Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Nightjars at Llyn Bodgynydd

Geoff Gibbs from the NWWT has been up to Llyn Bodgynydd in the Gwydyr Forest above the Ugly house twice recently and only briefly heard the Nightjars churring. He would be interested to know if anyone else has had much luck with them this year? On a similar note I would be interested to know if anyone has had Woodcock or Snipe displaying up there in the last year or two? Please let me know and I will pass on the news to Geoff, thanks.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Anglesey Shrike and other news

Pete Verity's photo of his Rhos Goch Turtle Dove. A cracking addition to this chaps back garden list. Check out
 his professional photography FB page (including licenced Drone shots - FB Pete Verity Photography.

Directions to the Male Red Backed Shrike seen on the evening of 27/5/17.  Take the minor road from
the church at Llanfwrog SW to the Beach where the arrow is. The bird was just inland from the outfow pipe
 where X marks the spot. Mark Sutton's Purple Patch continues!

After ringing 250+ Woodcock in North Wales, Chris Bridge has come up trumps
 with a bird recently recorded / returned from Russia!

News of the day is Mark Sutton's purple patch continues as he had a male Red Backed Shrike on the NE shore of Beddmanarch bay near Llanfwrog / Llanfachraeth. See map above as the weather this evening isn't much cop so hopefully it will still be in the area tomorrow. Broad billed Sand, Red footed Falcon, Bee-eater, Spoonbill, Quail and now Red backed Shrike, all on his Inland Sea to Cemlyn patch this spring. Whatever next ?
 (White winged lark please Mark if you're taking requests  ;-)  )
There was also a Little Stint in the flooded field by the west car park at Cemlyn today.
A Great White Egret on the deck at South Stack was somewhat unexpected yesterday as was an adult White tailed Eagle over Dylans in Morfa Bwchan ! (Who had that?)
Also a probable Grey Phalarope was heard calling in flight over Cemlyn at night by the warden . David Wright.
On the 25th I had a pair of Whinchat in the paddocks by the shop at South Stack, plus lots of the Endemic South Stack Spatulate fleawort and Small pearl bordered fritilaries in the SW corner of the reserve on the coastal path. The Spotted Rockrose should be showing now / soon.
Also on the 25th, a Crag Martin was seen over the Dam at Llyn Vyrnwy briefly.
As well as Pete Verity's Rhos Goch Turtle dove, another one plus an Osprey was seen over the Great Orme on the 25th.
The Spoonbill was on the SW corner of the Inland Sea from the 18th - 24th May at least.
On the ringing front, North Wales wood-cocker Chris Bridge came up trumps with a bird recorded from North Wales returning to Russia! (see map above).
Also I noticed a Dipper in Llangefni had a ring on it a few weeks ago. Local Dipper ringers Rob and Chris B hadn't ringed it there, so where was it from?  Local BTO head honcho Kelvin got his nets out and managed to catch it yesterday. Funnily enough it turned out to be a bird he himself had ringed in the nest as a chick, 1 of a brood of 5, south of Caernarfon and Pen-y-groes between Bryncir and Pantglas on the 14th April 2012.
Whoever said ringing is obsolete needs to think again.....

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Spoonbill , Quail and Turtle Dove

The Turtle Dove near Amlwch at Rhos-y-bol appears to have departed overnight after a 5 day stay (15th - 19th). However the Spoonbill was still near the Anchorage on the Inland sea this morning and the Quail is still on the Alaw estuary. If you come in from the Llanfachraeth end, cross the new metal bridge and follow the footpath along the estuary for a few hundred yards until you come to the orange rope on the barbed wire fence. The bird appears to be singing at the back of the first field but the grass is quite high so chances of seeing this bird (as usual) are minimal.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Anglesey and North Wales Bird news

