Thursday, 31 March 2011

French Med gull at Cemlyn

After the Polish Warsaw 1st year bird at Cemlyn last year there's now a 2nd summer bird which was ringed as a pullus in 2009 just east of Calais, France. It has a green ring with W89 in white on it. Recently there has been 2 adults, 3 2nd summer and 2 1st summer birds coming and going. Apparently they've been breeding in Delamere forest for three years with upto 3 pairs recently so they're obviosly doing well colonising the UK and Eire now.

Pics of Caspian Gull

Just had a look at and there are a couple of pics of Caspian Gull under Britain and Ireland scarce birds gallery. Now if one turned up like that in N Wales reckon I might ID it! A very striking bird indeed! Now lets find one..... Alan and Ruth

Bird Race

Thinking ahead how about a North Wales bird race in May? Maybe Saturday 14th? All migrants should be in and could be some winter stuff hanging on? How about starting at say 7pm on Friday and finishing at 7pm Saturday and have the finish line at a pub or maybe the reserve at Conwy so we could make it a social event? All end up at the same spot and compare notes and have a few beers? Also how about a mass bird at Aberdaron over the last weekend of May 28th and 29th? Prime time for a mega or at least a rosefinch? Get as many bodies down there as possible and try and cover the whole area. Take walkie talkies to ensure no one misses anything and meet up a couple of times during the day to compare notes? Some might like to make a weekend of it camp or B&B so we could have a few beers Saturday night? Alan and Ruth

Firecrest Holyhead

Firecrest Soldiers Point Holyhead - Ken C 3 Snow Buntings Kinmel Bay - Tony K Running a birding trip to Anglesey on Sunday, 3rd April, email to book or for more details. Alan and Ruth


A male Mealy Redpoll was showing well, though briefly, near the top end of Llyn Crafnant yesterday evening. It was quite close in birches opposite the phone box, in a feeding flock of a few Lessers and Siskins, and had a paler ground colour than the Lessers, with a pink wash down the breast to the belly, with much reduced streaking on the flanks which were finer and less bold. The undertail coverts appeared all white, but when the bird paused momentarily, thin, fine streaks could be seen down the centres of the longest three. The rump appeared pale with a pink flush.
It's been a good winter for this species and i wonder if there's a chance of connecting with birds moving through on Spring migration - i understand Marc and Rob had good views of one on the Orme last Spring...

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Jackdaw - but what flavour?

This Jackdaw is knocking around Llangefni. It's gathering nesting material so presumably it's going nowhere. It has a bright silvery face-patch and a thin white collar similar to a Nordic Jackdaw. Some Nordic birds seem to stay in the UK so presumably some birds must breed producing intermediate young. Is this a bright Jackdaw, a Nordic Jackdaw or an intermediate/hybrid bird?

Odd female blackbird

Probably the oddest marked female blackbird i've seen.  Super came right over the eye like a blinkin sibe!  At Conwy RSPB this eve:

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Carrion Crow apparently having fun!

On my way to Cemlyn at the weekend my attention was drawn to a pair of Carrion Crows perching on telegraph wires. One bird was hanging perfectly upside down and at first I thought it was snagged. As I neared the crows it swung around to upright itself from its dangling position. I couldn't see any reason why it would be doing it but for the fun of it or showing off to its mate. I had seen Galahs do this in Australia but that was with wings outstretched in a rain shower to essentially wash their underwings. Also on my way to work today I noticed a Collared dove on wires stretching its wings in the rain to clean them, but this time the bird was upright!

Great Grey shrike World's End

A quick drive over the moors on the way home from work tonight finally netted the great grey shrike at World's End that has been seen on and off for the winter. Still present on the ridge near the car park. Also here both grouse species, bullfinch and chiffchaff. A nice little owl showing well and calling on the way back down to Wrexham. Kev.

