Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Glauc again at Pentraeth

Continuing the White-winger theme the Adult Glauc was north of Pentraeth Automotive today in a slurry field (per Birdguides).

Iceland Gull on Clwyd

Came across this cracking Iceland Gull this evening on the River Clwyd which was a nice suprise. Plenty of birds down there at the moment including 5+ Whitethroats, 2 Whimbrel, White Wag, 3 Wheatear and a lovely male Whinchat.

River Clwyd waders

A few waders on the River Clwyd today just south of the Railway Bridge included 5 Whimbrels, 2 Black tailed Godwits, 2 Common Sands, 35 Ringed Plover, 2 Turnstones and 40+ Dunlin.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Cemlyn Today

Nothing Mega today but it was just nice to wander around and take a few photos. A cracking Blackwit and a Common Sand showed well by the west car park tonight.Also the mergs are a little frisky at the mo and there are plenty of Hirundines on the road to Tyn Llan Farm.

Hooded Crow in Cemaes

1 was in the garden of Tredolphin Guest House (Little Beach) last Thursday and was seen in Mel' O'Hares garden by the Roundabout today.

Llyn Cefni Today : - SW Corner

A brief lunch-time foray produced my first Garden Warbler of the year, 300 Hirundines over the Causeway plus a few Swifts (3+) and a single flock of c.100 White Wagtails. Also since my last visit c.1 week ago there were loads of Sedge Warblers plus a few Whitethroats.

Whinchat at Cemlyn Yesterday

Yesterday at Cemlyn, a brief walk produced this cracking male Whinchat with a flock of 32 Wheatear feeding in a sheepfield near the pigshed by Tyn Llan Farm.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

April just keeps surprising me :-)

Well if the Golden Oriole wasn't enough last week in Cemlyn Bay I spent this weekend camping in Criccieth with the Mrs and met up with Dave, Linda and of course Charlie and we all went on Saturday to twitch the Woodchat Shrike and Subalpine Warbler down the Lleyn.

After arriving at the Woodchat location it wasn't long before we were onto it, but the only downside was it was right at the bottom of the ploughed field.  We managed some great scope views but unfortunately too far for decent pics.  Then on the return trip after a day out we stopped at the same spot only to get fantastic views right alongside the road and yep as I lifted the camera it was off down the field again DOH!

So onto Uwchmynydd to try and find the Subalpine Warbler. We arrived to find some familiar faces namely Alex and Trevor along with a new contact Phil.
Trevor had seen it S.W a few minutes earlier and so we where all scanning frantically , Its got to be here!! Then Alex spotted it fly from its hiding place and we where all rushing back towards the carpark , but unfortunately we couldn't  get onto it again mmmmm.
We decided to spread out and as myself and Dave walked down towards the corner of the square field I spotted a movement and sure enough after a closer look it was the S.W !!
I called everyone over and we were given a great display from this beautiful bird, fantastic!

Well this was proving to be the best April ever for me especially with 6 lifers and loads of year ticks to boot, BUT we have a couple of days left of April so who knows what they may bring and fingers crossed May will bring some nice surprises too.

Couple of extra pics from the last week.

Great Orme migrants - April 28th, 2013 - Cuckoo,

Another morning with a cold blustery wind putting pay to any big numbers of numbers. However, a nice Cuckoo was around the Churchyard and showed well at times, even uttering a soft subsong on occasions. A Grasshopper Warbler was flushed from the gorse at the north end and showed well but briefly. The male Redstart was still by the hawthorns while yesterday's male Whinchat showed by the gulley. Number wise, 30+ Wheatears was notable as was the 200+ Goldfinches that flew west with a few Siskin and redpoll.

Only a few records of Cuckoo are reported on the Orme each year. This is the second seen in the space of the week.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Llyn Cefni

Hundreds of hirundines at Llyn Cefni this evening giving superb views low over the path , with sand martins coming down on the path within feet from me. Swift was a first for the year as well as the calling Cuckoo, it showed distantlty across the lake. Sedge Warblers everywhere but no sign of any Groppers.

Great Orme April 27th - Whinchat show off.

A lot quieter on the Great Orme this morning due to the cold North easterly wind. However, perseverance paid off with a very showy Whinchat on fence wires above the cemetery. The bird fed on the floor and kept watch from the fence oblivious to the fact I was close by admiring it. A nice male Ring Ouzel was by Bishop's Quarry and gave close flight views flying from gorse bush to gorse bush. 2 Tree Pipits and 30+ Wheatears left over from Thursday's fall of migrants. Alan had 3 Black Guillemots amongst the breeding Auks.