Today there is a Spoonbill on the Inland Sea for its second day in the SW corner. A Turtle Dove was near Amlwch on the 18th May. On the 17th May there was a singing Cettis Warbler at Llyn Maelog but no sign of the Bittern that had been there till early to mid April. A singing Lesser Whitethroat was at Cemaes Brickworks and 2 Whimbrel flew over my house in Cemaes at 11pm.
A possible Iberian Chiffchaff was at the Great Orme on the 16th and 17th May. I presume it wasn't singing. Also the reported singing Melodious Warbler turned out to be a Reed Warbler at the Great Orme on the 18th May. Warblers can be a nightmare at this time of year when they sit at the bottom of a bush in atypical habitat sub-singing and failing to show themselves! There  had been a Melodious Warbler there on the 8th May.
A mobile Bee-eater was around the Cemlyn area on the 14th May. 2 Garganey were still at Tygai's Marsh (Malltraeth RSPB) on the 13th, plus 3 Barnacle Geese, Greenshank, 7 Blackwits, 5 Wigeon and a male Whinchat. A male Red footed Falcon was at the Alaw Estuary on the 6th and 7th, with a male Pintail still there on the 7th. A female Citrine Wagtail was at Morfa Madryn on the 6th and 7th May at least and a Broad billed Sandpiper was on the Alaw Estuary on the 1st and 2nd May (possibly this bird was on the Isle of Man on the 6th. 7 Dotterel were near Rhydwyn on the 6th May (visiting birders). I had a garden tick Lesser Whitethroat on the 10th May with a Sedge warbler in the front gardens by my place of work in Cemaes. Also a female Subalpine Warbler was on the Great Orme on the 14th May.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

RSPB Conwy sightings board

Surprise of the week was a second calendar year Caspian Gull found on the Deep Lagoon by Marc Hughes this morning. Read more about it on the latest reserve blog, which also features a roundup of recent sightings.

Wheatears continue to be seen most days, the majority now the larger Greenland race, while a few white wagtails are still on the saltmarsh. We've had more whinchats than usual this Spring, the most recent on Monday (8th), the same day as a redstart and yellow wagtail. A blue-headed wagtail was seen during last Saturday's guided walk (6th).

Small numbers of waders are heading north, with whimbrels still seen daily, and a couple of curlews today, the first for a couple of weeks. Five black-tailed godwits fed on the lagoons today (Saturday 13th), while little ringed plover has been seen a couple of times this week. A flock of 200 dunlins was unusual last Saturday (6th), while the best wader of Spring may prove to be a wood sandpiper on Friday 5th.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

European Breeding Bird Atlas

The European Breeding Bird Atlas is currently on the go. Unfortunately our Bird Atlas finished three years before the European one so the data from that cannot just be moved across. The good news is that it is covered at a 50k resolution, and uses BirdTrack as it's data source. So can I ask all you dedicated BirdTrack users to include breeding evidence in your submissions.

If you visit the BTO website it will show you the coverage for your area.

As you delve deeper into your region you can produce a list of species and easily see what's been unrecorded. Take the Lleyn for example

A quick look at the list shows a couple of species that realistically must breed in the area and just need confirming.

So if you need any more background or help contact me at the BTO Cymru office.


Sunday, 7 May 2017

Anglesey Red Footed Falcon Photos

Mark Sutton found this cracking male Red footed Falcon yesterday on the Alaw Estuary near Valley. Thankfully it was still there this morning till around 10.30 when it headed off north. There was another bird caught on the Calf of Man earlier today at the Bird Observatory. Ironically it appears the Broad billed Sandpiper from the Alaw estuary earlier in the week relocated to the Isle of Man and other interesting birds locally include the female Citrine Wagtail at Morfa Madryn , Garganey at Malltraeth Marsh and Silver Bay plus 7 Dotterel yesterday in sheep fields near Rhydwyn.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Are you a birder living in, or near, North West Wales? We'd love to see you for a BTO Cymru event at RSPB Malltraeth Marsh on Saturday 29th April, at 10:30 am. It’s a warm welcome to all birders young and old, new or experienced.

This will be a relaxed event where we will update participants on BTO’s activities across Wales, provide some free training, a friendly quiz, and (weather permitting) a bit of birding. It is open to all existing members and volunteers, and anybody ne...w who wants to get involved with the BTO for the first time.