Dodgy Gull summary

Big thanx to all who commented on the photo of the gull a few days ago, I also got comments from 3 keen gullers in other parts of Britain via email & PM (thanx John and Rob).
In a nutshell I agree with what’s been said:
It has several pro-Casp features, in particular the underside of the outermost primary (P10) which can clearly be seen to be virtually all-white. The bill shape and colour looks good. The mantle shade, size, jizz, posture, bulging throat beneath the bill etc., all good. It shows the bulging hind-belly often cited as a good feature for Casp. The legs are intermediate, and the eye is pale, though these days it’s considered OK for Casps to show this. One very experienced guller said via email, from this one photo it looks like a Caspo. He then makes the point that it’s not possible to be 100% certain from this one shot, something which several folk said. And i agree – in fact in the field I felt that it didn’t have the right head shape for a Caspo (although you can’t really see this in the pic), and that it prob wasn’t one, so when I reported my news to Birdline (2 Iceland & 5 YLG) I explained that I had a bird with some features of Casp, but wondered about the possibility of some YLG genes in there, as they’re known to hybridise around the Black Sea – there were some interesting photos on a forum of probable hybrids which were taken in Romania a year or two ago. There doesn’t appear to be a consensus on how much variation there is within cachinnans, some argue that a Casp should display all the features of a “classic”, but I would argue that these birds are in fact, extremes. How many Herring Gulls would get accepted if they had to show all the features of a “classic”? And it’s fair to say that the criteria for ID-ing Casps have changed over the years – I recall one of the first papers suggesting that a “good” Casp always has a dark eye, which led me to bin a perfectly good one at the same spot late 90’s – this is no longer seen as a critical feature. Time will tell how much further the goalposts move!
The other side of the argument is that out of range gulls are said to often display “non-classic” features more often than birds from within the core of their range, perhaps suggesting signs of hybridisation where they meet other taxa.
Ultimately I’m still amazed that as recently as 20 years ago this species was a mega rarity, then started to be ID’d more often in SE England, records spreading NW each winter til now it’s seen as a rare but regular visitor to not far beyond our North Wales border! For a bird that’s migrated many many hundreds of miles, is it too much to ask that it continues another 30??
And of course, we should never forget that a photo can make a bird look more like a Caspian than it actually does in the field – or less like a Caspian than it does in the field!
And now that it’s Spring… it’s a good time for white-wingers and Ring Billed!… and don’t worry it’s only 3 months til the YLGs start moving again. ;-)

Monday, 28 March 2011

Merlin v Ringed Plover at Cemlyn

I saw a war of atrition tonight when a Merlin chased a flock of 15 Turstones at Cemlyn and singled out a lone Ringed Plover with them. It chased it out over the bay and with superior speed the Merlin kept heading off the Plover to prevent it going over land. It spent 10 minutes flying in circles periodically breaking away slightly only to swing back into a more vigourous attack. 2 Herring Gulls and a Black head joined in to try and mob the Merlin but it was like watching Lancaster bombers trying to out-manouvre a Spitfire. After 10 minutes I was tiring holding up my bins and so did the Plover which briefly alighted on the beach for a micro-second, thus allowing the Merlin to take it's quarry and take it away to "feast on it" to replace some of the not insignificant amount of energy it had just burned off! My first Swallow flew by as well and there were 6 wheatears showing well on the Trwyn and a Black Guilli still in the bay. The Lap Bunt was reported again. Apologies to Rhian for being late tonight but I had to know how the chase finished!


Singing male found at an undisclosed site in monts today!

Ring Ouzel @ Ceri Ridgeway

1 seen on the top of the ridgeway this evening, other signs of migration included 300+ Meadow Pipits, 500+ Siskins, 20+ Bramblings and a handful of Pied Wagtails and Skylarks.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

News from the East

Dartford warbler still present at Worlds End yesterday, although it is becoming more elusive. Crossbill, redpoll, siskin there in good numbers. Sadly to misty to see much there yesterday, and worse today so i did not bother going up. First sand martins yesterday at the Flash, along with displaying great crested grebe, reed bunting and numerous chiffchaffs. No sign of lesser peckers around Cox Lane Marford sadly. Today 3 waxwings showing well on Deeside Industrial Park outside the BASF entrance in Zone 3. Still berries there so they may linger. Blackcap and chiffchaf also there. Kev.

Ring Ouzel- Great Orme 27/3

Highlight this morning was the first Ring Ouzel of the year, firstly just south of the cairn before flying down to the Marine Drive directly above the Gun site. Brambling, Wheatear, Redpoll and Siskins too.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Saturday - good start

