Monday, 28 April 2014

The Ugly House : Good birds and good food!

If your birding in Snowdonia the Ugly House is a great place to stop for a bite to eat and a bit of birding. It's a house with fantastic charachter set in a wonderful garden on the fringe of the Gwydir forest. Just walking around the garden you can get great views of Pied Flycatchers, Wood Warblers, Siskins at point blank range plus Nuthatches and Treecreepers. The garden's also good for flowers, butterflies and bees as well. There's often Dipper in the adjacent river and I could also hear a Redstart nearby. It's on the A5 between Bethesda and Betws y Coed, just before you get to Swallow Falls. It's definately worth a stop if passing! Here's a few photos I took when I went there with the family on Saturday. 

Friday, 25 April 2014

Garganey (pair) off south stack road

Managed to catch up with the pair of Garganey off south stack road this evening.   Birds still present at ~ 7.15pm.  Couple of record shots of the drake.

Plus a shot of the GWT at the same site a few weeks back:

Great Orme migrant update

After a quiet start to the spring with just a couple of Dotterel, a few Ouzels and an Osprey the only things to blog about during the first few weeks of April, things suddenly have sprung to life over the past few days. A cracking male Ring Ouzel was in the cemetery yesterday while a Firecrest was near the Copper mines (per Pete Alderson). Yellow Wagtails have been much in evidence with at least four birds seen most mornings amongst a number of White Wags. Several Redstarts have appeared while 3 Whinchat were present yesterday. Tree Pipts have been seen in good numbers with between 7 and 11 seen on each of the past three days. Redpolls and Siskins have been moving through in better numbers and include the odd mixed up individuals as the one seen below - no way is this a bog standard Welsh Lesser Redpoll, but isn't the classic Mealy either. Good numbers of hirundines have been seen each day while Wheatear numbers have increased but no real big falls yet this year.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Cemlyn and Cefni 24th April

I had my first Garden Warbler of the year at Llyn Cefni today singing its head off in willows near the first bridge crossing the river at the Bodfordd end of the lake. David Wright had a Whinchat at Cemlyn in a ploughed field west of Ffronddu (on the Hen borth Road). He also had 2 Dark bellied brents on the island on the lagoon.

Cefni and Cemlyn Wed 23rd April

At lunchtime I had nice views of a Gropper at Llyn Cefni plus my first singing Lesser Whitethroat and a flyby Kingfisher at the Bodfordd end. At Cemlyn in the evening there were good numbers of Whimbrel around the west end of the reserve with 3 groups of 20, 17 and 9 seen. There was a nice group of 23 summer plumaged Dunlin on the beach and some of the 6 Turnstones were starting to look quite smart. 2 winter Barwits and a Summer Golden Plover were still around the lagoon. There were also reports of a possible Curlew Sand. A mobile British Yellow Wagtail was commuting between the Car park pool and Tyn Llan and David Wright had 2 Arctic Terns, the first of the season.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter Saturday and Sunday

Yesterday Cuckoos were new in at Pen y sarn, Amlwch (OO) and Penychnant with a fly-over Tree Pipit at the latter spot. A cracking Pied Fly was also showing well at the back of the house at Pensychnant plus a female Redstart.
Today, Sunday, at Cemlyn this morning there were 2 Common Sands by the west Car Park, 2 migrant Whimbrel flew over the Trwyn with 3 White wags also there.There's been upto 8 Meds recently with 2 cracking aldults flying over my house in Cemaes calling yesterday (Saturday).
On birdguides today the GW Teal is still in Holyhead, the Brynsiencyn Iceland gull has crossed the Straight to Fforyd bay and an Arctic Tern was at Conwy RSPB.
David Wright had a singing Lesser Whitethroat this week near Llanerchymedd (on thursday I think?).

Saturday, 19 April 2014

It was another productive day’s birding, with a change in the wind direction to the east giving a more promising feel to the day. By far the highlight of the day was a fantastic White Stork; first seen over the Lighthouse being harassed by a dozen Oystercatchers at midday, the bird then battled eastwards into the freshening wind. Eventually, the bird flew high and east over the mountain top, in the direction of the Lleyn Peninsula. This is just the second White Stork to be seen on Bardsey, the last being in 1995. This particular bird could well be the same individual reported over both Caernarfon and South Stack two days ago.

In other news, a good crop of 74 Wheatears was scattered around the island; 19 White Wagtails, a Tree Pipit, ten Whimbrels and a Common Sandpipers were also seen around the coast, whilst 74 Swallows21 Sand Martins and four House Martins sped northward throughout the day. Inland, twoWhitethroats were seen in the withies and wetlands, whilst two Grasshopper Warblers, two Sedge Warblers, 37 Willow Warblers, 14 Chiffchaffs and 13 Blackcaps were in similar localities. Elsewhere, the Turtle Dove was again present at the North End, showing very well on the track near Plas mid-morning, and the first Yellow Wagtail of the year arrived into the field near Ty Pellaf late afternon.

The superb White Stork, just the second for Bardsey. The first record was on 2nd May 1995. There were reports of a single White Stork over Caernarfon and South Stack two days ago
 The very smart Yellow Wagtail, which arrived on the island late in the afternoon. The bird spent the rest of the day feeding amongst the sheep near Ty Pellaf
As well as the Turtle Dove, which remained between Plad and Nant for most of the day, this Collared Dove was found hiding away in Ty Pellaf garden 
There were some stunning Greenland-race Wheatears around

Friday, 18 April 2014

Cemlyn and Carmel Head

I had my first Whitethroat and Common Sand of the year today at Carmel Head, plus a Crossbill. David Wright had a Common Tern at Cemlyn yesterday. 3 Sedge Warblers were at Carreglwyd Marsh near Rhydwyn. Otherwise today, just fantastic weather :-)
ps. the American Green Winged Teal was on birdguides for still being present this morning.

Llay pool waders

Lovely sum plum black tailed godwit this morning. 2 LRP, 3 oystercatcher, 2 common sand and nesting lapwings. Dunlin, ringed plover and 6 LRP earlier in the week. Let's hope for something rarer very soon.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

White Stork (and Crane?) info

Ian Simms had a White Stork over Caernarfon Airport around 12 noon.
It was later seen over South Stack around 1.43pm (John W) and then again over Beddmanarch Bay at c.2pm by Andrew L. I'm not aware of any other reports so it may still be local. Birdguides also reported a Crane over Fforyd bay at 11.45am. Unless anyone can cast any further info on the situation I would presume this was a mis-ID and they actually saw the Stork. Does anyone else know anything about the reported Crane?

Green winged Teal photos

Here's some shots I got of todays American Green Winged Teal found by Ken Croft near the Killdeer field. Leaving Holyhead on the South Stack road the bird is in the wet field on the left about 400m out of town.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014


At this time of year redpolls are on their way back north. As well as the usual Lesser Redpolls other forms ie Common/ Mealy, Icelandic, Greenland and Arctic birds can be in with the flocks of the more familiar Lessers. Here's a selection of shots of several birds I saw in Cemaes on sunday for discussion and to show you how a birds appearance can change in different lights.I think they're probably just Lessers, but when they puff themselves up they look more Mealy!

                                          Male A

                                          Female A

                                          Female B Puffed up

                                          Female B

                                          Female B

                                          Female B

                                          Female B

                                          Male A

                                          Male A

                                          Male A

                                          Female B