Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Another Hoopoe?

A friend of Cedric Lynch flushed a presumed Hoopoe at Talacre Sand dunes yesterday. She said it was a bird she wasn't familiar with but it had black and white stripey wings and a big crest on it's head.So sounds pretty good for one :-)

Monday, 28 October 2013

Grey Phalarope on Speed

My contribution to the Phalarope experience, and what an experience it was, at times was within 3 metres, very confiding.
This is my first attempt at digiscoped video, pretty pleased, better version on the following link, the blogger only seems to allow modest quality videos.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

More of what we love!

This was my second consecutive visit to Gronant for the grey phal, and it definitely paid off!
The bird came from the far end of the pool right in to the gully.
Lapland Bunting was reported by I didn't see it, although others did who I was with. Ring Tail Hen Harrier also spotted over dunes.
And a Hoopoe on the Clywd

more here

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Hoopoe and Grey Phal

Excellent find by Alex! A bird I've always missed in the UK as they are notoriously bad to twitch. Great to get a local one found by a mate too!

Stopped off at Gronant too and enjoyed excellent views of the Grey Phalarope. What a little gem!

More photos/account on my blog.

River Clwyd hoopoe

Record shot of the hoopoe on the River Clwyd this afternoon. Found by Alex Jones the bird was mainly seen along a stream inlet by the caravan park at the Rhyl end flying occasionally onto the mountain bike site.

Llanddulas Surfie returns for another winter.

My week on Bardsey was cut short by forecast impending storms, and I came off two days early on 23rd October.  The crossing was at first light, so I had all day to play with as long as I was back in Blackpool for early evening.  I guess most people would have worked the Lleyn peninsula or gone to Conwy RSPB.  However I have a soft spot for scoter, regularly watching the large flocks off Blackpool, and decided to check some of the likely spots along the North Wales coast.


Llanfairfechan was fairly quiet, though it was nice to relive seeing the Black Scoter here more years ago than I care to remember.  There was a ringed Mute Swan here – white ABOV – with an unringed mate and cygnets.  


I decided to head straight to Llanddulas and give it a decent go from there, as my recollection was that this is the best site.  When I got there the conditions were very good, almost high tide with little wind and bright conditions.  I was disappointed how distant the scoter were, I always thought they were really close in off the Welsh coast compared with the ones off Blackpool but they were quite distant.  After a couple of scans I ‘tweeted’ that they might as well be the Blackpool birds given how poor the views were.


On the third scan however I suddenly picked up something white in one of the relatively close groups.  It didn’t take long to resolve this into the nape of a cracking drake Surf Scoter even though it was some way out.  I put the news out via Twitter, joking that I would be eating my words for lunch.


I have never done the North Wales scoter before, rather masochistically trying to find my own Surfer off Blackpool and finally doing so this March.  It was nice that when I finally did get the chance to do so I was able to pick up the first returning Surf Scoter of the 2013/14 winter.


Stephen Dunstan

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Vis-mig on Bangor Mountain during October 2013

I've done as much patching in between course work as I can during October and over the past three weeks I've been mainly focussing my attention on Bangor Mountain. It's quite a raised location with almost 360 degree views, so a good spot for vis-mig.
As the weather for the last few days of October doesn't exactly look brilliant for vis-mig, I thought I'd summarise my highlights of the month. [Please note that counts are more extensive, but those records would be tedious to write and read!]
10th October - I started quite well into the month, but anyway, managed 5 Bullfinch, 16 Greenfinch, 24 Chaffinch,  heading South West plus my first Brambling and a Redwing heading South East + 13 Woodpigeon. This was the same day that Sandy had an astonishing count of 33,000!

11th October - What a difference a day makes! The mass arrival of winter thrushes the day prior managed to filter across to Bangor and had 4693 Redwing, 3 Fieldfare and a Song Thrush moving South East. Despite the astonishing increase in Redwings, the highlight of the day was a WHOOPER SWAN flying high south down the Menai straits which was a Welsh tick for me! 6 Brambling, 15 Chaffinch, 3 Siskin and 15 Woodpigeon, 8 Pink-footed Geese were moving too.

12th October - The mass thrush arrival peaked on the 12th with a staggering 6610 Redwing, 67 Fieldfare, 3 Song Thrush moved South East + 1 Brambling and 12 Chaffinch and 20 Woodpigeon moving South West. Also a flock of Snipe moving East was an interesting record.