Bonaparte's Gull Traeth Lligwy flew east past beach 9am

Glaucous Gull still north of Menai Bridge

3 Snow Bunting Kinmel Bay

2 Twite Conwy RSPB saltmarsh from estuary track

Pink-footed Goose Hen Borth west of Cemlyn

Alan and Ruth
Birdline 09068 700249

Friday, 25 March 2011

25 March

3 Snow Bunting still Kinmel Bay - Tony K

singing Willow Warbler RSPB Conwy - Rob S

Further a field Short toed Treecreeper Languard BO Suffolk

Alan and Ruth

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Cemlyn 24th March

Lovely morning with small amounts of vis-mig going on. Small numbers of Siskins, Redpolls, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Mippets and Skyark moving over West to East. Chiffchaffs in the willows on the way to Cemlyn. No sign of the Lap bunts today but there was a female Merlin and a Sparrowhawk in the same field! 15 Sand Martins were feeding over Tyn Llan pool with a few others bombing north out to sea towards the Isle of Man. The Black head colony is bustling with still a few hundred Golden Plover on the Island and a few Sandwich terns feeding offshore. A first summer Med was on the main Island but no sign of the adults this morning.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Just to add to your headache Marc I dug out this picture of a pipit with an fairly obvious eyestripe taken at the 'twite' site opposite Rhos on Sea golf club in November, 2009. The pipit cause a bit of debate among those birders present that morning without anybody coming to a conclusion! I note that the ringers manual cautions it is generally impossible to separate littoralis in the field, especially in autumn. Here's a pic of the Rhos bird, unfortunately I can only find this heads-on view.

More Pipit headaches?

Montgomery birder Paul Leafe sent me pictures of a Pipit photographed at Llyn Coed y Dinas, Welshpool today. They had been sent to him labelled as a Rock Pipit for includion on his excellent Mongomery Bird Blog (see links on right).
The bird seems to have fine breast streaks, two toned yellow / dark bill, pale legs (bit too pink on photo 2?), white outer tail feathers, good supercilium and wing bars, rather plain brown mantle - is this a winter plumaged Water Pipit? However, one would expect some summer plumage features by now - no hint of pink flush, unmarked breast or grey head. Or are we talking 'littoralis' Rock Pipit here? I feel I'm missing something obvious - these pipits are starting to drive me mad!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

'littoralis' Rock Pipit?

Pictures added after being kindly forwarded by Adrian. First one the bird in question, the second one a 'normal' Rock pipit present in the same area. I'm pretty sure now it's a standard 'pertrosus' with some aberrant white feathering above the eye - no wonder the super stood out a mile!

What are people's views on the Rock Pipit at Rhos Point at the moment.
Take a look at Adrian Foster's excellent picture here -

When I first saw it I thought defo 'littoralis', however on reading up on the sub-species the bird doesn't show a full set of features. A search of the net also reveals our own 'pertrosus' Rock Pipits can show pretty distinct superciliums and wing bars.

The bird is still present this evening and shows a cracking supercilium, grey cast to the head and mantle, white outer tail feathers and has a double wing bar. Negative's include all black bill and a thickly streaked breast. It certainly looks different to the typical looking dull Rock Pipits that are in the area too. But is it different enough to be 'littoralis'?

Any opinions, thoughts or ideas?

Dippers, Goosanders; Conwy valley

I headed down the Conwy valley on Sunday but it was pretty quiet on the whole. Highlights were a pair each of nest-building and singing Dippers and displaying Goosanders. Still plenty of large gulls between Penmaenmawr and Morfa Conwy too.


Monday, 21 March 2011

Mondays news

Lapland Bunting Great Orme above the lighthouse - Julian H

Glaucous Gull still north of Menai Bridge

With Blue-winged Teal in Carmarthenshire and Lesser Scaup on Merseyside be worth checking local wildfowl carefully.

Alan and Ruth

Have updated our website with details of ydays tour of Anglesey and details of up coming trips.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Sinensis Cormorant?

While looking through some old pictures I came across this picture of a Cormorant I took at Conwy RSPB reserve in October 2004. I remember at the time talking to Alan about the very obvious orange / yellow gular patch that was vaguely reminicent of double-crested. Although not the best picture, what are peoples opinion of it being a 'sinensis' Cormorant? Here's an interesting link from the excellent Portland Obs web-site which shows 'carbo' and 'sinensis' (scroll down to bottom of page) and I've also included a picture from the Paxton site shown gular patch angles. Any comments on this bird and the status of 'sinensis' in Wales or the North west would be appreciated.

SCAN CAN...Norwegian Turnstone!

The SCAN group met today to target a Norwegian ringed Turnstone, first spotted at Horton's Nose, Kinmel Bay, by a photographer on the 3rd March 2011.

The site was recced several times before the attempt and the bird expertly tweeked and trapped along with 61 Sanderling, 17 Dunlin and 30 Turnstone including 3 local retraps.
Up to 220 Sanderling currently in that area which is a great count.

