Sunday, 30 June 2013

Autumn is upon us- passerine migrants, waders, terns and gulls!

An early morning stroll around the Great Orme produced some surprising mid-summer birds. A Whimbrel flying west calling over the limestones was my first of the year up here as were the 3 Arctic Terns past during a short seawatch. The seawatch also produced 12 Manx Shearwaters, a Black Guillemot and several Gannets. No sign today of the Puffin that was seen around the Auk colony on Thursday evening and Friday morning. Passerine Migrants were represented by seven flyover Crossbills and 3 Siskin, while breeding birds included juvenile Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Bullfinches, Mistle Thrushes and a family party of Choughs. Not quite sure if spring is lingering or is the start of autumn!

This afternoon, with negative news of the Roseate Tern coming through from the Clwyd, I decided to head west and try the high tide roost at Llanfairfechan Saltmarsh. Several Sandwhich Terns, a few Common Gulls and a cracking Mediterranean Gull in full summer attire was good to see. It also gave me the pleasure of hearing it call several times.

I'm sure this will be the first of many Med Gulls at this site over the next couple of months.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Roseate Tern, River Clwyd, midday 29th June 2013

Stuck around for me to get some digiscoped snaps, pink tinge more obvious in these with saturation ramped up slightly.

Common Rosefinch still present

Anyone fancying a twitch this weekend could do worse than going for the Common Rosefinch at Porth Eilian, near Point Lynas on Anglesey. Found over a week ago, this singing 1st summer is staying loyal to the area just beyond the roundabout at SH475929. This morning it was showing in the braken valley here.

Below is a crcaking picture taken by Hughie King earlier in the week. Superb capture and evening makes the most plain looking of birds look kind a cute!

Roseate Tern - River Clwyd June 29th, 2013

An early morning jaunt down the River Clwyd this morning produced a lovely adult Roseate Tern in full breeding pluamge. Almost the first bird I set eyes on! The photos do not really do it justice, and the super pink hues to the breast down show. The bird was still present at 7.40am, just south of the Railway Bridge and associating with some 100 Sandwhich Terns. Good to see Alex, John Roberst and Tony Kingfisher who were soon on the scene and enjoyed some of the best views I'd ever had of this lovely species.

I apologise for the quality of photos, early morning gloom and a coulple of phonescoped pics are my excuse.

The bottom two pictures were phonescoped on site. Unfortunately the pink hues of the breast don't show up on the photographs. Birdguides reporting that the bird is still present at 8.50am. A great chance to see a difficult species to see in Conwy / Denbighshire - especially so well.
Finally, a funny moment when a herd of cows approched JR on the opposite bank of the Clwyd. Any normal person would have tiptoed backwards over the gate. Not John Roberts, hard as nails and proving his worth as a Rhyl bouncer, he stared them out and won. Now if it had been Rob Sandham.....he'd have been half way back to Kinmel Bay as the cows came round the corner!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Martin and Tormod return - catch them at Rutland!

If you missed them in Bangor you've got a second bite of the Cherry as they are back togeather doing their highly entertaining and informative talk at the Birdfair. It's well worth attending :-) See you there!

Monday, 24 June 2013

Anglesey's Rosefinch

Just another quickie to let you know that the Common Rosefinch was still present this afternoon until i left at 2.30pm :-) Nice to of located it just in time for two members of this site to see it as it was a lifer for them too :-) sorry yet again didnt get your names :-(

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Common Rosefinch

The common Rosefinch was still present all afternoon , proved quite hard to pin down ,was singing well even if just out of sight but when it showed it showed well for a few minutes at a time , great little bird and looks quite at home to be honest.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Rosefinch on Saturday

Tony White had the Rosefinch again at Point Lynas this morning at 9.30.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Common Rosefinch at Point Lynas

Ken found this singing first year male Common Rosefinch at Point Lynas today. It was between the mini-roundabout where the "main" road ends and c.100m up towards the Point by the cattle grid in the sycamores, and in  the small valley on the right just beyond here. It was quite vocal most of the time.This is the sixth year on the trot we have had a "spring" Rosefinch on North Anglesey.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Buff Breasted Sandpiper Cemlyn 20/6/13

This lunchtime my colleague, Dawn was shown photographs of a small wader out on the 'Trwyn', the headland to the west of the bay at Cemlyn. She couldn't identify it, and after some hectic phone calls and rushing round the lagoon, I managed to see the photos taken by a non-birder. Summer plumaged Buff-breasted Sandpiper, very approachable on the short turf on the headland! The bird was photographed at noon, but by two o clock there was no sign of it. I've checked the whole reserve this afternoon in suitable habitat, but no luck. Carmel Head or Wylfa Head are other two likely sites worth checking. I'm being emailed the photos later this evening so will put them up later I hope.

