Sunday, 26 January 2014

Anglesey bits and bobs.

I had a well marked Nordic Jackdaw in fields between Llangefni and the A55 on the 2nd Jan, but despite regular visits I've not caught up with it since. There was a Barn Owl on the Cemaes side of Llanfaethlu on the 18th Jan. There have been several Goosanders in Llangefni Dingle this week including an adult and immature male and a female. Yesterday I had a pretty good looking Hooded Crow near Cafnan at Cemlyn with c.30 Carrion Crows, but there did seem to be a bit of dark on the undertail coverts.There was also a Carrion Crow with a bit of Hoodie in it so it had a grey neclace and shawl, and a nice looking halfy-half bird has been at Tyn Llan recently (as per Tony White). Recently at Benllech there's been a male Velet Scoter and a Black throated Diver offshore and the resident Ring necked Parakeet has been seen on and off on Fern Hill estate, Benllech.

Personal Birding Quest 2014 – ‘The cuckoo comes in April …’, but where will I find one in August?

Having actively kept a year list over the past 20 years +, my bird records of the more commonly occurring species are generally limited to the date and place of the first sighting of the year.  For the less common or rare species, a richer account of sightings across the year have been kept.

During the dark months at the tail of 2013, I set about developing a spread sheet of which species I had seen within the UK in each month of the year.  The initial idea had been one of getting out more, especially during the quieter birding months of the year, to fill in as many of the gaps as possible.  A particularly early or late bird locally would offer that little bit of extra enjoyment – an alternative fix to long distance twitching.  I have a gap in my list for Pintail in June and I’m not at all clear as to whether I’ll find one on Anglesey.   I have records for Cuckoo in April, May, June and September - it will be interesting thinking through where I might see one in July and August – in any event I’ll have to get out looking!

There is a danger that what was initially going to be a concentration on local birding might get out of hand.  A chance remark to Alan Davies on my progress during January and a comment that it would be quite an achievement to have seen 200 species in each month of the year has already had me mapping out whether this might be possible – but I think not unless there are long distance trips to pick up Wood Lark in Norfolk and Cirl Bunting in Devon etc during multiple months … but we will see.  Interestingly, July in particular seems a quite challenging month ...  I now wish that I had gone for some of the long staying June rarities not just when they first arrived, but also towards the end of their stay as they crept into the first few days of July.

January has got off to a good start with 203 species to date, although this has involved a couple of medium distance twitches for Parrot Crossbill, Two-barred Crossbill and Buff-bellied Pipit, whilst also filling in a gap for Red Grouse on route.  The start of each birding month will be very much looked forward to.  If you see my SOS for Pintail or Cuckoo during future months, you’ll now understand the context :).

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Wkend news

Surf Scoters still off Pensarn and Llanddulas today.

Hawfinches showing well at LYC including a flock of 29 together and a smaller one of 6 birds plus 3 more at Caerhun so a good winter for them (although it doesn't feel much like winter).

Great Northern Divers at a few sites along the coast.

I had 3 Chiffchaff at Glan y Mor Eilias/Madryn yesterday late afternoon.

Further afield 
Buff bellied pipit still showing well off Station Rd, Burton along with 2 Sibe Chiffs Denhall Lane area and Merlin and Hen Harrier over the Marsh.

Looks like there's a Horneman's Arctic Redpoll in a private garden outside Chester too.  A real snowball! Pix:


Saturday, 18 January 2014

Iceland gull. Borras/Gresford

Nice juvenile Iceland gull feeding with gulls in fields behind Gresford flash. Bird not visible from the flash. It is the other side of the hedge and you can view from the footpath from Barkers lane which is a dead end from Borras road. Head towards Gresford and there are muddy fields where the birds are feeding. It's a very dark looking individual. 4 goosander on the flash.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Ras Adar YNGC Mai 17/NWWT Bird Race May 17 2014

Yn dilyn llwyddiant Ras Adar gyntaf Ymddiriedolaeth Natur Gogledd Cymru a oedd yn dathlu ei hanner-canmlwyddiant yn 2013, mae gennym syniad i gynnal digwyddiad tebyg eleni (heb yr elfen hanner-canmlwyddiant).
A fasech chi’n hoffi cymryd rhan?
Y dyddiad yw Dydd Sadwrn Mai 17eg, ac fel llynedd, fe fydd timau / unigolion yn dewis 1 o 3 ardal o Ogledd Cymru i gofnodi adar ar wahanol warchodfeydd YNGC. Mi fydd y reolau’r un fath a llynedd.  Yn nghlwm, fel rhagflas, mae cofnod byr o’r Ras 2013, lluniau, a restr o’r 130 rhywogaeth cafwyd eu cofnodi gan y timau ar y safleoedd gwahanol.
Mi oedd yna ymateb bositif iawn i’r Ras llynedd, ac mi fasa’n wych cael digwyddiad llawn sbort a chystadleuol eto, a hefyd hel mwy o gofnodion defnyddiol. Plîs lledaenwch y neges, nodwch y dyddiad yn eich dyddiadur, a gadewch i mi wybod os oes gennych ddiddordeb.
Ben Stammers, Swyddog Bywyd Gwyllt a Phobl
 2014 NWWT Bird Race
Following the success of the first ever North Wales Wildlife Trust 24hr Bird Race to celebrate our 50th Anniversary in 2013, it‘s been suggested we run a similar event again this year, just without the Anniversary bit…
Would you like to take part? 
The date would be Saturday May 17th and as with last year, teams / individuals can choose 1 of 3 regions of N Wales to record birds at NWWT reserves. The rules will be pretty the same as last year (can send these out as needed). Attached are an account of the 2013 race, some photos, and a list of the 130 species recorded by the different teams at the different sites, to whet your appetite.
Feedback was very positive from last year’s Race, and it would be great to have another fun and competitive event, and to gather more useful records. Please spread the word, mark it in your diary if you’d like to take part, and get back in touch with me if you’re interested.
Ben Stammers, People and Wildlife Officer.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Anglesey AONB winter bird watch Sat Feb 15th