Great Orme - 19/3/11

A bleak and windy morning on the Orme today. Two White Wagtails in the sheep fields were best along with at least 7 'alba' wagtails flying west. 20+ Siskins flew through including a flock of 12. A single Stock Dove was the only other migrant of note. Chough and Peregrine too.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Boney Gull agian

Boneaparte's Gull again Traeth Lligwy

Great grey Shrike and Dartford Warbler at World's End south side just north of larches, stay on the road or footpath on east side, stay off the moors!

10 Slavonian Grebe Llanfairfechan also drake Eider

Alan and Ruth

Friday, 18 March 2011

Caspian Gull 2010

Just following on from Mikes post, thought it might be relevant to see what people thought of this 'Caspian' gull compared to Mikes bird ... myself and Mike had this at richmond last might help!

Appears to have longer yellow legs, mantle colour is darker.. Seems to have a small 'blackish beady' eye and a longer bill - whether thats a good feature?

smart, lap, chiff and Wwag

7 Sand Martin over Conwy RSPB late on, 1 tatty White Wag with 6 Pied on the estuary and 3 Chiffchaff round the rez.

3-4 Chiffchaff in Conwy town this afternoon too.

4 Lapland, Brambling, 3 Wheatear, 1 White wag, 9 Chiffchaff and S Martin on Bardsey.  more info:

Surf Scoters

2 drake Surf Scoters off the rainbow bridge east end of Old Colwyn but very distant! At least 3 Velvet Scoters here.

Alan and Ruth

I'm afraid so...

Hi, i'm interested in peoples impressions of this bird. If i manage to upload OK, i've included the original pic to compare and contrast with the surrounding birds, and then a crop to provide a bit more detail. I've got some thoughts on it, and i'll add some field notes later but i'm curious about first impressions to begin with.
Cheers, Mike.

Snow Bunting Kinmel Bay

At least one Snow Bunting still Kinmel Bay beach - Tony K

Alan and Ruth

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Birding around the Conwy area

This Red Kite drifted slowly North over Caerhun Churchyard this afternoon with 6 Common Buzzards. At least 16 displaying Buzzards on the east side of the river and a Goosander on the river.

No sign of the Waxwings I had this morning in Llandudno.

Boney Gull

Still at Traeth Lligwy this am

Alan and Ruth

Waxwings and Osprey

8 Waxwings seen in Llandudno by Lynx Hotel on the dual carriageway, A470, as you come into the town but only briefly, hope they are still around? If you see please call 07778 677141 missed by a few minutes this am!

Osprey back at the Glaslyn Marshes today view from RSPB car park at Pont Croeso.

Alan and Ruth

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Avocet on the Clwyd

Avocet on the River Clwyd between Rhyl and Rhuddlan found by John R mid pm great bird!
2 Snow Bunting still Kinmel Bay beach - Tony K
43 Great northern Divers counted between Dinas Dinlle and Trefor - Rhys J

Forecast looks great for weekend - get out there!

Alan and Ruth

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Tuesdays news

Bonaparte's Gull again at Traeth Lligwy though absent for long spells, take a good book!
Glaucous Gull still north of Menai Bridge
4 Lapland Bunting Cemlyn
7 Lapland Bunting Bardsey BO

thanks to Ralph M, Steve C, Steve S for news

Alan and Ruth

Monday, 14 March 2011

Cemlyn News

There have been upto 4 Lap Bunts in the stubble by the west car park recently including one pretty nice looking male and 1 bird was actually singing. 200+ mippets were around this weekend. There was a Wheatear at Hen Borth (Les Colley and David) yesterday and a Sand Martin (David Wright) at Cemlyn passing through. One adult Med Gull is back on the islands and there were 2 Sandwich terns new in today. Owen Roberts (Dark morph sporting Cypriot tan) was seen briefly at Lligwy yesterday, it was a rare sight of him birding in the UK!

Slav Grebes - Llanfairfechan

Perfect conditions early morning off Llanfairfechan produced 19 Slavonian Grebes, including a group of 9 very close inshore. The birds were in groups of 9, 5, 3 and 2 at varying distances and in varying plumages. Great northern Diver and 3 Eider too.

Boney Gull still there and other news

Boneaparte's Gull Traeth Lligwy again late am at least

19 Slavonian Grebe off Llanfairfechan - Marc H

Ad Med Gull Pensarn beach - John R

Wheatear South Stack - Ken C

UK news - 3 Penduline Tits Minsmere RSPB over due one in N Wales!

