Tuesday, 19 February 2013

BioDIVERSity counts

After a disappointing winter so far for counting divers things improved drastically today with perfect  conditions – a flat calm sea and great visibility. Counting between Dinas Dinlle and Trefor I had 53 Great Northerns. It was a relief to get back into “internationally significant" numbers (50+) after last winter’s disappointing high score of only 32.  The majority of the birds (39) were in distant rafts north-west of Trefor. Easily missed unless you climb up the “Morfa” NT owned hill to scan

Some of the GNDs today showed off the reason why they gather in Caernarfon Bay by sitting up and flapping their stumpy little wings which were devoid of flight feathers. Although numbers can be good throughout the winter  there is a spike form mid Feb until late March as birds from other areas(further south?) congregate to moult before migrating back to Iceland, Greenland and possibly Canada to breed.

 I also had my highest ever count of red throats here with 197 birds – they were everywhere and flying about in flocks so making counting quite difficult. Other birds noted were 47 Pale bellied Brents at Pontllyfni and the usual scattering of Shags Mergansers and auks.

As on most other good days, cetaceans were easier to spot with 7 Bottle-nosed Dolphins off Dinas Dinlle and 2 logging porpoises off Trefor.

 If this calm weather persists it will be interesting to see if numbers continue to build over the next few weeks
p.s It's in my job title if not my job description ; )

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