 What a little superstar this dapper male Whinchat was this morning, Certainly made going up there on a clod bleak morning worthwhile.
Spent late morning with Rob and Iwan putting nestboxes up at Pensychnant Nature Reserve. Rob's been hard at work making all kinds of boxes and is spending his weekends distributing them to suitable areas. Three male Pied Flycatchers, 2 Redstarts, 2 Cuckoo, Whitethroat and Great Spotted Woodpecker all present on the reserve.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Migration continues - April 26th

Not as many birds as yesterday, however a few bits a pieces on the Orme this morning. Pete Alderson had a Hooded Crow near the north carpark at 9.40a.m., a good local record. A nice male Whinchat was present as well as a male Redstart around the hawthorns. 80+ Wheatears were yesterday's leftovers while two Tree Pipiys flew overhead.

Three lovely Yellow Wagails were present on Rhos on Sea golf course this evening amongst 20+ White Wagtails.


Yesterday Mogs had one in Holyhead and one was reported by Pandy Cottage between Cemaes and Llanrhuddlad.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Big fall of Wheatear, and Common Sand!

A stack of Wheatear up the Orme today, many of the northern Iceland/Greenland form.  110mm wing length and a nice bright colour.  Only 1 ringed!  2 Whinchats also up there this eve and a flyover Lapland bunting being reported since 20th.

I also had an odd fall of 32 Common Sand at Conwy RSPB this morning.  Must have been the misty front which came through early this morning.  

Cemlyn 'Fall' of Migrants 25/04/13

After the mist and rain cleared this morning, Cemlyn was more reminiscent of Bardsey! There were warblers in every bush around Tyn Llan Pool and at least 20 warblers in a few isolated gorse bushes on the Trwyn. Minimum totals were 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 96 Willow Warbler, 17 Blackcap, 15 Sedge Warbler, 8 Whitethroat, 2 Grasshopper Warbler, 39 Wheatear and six White Wagtail. Nearby at Hen Borth (out of our recording area) were Spotted Flycatcher, Yellow Wagtail, Lesser Whitethroat, Swift and Redwing. Overnight, in the still conditions many waders could be heard over the lagoon. The day produced 26 Black Tailed Godwit, (including a colourful flock of 25), 1 Bar Tailed Godwit, 37 Dunlin, 24 Ringed Plover, 12 Whimbrel, 30 Turnstone, 11 Redshank and 9 Common Sandpiper. Also up to 7 Mediterranean Gulls on the islands and 65 sitting Black Headed Gulls.

Great Orme fall of migrants - April 25th, 2013

Loads of birds on the Great Orme limestone pavements early this morning. 3 Grasshopper warblers reeled away; two in the gorse at the north end and one in the gulley. A single Sedge Warbler was also skulking about in the gorse along with 20+ Willow Warblers, 3 Goldcrests and a Whitethroat. A dapper male Redstart was in the Hawthorns, it's been a good year for this species already! Eight Tree Pipits included five together on the ground near the north car park while 30+ Lesser Redpolls were part of the first largish movement of this species of the year. 15 Dunlin were a surprise with ond bird displaying in flight! A Golden Plover was alos present while a Ring Ouzel was reported later in the morning.

Highlight for me though was the large movement of Wheatears; an amazing 130+ moved through before 8.15am. The movement must have kept on going through the morning as I counted 15+ come in off the sea along Colwyn Bay Prom at lunchtime.

Lesser Peckers on Anglesey

They are one of the Holy Grail birds on the Island, especially as I haven't seen one on Anglesey! Peter Hope Jones had one at Coed Cyrnol (the wood by Church Island) Menai Bridge on the 31st March. I had another report recently relating to a bird seen by some visiting Swiss birders at a similar time. As the record was second hand through a non-birding source I was about to poo-poo it, but it was in woodland by Lleiniog castle (near Llangoed). This was a site of occasional records of Lesser Peckers in the 80's and early 90's so if you're passing check it out. It's a nice little area to bird anyway.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Black Stork at Llanfairfechan

At 12.55 Richard Birch saw a Black Stork fly low over the A55 and land in a field near Llanfairfechan. Driving from Bangor to Conwy between posts 44/7 and 44/8. At this spot there is a small road that carries on to the railway track/house. As you walk down it there is a small ditch/dry-ish river that winds to the right of the track. The Stork went into it by a pile of soil/manure. Check it out if passing.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Aberdaron Visit

Given a favourable weather forecast I decided on a long trip from Cheshire to have a day out in the Aberdaron area, given the couple of cracking birds in that vicinity. Arriving very early at the shrike site myself and a couple of other birders drew a blank, but later once the sun had warmed everything up the Woodchat Shrike gave fantastic views coming right up to the fenceline by the B4413 about 500m in the 'Pwllheli direction' from Hendre Bach. For photography I was always looking into the sun but managed a few acceptable shots, one of which follows.

The Subalpine Warbler had been ringed early morning so a sizeable group of us birders stuck it out until the afternoon when the bird started showing well again. Everyone present had great views and no-one left early thank goodness. Again all my pictures were taken into the sun but with a bit of work there were a couple of record shots amongst them.