Alan and Ruth

Glaucous still there

3rd winter Glaucous Gull still north of Menai Bridge this am - Martin J

Alan and Ruth

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Sundays stuff

Boney Gull seems to have been elusive today, seen early am, early pm and early evening when sat on the sea - John R, Chris J and others

3 Lapland Bunting Cemlyn in field by west car park also adult Med Gull on lagoon - Ste C, Derek E, David W and others

3rd winter Glaucous Gull north of Menai Bridge - Derek E

scatter of Wheatears and a few Sand Martins

Dartford Warbler World's End - David D

220 Pale bellied Brents Foryd Bay also Spot Red - Simon HR

Alan and Ruth

Boney Gull

Seen again early pm! - John R

Alan and Ruth

Bonapate's Gull

Adult Bonaparte's Gull seen Treath Lligwy early am only no sign since but a lot of dog walkers on the beach. The bird has been seen feeding with Kittiwakes last two days.
Interestingly another returning Boney Gull again at Cardiff Bay back for at least its third year?

Alan and Ruth

Great Orme - 13/03/11

The first two Wheatears had returned to the limestone pavements of the Great Orme this morning - always great to see. An influx of six Stonechats here too, with four birds together - 3 females all vying for the attentions of a cracking singing male. Other birds on the move included 30+ Meadow Pipits, 4 Siskin and 10+ Chaffinch. The Fulmars are back on the cliffs along Marine Drive and shwoing well, while Razorbills, Guillemots and Kittiwakes are all back on their breeding grounds. 2 Chough and Peregrine too.

Lapland Buntings and Glaucous Gull

3 Lapland Buntings at Cemlyn in field by west car park, a male singing! - Ste C

3rd winter Glaucous Gull still north of Menai Bridge east of tip on south side of lane - Derek E

Numbers of Wheatears and Sand Martins in the NW today

Alan and Ruth

Wheatear Great Orme

Wheatear Great Orme on limestone pavement, Pete Alderson, 2 Chough here and good to see 4 Stonechat.

Alan and Ruth

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Great day on Anglesey

Full day guiding on Anglesey today and turned out to be a cracking day, highlights -

Glaucous Gull north of Menai Bridge
Bonaparte's Gull Traeth Lligwy also Black Guillemot here
2 Lapland Bunting, adult Mediterranean Gull Cemlyn Lagoon
Slavonian Grebe and Brent Geese Beddmanarch Bay
Great northern Diver, Red t Divers and Black Guillemots Holyhead
Amazing views of Chough at South Stack
Scaup Valley Lakes
Spotted Redshank Malltraeth

Even had time for a cuppa and choclate cake at Four Mile Bridge cafe, brilliant day!
Fancy joining us for great birding? email -

Alan and Ruth

Colour Ringed Twite

A number of Twite were ringed in the Nant Francon area last spring. They were given both a BTO ring and a colour combination. Despite best efforts this past winter has proved dissapointing with no flocks appearing in the usual areas. On Friday I was pleased to hear that one of the colour ringed Twite was seen on the Okenholt marsh, Flint.

This has posed even more questions, ie do our breeding birds regularly winter on the Dee and them move back west along the coast in spring, which might explain why they appear at Madryn in spring.

So I guess Flint here I come later in the week, and regular visits to nant Francon again over the next 3 months. If you happen on any twite next few weeks please check for colour rings and let me know.


First Sand Martin 12.03.11

Both Conwy RSPB and Bardsey had their first Sand Martin today.  Wheatear and Chiffchaff on Bardsey last week too.  2 Snow Buntings and 2 Grey plover on Horton's Nose, Kinmel Bay yesterday with 60+ Sanderling over high tide.  3 Scaup, 30+ Gannet and 1 Razorbill from Old Colwyn Prom yesterday but too hazy today.

Still a few Brambling at Abergele Business Park-someone has put up feeders behind the office buildings.  Still 35 Brambling in private garden in Ruthin.

More on Bardsey:

Rhos Point area - March 12th

A slow amble from Old Colwyn to Penrhyn Bay this afternoon produced 2 Purple Sandpipers in the usual spot, 30+ Knot (a good count for here), 13 Grey Plover at Penrhyn Bay, while 5 Red throated Diver, 20+ Great Crested Grebe and a number of Auks off Old Colwyn. Scoter were distant and the light bad so no chance of any Surfies this weekend I fear.

Bunting Bonanza on Great Orme.

