must breed in the area and just need confirming.


So if you need any more background or help contact me at the BTO Cymru office.

Kelvin



Sunday, 7 May 2017

Anglesey Red Footed Falcon Photos

Mark Sutton found this cracking male Red footed Falcon yesterday on the Alaw Estuary near Valley. Thankfully it was still there this morning till around 10.30 when it headed off north. There was another bird caught on the Calf of Man earlier today at the Bird Observatory. Ironically it appears the Broad billed Sandpiper from the Alaw estuary earlier in the week relocated to the Isle of Man and other interesting birds locally include the female Citrine Wagtail at Morfa Madryn , Garganey at Malltraeth Marsh and Silver Bay plus 7 Dotterel yesterday in sheep fields near Rhydwyn.














Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Are you a birder living in, or near, North West Wales? We'd love to see you for a BTO Cymru event at RSPB Malltraeth Marsh on Saturday 29th April, at 10:30 am. It’s a warm welcome to all birders young and old, new or experienced.

This will be a relaxed event where we will update participants on BTO’s activities across Wales, provide some free training, a friendly quiz, and (weather permitting) a bit of birding. It is open to all existing members and volunteers, and anybody ne...w who wants to get involved with the BTO for the first time.


We look forward to seeing you. There is plenty of parking around the back of the office.
With best wishes

Ian Hawkins (BTO Anglesey Regional Rep)

Monday, 10 April 2017

Anglesey News

At Cemlyn on the 9th there was a Grasshopper Warbler, Common Sandpiper, overwintering Whimbrel, 30 White Wags, 2 Hoodies, 15 Med Gulls and a Tree Pipit over. 2 Iceland Gulls were still on the ploughed field on the west side of Bodafon Mountain but no sign of the 2 Glaucs seen earlier in the week. 1 Garganey and 4 Marsh Harriers were also at Malltraeth RSPB yesterday.
On the 6th there were upto 7 Cattle Egrets in the Malltraeth Cob- Pont Marquis area. The 2 extra birds could have been the two birds Martin found 1 mile west of Llyn Llygeirain on the 3rd that I saw fly off towards Church bay. BN Grebe was still on the Inland sea on the 5th. The Summer Plumaged Slav appeared on Llyn Llewennan on the 3rd. No sign on the 4th and 5th but the LT Duck was joined by a Scaup and a Great White egret. Also last weekend, my highlight was seeing the cracking male British Yellow Wagtail at Cemlyn. Also this high pressure this weekend has seen a good arrival of many other summer migrants.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

RSPB Conwy sightings

Of the 17 regular Summer migrants that we expect to record on the reserve each year, 10 had already been seen by 8 April, and five of these (shown in yellow below) were on their earliest dates since we've been keeping records.

Two great white egrets were a welcome surprise this morning, one hanging out with the grey heronsand little egrets in Benarth heronry across the estuary from the reserve. There were a couple of late redwings here on Tuesday (4th) and a Scandinavian rock pipit has been on the saltmarsh for much of the last week. 

For more sightings, see the RSPB Conwy nature reserve blog.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Garaganey at Malltraeth RSPB... and Swallow

On Monday Jim Bach had 2 Garganey at Malltraeth RSPB and a single bird flew over him yesterday, (the 28th March) so they could still be around. Otherwise I had my first Swallow of the Spring yesterday (28th) with 2 Sand Martins fly west  across Cemaes Bay.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Anglesey Bird News

I suppose the recent highlights were the Shorelark at South Stack by the mast yesterday found by Ken (27th) and the Crane seen flying east over City Dulas near Amlwch on Sunday (26th-Observer unknown / Birdguides Record). 3 Cranes were also seen that day over South Wales  over Skokholm and Newquay.
The Glaucous Gull was still around Holyhead Harbour / Fish quay until the 19th at least (could still be there). The Black necked Grebe is still on the Inland Sea (27th) and the Slavonian Grebe seen on the same date in Beddmanarch Bay is now in Full Summer plumage.
A Blackcap was singing in my garden on the 27th March, and others arrived on Bardsey that day. I had a Red Kite drifting over Llanfairpwll on the 19th March being mobbed by Jackdaws.
After John Roberts Wheatear on the 8th I had to wait until the 15th to get one at Cemlyn. My first Chiffchaff there was on the 12th March. Tony had the First Sandwich tern at Cemlyn on the 20th and I had 2 the next day in Cemaes Bay. Yesterday at Cemlyn (27th) there was a male Ruff (wintery-ish) with c.300 Golden Plover which are colouring up nicely and the two Little Owls were sitting out yesterday in the open doing the "Curlew-like" call. The overwintering Whimbrel is still there.
Al Llyn Llygeirian yesterday there were 2 Willow Warblers, 9 Chiffchaffs and 10 Sand Martins (Tony and Martin/SRC (2SM)). The Hooded Crow is still in Llanfachraeth by the Chapel at the Valley end of the village. Richard B found a Little Ringed Plover at Malltraeth RSPB reserve in the fields near the HQ on Saturday (25th) and there were two there yesterday (27th- Ken).
An early Swift was over London yesterday (26th). Who will be the first to get one in North Wales? It will probably be at Conwy or Valley Lakes on Anglesey, probably....

Monday, 20 March 2017

Birding Blighty : Bird and Wildlife Watching in the UK with the family

I will be giving a talk at Bangor Bird-group this Wednesday on Wildlife Watching in the UK with the family. Its content is predominantly from 2015 when I went from Lands end to John O Groats in search of birds and beasties. Doors open at 7pm at the Brambell Building at the Uni, ready for a 7.30 start. All welcome.