Sunday, 27 January 2013

Local goodies and first sewatch of the year - Penrhyn Bay

This is the last day of birding by foot for me. With over 80 miles walked this month from the house, all within a three mile radius of Penrhyn Bay, I feel I've really got to know my local area during January. With just a few days left in January, I've managed to log 97 species within the area.

Yesterday I spent the morning around Glanwydden lane and the stubble fields just to the east of the village. A cracking female Merlin was hunting the Ganol area and rested up in the middle of the field on a muddy mound. After 25+  Common Snipe, a Jack Snipe finally gave itself up from the muddy field as I was slowly trying to approach the perched Merlin. The Ganol held a lovely Little egret and the nearby flooded fields hosted a Black tailed Godwit, drake Shoveler, 100+ Wigeon, 100+ Redshank, 500+ Lapwings, 30+ Common Teal and a nice 3rd year'argentatus' Herring gull with the local Gulls. Still good numbers of winter thrushes too, however the large lark flock seems to have moved on.

Today, I had my first proper seawatch of the year of the Little Orme. Fulmars were moving in numbers with over 150 birds past in 2.5 hours. The first six Gannets of the year flew west while over 40 Red throated Divers were joined by two Great Northern Diver. A single winter plumaged Black Guillemot whizzed past along with 200+ Guillemots and Razorbills, while some 30 Kittiwakes flew out of the bay. High tide produced 100+ Dunlin along the rocks at Rhos Point, 25  Ringed Plover, 100+ Turnstone and 14 Purple Sandpipers. Highlight for me, possibly even the highlight of the month was around eight Red throats calling to each other close in under the Little Orme cliffs. A kind of croaking trumpet call - quite magical on a cold winters day.

Black tailed Godwit - it's second time I've seen this bird in Tech stretch fields this month - a good bird for Penrhyn Bay
Roosting Dunlin - the right hand bird already starting to moult some of its feathers into rusty summer ones.
This Little Egret has been knocking around the Golf course and river Ganol all month.
Distant Merlin in the stubble fields. It doesshow much better than this giving stunning fly bys at times.
Red throated Diver under the cliffs of the Little Orme. There were at least eight birds feeding close in and constantly calling to each other.
These two Purple sands were at Rhos Point, while another flock of 12 were closer to Penrhyn Bay.
The local Peregrines are having a field day with all the waders in the flooded fields. Two birds were keeping a watchful eye from the pylons at Penrhyn Bay.
A gorgeous 'hiaticula' Common Ringed Plover - nice and pale with a big black bib.


  1. Good post (again) Marc.

    Well done with the foot-it challenge - 97 around Penrhyn Bay is a very healthy total at any time of the year.

    Were you seawatching from the car today? Howling gale down here with even stronger winds forecast tomorrow. I just wish there was a string of decent seawatching hides on each side of the peninsula. Enlli have a couple of course but I wouldn't fancy a boat trip there today!

    Trying to look into a straight westerly from Ysgaden is like p*ssing into the wind with a faceful of salty grit for good measure ;-(

    Must win the lottery and get Tormod down here to build some of those funky Norwegian shelters. Fabulous. He is the birding equivalent of George Clarke and his Amazing Spaces.

    And thanks again for coming to my rescue last Monday night before setting the security alarms off as I clawed at the doors. Good to reconnect with the Bangor Bird Groupies and the talk was bloody great :-D

    All the best


  2. One of those hides sure would be great Andy. No, I walked from the house to the end of the little Orme for the seawatch. It was quite sheltered as the wind was from the SW. Quite a blow though. Ken's Winter BB Albatross from a few years back kept going through my mind.
    Good to see you last week too.

  3. BB Albatross would be just reward for anyone winter seawatching! I'd be happy with a Little Auk.