We look forward to seeing you. There is plenty of parking around the back of the office.
With best wishes

Ian Hawkins (BTO Anglesey Regional Rep)

Monday, 10 April 2017

Anglesey News

At Cemlyn on the 9th there was a Grasshopper Warbler, Common Sandpiper, overwintering Whimbrel, 30 White Wags, 2 Hoodies, 15 Med Gulls and a Tree Pipit over. 2 Iceland Gulls were still on the ploughed field on the west side of Bodafon Mountain but no sign of the 2 Glaucs seen earlier in the week. 1 Garganey and 4 Marsh Harriers were also at Malltraeth RSPB yesterday.
On the 6th there were upto 7 Cattle Egrets in the Malltraeth Cob- Pont Marquis area. The 2 extra birds could have been the two birds Martin found 1 mile west of Llyn Llygeirain on the 3rd that I saw fly off towards Church bay. BN Grebe was still on the Inland sea on the 5th. The Summer Plumaged Slav appeared on Llyn Llewennan on the 3rd. No sign on the 4th and 5th but the LT Duck was joined by a Scaup and a Great White egret. Also last weekend, my highlight was seeing the cracking male British Yellow Wagtail at Cemlyn. Also this high pressure this weekend has seen a good arrival of many other summer migrants.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

RSPB Conwy sightings

Of the 17 regular Summer migrants that we expect to record on the reserve each year, 10 had already been seen by 8 April, and five of these (shown in yellow below) were on their earliest dates since we've been keeping records.

Two great white egrets were a welcome surprise this morning, one hanging out with the grey heronsand little egrets in Benarth heronry across the estuary from the reserve. There were a couple of late redwings here on Tuesday (4th) and a Scandinavian rock pipit has been on the saltmarsh for much of the last week. 

For more sightings, see the RSPB Conwy nature reserve blog.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Garaganey at Malltraeth RSPB... and Swallow

On Monday Jim Bach had 2 Garganey at Malltraeth RSPB and a single bird flew over him yesterday, (the 28th March) so they could still be around. Otherwise I had my first Swallow of the Spring yesterday (28th) with 2 Sand Martins fly west  across Cemaes Bay.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Anglesey Bird News

I suppose the recent highlights were the Shorelark at South Stack by the mast yesterday found by Ken (27th) and the Crane seen flying east over City Dulas near Amlwch on Sunday (26th-Observer unknown / Birdguides Record). 3 Cranes were also seen that day over South Wales  over Skokholm and Newquay.
The Glaucous Gull was still around Holyhead Harbour / Fish quay until the 19th at least (could still be there). The Black necked Grebe is still on the Inland Sea (27th) and the Slavonian Grebe seen on the same date in Beddmanarch Bay is now in Full Summer plumage.
A Blackcap was singing in my garden on the 27th March, and others arrived on Bardsey that day. I had a Red Kite drifting over Llanfairpwll on the 19th March being mobbed by Jackdaws.
After John Roberts Wheatear on the 8th I had to wait until the 15th to get one at Cemlyn. My first Chiffchaff there was on the 12th March. Tony had the First Sandwich tern at Cemlyn on the 20th and I had 2 the next day in Cemaes Bay. Yesterday at Cemlyn (27th) there was a male Ruff (wintery-ish) with c.300 Golden Plover which are colouring up nicely and the two Little Owls were sitting out yesterday in the open doing the "Curlew-like" call. The overwintering Whimbrel is still there.
Al Llyn Llygeirian yesterday there were 2 Willow Warblers, 9 Chiffchaffs and 10 Sand Martins (Tony and Martin/SRC (2SM)). The Hooded Crow is still in Llanfachraeth by the Chapel at the Valley end of the village. Richard B found a Little Ringed Plover at Malltraeth RSPB reserve in the fields near the HQ on Saturday (25th) and there were two there yesterday (27th- Ken).
An early Swift was over London yesterday (26th). Who will be the first to get one in North Wales? It will probably be at Conwy or Valley Lakes on Anglesey, probably....

Monday, 20 March 2017

Birding Blighty : Bird and Wildlife Watching in the UK with the family

I will be giving a talk at Bangor Bird-group this Wednesday on Wildlife Watching in the UK with the family. Its content is predominantly from 2015 when I went from Lands end to John O Groats in search of birds and beasties. Doors open at 7pm at the Brambell Building at the Uni, ready for a 7.30 start. All welcome.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Iceland Gull - Nefyn - 12th March 2017

Few photos of Iceland Gull at Nefyn last Sunday 12th March 2017.  Still there yesterday, 18th.  Couple of comments received on aging - with views on it being  2nd winter bird then another on it being 3rd winter.  Based on bill colour and faint brown in wings particularly in some flight shots, I'd plump for 2nd winter.