13th October - Thrush numbers settled down a tad with 2326 Redwing, 18 Song Thrush, 15 Fieldfare and a big suprise juvenile RING OUZEL moving South East. 5 Bullfinch, 1 Redpoll sp, 84 Greylag Geese, 8 Goldfinch, 7 Woodpigeon, c300 Starling and a single Reed Bunting moving overhead.

15th October - Thrush numbers had dwindled to 10+ Redwing and 2 Common Crossbill, 2 Brambling, 12 Lesser Redpoll and 7 Skylark South West.

16th October - Morning was spent ringing, so main focus wasn't on the sky, but when a LAPLAND BUNTING flew over low calling, I started to wish I'd paid more attention!

17th October - 138 Redwing, 2 Brambling, 137 Woodpigeon, 21 Meadow Pipit, 2 Linnet, 160 Jackdaw moving South East and 2 Common Crossbill South West.

18th October - 669 Redwing, 408 Jackdaw, 32 Woodpigeon and 81 Starling South East + 2 Common Crossbill, 1 Brambling, 55 Chaffinch moving South West. (I also had a pipit sp that was very probably a Red-throated Pipit, but didn't get any sound recordings, so I'm letting it go)

24th October - Highlight of the day in clear South Easterlies were 2 Stock Doves heading South East with 234 Woodpigeon. Also, 620 Chaffinch, 5900+ Starling (big movement South East!), 20 Redwing, 11 Meadow Pipit, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 173 Jackdaw, 198 Herring Gull (south), 3 Common Crossbill, 18 Bullfinch, 9 Siskin, 5 Goldfinch and 3 Brambling
Worst photo of 2 Stock Doves you're ever likely to see!

Gronant grey phalarope

Some shots of a grey phalarope at Gronant on the large pool at the end of the track approaching the little tern breeding area this afternoon (initially put out as a red necked). The bird was distant in the first instance but eventually returned to a small inlet right opposite the path and gave superb views.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Bunting hunting

A lapland bunting and two snow buntings were putting on a nice show along the cycletrack at Llandudno West Shore this afternoon. Found by Pete Alderson the buntings ranged from just passed the beach cafe to around 800 yards along the cycletrack, feeding on the beach, grass and in the case of the lapland on the cycletrack itself. Still present late afternoon. Weather wasn't good so a few record shots.

Monday, 21 October 2013


The SCAN ringing group had a very successful day on Traeth Lavan, Saturday, with a catch of 379 Oystercatchers. The oldest Oystercatcher was originally ringed in September 1981 by the group and has not been recorded since. In fact this bird was older than many of the ringing team.

SCAN have been monitoring Oystercatchers on Traeth Lavan since 1973, and have recently begun colour ringing a sample of the wintering population to ascertain their breeding locations. Initial reports show that some of the birds breed on the Shetland isles.
Some of the team waiting for the cannons to be fired

Several captions come to mind, best one gets a free cup of tea and a biscuit at the BTO Cymru office.

If you are interested in the helping out with SCAN please contact the BTO Cymru office.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Red Warf Bay Today

I went down to Red Warf Bay this morning with Richard Birch to check out a Wheatear seen yesterday, but unfortunately it had gone.However there were still plenty of birds around including the following. Red throated Diver 3, Water Rail 3, 1st year male Goosander, Mergs 4, Greenshank 4, Rock Pipit 6, Ringed Plover 20, Curlew 108, Redshank 103, Crossbill 62, Barwit 2, Little Egret 10, Common Snipe 57 
and 3 Jack Snipe.

Beddmanarch Bay plus odds and sods!

There's at least 141 Pale bellied Brents back in Beddmanarch bay at present. Norman had 8 Med Gulls on the Alaw Estuary today (1 x 1st winter, the rest were Adults and 2nd Winter birds, plus a Wheatear. I also had 2 adult Meds at Llanynghenedl in the recently ploughed fields with the Black heads. That's great as it tests Alan and Ted's Welsh pronunciation to the limit when they put the news on the local Birdlines ;-) There was no sign of any geese at Hen Borth, but I also had a 2nd W Med at Cemlyn tonight plus this pleasant sight of the sun setting behind these feeding Curlews.

Them Jackdaws again!

I saw this pair of Jackdaws today. One of them showed some Nordic features. They were commuting between a horse paddock and a little cottage and looked at home. They were near Llandonna on Anglesey by the road junction at the southern tip of the village.

Yellow Browed Warbler at Holyhead Breakwater Country Park

This bird showed well today in the small quarry behind the new Cafe with the stand of pines in it. The bird was moving around the sycamores in the middle of the quarry.I missed the late Swift that had been there earlier seen by Ken, Norman and Martin but was reassured that it was just a Common Swift and not a Pallid or pekinensis!