Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Hawfinches in Wales at Birdgroup this week





This Wednesday Kelvin Jones from the British Trust for Ornithology will be giving us an update on one of our best birds in North Wales, the Hawfinch. Please come along and see how this cracking bird is getting on.

At Bangor Bird-group we meet on Wednesday nights in the University of Bangor Brambell Building, Deiniol road opposite Asda just down from the Train Station. Costs are £2 per meeting (non members), or even better join as a member. Membership costs are as follows- Waged = £15, £12 for concessions and free for Bangor University students. 
Not bad for 22 talks!

Doors open at 7 for a 7.30 pm start. Talks last for around 1 hour. All members of the public are welcome. 

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Tonight- Shetland in Bangor

Little Bunting

Tonight at Birdgroup, Local Birder Chris Jones will be giving the talk

Birding in Wellies : An Autumn Week on Shetland

Come along and see how four North Wales birders got on in October 2017 in their quest to see and find rare and scarce birds in these Scottish Islands

At Bangor Bird-group we meet on Wednesday nights in the University of Bangor Brambell Building, Deiniol road opposite Asda just down from the Train Station. Costs are £2 per meeting (non members), or even better join as a member. Membership costs are as follows- Waged = £15, £12 for concessions and free for Bangor University students. 
Not bad for 22 talks!
Doors open at 7 for a 7.30 pm start. Talks last for around 1 hour. All members of the public are welcome. 

Monday, 31 December 2018

Late 2018 : Anglesey Update-New Years Eve

American Royal Tern - Dulas


The Amlwch Snowy Owl
One of the Highlights of the year on Anglesey was this Snowy Owl near Amlwch in June, but here are the bird reports from the Island in Autumn and early Winter at the end of 2018.
On the 29th August there were 5 Green Sandpipers at Llyn Cefni.
Next day on the 30th August there were 6 Risso's Dolphins off The Range at South Stack.
Also another 2 pods of 6 Risso's Dolphins were off Cemlyn on the 1st September and a Roseatte Tern here was a good late record for the site. On the 3rd Sept a Wood Sandpiper was at Cefni Reservoir, an Adult Sabine's Gull from the High Arctic and 8 Black Terns from the continent passed Cemlyn. A Cetti's Warbler at Llyn Cefni on the 9th September was unusual for this site.
A Green Sandpiper and 9 Greenshanks were at the Llanfachraeth end of the Alaw Estuary on the 9th September. Another adult Sabines Gull passed Point Lynas on the 12th September and a Pomarine Skua, 5 Arctic and 4 Great Skuas were off Cemlyn on the 16th September. A Black Tern was at Lligwy on the 19th September and a Sooty Shearwater passed Cemlyn on the 21st September.
Another Risso's Dolphin was spotted off Amlwch Octel on the 23rd September.
On the 29th September an American Pectoral Sandpiper was at Cors Ddyga (Malltraeth RSPB), the first North American Wading-bird for this site.
In late September there was a large passage of Jays through North Wales. Mark Sutton had only ever had 4 records involving only 5 birds in total, between Cemlyn and Carmel head over the last 10 years. On the 29th September he had 14 birds along this stretch of coast.
6 Pale bellied Brent Geese passed Cemaes Bay on the 5th October, a bird not often seen in Cemaes.
A Jay passed over my Estate in Cemaes, Cae Derwydd on the 6th October, part of the North Wales influx. 42 Crossbills passed over Cemlyn on the 7th October and 2 Hooded Crows were at South Stack on the same day.
A Yellow browed warbler, a long distant migrant from Asia was in Wylfa head Car Park on the 10th October. Considering they breed so far away, its amazing how many turn up each year in the UK.
Between Cemlyn and Hen Borth on the 10th October there were 2 Common Redstarts, 120 Skylarks overhead, 6 Tree Sparrows and 3 Great White Egrets.