Another new bird for 2013 for most of us there was the lone Swift that flew over the Subalp site. The weather didn't disappoint and the company was great, especially good to meet Andy Clarke & thank him for finding the Subalp. In the end, after all the nail-biting over the long no-show of the Subalp, I now know that the near 300 mile round trip was the right decision.

White Stork over Caernarfon

I was at my desk at 11:30 this morning when it dawned on me that the local Herring Gulls were starting to make more of a cacophany than usual, as the noise increased I looked out of the window to see gulls everywhere and clearly spooked by something.  I checked from the other window half expecting to see an Osprey go by but instead was greeted by the sight of a White Stork gliding south, dwarfing the gulls!  I ran outside but by the time I got around the Castle to view the direction it had flown there was no sign and the gulls were starting to drift back.  It had been gliding fairly low and direct as though planning on landing nearby so I spent an hour over lunch checking fields to the south, but without success.  I didn't have time to check the RSPB fields at Dinas Dinlle so they could be worth a look if anyone's handy.  Eyes to the skies!

NW Wales Rarity Update

The Subby and Woodchat Shrike were still at their respective spots last night near Aberdaron/Uchmynydd. The Golden Oriole was showing well at Hen Felin/Hen Borth (Tyn Llan/Mynachdy Car Park)in the little copse last night. No sign of the Oriole this morning but it wanders quite a bit!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Glauc back near Menai Bridge

The Glaucous Gull has returned to the Penhescyn area that it has been returning to since it was a 1st winter bird, but it is now just in adult plumage. Martin Jones found it yesterday around noon. Go on the minor road from the Four Crosses pub roundabout in Menai Bridge towards Llangefni. Pass Pilipalas and the turn-off for the tip (but carry on towards Llangefni). The bird was in a field with a black pipe adjacent to where the road passes through a stand of Beech trees. If its not there check any surrounding fields, the tip road, Pentraeth Automotive.In its first year it stayed into July!

It just gets better and better :-)

Well its been a brilliant April so far and the last week has just got better and better for me.
Firstly beginning of the week I accompanied Dr Craig Shuttleworth whilst he trapped Red Squirrels on my patch, what a day! we  first baited the areas with sunflower seeds and the following day we wnt in with the live traps. Each trap was covered with a bag which then was covered with the forest floor to keep the trapped animals dry whilst they had a feast of sunflower seeds inside. we put 10 traps out at various locations and to our disappointment we only managed to trap one male and one female, but on the plus side the female was lactating so therefore she had young so she was released immediately and she shot off like lightening! here's a few pics.

A few days later I was made up to finally catch up with the Drake Garganey which had been present at the RSPB reserve in Gaerwen (Pentre Berw Marsh). It took me three seperate visits to finally get lucky with this one but it showed well through the scope and i managed to get a record shot at least. Also was great watching the Swallows and Sand Martins over the reedbeds these birds amaze me , so small and fragile yet look at the distance they travel, every year! Had some lovely views of White Wagtails here too, i think this reserve will end up one place where everyone will be wanting to visit and for us locals , well bonus its on our doorstep.
Well Saturday I had to make the effort to get over to Cemlyn Bay as they had a GOLDEN ORIOLE which had been present since Wednesday and I had only found this out on Friday evening, now this was a bird I had to see!!
So I picked my good friend Norman up and headed of there at 8.30am. As we arrived we noticed one of the wardens David walking close to the small lagoon so we headed over.We had a chat and as we walked back to the small bridge he called us back it had appeared on the far side on top of the bushes, dam we missed it!
We where then joined by Steve Culley, Tony White and another chap who I'm sorry I didn't get the name of.They spotted it on the way towards us but by the time we got to them nope wasn't to be it had gone again DAM IT!!
Finally we managed to find it YAY!! in the shrubs opposite the walled house just after the bridge over the lagoons. WOW what a fantastic looking bird , how can something as bright as that disappear into the surroundings so effectively?? Steve managed some shots,but I was so made up to watch this stunning bird i forgot about the camera hanging around my neck lol OPPS! Even worse later that morning whilst we watched a gorgeous male Redstart at the same location we look up to see another birder rushing towards us only to be told by him that the Oriole had flown right over our heads whilst we where watching the Redstart lol oh well.
So today , Sunday the day started off horrendous! but as i was stuck indoors all afternoon conducting Karate Grading's for my students it didn't bother me , that was until I noticed the glorious sunshine flooding in through the blinds late afternoon.
It was decided then that when I finished it was back up to Cemlyn to hopefully get that record shot that I missed yesterday. As I arrived I met Tony who told me where to hopefully find the Oriole , they had been given fantastic views all afternoon and Tony had some fantastic pics so fingers crossed I would get my record shot.
YAY I managed it! the Oriole showed really well a tad to far for a decent pic with my set up but hey ho I got some decent record shots for myself....Hopefully this stunning bird will hang around a little longer for more of us to be able to admire it, so advice to all,try make the time to visit and be prepared to have a wait and possibly a fair bit of walking BUT you wont be disappointed believe me ;-)