Thursday, 16 March 2017

Early House Martin

Sam Whittaker from Bangor Uni had an early House Martin at Holyhead Breakwater Country Park yesterday. Is that the first record in North Wales this Spring?

Saturday, 11 March 2017

North Wales and beyond.

My highlight of today came when I went up Craig Bran Banog in Clocaenog forest. I went up there as you get a great vista over the vast area of forest and its probably the best place in north Wales to scan for Goshawk. However although a few birds had been seen in the area today I never connected but I did get great views of the Great Grey Shrike which was hanging around the summit occasionally giving very good views. There were also lots of Crossbills present giving close views at times.
Migrant-wise Simon had Swallow and Sand Martin at Dinas Dinlle. A Wheatear was at South Stack and Tony W had the following counts  at Cemlyn. 2 Lapland Buntings, 2 Sand Martins, 300 Mippets, 18 Reed Buntings, 16 Stonechats and 40 Pied Wagtails.
Slavonian Grebe was at Penrhos and the Black necked Grebe is still on the Inland Sea. 4 Hawfinches were showing at Llanber-y-cennin.
Just over the border at Moore near Runcorn Green Woodpeckers were very vocal but the  Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers seen earlier in the week were more elusive this morning but there were lots of Greater spotted Woodpeckers and Willow tit at the feeders. Scarce Spring migrants hit the UK today including Alpine Swift and Hoopoe in Kent but a report of a Lesser Spotted Eagle over Canterbury is massive - if it's true?

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

North Wales Spring News

The anticipation of Spring migrants gets more people out into the field at this time of year, myself included. Birds are just trickling into the UK at present with an early singing Willow Warbler in Derbyshire today, LRP in Worcestershire and a flurry of Wheatears. There were a few Sand Martins appearing two days back also but none in North Wales yet. However John Roberts won the prize for the first North Wales Wheatear at Kimnel bay today- nice one John!
Cemlyn is starting to feel a bit spring like as the Gulls gather on the Islands and the Mediterranean Gull numbers are starting to rise, with David Wright having at least 8 over the last few days, with some in fine breeding plumage. There were a pair of adult Meds feeding in the field. One has a White Darvic ring on it's left leg, ? E718 (see photos)? Otherwise the overwintering Whimbrel is still present, 11+ Grey Plover, c100+ Golden Plover, Greenshank and a few Purple Sandpipers. I added Peregrine and Mediterranean Gull to my "office" list in Cemaes Bay this week which were both overdue yet still greatly appreciated.
Other recent local news includes the following.
Today on Bardsey there was a Glaucous Gull and the Iceland Gull was still in Nefyn. Another was seen from the Great Orme on the 5th March. The 3 Snow Buntings are still at West Shore Llandudno today. A Black throated Diver flew past South Stack on the 6th and on that date there was still a male Long tailed duck in the scoter flock off Old Colwyn. The Holyhead Glaucous gull was still present until at least the 5th, and is best looked for from the Fish Quay or the small car park in the corner of the Harbour on the other side of the stretch of water by the Fish quay.
Early March is a good time to go looking for Black Grouse at Worlds end near Wrexham, Goshawks in Clocaenog forest and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, if you know where any are? Moore Nature Reserve near Runcorn used to be good, but I'm not sure how reliable they are now, or if they are even still present.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Andy Clements: From Bangor Birdgroup to the BTO - an amazing journey!

Andy Clements used to be an active member of Bangor Bird-group at the University of Bangor. He had since climbed the ladder and is now the head of the British Trust for Ornithology. He will be telling us about his amazing journey this Wednesday night at 7.30pm in the Brambell building ground floor lecture theatre. Doors open at 7pm. All welcome.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Birding Texas in Bangor this week

Local Birder and Ringer Robin Sandham is currently taking orders for his eagerly anticipated book on Rare Birds in North Wales. However this week he will be taking a bit of time out to talk to us at Bangor Bird-group this Wednesday night. He will be talking about his recent birding trip to Texas so there should be lots of pictures of beautiful North American Warblers and the like!
Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30 start. All welcome.