Wednesday, 15 November 2017

COS trip to the North-west Bird Watching Festival

 COS are running a Coach to Martin Mere on the 18th  Nov (this Saturday).
It will be leaving Bangor at 8am (or Mona Ind Estate at 7.30), with pick-ups along the coast to Colwyn Bay.
Coach fare is £14, admission charge to Martin Mere will be collected on coach.
It is the North-west Bird Watching Festival (Saturday and Sunday), with guest speakers, exhibitors, talks, tours, workshops etc. And lots of wild birds to see, including Ruff, Tree Sparrows, Whooper Swans, Pinkfeet, Kingfisher and various raptors.
Anyone wanting further information can  phone Geoff ASAP on (01248 681936).
Many Thanks

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Wales and Dolphins at Bangor Bird-group this Wednesday

When Kathy James left Bangor Birdgroup it was to move down to Mid Wales to work for the Sea Watch foundation. This Wednesday at Bangor Birdgroup Kathy's Boss Peter Evans will be coming up to talk to us about the interesting World of Dolphins and Cetaceans in his appropriately named talk, Wales and Dolphins!
At Bangor Birdgroup we meet on Wednesday nights in the University of Bangor Brambell Building, Deiniol road opposite Asda just down from the Train Station. Costs are £2 per meeting (non members), or even better join as a member. Membership costs are as follows- Waged = £15, £12 for concessions and £10 for students. Not bad for 24 talks!
Doors open at 7 for a 7.30 pm start. Talks last for around1 hour. All members of the public are welcome. Hopefully see you there, all the best, Stephen Culley (Programme Organizer, Local Birdwatcher and Naturalist).

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Bangor Birdgroup : Honduras and the Anglesey Skerries

Will outside Left, Molly outside right.

Two former  Bangor University  Students are returning to Bangor Birdgroup tonight to let us know what they have been up-to since qualifying. Molly Foulds will be talking about some of her work in Honduras and the birds that she saw there and Will Smith will be talking about The Anglesey Skerries, where he has worked for the RSPB for the last two summers. I'm really looking forward to what they have to say tonight. Doors open at the Brambell building at 7pm tonight, members free, non members £2 on the door. All welcome.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Big Seabird Movement Point Lynas 29/10/17

There was a large movement of seabirds past Point Lynas yesterday morning. I arrived at dawn, and began watching the sea at 6.45am. The wind was NNW 6/7. The previous day had had a strong westerly wind which continued through the night. This had undoubtedly driven some birds into Liverpool Bay. The first bird I saw was a Manx Shearwater at very close range, so it had a good feeling. Over the next four and a half hours the numbers and variety of species were very high, particularly in the first two hours. At one point I couldn't lift my eyes from my binoculars for at least five minutes! This was one of my most memorable watches at Lynas over the past 30ish years, for the sheer numbers and closeness of the birds. The Grey Phalarope at about 600m off the rocks was, I think, my first here on a seawatch. I also think the cumulative effect of Storm Ophelia and Storm Brian in the past two weeks may have certainly moved a lot of seabirds into the Irish Sea.

Species Recorded 06.45 to 11.15 am. (all birds moving west)

Shelduck 5
Eider 1 (fem/imm)
Common Scoter 16
Red-Throated Diver 3
Fulmar 1
Manx Shearwater 5
Storm Petrel 1
Leach's Petrel 2 (petrels appeared later and further out)
Gannet 249 (25 fishing)
Shag 6
Grey Heron 1
Curlew 1
Oystercatcher 5
Grey Phalarope 1 (following a group of auks very close)
Great Skua 20
Pomarine Skua 4 (2 ads with 'spoons', two juvs)
Arctic Skua 11
Black-headed Gull 104
Common Gull 41
Mediterranean Gull 3 (2 ads, 1 Ist w.)
Herring Gull 70
Great Black-backed Gull 6
Lesser Black-backed Gull 5
Little Gull 1 (ad.)
Kittiwake 2600
Arctic Tern 1 (juv)
Black Tern 1 (surprisingly late)
'Auk sp' 4230 (about 80% Razorbills, but more Guillemots than previous watches)

Also 3 to 5 Bottle-nosed Dolphins for five minutes moving east, leaping and feeding.

