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.