Three species of Buntings were the highlight on the Great Orme this morning. Three Lapland Buntings, including a male reaching summer plumage were seen breifly on the deck before flying off calling towards point Lynas. A female Yellowhammer (very naff pic above) was in the gorse at the north end. There are only a couple of records of Yellowhammer on the Orme every year, so it was good to get one for the Orme year list so early. Reed Bunting, 20+ Meadow pipits, 8 Siskin, 5 Chaffinch and 6 Pied Wagtails over were the best of the rest. A superb arial battle between the Peregrines and Ravens was cool. No Wheatears yet though......

Lapland Buntings Great Orme

3 Lapland Bunting on Great Orme on limestone pavement - Marc

Yday the Glaucous Gull roosted in Bangor Harbour - Chris B

Alan and Ruth

Friday, 11 March 2011

Snow Buntings Kinmel Bay

Still two Snow Bunting Kinmel Bay beach - Rob

Alan and Ruth

Bonaparte's Gull Traeth Lligwy

The Boney Gull again at Lligwy this am, 08.15, at low tide bathing in river mouth - news from Martin on his way to work

Alan and Ruth

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Glaucous Gull at Menai Bridge

Following on from Alan's post, the Glaucous Gull was showing well from the small minor road along side the fields it was in. Never actually realised how big the birds were in size to the Herring Gull for example.

Managed to get a quick record shot whilst dodging the showers!

Glaucous Gull Menai Bridge

The third winter Glaucous Gull again in fields near the tip north of Menai Bridge this afternoon, not seen in the morning, SH 540 745 - Alex, Ste

Little Gulls off the Wirral and Lancs coast so worth looking out for these.

Alan and Ruth

Slavonian Grebes and stuff

6 Slavonian Grebes in Beddmanarch Bay, spring passage boosting numbers? - Ken Croft

White-winged Scoter still Co Kerry, not a good day for finding one off our coast!

Rufous Turtle Dove still Chipping Norton Oxfordshire

Alan and Ruth

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Ruddy Ducks, going, going........

There was an interesting talk tonight on "An Update on Ruddy Duck erradication in the UK" at Bangor Birdgroup from Iain Henderson of FERA. From a maximum of around 6000 birds in the 1990's the UK population is now down to below 100 birds! There's about 3 males in Northern Ireland, 44 birds in Holland and 200 in France with just 1 wandering male at large in Spain and possibly a few birds in Morrocco. It was 2006/7 when the last White headed / Ruddy Duck Hybrid was shot in Spain. The UK project is on track for total erradication by 2015. Holland is about to start erradication but France seems to be less organised in their methods of population contol. I think the North Wales population is now down to 3 - 5 birds on Llyn Alaw. With a young male and 2 females in Gwredog bay, Llyn Alaw still at least 2 weeks ago, this may be your last chance to see Ruddy Ducks in their wild state in North Wales.

White winged scoter

Noticed that a white winged scoter has been claimed off southern Ireland today and in view of the thousands of scoters we get off the north Wales coast what chance of one turning up here? I believe the white winged was put down as a velvet scoter at first but has now been re-identified. The bird was described as having a whacking great upturned tear behind the eye, the base of the bill given the impression of being very bulbous and the bill more reddish orange than yellow orange. Seeing as we currently have 2 surf scoters and a possible black scoter seen by Alan may well be worth checking those velvets a bit more closely.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

? Waxwings in Beaumaris

There was a report of 2 Waxwings at the allotments by Beaumaris castle yesterday so if anyone is in that neck of the woods it may be worth a look.

Red-throated Diver, Old Colwyn

This bird was off Rainbow bridge this morning. Looks like a Red-throated Diver but it shows a distinct chin-strap in the field, which shows in the photo. Any comments welcome.

Med Gull ring recovery Beddmanarch Bay

Ken Croft reported a colour ringed Med along with 2 other un-ringed birds from Beddmanarch Bay yesteday.  Thanks to Camille, the chap running the scheme, news was back today with its previous sightings.  The ring was green on L leg with white 3KP8.

ringed as pulli 01/06/2003 Verrebroekse, Antwerpen, Belgium
seen 10/07/2004 Scotsman's Bay, Dun Laoghaire
also 01/04/2007 Saint Quentin-en-Tourmout, Somme, France
17/06/2008 Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium
16/03/2009 Pais-de-Calais
05/04/2009 Antwerpen, Belium
06/06/2010 Antwerpen, Belgium
03/03/2011 Scotsman's Bay, Dun Laoghaire where it spends most of its time.
07/03/2011 Beddmanarch Bay, Holyhead.