A Dipper was in Cemaes for the first time in over 20 years

A Dipper was on the River Wygir in Cemeas in early October around the 11th October for almost a week, until torrential rain caused rising water levels to force it to move on as the rocks in the river that it fed from were submerged due to the excessive volume of water in the River. For the 22 years I've lived on the Island I've never seen a Dipper in Cemaes. Mike Smith saw the last one, and that was before I moved over here in 1996!
Another Yellow-browed Warbler was at Cafnan near Cemlyn on the 11th October.
On the 14th October a Great Northern Diver in full summer plumage was flying over Holyhead, a Richards Pipit flew over Holyhead, a Yellow browed Warbler was at Carmel Head and a Firecrest was by Coffee Cups at the Old Toll House, Penrhos.

The Penrhos Coffee Cup's Firecrest

A Hoopoe was reported at Traeth Lligwy, flying over the marsh on the 15th October, but not subsequently.
Yellow browed Warblers were in Holyhead Breakwater Country Park on the 16th-18th Oct and 1 was at Carmel Head on the 18th October. 15 Brambling also flew over Carmel head on this date.
Cattle and Great White Egret were on the Inland Sea on the 19th October and 23 Mediterranean Gulls were on the Inland Sea from the Anchorage pub on the 20th October.

The Cemlyn Great Northern Diver

An Adult Great Northern Diver in Full Summer plumage was at Cemlyn for a few days from the 21st October. A Black Redstart was at Soldiers Point and Holyhead breakwater country park on the 22nd October. A Yellow browed Warbler was at Penrhos CP on the 25th October.



Leach's Petrels were off Point Lynas



Rough weather brought in 5 Leach's Petrels and an adult Pomarine Skua past Point Lynas on the 27th October and 7 Purple Sandpipers were at Cemlyn on the 29th October.
3 Scoter including 1 American Surf Scoter were reported off Bull Bay on the 31st October.
I had 2 Whooper Swans fly West over my house in Cemaes on the 31st October, a new bird for my house list! These birds probably bred in Iceland and were on there way to their wintering grounds in North Wales, near Llangefni or possibly over on the Glaslyn, Porthmadog.

The Whoopers near Llyn Cefni

2 Great White Egrets were at Cemlyn on the 1st November and 4 Tree Sparrow, 10 Brambling and a Whimbrel were there on the 4th November.
On the 5th - 9th November an Immature Rose Coloured Starling was at Beth's Gallery, Pen-y-sarn with the Common Starlings.
On the 7th November a Swift species was seen at Brynrefail. Next day, presumably that same bird was 6km to the North at Llaneilian, near Point Lynas. There was quite a lot of Swifts reported in the UK in November, and all the ones that were seen well enough to be specifically identified turned out to be Pallid Swifts, a more southern species, that breed later and only migrates south much later than our British Common Swifts. So the Anglesey birds were more than likely Pallid Swifts!
There were 38 Whooper Swans including 8 juveniles between Llangefni and Llanerchymedd on the 10 th November.
A late Swallow was at Hen Borth on the 16th November, plus 2 Bramblings and a Lapland Bunting.
15 Cetti's Warblers at Malltraeth RSPB (Cors Ddryga) was a good count for this site and the Island and at least 2 Greenland White-fronted Goose were here from the 21st November onwards.
20 Scaup were on the Inland Sea from the 22nd November onwards.
A Red Squirrel was seen on and off in November and into December in the Woodlands and gardens along the Afon Wygir in Cemaes.
Although its been a mild Winter so far, a Snow Bunting was at Tyn Llan, Cemlyn on the 24th November.
On the 26th November at Malltraeth RSPB (Cors Ddyga) there were 37 Pink footed Geese, 10 Whooper Swans, a Barnacle Goose and a Marsh Harrier. Then on the 4th December there was a high count of 5 Water Pipits there with at least 2 still there on the 11th .
On the 7th December there were 146 Pale bellied Brent Geese and a single Dark Bellied Bird at Penrhos Country Park and 5 Black Guillimots were in the Holyhead area on the 9th December. Also on that date in Red Warf Bay there were 110 Common Snipe and at Dulas Marsh there were 20 Common Snipe and a Jack Snipe.