Just thought I’d let you know about some of the events the AONB will be running this year. After the success of last year’s 3 Anglesey AONB bird watching events, we thought we’d do it all again! starting with a winter watch on Saturday 15th of February. Some of you may have taken part in last year’s count where 100 species were recorded on the day, so let’s see if we can repeat that success again this year.
It’ll be the same format as last year with a few groups heading off to various destinations on the island (not restricted to the AONB). Each group will have certain destinations to visit but otherwise it’s pretty flexible as to where you decide to go. The plan is for everyone to meet at Penrhos Coastal Park car park at 8.15am so we can split into the different groups, then once the days bird watching has been completed, we’ll meet back at Caffi’r Parc at Breakwater Country Park for some food and a chat about the days sightings at around 4.15pm.
Let me know if you’d like to get involved or if you know of anyone who might be interested, please feel free to pass on my details. You can contact me by email on or phone 01248 752 446.
Hopefully see you next month
Cofion gorau / Kind regards
Lowri Hughes
Warden Cymunedol AHNE/AONB Community Warden
Cyngor Sir Ynys Mon/Isle of Anglesey County Council

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

4 Drk Surf Scoters.

Drk Surf Scoter still off Castle Cove This morning.Then when leaving the site i seen Dylan Edwards by Pentre Bach Cafe and he had 3 Drk in large raft of Common Scoter and the 3birds stayed together.

Surf Scoters showing really well from Pensarn over the last couple days.1 Drk shown well on Monday from by Castle cove Pensarn [old Hoopoe site] the bird was showing in great conditions flat calm sea and sunny.
Myself and JW had a great couple of hours watching this bird.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Pips and Haws

Tantalisingly close to and in sight of Wales, I popped over for the Buff-bellied Pipit early doors today and thankfully it was there showing <10m with plenty of mipits and Linnets.  It was a bit too cold to linger for too long but I managed some iphoned-scoped shots here:

Yesterday: 2 Hawfinch at Caerhun and 10+ at LYC.  The gull roost opposite Bodnant Food Centre on the R.Conwy at Tal-y-Cafn held a Norwegian-darvic ringed Common Gull for which I'm awaiting details.

Monday, 6 January 2014

John Barnes 1936 - 2013

John Barnes  1936 - 2013

John died on the 30th December, 2013 at Plas y Garnedd Residential Home in Llanberis. He was 77 and had been ill for many months.

John was born and brought up in Long Eaton, Derbyshire and started birding his local area as a boy. After University, he taught French at Secondary School level. Somewhat naturally for a birdwatcher, his first post was at a school in Diss, Norfolk, where he also met his wife.

They moved to North Wales in 1966, when John took up a post at the (then) Caernarfon Grammar School.

Although a Modern Languages graduate he had always considered Ornithology to be a major interest and he had travelled widely finding, studying and photographing birds. His particular interest was in woodland birds, from the Welsh oak-woods to the tropical rainforest.

John not only enjoyed birdwatching and ornithology, he was interested in all aspects of natural history, especially mammals. He contributed a great deal to the appreciation and recording of our local wildlife by becoming involved with natural history societies and conveying his quiet enthusiasm for the natural world to other people. The following are some of his achievements:

He had been President of the Cambrian Ornithological Society and was made an honorary life member in recognition of his services. He also edited the Society’s Bulletin for over 26 years. He retired after editing his 100th bulletin in 2008.

His book “Birds of Caernarfonshire” was published in 1997 and 10 years later he published a second book “Dreamcatcher: four decades of North Wales birdwatching”.

He was an active member of the North Wales Wildlife Trust, serving both as a Council member and Trustee.

John had also been president and committee member of Bangor Bird Group and regional representative of the British Trust for Ornithology for 18 years as well as being the County recorder for the Caernarfonshire area.

He contributed greatly to the North Wales Ornithological scene for many years and will be sadly missed. Rest in peace.

By Ron Evans


Sunday, 5 January 2014

N Wales a tough opening to New Year

The Purple Sandpipers have been showing well over high tide at Rhos Point with a Long-tailed Duck fly by today. Lots of Turnstone and Redshank around the point and harbour- good photo opportunities.  Well worth looking at the 'Tech fields' (Llandrillo Tech) whilst in the area 135+Wigeon, 200 Jackdaw, 30+ Curlew and a Knot been see there recently.  2 SURF SCOTER still off Station Rd yesterday plus one off Pensarn so 3 still about.  Great Northerns showing well at Porthmadog Harbour and HH Harbour.  No further sign of Iceland Gull which flew passed SPCP towards HHead on Friday.  Big flock of 90 Twite at Connahs Quay still.  Lapland Bunting at Cemlyn on Sat too with 80 Skylark.

Not bad despite the weather! 

Many of the beaches have altered after the storms and there's glass strewn over Conwy Morfa after the sea eroded an old bottle tip! Take care if out!  Hopefully next weekend will allow for some birding!