Hopefully this is of interest, and will encourage more people to watch from Point Lynas. Please contact me if you want any help or advice on access or the best times to watch.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

New book out on the "Scarce and Rare Birds in North Wales".  All historic records up to and including 2016. 320 pages, 100+ Images, finder's accounts of the rarest, full colour and more. Limited print run.
Contact me on to order a copy. £16:99 local pick up from Conwy RSPB. Or £19:99 p+p UK.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Yoav Perlman comes to Bangor Birdgroup on Thursday this Week

    Yoav Perlman will be talking to us about "Birding in Israel, where migration is defined!"
    It's one not to miss!
    It's on Thursday, not wednesday, doors open at 7 for a 7.30 start. It's in the usual Brambell building, but in the upstairs lecture theatre. Numbers are limited to 50 seats so get there early to avoid disappointment.See you on Thursday!
    Yoav says this about himself 
    "I have been birding since the age of 9, and from the age of 15 I started working professionally in birding. I have been working for the Israeli Ornithological Center since 1998. I was a member of the Israeli rarities committee between 2001 - 2007. I have an MSc in Ecology from the Ben Gurion University. I did my research on the ecology of Nubian Nightjars in Israel, and spent hundreds of nights with these fascinating birds. I lead tours in Israel, and especially focus on Nubian Nightjars obviously. I traveled and birded Asia extensively, and also Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and North America. I am married to my lovely wife Adva and father to two sons - Uri and Noam, and one daughter - Libby. Currently I live in Norwich, where I am starting a PhD project at UEA."

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Spain comes to Bangor

I will be doing a presentation tonight along with Richard Bird and Bill Slade. I will be doing a 30 minute presentation on the Birds I saw over two trips to the region to look for the Birds of the Pyrenees and Dupont's Lark. Richard will be doing a 15 minute film on a similar subject and Bill will be showing us some of the photo's he got from the photographic hide including the Bearded Vulture!

This Weekend

This Dotterel was at the Range by South Stack over the weekend and was still there yesterday at the Southern end by some small pools by the coastal footpath on the heath. The Red necked grebe was in Beddmanarch bay as scoped from Coffee cups cafe. No Slavs are back yet. A Great White Egret was visible from the Anchorage pub ob on Sunday. Also the American Golden Plover was still at Caernarfon Airport on Sunday. I had 3 Swallows at Llanfaethllu and a Wheatear on the Range on the 10th and Ken had Redwings on the 9th.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Bangor Birdgroup re-starts next week, the first Wednesday in October.

Are you interested in Birds, Wildlife and Wildlife photography? If so , why not come along to Bangor Birdgroup this up-coming season. Bangor Bird group is based at the University of Bangor and is currently celebrating it's 70th year and is one of the oldest Bird clubs in Britain. We also share one meeting a month with the North Wales Wildlife trust, so although primarily bird orientated our talks cover all aspects of natural history. This next season as well as birds, covers Badgers, Otters, Wildcats, Dolphins and other Cetaceans, Butterflies and Moths. Also many of the Bird talks cover other aspects of wildlife as well.
Our first talk of the season is by Alan Davies and Ruth Miller of Bird-watching breaks and The Biggest Twitch 2008 World record breaking Year List, for the most species of birds seen on the planet in one year! They have lived in North Wales for many years so they will be giving us their insight into the Best birdwatching sites in North Wales.
Other talks before Christmas include The Spanish Pyrenees and the search for DuPont's Lark, Fabulous Feathers, Birding in Israel by renowned Israeli Ornithologist and Birder Yoav Perlman and a research Talk on Urban Bird ecology. Then we have a joint effort by two former students Will Smith and Molly Foulds talking about some of the things they have got up to since leaving Bangor University, including wardening on the Skerries and research in Honduras! Then there are talks on Iceland and Bird Ringing in North Wales before the Christmas Quiz and party! Talks in the new year cover Trinidad and Tobago, Sulawesi to the Seregeti (the Earth's Ultimate Wildlife), North Carolina Pelagic Birding, The Upper Conwy Project, Spurn Bird Observatory, Japan in Winter, The Arctic North West Passage, Gronant Little Terns, The Atlantic Rainforest of Brazil, Chile and The Caucasus Mountains of Georgia.
So that's 24 meeting covering topics from North Wales, Britain and the rest of the World.
We meet on Wednesday nights in the Brambell Building, Deiniol road opposite Asda just down from the Train Station. Costs are £2 per meeting, or even better join as a member. Membership costs are as follows- Waged = £15, £12 for concessions and £10 for students. Not bad for 24 talks!
Our first talk on the Best Birdwatching sites in North Wales kicks off the season on the 4th October, doors open at 7 for a 7.30 pm start. All members of the public are welcome. Hopefully see you there, all the best, Stephen Culley (Programme Organizer, Local Birdwatcher and Naturalist).

