Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Anglesey and the Lleyn

Today I had a single Crossbill over South Stack' 6 PB Brent's back at Penrhos plus an adult and a second winter Med gull.At least 2 adult Meds flew over the car as I drove through Llanynghenedl from the gull flocks feeding in the adjacent fields. On Sunday at Cemlyn there were 14 Grey, 14 Golden Plovers, a Whimbrel, Greenshank and 4 PB Brent's flew west. On Saturday the 26th, there was a single Black Guillimot in HH Fishquay, a Cetti's warbler was unusual at Llyn Maelog and a close  Garganey at Malltraeth Cob was a bonus, with 10 Pintail nearby.
Llanbedrog later that afternoon, as well as the usual suspects produced a late Sand Martin. A week earlier on South a Stack road I had a Spot Fly.

Friday, 25 September 2015

RSPB Conwy sightings board

On the lagoons, a spotted redshank has been here for several weeks, as has a green sandpiper, though both may soon be on the move. A little stint on Sunday and Monday (20th and 21st) was a great record, our first this year (photo by Henry Cook @HCBirding via Twitter), while a few bar-tailed godwits (from Russia) have been feeding on the estuary.

For more news on this week's sightings, read the reserve blog.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

House Martins and Swift

On Monday morning the 14th Sept there were 150 House Martins in a flock circling over Cemaes and a Swift passed though them.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Cemlyn today

I managed to escape briefly to Cemlyn today. Yesterday Tony had 5 Knot, a Curlew Sand, 6 Golden Plover and a Grey Plover. There were two Swifts there on Friday. Today highlights included 5 Arctic Skuas and Mark S had a Pom off Carmel head. There was a Whimbrel and 5 Wheatears on the Trwyn. But my highlights were non-avian. 5 Risso's Dolphin, Reg Thorpe and an Adder showing well, but all too brief. (The adder, not Reg, he hung around for a bit of a chat).The House Martin numbers over the estate are starting to drop off a little after a max count of 110 birds over Cemaes last Sunday the 6th Sept. Also two fly-by Jays through Cemaes was quite unusual today.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Alaw Reservoir yesterday

Many thanks to Ste C for updating on the Alaw Reservoir situation, and of course to Geoff and the team for all their hard work. I had to take my car to Pentraeth yesterday, so thought i'd combine with a visit to the south hide as it'd been on my "to do" list for a couple of years. Found the hide after a while, it obviously hadn't been used a lot as there were owl pellets scattered around! No mud visible, so after checking the ducks, the last resort was the distant flock of gulls along the far side on the water. An ad YLG was nice, then i got a "wow" factor as i scanned through and the bird in the linked video appeared in my scope. Apologies for the poor quality, but the birds were distant and i was on 60x on my scope and full zoom on my phone. The bird had a strikingly pale head and breast, with a noticeably pear-shaped head with a long, parallel-sided bill and small piggy eyes. It appeared somewhat attenuated due to an impression of long (folded) wings, which seem slightly "bulky" from the base of the tertials and can be seen in the clip. I think the primaries might still be growing. I tried posting earlier but couldn't get the video to load, then Hennerz suggested uploading to Youtube. I thought it looked good for 2nd calendar-year Caspian Gull, though whether there's enough on it for a submission i seriously doubt! Having just looked at the uploaded video on Youtube, the quality is significantly worse than it is on my laptop, pausing it helps somewhat but it's sill pretty crap tbh! Something to look out for anyway in any gull flocks, especially in fields etc i would guess.

Cheers, Mike.


RSPB Conwy sightings board

The last week has seen a good range of waders feeding on the nature reserve lagoons: spotted redshank (Tuesday to Friday 11th), green sandpiper (daily to Thursday 10th), two knots and up to 26 black-tailed godwits (Thursday 10th), golden plover (Thursday 10th and Friday 11th), greenshank and 40 dunlins (Friday 11th), and common sandpiper (Saturday 12th). Bird of the week, however, was a Temminck's stint, found late on Monday 7th and still here on Tuesday 8th, but as soon as the morning mist had lifted, so it did too.

For more recent sightings and news of a colour-ringed black-tailed godwit seen recently, visit the reserve blog.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015


Kingfishers put on a good show this afternoon at the Spinnies,four birds seen. Get there early as it is rather busy there at the moment,not with birdwatchers as such. Photographers making the most of the superb birds and lighting conditions.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Llyn Alaw Hide is accessible again thanks to the Silver Slashers

The main hide on the southern shore of the north east end of Llyn Alaw always used to be a spot worth visiting to do a bit of birding. However it has been a no-go area for years. Not because of Shining Path Guerrillas or the like but due to several trees being blown down and making access impossible. However thanks to the Silver Slashes (a non-paramilitary group of helpful ramblers), they have now cleared access to the hide. Hats off to them and a big thank you! So there's a prize for the first birders to go down there and find a good bird for us all to see :-) So lets get down there and see what we've all been missing for years. I think Ken had a Baird's Sand there once? Anyway thanks to Geoff Gibbs for letting us know about this, however we are still waiting for news on accessibility to the less popular North Hide.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Great White Egret at Cemlyn again

There was one about 3 or 4 weeks ago. Tony White had one this evening leave the lagoon in the direction of Wylfa Woods, possibly to roost as it was c.7.30 pm.

The Balearics of Bull Bay

As the winds have been NW-N for the last few days I thought I would have a sea watch off the tip of Bull Bay headland, an easily accessible sea watching site with parking nearby, just NW of Amlwch. There were lots of  rafts of Razorbills and Guillimots just offshore with their still noisy offspring. Feeding amongst them were a dozen or so Manxies, a few Fulmars, Shags, dozens of Kittiwakes, Porpoise, Gannets, Sandwich Terns and at least 2 but probably 3 Balearic Shearwaters. These Mediterranean Shearwaters were feeding relatively close, occasionally flying from one group of feeding birds to another, showing off their dusky plumage, pot bellies and different flight to their close relatives the Manx Shearwater with which they used to be conspecific.
I always love to see these birds as they are probably one of if not the rarest bird on global terms that passes through our region. The last census of this species estimated the breeding population on the Balearic Islands, the only place in the World that they breed, at c. 3,200 pairs. However surveys off the Iberian  shelf  estimate there to be between 13-20,000 birds of which 9-13,000 are mature birds (Birdlife). So it's always a treat to see them and I even managed to photograph them (badly!) for the first time today! Other birds included one Arctic Skua and 10 Common Scoters.