Eastern Jackdaw in Craig y Don

An 'eastern' type Jackdaw was in Craig y Don this afternoon on the front wall of the school. It appeared to be a typical Nordic Jackdaw 'monedula'. The bird had an obvious white collar and seemed to have some mottling on the breast. Hopefully the bird will be back and I can get some pictures.

I've had a few of these eastern type birds in the area over the years, including a bird which wintered on the Little Orme which I really wished I had paid more attention to at the time. The first 'official' Welsh record was only accepted last year - a bird coming to nut feeders in Havordfordwest in Pembs. A picture of this bird, taken by Dave astins can be seen above. Our next challnge is to find the first Russian type Jackdaw 'soemmerrengii' for Wales - I'm sure they occur here as they reach the near continent.

There's an artcle on Martin Garner's excellent blog about the 3 Jackdaw races which can be or potentially be seem in Britain -

Surf Scoters again

The two drake Surf Scoters were seen this pm east of Colwyn Bay pier but distant. They are proving tough to pin down, a very good scope, calm sea and a lot of time needed!

Glaucous Gull again just north of Menai Bridge on slurry fields until 4.30pm then flew towards Menai Straits, could be roosting Bangor Harbour? - Ken Croft

Alan and Ruth

Wheatear makes it to North Wales!

A Wheatear on Bardsey Island today!! Spring! Also 2 Chiffchaff and a Snow Bunting - news from Steve on the island

Alan and Ruth

Purple sandpiper

One purple sandpiper still lingering on at Rhos Point over high tide this morning, seen opposite College Road.

Spring getting closer!

At Portland Bird Obs Dorset 4 Wheatears this morning - Orme tomoz?

No sign of Surf Scoters so far most flocks very distant today, sure they are out there....

Alan and Ruth

Velvet Scoter Llandulas

4 Velvet Scoter off Llandulas beach this am but most scoter distant - news from John R

Alan and Ruth

Monday, 7 March 2011

Corn Buntings (just outside our region)

Thought that blog participants might be interested in car tickable Corn Buntings that are just outside our immediate region.  On travelling back via A5 North West of Shrewsbury on Friday 4th March, 24 Corn Buntings were counted in the top of some small trees bordering the North side of the road.  When heading back towards North Wales there is a section of relatively new dual carriageway near Nesscliffe.  There is a roundabout at the end of the dual carriageway and the birds were 20-30 metres along the road on the North side.  At one point they flew across the road to an area where there appeared to be a large mound of mature, then returned to the trees.  I was travelling up that road again on Sunday 6th and had a single bird fly up from the mature heap to alight on top of one of the trees.  If you decide to stop, be particularly careful as this is an extremely busy road and the traffic moves very quickly.  If you are going to stop, probably best to take one of the side roads and walk back a little and scope from a safe position.  Not an easy bird to catch up with locally.  The area is not too far away from Bettisfield, which is the area of Wales where I had my last Welsh sighting of Corn Bunting. Bettisfield is just west of Ellesmere and the Welsh border dips down into the Shropshire countryside.  

Bonaparte's Gull Traeth Lligwy

The Boney Gull again at Traeth Lligwy this pm seen at stream out-flow.

Ad Med Gull Pensarn Beach - Ralph M

Alan and Ruth

Surf Scoters

Managed to see the two drake Surf Scoters off the rainbow bridge over A55 east of Colwyn Bay. Keeping close together east of wind farm but distant. Good candidate for a Black Scoter but the bird flew east before could really grill it, looked v good!

2 Snow Bunts Kinmel Bay
4 Slavonian Grebe Holyhead Bay - from Ken Croft

Alan and Ruth

Velvets Llandulas

News from Julian W 5 Velvet Scoter off Llandulas. Looking good for the Surf Scoters if anyone can get over to Old Colwyn......

Alan and Ruth

GG Shrike World's End

News from Julie - Great grey Shrike again at World's End this morning viewed from the road just north of the larch plantation on the south side of the moor. No sign of warbler.

Rufous Turtle Dove still Oxfordshire this am
Long billed Dowitcher Radipole Lake Dorset
Waxwings in Lancs and Cheshire
GW Egret in Cumbria

Alan and Ruth

Lapland Bunting Cemlyn

News from Steve this am, Lapland Bunting again Cemlyn in stubble field by west car park but mobile. Ste has put down seed in the field, if you are heading over take some seed and chuck it down near the rocky bit in the field and we hope the bird will stay and show.

