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Post Info TOPIC: North Wales and Anglesey


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RE: North Wales and Anglesey


Tried for the Spinnies Firecrest yesterday (Sunday) mid-pm, without success. Solitary female Wigeon, though, on the pool

Most excitement was the crazy Blackbird you saw, attacking my car with a vengeance ! Also a very late Wasp there

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24/11/19 Headed to Anglesey for this month's trip, with nearly the full compliment of Oldham Birders. Started at the northern end of the Inland Sea, where winter plumage Slavonian Grebe and Great Northern Diver gave good views (if a little distant for the Diver) with Red-breasted Merganser and Goldeneye also present. A large flock of Pale-bellied Brent Geese feeding on the western side of Beddmanarch Bay was intermingled with a selection of 7 common wintering wader species.
Headed back onto mainland North Wales to call in at The Spinnies for the Firecrest there (and someone still needed Greenshank for their year listbiggrin). We just missed a sighting of the Firecrest 'by 5 minutes' so hung around the pull-in for a while, ticking off common woodland birds of almost every group except Warblers, despite one of the party picking up a Firecrest call. A trip to the hide took us past the other site where the Regulus had been regular, and procured a single, distant Greenshank. Headed back to our original search area buoyed by the news that the bird had been seen 'recently' only to find that it was a mis-report of the earlier sighting, but we stuck to the task and were eventually rewarded with some cracking views of the bird in the roadside trees and vegetation. It perched out in full view for more than a second several times and showed several good angles (How the hell did it know that none of us had a camera with us? biggrin) before moving off through the vegetation, past the female/juvenile Blackbird vandalizing the cars in the pull-in.
Taking the hint, we headed off to Old Conwy for a panoramic view of the Scoter flock from Station Road. Yet again we failed to find even a Velvet Scoter among them and only Cormorant, Shag and Great Crested Grebe dotted among the flock, so headed home via the Wirral. Surprisingly, our total for the day was 63 species seen and Fieldfare heard, with only 2 species not seen in North Wales

-- Edited by Mike Chorley on Monday 25th of November 2019 12:36:47 AM

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Please see link to David Winnards blog below with ref to the Rhyl Warbler Magnus Robb is saying the sonogram indicates YBW. https://www.brnw.cymru/post/the-rhyl-warbler-by-david-winnard

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Just to let members on here know what I know. I visited Weds & had prolonged good views of the warbler in question at the N.end of the lake in the company of a top birder (member of these forums, rarity finder and observer of 3-figure numbers of Yellow-broweds in the UK).

I spoke to the finder of the Rhyl bird, Alex, who saw the bird for the first time on Weds! His initial ID was done on call only, he never saw the bird, so he was ultra confident that the call was Hume's. A brave call, but shows how indicative the call is! My views in the field were that this was a brighter bird than other Hume's I've seen (5 previously in UK) and my colleague noted bare part colouration as non standard for Hume's. Overall though the bird was duller than any Yellow-browed Warbler that either of us have ever seen and the call was definitely Hume's. Alex (the finder) has seen the sonogram and tells me that is within the variation of Hume's and not Yellow-browed at all. I have read 2 papers on the ID and to summarise: (i) There is more that 1 race of Hume's and race mandellii (not too likely in UK as a migrant though!) has paler bare parts and is brighter overall and (ii) Hume's call can have some variability around the classic call whereas Yellow-browed varies very little (from British Birds paper by S.Madge). The bird in Rhyl had almost no median covert bar (shown well in pic that John posted) which fits with Hume's rather than Yellow-browed. This was noted, and commented on, in the field by myself and my colleague. In relocating the bird near the car park after if had been missing from the N.end for 45mins my colleague used playback and the bird responded to Hume's calls but not to Yellow-browed. Everyone who I have spoken to who was there (and has been there) agrees that the call was that of Hume's. Some of the pictures commented on by 'experts' who haven't been, and from which the bird was downgraded on the info systems, are, in my and others opinions, brighter that the bird in the field. A camera or processing artifact is a strong possibility given the way digital camera technology works to optimise images now, even 'in camera'.

Overall the evidence is compelling that this is a Hume's Warbler, albeit a bright example (comparatively), and using the maxim innocent until proven guilty I think a lot of folk I spoke too will be ticking it for now!

And to help this make this a sightings post too the last report of the bird as time stands today is yesterday smile

 



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Saturday 16th of November 2019 01:44:18 PM

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John Rayner wrote:

Hi Mark,

I can't access this WhatsApp group so haven't seen these photos. In your opinion what indicates YBW in the 3rd photo. I think Mark W's photo below also indicates Hulme's, so that's 3 to 1 in favour of the original ID. But, as you say, the call should be the clincher, I hope someone managed to record it.