Tony White found this Royal Tern

Find of the year was by Tony White from Tregele, when he found and photographed Britain's 4th record of an American Royal Tern at Dulas estuary on the 10th December. It commuted between here an Lligwy till the 11th before leaving Anglesey. It was later seen on the Gann Estuary in South Wales then on the Isles of Scilly off the tip of Lands End.

Royal Tern at Dulas

On the 12th December a Long tailed Duck was on Llyn Cefni and a Common Sandpiper was reported in Beddmanarch Bay.
Counts on the Alaw Estuary, between Valley and Llanfachraeth on the 13th December included 33 Bar tailed Godwits, 98 Grey Plover, 22 Knot, 945 Dunlin, 72 Ringed Plover and 613 Wigeon.
On the 17th December on the Inland Sea there were 2 Great Northern Divers, 14 Scaup, 4 Mediterranean Gulls and a Long tailed Duck. Nearby there were 3 Slavonian Grebes in Beddmanarch Bay and in Holyhead Bay there were 2 Red throated and 1 Black throated Diver, plus a Black Guillimot.

Llyn Llygeirian

Female Lesser Scaup on the right

Diagnostic Wing-stretch

One of the weirdest records I had this year was when I was driving on the A55 over the Inland Sea on the 18th December in strong blustery weather. I saw a bird appearing to take off in the fast lane and fly away from me. It was black and white and initially I thought it was a Magpie taking off after feeding on roadkill. As I undertook it at high speed narrowly missing it I looked to my right, and there was a female Long tailed duck looking me in the eye, a mere 4 feet away! It then veered off, over the wall and onto the Inland sea proper. I can only imagine that the ridiculously blustery weather had forced it down onto the road, as it was flying low from feeding in Beddmanarch bay back to it's favoured Inland Sea foraging grounds.

Long tailed Ducks-Last winters birds in Trearddur Bay

On the 20th December the usual Purple Sandpiper flock in Trearddur Bay was reduced from 13 to12 when 1 bird was taken by a Peregrine.

An Anglesey Purple Sandpiper

Next day, on the 21st December an Adult Meditteraenean Gull flew over where I work in Cemaes and a flock of 12 Long tailed Tits brightened up a dull winters Day as they accompanied me as I walked back to work after my lunch.

I had a Winter plumaged Med Gull fly over work.

Whilst dropping off Christmas Cards at the end of December in Pentraeth, a friend of mine showed me the Great crested Newts getting ready to breed in his Pentraeth back Garden, reflecting how mild the Winter has been so far.

2018 back of Camera Catbird shot-ta to the bloke stood next to me :-)

My three Best Birds of the Year for 2018 were the Amlwch Snowy Owl, the Dulas American Royal Tern and Britain's Second American Grey Catbird at Lands End, a bird I have previous history with! 17 years ago, local Birder Ken Croft found Britain's first American Grey Catbird at the Pine Plantation at South Stack. I went there after work on that Friday and waited patiently for an hour hoping to see this rare bird. Then my Wife called me. I was on call, and had a call-out and had to go back to work in Amlwch. I begrudgingly trudged back through the scrub to the path, then I noticed some birders running. I ran over to them and they told me that the Catbird had just flown down the side of the hill and landed in the bushes that I had been stood by for the last hour! Nooooooooo!!!! I looked on for a further five minutes with no joy, but then I had to head back to work! I went back the next morning, but again it never showed. There were Blackcaps and Dunnocks flitting around, and some observers were claiming these fleeting views as the Catbird, but I had no joy. So I missed my chance of seeing this Mega rare bird on Anglesey and in the UK. 17 years later Britain's Second Catbird turned up at Land's End and luckily for me it hung around for a few weeks. I had a free Friday and left Bangor at 7pm after work on a Thursday with Martin. We were in a Travel Lodge in Taunton Devon at 12.30 am, and after a “good nights sleep” were at Land's End at 9.30am on the Friday. Sunshine, showers and blustery wind meant not ideal viewing conditions but we got the bird. Several nice but relatively short views. Not enough time to get a photo but enough time to put the Ghost of the 2001 South Stack bird to rest!