Alan and Ruth

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Yl Gull, Penmaenmawr

A first winter-type Yellow-legged Gull was on the tideline at Penmaenmawr this evening. It showed well with the Herrings allowing all the salient features to be appreciated on the deck and in flight. There are thousands of large gulls at the moment on the beach between Pen and Morfa Conwy at low tide - well worth keeping an eye on!

Lesser pecker showing well just over the border

This male Lesser spotted woodpecker was giving great views today at Moore NR near Runcorn allowing a rare opportunity to see a good bird which is rather scarce in North Wales.

Lap Bunts at Cemlyn

Caught up with a single bunt today up near the kissing gate in the stubble field west of Cemlyn NWWT car park.  Saw Tony and he said there were 3 yesterday, 2 in the turnip field down the lane to the farm before you get to the car park, the other where i had it.  Purple Sands showing on the rocks and a couple RTD offshore.  Did a walk over in NE Anglesey prior and had a singing Dipper which is a good island record also 4 Black Guillemot.

Old Colwyn Surf Scoters are back 12 months on!

The perfect light tempted me up to Rainbow Bridge, Old Colwyn this afternoon. I sat on top of the rocky outcrop scanning the vast rafts of Common Scoter for two hours before connecting with two drake Surf Scoters. The birds were distant but sood out like a sore thumb in the near perfect light, bobbing up and down together amongst a huge flock of Common scoter. Other birds included 45 Red throated Diver, 112 Great Crested Grebe, 8000+ Common Scoter and several Guillemots and Razorbill (a Clwyd description bird believe it or not!). The dodgy picture above was taken from the same spot last year.

On the way home I stopped to scan the large gull flock west of Rhos Point which is feeding on wrecked starfish. The whole coast here is awash with large gulls at low tide with several thousand birds. At least ten Northern 'argentatus' birds were picked out, but nothing rarer as hoped for. It's only a matter of time before this flock must pull in something rarer. The photo here shows just a small part of the flock!

Gulls at Lligwy

If you are over at Traeth Lligwy looking for the Bonaparte's Gull pay attention to large GBB type gulls an odd bird seen there yday by visiting birder not sure what it was but sounds interesting....

Alan and Ruth

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Lap bunts at Cemlyn

Tony White just sent me some cracking photos (one shown here) he got of 2 Lap bunts he had in the field next to the west car park at Cemlyn today. Nice one Tony.

Scaup, Llyn Trawsfynydd

Had 10 Scaup here yesterday, my best count yet for the site. 6 ad drakes, 1 first yr drake and 3 ducks, all at the south east end by the footbridge. Plenty of tufties and goldeneye too, plus a pr of displaying GC Grebe.

Returning Light-bellied Brent

There were 3 Darvic ringed LB-Brent Geese at Beddmanarch Bay on 27.02.11 and one AS'heart' was ringed by the Canadian Wildlife Service in the high Arctic.  It was also reported by Emyr.E last year photographed on the Foryd so must be a regular to NW Wales.  No news on the other two yet.

The ring had opened and pinched the back of the leg but the bird seemed to be ok.

Glaucous Gull Menai Bridge Spring 2009

This was a shot I got of a first winter glauc at the same site in Menai Bridge in Spring 2009.

It was present from the 7th March until the 10th July!

Lligwy Bonaparte's Gull

I got some nice shots of the Bonapartes Gull at Lligwy this week, it was feeding just offshore not unlike a Little Gull.

Glaucous Gull in Menai Bridge

Took the kids to Pilipalas today like I always do when Rhian's playing hockey. I went past Penhescyn tip on the way in-case there were any gulls around. There was, one, a Glaucous gull!It looks like a third winter to me what do you guys think? Could it be the first winter bird from Spring 2009 returning?

Trip to Cyprus

Good to see the blog up and running - thanks Rob.

Off to Cyprus at the end of the month with Andy Clarke, Eddie Urbanski and Rhys Jones. We'll be meeting up with local birders, Owen and Glynis Roberts. I guess we can keep you up-to-date with our adventures via WBNW.

Great Orme season has started!

Five lovely Golden Plover were showing well on the Great Orme limestone pavements this morning. Two birds were starting to show summer plumage. Small numbers of Siskin were passing over head in pairs or as singles while Stonechat, Skylark and Meadow Pipits are all showing signs of setting up territories.