Wednesday, 31 December 2014

RSPB Conwy sightings board

Choughs have been seen daily here for the last week or so, flying south into the Conwy Valley each morning, with a flock of nine northeast yesterday afternoon - heading for the Little Orme?

Two firecrests showed well yesterday afternoon (male and female), and at least one chiffchaff is in the same area, around the Bridge Pond. Woodcock and merlin have been seen a couple of times in the last fortnight; there are numerous water rails around the reserve, and a few more goldeneyes starting to arrive.

More details of recent sightings on the reserve blog. Great photo of one of the firecrests on the Conwy Flickr pool, by Bob Garrett.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Kelvin and Rob nail the Twite!

Thanks to Kelvin and Rob who managed to ring the 4  Cemlyn Twite this morning. They identified the ringed bird as being Z033607. This bird was ringed this summer up at Gairloch  near Ullapool in Scotland as a youngster on the 29th August. Well done chaps :-)

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Birding in a Winter Wonderland.

Today I headed over to North East Wales for some winter wonderland birding. Here's some of the cracking birds we saw including an interesting Common Crossbill with two wing-bars. Thanks to Tony and Mogs for their company and Tony for his expert 4x4 driving, without which we wouldn't have reached the places we did reach. Top man! (and the bacon butties ;-)

Winter Wonderland

Black Grouse

Male Red Grouse, we saw c.25 birds on the moors.

I've never seen them do this with their tail! Prairie-chicken-esque!

We had 60+ Black Grouse

Hard times for Wrens.

Good Grouse habitat.

Frosty snow

I never realised how well patterned female Red Grouse are.

Male Red Grouse.

Male Brambling.

Snowy Stonechat

Dippers are quite numerous in the area.

My first "two barred" Common Crossbill.



Tagged Red Kite



You need to be the early bird to catch the worm as quite quickly the moors can be covered in
Cars, Cyclists and  walkers. Use your car as a hide for best results and to minimise disturbance.

Winter wonderland.

Stunning scenery.

"two barred" Common Crossbill
Feeding by Car Park at the foot of Craig bran banog.

"Unbarred" Common Crossbill.

"wing barred"Crossbill.
 I'm putting some other images together to publish here soon.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Merry Christmas with a Snow Bunting!

Merry Christmas to all our readers. Visiting birder Angus Wilson had a Snow Bunting on the headland opposite Porth Wen brickworks yesterday at 2.30 pm, on the Bull Bay side of the bay.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Fifty shades of ............Wigeon!

After goinig down and see David Wright's Wigeon at Red Wharf Bay it inspired me to look more closely at Wigeon! His bird was showing well still on Saturday from the Benllech end/Ship car park area. It was just like a Eurasian Wigeon but with the biggest green flash behind the eye I have ever seen. Plus a pale golden wash to the face. I then saw an American Wigeon in Lancashire the following day, plus some captive specimens at Martin Mere, then had a little surprise whilst looking at some Wigeon photos I took at Porthmadog two weeks ago.

Red Warf Bay Wigeon on Saturday

Single American Wigeon at Marshide (Lancs)  on Sunday

Wigeon,, Martin Mere on Sunday. Tiny bit of green behind the eye.

Chiloe Wigeon (the South American Wigeon, MM Saturday).

American Wigeon, MM Captive, Sunday.

Red Wharf Bay Wigeon, Saturday

Marshside American Wigeon.

Am. Wigeon Captive, Sunday MM.

Eurasian Wigeon, MM Sunday, wild.

Same as above, some green and quite a speckled face.

Wigeon, Porthmadog, two weeks ago.

Porthmadog Wigeon.

More Porthmadog Wigeon.

I took this two weeks ago at Llyn Bach Porthmadog and only
 looked at it today as I wanted to check how many
Eurasian Wigeon have a green flash behind the eye,
then I saw the other Hybrid!!

Spot the difference!

Presumably the same duck seen at Llyn Bach, Porthmadog on the
24th Feb 2013 by Rob Sandham that we thought was a
Wigeon x Gadwall Hybrid.
Presumably the same bird. Photo taken by Rob Sandham Feb 2013
Note, the same bill pattern.

RWB Saturday Wigeon

(Eu, Wigeon x Am. Wigeon)  x Eu. Wigeon
Looks like the RWB Bird.

Assorted American x Eurasian Wigeon Hybrids

Hybrid Ducks : essential bedtime reading.

So after initially thinking the Red Wharf Bay individual was just a Eurasian Wigeon at the extreme end of natural variability, now after seeing that photo in Hybrid ducks I'm wondering if it could be a (American x Eurasian) X Eurasian Wigeon back-cross. Either way it's been an interesting weekend looking more closely at Wigeon, and if it wasn't for the fact I went looking for a shot of  a flock of  Eurasian Wigeon I could have quite easily "binned" the photo of the Porthmadog birds without realising the Wigeon  x  Gadwall was in the photo!

Cemlyn in December

Here's a selection of photos taken recently at Cemlyn. Apart from what's shown below there is a wintering Whimbrel at the West end usually around the Trwyn, but it can go to Tyn Llan beach or further down the coast. There has been two Greenshank, upto 4 Little Egrets, occasional Divers offshore plus other bits and bobs. Anything else David Wright?


Purple Sandpiper

Up-to 4 Twite are still on the ridge.

3 species


Still 3 species

1 Purp with the Turstones



A very confiding Purple Sandpiper

A dark hooded (well streaked) Common Gull

Tip of the Trwyn

8 Grey Plover, 8 Purple Sandpipers and a Dunlin