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Dotterel on The Range, South Stack (The four bird theory).

On Sunday, Rhys Jones sent me a text early afternoon to say he has just had just flushed 2 Dotterel at the Range and they appeared to land at the North West End. So I picked up Tony White and off we went. Rhys only saw the birds briefly in flight, but we hoped to relocate them. It was quite wet so I donned my waterproofs and we worked the North West part of the Range, only to put up two Golden Plovers.Trudging around in the rain doubt started to set in, "were these the birds Rhys had seen?". So we headed further North in case there were any Lapland buntings in with the Mippets and Skylarks. Twenty minutes later we put up two more Plovers, with a softer call and stonking supercillium, bingo Dotterel! Sorry for ever doubting you Rhys, so we managed to turn the "Two bird theory" into the "Four bird theory"! The Dotterel were still present on Monday and there were also 2 Lapland Buntings present. Also of note on Monday, Tony White had a flock of 15 Ruff at Cemlyn, a very big count for Anglesey.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

'Great Orme' Pied Flycatcher

It was good of Pete A, and then Alan Davies, to get out news quickly of a flycatcher in sycamore near church that appeared to have a wing bar.  After a while bird moved out of the sycamore and was quite comfortable flycatching from a wall and from grave stones.  Great opportunity to study an out of season bird and out of normal habitat.  Good craic with John Roberts, Mike Duckman and Pete.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Seawatching at Bull Bay today

Every birder has their favorite Sea-watching spot for various reasons. Mine is Bull bay headland. Probably because it's near to Cemaes and only requires a short walk from the car parking area and more importantly some of the birds come very close. This means even if you don't see anything that unusual you can still get some nice close photos of Gannets and Kittiwakes flying by at close quarters. There is also a "Rock-chair" at the end of the headland that I find very handy to lean back on as I sit down sea-watching. I have self-diagnosed myself with attention deficit syndrome so if the passage is slow I can get bored quite easily. Also the fact that the windy weather tends to be the best conditions for sea-watching, as some-what of a Wind-a-phobe, I suppose it's amazing I go sea-watching at all. However, when there's a good passage, Sea-watching can be hard to beat as it's really enjoyable and quite rewarding. This morning was one of those days. I will list the highlights now of what I saw today between 8.45 and 12 noon,  followed by a selection of photos of today's sightings. 
Leach's Storm Petrel 4 (2 were quite close), Balearic Shearwater 1, Little gull 2 (1 ad, 1 1 juv), Arctic Skua 5, Risso's Dolphin 2, Porpoise 8 sightings, Grey Seal 1, Grey Heron 1, Kittiwake c.2K, Gannet 300, Manx Shearwater 100, Fulmar 2, Painted Lady plus a Kingfisher as I got in my car.

Gannets pass very close

Juvenile Kittiwakes are very striking

Point Lynas visible to the East

Leach's Petrel

Leach's Petrel

Leach's Petrel

Leach's Petrel

It's a great spot for Harbour Porpoise

Harbour Porpoise

Atlantic Grey Seal

Arctic Skua

Arctic Skua

Juv Little Gull and 2 Kittiwakes

Juv Little Gull and Kittiwake

Little Gull and Kittiwakes

Manx Shearwater

Balearic Shearwater, Manxie and BHG.

Balearic Shearwater and Manxie 

Balearic Shearwater

Balearic Shearwater

Adult Gannet

Juvenile Gannet

Adult Gannet

Distant Leach's Petrel

Distant Leach's Petrel

Common Guillimot

Sandwich Tern

Gannet and Leach's Petrel