Thanks to Mr Peter Holmes for supplying these photos to us. Unfortunately the bird was only seen by Mr Holmes, and despite a thorough search not seen here again. It chose the most disturbed area of the reserve to feed on! Check those golf courses and grazed headlands locally!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Another Golden Oriole near Cemlyn

A Golden Oriole was heard singing near Llanfairynghornwy yesterday morning but not since. A resident who recorded the bird, played the flutey song back to me down the phone today. If you're in the Cemlyn area it may be worth checking any wooded areas including the churchyard at Llan. Even if there are no birds you could always visit the interesting looking grave of famous Welsh Artist Kyffin Williams.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

South West Anglesey - Llanddwyn / Newborough

Father's Day is great because I get to choose what to do! Well nearly. My request to travel to Trimley Marshes in Suffolk fell on deaf ears. But hey ho, with such great places on the doorstep, I wasn't too upset. We spent the whole day in the south western corner of Anglesey, walking several miles through Newborough Forest and along the beaches to Llanddwyn Island. A few nice birds included a group of 5 Crossbills in the Forest along with at least 4 Spotted Flycatchers, Siskins and Redpoll were also present. A few hours relaxing on Llanddwyn island produced a Little Tern feeding offshore with some 20+ Sandwich Tern, while a single Black Guillemot kept us company in the small bay for the afternoon. Two spanking summer plumaged Turstones put on a good show as did the local seals. With the sun out all day and the water sparkling blue, I couldn't resist a dip in the sea and a relax after the hard slog of spring this year. It felt as though summer was finally upon us.

What a cracker a summer plumaged Turnstone is. This bird, in full breeding attire was with another, slightly less colourful bird.
This Black Guillemot kept us company all afternoon in the bays of Llanddwyn Island. Couldn't see another one unfortunately so don't think it was a breeder.

The Linnets were very vocal and very colourful on the Island.

Not sure if this wa sa breeder on the Island or a very late migrant. It was feeding and calling at the tip of the island.

This big bull Atlantic Grey Seal kept bobbing up as if to say hello.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Hobby on Anglesey

I saw this Hobby being mobbed by Swallows on Sunday at Cors Erddreiniog at SH474803. It's quite a scarcity on Anglesey and only the third time I've seen one on the island. Nice bird!

Juv House Martin Fair Isle 29/5/13

What appears to be a worn juvenile House Martin was at Fair Isle on 29th May. It’s an interesting bird. I can’t find any documentation of a bird looking like this in May. I can’t rule out an odd hybrid but seems to be a standard juv House Martin. With it being very worn, it may be a bird from last year with retained juvenile feathers, battered by migrating. I can’t find any info about breeding times in Spain etc like the juv Swallow a few weeks previously.
It turned up with a House Martin and a couple of Swallows. It appeared to be a similar size to a Sand Martin but this could be due to the worn wind and tail feathers. It had a greyish wash to the rump. It had dusky vents and sides to the belly. It had a dusky throat/face too. Asian House Martin can be ruled out due to the face/head pattern.
If anyone knows of any similar looking birds or thoughts on the bird it would be great to hear them.
Thanks to Craig Round for the photos.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Penmaenmawr hills

I spent Sunday in the hills above Penmaenmawr, reliving my childhood. Not much has changed up there in the last 30 years! Following the Afon Gyrach up from the fairy glen, I came across an array of breeding birds. Dippers and Grey Wagtails both had broods on various sections of the river, while several male Whinchats were singing once we were above the tree line. At least two male Cuckoos were singing on the hillsides. Highlight of the day were nine showy Crossbills in the Fairy Glen, including two dapper red males. Not the easiest bird to see this year, it does seem a few are arriving from wherever the bred this year. The Old reservoir near the source of the Gyrach held a family party of Lesser Redpolls and several singing Willow Warblers. An enjoyable treck and beautiful views. 

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Sublime Subalpine - Great Orme 8th June

It's been a long hard spring on the Orme with not many migrants and only a few expected goodies turning up - Dotterel, Firecrest and Lapland Bunting. I was about to give up for the summer to be honest, however yesterday's Paddyfield Warbler on Bardsey gave me the boost for one last push on the headland.