Happy Bunny

So all the best for the festive season and the New Year. Current birds worth looking for include the long staying American Lesser Scaup on Llyn Llygerian. The Inland Sea is currently hosting Black throated and Great Northern Divers plus Scaup, Long tailed Ducks and Slavonian Grebes. Also why not give Malltraeth RSPB reserve aka Cors Ddyga a try for Bittern, Marsh and Hen Harrier, Cettis Warbler, Water Pipit and even Greenland White-fronted Goose if you are lucky. Good luck and all the best for 2019, Steve Culley

Firecrest

Snowy Owl-all the best for 2019







Tuesday, 11 December 2018

American Royal Tern on Anglesey

An American ROYAL TERN at Dulas Bay and then Traeth Lligwy on 10.12.18 found by local birder Tony White.
The bird was present at Lligwy until 15:52 then fed offshore and is back there today.

  It is ringed on the right leg and is thought to be the bird that has frequented the Channel Islands since Feb 2017, Pagham Harbour in June 2018 and the Channel Islands again in August 2018.
Its likely the bird roosted on Ynys Moelfre but is frequenting either Traeth Dulas or Lligwy.

If travelling here the Lesser Scaup is also still at Llyn Llygeirian.



Tuesday, 4 December 2018

A Message from the Arctic from Ben Porter-this Wednesday at Bangor Birdgroup



This week at Bangor Birdgroup we have Ben Porter. After he finished University in Cornwall we've finally managed to get Bardsey's Ben Porter for a talk about a Message from the Arctic. Ben will be talking about his findings from Sail against plastic. A student led research expedition to the icy archipelago of Svalbard during June in the Summer of 2018. It should be a cracker, so hopefully we will see you there!
At Bangor Bird-group we meet on Wednesday nights in the University of Bangor Brambell Building, Deiniol road opposite Asda just down from the Train Station. Costs are £2 per meeting (non members), or even better join as a member. Membership costs are as follows- Waged = £15, £12 for concessions and free for Bangor University students. 
Not bad for 22 talks!
Doors open at 7 for a 7.30 pm start. Talks last for around 1 hour. All members of the public are welcome. 




Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Scarce and Rare Birds in North Wales- Bangor Bird-group this Week




This week Robin Sandham will be talking about Rare birds in North Wales. There's nobody better to talk on this subject as at the end of the day, he wrote the book. I'm sure he will have a few books at the talk available for people to buy, and its a must read for anyone interested in the birds of North Wales or rare birds in general.

At Bangor Bird-group we meet on Wednesday nights in the University of Bangor Brambell Building, Deiniol road opposite Asda just down from the Train Station. Costs are £2 per meeting (non members), or even better join as a member. Membership costs are as follows- Waged = £15, £12 for concessions and free for Bangor University students. 
Not bad for 22 talks!
Doors open at 7 for a 7.30 pm start. Talks last for around 1 hour. All members of the public are welcome. 

Monday, 12 November 2018

Champions of the Flyway : Israel 2018 in Bangor this Week


This Wednesday local birder Marc Hughes will be giving us an update of how the Leica Red Kites got on in the Champions of the Flyway bird-race, raising funds and awareness for the plight of migrant birds across the Mediterranean and through the Middle East. It was the first time a Welsh team had entered this International Bird-race, so please come along to find out more about this good cause, how well they did and the fun they had in participating in this rather exciting 24 hour bird-race!

At Bangor Bird-group we meet on Wednesday nights in the University of Bangor Brambell Building, Deiniol road opposite Asda just down from the Train Station. Costs are £2 per meeting (non members), or even better join as a member. Membership costs are as follows- Waged = £15, £12 for concessions and free for Bangor University students. 
Not bad for 22 talks!
Doors open at 7 for a 7.30 pm start. Talks last for around 1 hour. All members of the public are welcome.