Monday, 16 January 2017

Eastern Anglesey Update

I went down the east coast of Anglesey on Sunday morning with Tony. Here's a summary of the birds we had and a few counts Tony had a few days previous.
At Moelfre there were 2 Purple Sandpipers showing well with up-to 24 Turnstones. 165 Cormorants were on the island. On the surrounding sea there were 400 Auks, 9 Gannets, 21 Kittiwakes, 2 Porpoises, 3 Red throated Divers and a Great Northern Diver.
At Lligwy Tony had 25 Red throated Divers, 8 GN Divers, 400 Auks, 30 Cormorants, 20 Great Crested Grebes, 15 Red breasted Mergansers and 9 Sanderling.
At Dulas there were 6 Jack Snipe and 10 Common Snipe, 110 Curlew, 24 Redshanks, 26 Shellducks, 250 Wigeon, 24 Brents, 3 Greenshank and a Kingfisher.
At Red Warf Bay there were loads of Snipe in a small area surveyed. 275 Common and at least 8 Jack Snipe. We also saw a Water Rail, 15 Knot, Greenshanks, 8 Rock Pipits  and c.10 Brents. 
Today Tony had 2 Cattle Egrets at Pont Marquis and a 1st winter Marsh Harrier on Malltraeth RSPB reserve.







Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Dan Brown on Western Sahara




One not to miss! Dan Brown, son of Nigel Brown is coming back to North Wales and Bangor Bird-group this Wednesday. He will be talking about The Western Sahara. A disputed territory in the Maghreb region of North Africa, just South-West of Morocco. Come along and see what unusual wildlife can be found in this far flung corner of the Western Palearctic. Doors open at The Brambell Building at Bangor University at 7pm for a 7.30 Kick off. All welcome.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Anglesey Bird News



My local highlight over the Christmas period was a cracking Hawfinch at some feeders in a garden in Cemaes on the 29th and again briefly on the 30th. Mike Smith had a similar record in Cemaes about 5 years ago. One bird by his feeders for about an hour, then never seen again. They are very rare visitors to Anglesey, with less than one record a year, usually a fly over in the Autumn at Carmel head. Recent ringing recoveries have shown some of the birds we get in Winter are Norwegian Birds escaping the harsher conditions further north. Up to 5 Cattle Egrets are still seen in the area immediately north of Pont Marquis near Malltraeth. 4 Long tailed ducks are still in Trearddur bay with another still on Llyn Llewennan, but the 4 Greenland Whitefronts appear to have disappeared. The Inland sea still has Scaup, Black necked and Slavonian Grebe, Great Northern Divers and Mediterranean Gulls and 100+ Pale bellied Brents. These birds can also get into Beddmanarch bay. A Hooded Crow is resident in Llanfachraeth near the Chapel at the Valley end of the village. Unfortunately the bird at Mc Donalds in Holyhead has disappeared so me and Tony can't use the excuse "Shall we check for the Hooded crow at McDonalds" as a reason to swing by there anymore!
Two Yellow browed warblers on the 2nd Jan were an unseasonal find. One had been at Soldiers point for a few days. At the top of the road by the burnt out white castle/folly hotel, just before you get there there is a small track to your right down to the harbour/chalet.. It favored the evergreen bush immediately on your left. There are several little paths around here to check the adjacent scrub. These small paths were probably made by Badgers. Either that or Ken....
The other Yellow browed warbler was found by Marc et al on his birdrace on the second, by the bus stop over looking Llyn Penrhyn at Valley camp.
Also if you fancy some of the other usual suspects. It's always worth checking Malltraeth Marsh for Bitterns, Otters and overwintering Marsh and Hen Harriers. There's always a chance of a Short eared Owl on Aberffraw Common near Llyn Coron at this time of year. Check off Penmon point for Eiders, Divers, Black Guillimots and other Auks. Holyhead Fish quay and the Harbour can be good for winter plumaged Black Guillimots, and Red breasted Mergansers are in their finest plumage at the moment. Cetti's warblers can still be heard at Valley Lakes (Cerrig Bach) and Malltraeth Marsh and there's always a chance of them at Llyn Maelog, the latter site is also a reasonable site for Bittern in the winter. Choughs at South Stack whilst having a coffee is always a nice little stop then check out Trearddur Bay for the Purple Sandpipers (and Long tailed Ducks).

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Chris Jones on Birding in South Africa, tonight in Bangor

Local Birder Chris Jones will be giving a talk on Birding in South Africa tonight at Bangor Bird-group. He kicks off the first talk of 2017 by showing us the wonderful bird and wildlife of this very beautiful  African country. Doors open at 7 for a 7.30 start. All welcome.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Highlights this week

I finally caught up with the Black throated thrush this week in St Asaph in the hawthorn in the stubble field by the New Inn on the other side of the river from the Football club. Although the waxwings have stripped all the berries by the small car park on the north side of the road bridge they were still very showy coming down to drink from the half frozen puddles on the nearby track. The 5 Cattle Egrets with around 5 Little Egrets were showing well all week at the side of the road around 400m North of Pont Marquis near Malltraeth. The 4 Long tailed Ducks were still showing well in Trearddur bay and there have been 9 Scaup and a GND on the Inland Sea, a Slav off Beddmanarch bay and the regular Hooded Crow in Llanfachraeth near the chapel at the Valley end of the village. A Hawfinch coming to feeders in Cemaes Bay yesterday was a rare treat for Anglesey Birders!








Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Eyes peeled for Ring billed Gulls

There were 5 new Ring Billed Gulls in SW Ireland today. So with the stronger winds coming in from the west it may be worth checking your local gull flocks for these (and other ) American Gulls.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

North Wales Birding Today

Me and Tony put in a late appearance at the St Asaph Black throated Thrush twitch today. However it was only seen on one occasion today for a few seconds by Alan Davies and a lucky few and even Martin who was only a few meters away never saw it as he had gone back to his car for a warm. Dog walkers whistling their dogs on a few occasions caused slight panic and a little bit of running as we thought someone had relocated the bird, but unfortunately that wasn't the case. However the Waxwings were putting on a great show along with the more commoner thrush species, feeding on the ripe red berries near the Doctors Surgery / Pharmacy, offering good photographic opportunities. Three male Goosanders passed sea-wards overhead as we waited for the thrush. On our way back we called in at Trearddur bay where the 4 Long tailed Ducks that were found by Andy Spottiswood were putting on a great show in the breaking waves 10 meters offshore and up-to 20 Purple Sands were feeding on the rocks on the North Side of the bay. There are three female and a first winter male Long tailed Ducks. The male has a pink patch on his bill and a white stripe down the center of the crown. An adult male would be much whiter with a long tail. Females don't have the pink patch on the bill.  Even though we never got the intended main course , the rest of the days birds more than made up for it.