Saturday, 29 July 2017

The Anglesey Skerries

I was lucky enough to get out to the Skerries last week, one night after work. We usually stop off first at Middle Mouse to see the Guillimot Colony. As it is coming to the end of the season there were just a few chicks visible and I couldn't find a single Razorbill, which are normally present in small numbers. There were good numbers of Manx Shearwaters on the crossing to The Skerries and even a few flocks of Common Scoters passing by. The Skerries is a fabulous place, with 2000+ pairs of Arctic terns. Although numbers were a little down this year they have still had a good breeding season with lots of chicks around. There are also 2-300+ pairs of Puffins, with dozens milling over our heads as we left this small Archipelago. Atlantic Grey Seals were showing well and we also had a few Porpoises on the crossing over there. It was a great evening and thanks to Warden Will et al for permitting us onto the island under his supervision.

Interesting head pattern on this Arctic Tern

North Wales Little Terns

The North Wales Little Tern Population has had a successful breeding season at Gronnant , east of Rhyl. After a potentially problematic start due to some high spring tides the population ended up doing very well due to swift action from the wardens and the birds re-laying. 
There were 161 pairs, 289 nests in total, 640+ eggs but 250+ chicks with a maximum count of 480 birds on the 4th July! I went a few weeks back and there was still a lot of activity. There should still be some birds around but I would highly recommend putting it in your diary for a trip there next year in June/July.


Spot the chick

Sightings board

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Cycling for Curlews

Hi everyone. Writing this whilst looking south to Bardsey’s Lighthouse, and with autumn migration feeling like it’s certainly cranking up a gear: hundreds of Swallows on the move with Swifts and martins, fresh juvenile Willow Warblers and Sedge Warblers flitting around the bracken, waders filtering through in steady numbers…shouldn’t be long before the jobs garden welcomes back its obligatory fest of hippolais warblers!

As some of you may have seen, this autumn I am planning on cycling back to university in Falmouth from the tip of the Llyn - some 700km. My primary goal - besides actually pulling it off - is trying to raise awareness of the plight of Curlews.

Birders in Wales more so than most should be aware of the catastrophic decline in breeding Curlews we’ve witnessed since 1990. The estimate is an 81% decrease in the breeding population in Wales from 1993 to 2006. This situation is mirrored across the UK, Ireland and further afield, with various factors mused as causal agents.

It seems, though, that the exact reasons behind the decline aren’t entirely clear as yet, and so organisations such as the BTO, Birdwatch Ireland and the RSPB have launched various conservation initiatives and campaigns to increase the monitoring work focussed on finding out what can be done to halt their disappearance.

I’ve chosen to support the BTO’s ‘Curlew Appeal’ for my cycle ride, and am trying to raise as much money as possible through a JustGiving page. I’d really appreciate any donations that can be spared, and if you fancy joining me for a stretch of the cycle, just get in touch!

Good birding! 

(Bardsey) Ben 

A link to my JustGiving page: the Curlew Cycle