The morning started well with a nice singing male Whinchat in the cemetery and a couple of Willow Warblers that looked new arrivals; things were looking up. I walked along the wall towards the limestones, checking the bushes as I went. A nice Goldcrest was an unusual June migrant and again gave me some hope that migration wasn't over. As I approached the main patch of hawthorns a small grey warbler flew into a hawthorn and immediately flew out and back along the wall from where I had come from. The brief view was enough to excite me and I retraced my steps. The Goldcrest was still present and I decided to attract it closer with a bit of pishing. What happened next, I didn't expect. A head popped out of the nearest hawthorn.........Subalpine warbler!

Luckily Pete Alderson was in the cemetery so I phoned him. I didn't actually see the bird again in the next 20 minutes as I waited for him to arrive. And as I had only seen the head, I started to doubt myself. I'm sure the bird uttered a quiet but harsh 'teck' sound from deep within the bush so was confident it was still there.

Pete arrived and after a short wait, the bird performed well and a few pics were obtained. Rob Sandham then jogged up the path and the bird showed well to the four of us present.

This is the first record for the Great Orme, and the third for the county of Conwy. The other two were in a Llandudno garden in May 2000, while the other was in Penmaenmawr, also in May 2000. Just six have been recorded in North Wales outside of Bardsey, which holds the monopoly on the species with an incredible 26 records! Surely the best site in the UK to see this species. This bird, follows hot on the heels of the popular Uwchmynydd male in April of this year.

Just goes to show, even when you feel like giving up, the good one might be around that next corner.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Brill wildlife at a field pond

You don't have to travel far to enjoy some great wildlife as I found out visiting a farmer's field pond near where I live in Penrhyn Bay. Four house martins and a swallow were hawking insects over the pond as I arrived and a very handsome downy moorhen chick swam away into cover. Blackcap sang nearby and plenty of the commoner birds were about, mnay carrying food. It was good to see a pair on broad bodied chasers hawking the pond while around the fringes several azure damselflies were on the wing. I counted seven species of butterfly, large, small, green veined whites, common tortoiseshell, speckled wood, red admiral and a holly blue was a pleasant surprise. The whole track was carpeted in what I think is jack by the hedge (but I could be wrong on that!).

Thursday, 6 June 2013

latest bits

2 Avocet at RSPB Conwy this morning
Ruddy Shelduck on Llyn Traffwll yesterday eve
Small Kite movement inc 6 over Cemlyn on Tuesday and odd ones elsewhere.

Llyn Brenig

I took my first trip up here and I wasn't disappointed as this female Redstart was showing really well around the visitor centre and car park.
More pics and report on

Cheers for having a look guys.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Red B Merganser courtship- Conwy RSPB

This pair were doing a bit of courting at Conwy RSPB.  Not seen it before in this species but saw plenty birds up on the Outer Hebs last week.  The bit right at the end is very funny; he does a nod of the head in self-proclamation and then absolutely hot foots out of there like he's got an outboard motor.

Spring is not over yet!

A few bits and pieces are still on the move, and hope is not all; lost yet of a goodie or two before the spring is out. The last few days have seen a good arrival of Spotted Flycatchers on the end of the Lleyn and on Bardsey. On Friday morning, I had 40+ birds around the Aberdaron headland early morning along with 2 Whinchat and 4 Lesser Whitethroats. Bardsey had a similar number of birds on the island as well as a nice singing 1st summer male Common Rosefinch.

Back to the Great Orme this monring and a new bird for the year came in the form of a smart Hooded Crow in the Sheep fields. The bird, which looks every bit the real deal, is associating with a group of nine or ten Carrion Crows and seems to be frequenting the fence posts in the centre of the fields. It was also seen near the cairn. Two groups of Crossbills moved west early morning with one flock of 18 and another of 7  including some singing males! Very strange hgearing them sing in flight as they flew over.
Finally a smart female type Yellow Wagtail was on the limestone pavements, associating with some 5 Wheatears.

Still time for the biggie :-)

This morning's female type Yellow Wagtail on the Great Orme limestone pavements.

 An arrival 40+ Spotted Flycatchers on the Lleyn on Friday was cool, however it was eclipsed by the 1000+ that arrived at Portland Bill the following morning!!
Plenty of local birds on show on the Great Orme at the moment, including Kestrels, Stonechats, Peregrines, Black Guillemots, Chough, Ravens and Wheatears.