Sunday, 21 October 2012

Bunting Beauties - It's a hatrick! Anyone up for the 'hibernicus' challenge?

A first for me this morning - Lapland, Snow and Reed Bunting in the same scope view - hatrick! A lovely morning weather wise on the Great Orme was livened up by a few good birds. A few early morning migrants were immediately evident - a Brambling and 10 Great Tits on show at the north end before sunsise. The Lapland Buntings soon gave themselves up in the usual place, with at least three birds present. While watching them with Alan Davies, a Richard's Pipit announced its presence with its loud 'shreeep' calls. Unfortunately, despite being heard a few times again, it didn't give itself up. Later in the morning a fine male Snow Bunting appeared alongside the Laplands; surely just in. Two Redwings were in the gorse, 5+ Goldcrest, 12 Great Tit, 2 Lesser Redpoll, 20+ Brambling, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 19 Skylarks and a good passage of 25+ Coal Tits during the morning. Chris had a Ring Ouzel above Llys Helyg drive too.

This fine male Snow Bunting appeared mid morning alongside the Lapland Buntings. At one point they flew into the air calling and were joined by a Reed Bunting; a nice hatrick of Great Orme buntings.

The Lapland Buntings are drawing good numbers of visitors from across the North West. With a little patience they give good views. Up to seven have been seen during the past week, with three birds staying faithful to a small area just south of the northern cairn on the limestones.

There has been an excellent movement of Coal Tits on the Orme over the past fortnight with sometimes upwards of 60 birds moving through. All I have seen so far have had lovely white cheek patches, like this one above taken this morning at the most northern gorse bush on the head land. Surely there is an outside chance of a 'hibernicus' Coal Tit from Ireland joining up with them. The Isles of Scilly have recorded birds that recall 'hibernicus' already thsi autumn. However, I'm not aware of any proven records in Wales. The bird below was on the Mullet, County Mayo and the buffy / off white cheek patches can clearly be seen. Now there's a challenge for any west coast vis-migger.

Coal Tit - coutersy of Dave Sudderby, Mullet, County Mayo, October 2012. Follow him on twitter @davesudds62

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