Cheers John





Hi John - The photo you attach does look good for Humes. On one of the three photos I saw, the legs were pale/flesh coloured and not dark as on a YBW. Also, the dark grey feathering on the wing coverts and tertials seemed darker than Humes and more consistent with YBW. That said, two other photos I looked at, in my opinion, showed the washed out plumage of a Humes, especially the breast and underparts which arent quite as light as a YBW.

The bird only showed for 30 secs, for me, on Tuesday and it was flitting about partly behind branches. It would have been nice to see a prolonged view of it. On balance, after having heard it call and with no info on a sonogram, my view would be Humes. Cheers, Mark.

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Hi Mark,

I can't access this WhatsApp group so haven't seen these photos. In your opinion what indicates YBW in the 3rd photo. I think Mark W's photo below also indicates Hulme's, so that's 3 to 1 in favour of the original ID. But, as you say, the call should be the clincher, I hope someone managed to record it.

Cheers John

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There are three photos on the North Wales WhatsApp Group. The first two, I would say Humes but for the third, I would say YBW. As We already know, its difficult to judge from photos. More important to me was the call and the call was Humes in my opinion.

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JOHN TYMON wrote:


 I think it was confirmed on Wednesday as Yellow-Browed Warbler? or thats what someone told me . 




Hi John,

You are correct that Bird Services are now reporting it as a Yellow-browed Warbler.

I saw the bird on Thursday and must say I was surprised to see the later YBW reports. What I saw in the field was a washed out YBW-type without any yellowish-green tones, fairly well depicted in Mark Woodhead's image (and attached with his permission). The mantle, coverts and tertials here show the greyish tones. This is supportive for Hume's, but I realise photos are open to different interpretations. What is incontrovertable in my own mind is the call I heard. Twice it flew close above my head, about 2-3 metres, and on both occasions called loudly. It was unlike any YBW I have ever heard and exactly like Hulme's. To attempt a transcription it sounded like 'cheeoo' with a distinct downward inflection on the 'oo'.

I would love to see the images or sonograms that others have used to come to the YBW decision.

Cheers John

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JOHN TYMON wrote:

Mark Jarrett wrote:

The Humes Leaf Warbler, found yesterday at Brickfield Pond in Rhyl, finally gave itself up after a one and a half hour search this afternoon. It flew in to the car park area with a small flock of Long-tailed Tit, flitted around in a Willow tree for just long enough to ID it, called twice and then disappeared. Nice to hear the two syllable call, not dissimilar to that of Yellow-browed Warbler but shorter and not as high pitched.


 I think it was confirmed on Wednesday as Yellow-Browed Warbler? or thats what someone told me . 

 





The bird was found on the 11th and identified, mainly on call, as a Humes. A photograph was taken but it wasnt particularly good. When other photographs appeared on social media, it was suggested that certain id features were more suited to YBW. I have seen two photos on the North Wales WhatsApp group and on one, for me, the legs of the bird appear pale (not dark) and the dark feathering on both the wing coverts and tertials appears more akin to YBW than Humes. That said, its so difficult trying to id from a photograph due to lighting conditions, camera settings, post photo enhancing and so on, as you will know. I have seen photos of Humes that look like YBW and ones of YBW that look like Humes! More importantly, I heard the bird call when I was there and it was spot on for Humes, a view held by most that actually heard it. A sonogram of the call was being looked into but not sure of the outcome.

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Mark Jarrett wrote:

The Humes Leaf Warbler, found yesterday at Brickfield Pond in Rhyl, finally gave itself up after a one and a half hour search this afternoon. It flew in to the car park area with a small flock of Long-tailed Tit, flitted around in a Willow tree for just long enough to ID it, called twice and then disappeared. Nice to hear the two syllable call, not dissimilar to that of Yellow-browed Warbler but shorter and not as high pitched.


 I think it was confirmed on Wednesday as Yellow-Browed Warbler? or thats what someone told me . 

 



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The Humes Leaf Warbler, found yesterday at Brickfield Pond in Rhyl, finally gave itself up after a one and a half hour search this afternoon. It flew in to the car park area with a small flock of Long-tailed Tit, flitted around in a Willow tree for just long enough to ID it, called twice and then disappeared. Nice to hear the two syllable call, not dissimilar to that of Yellow-browed Warbler but shorter and not as high pitched.

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Tuesday, 5th November 2019. 09:00 - 15:30 hrs. Serious walk this one (30,000 steps) in sunny and cool conditions. Nice trip down memory lane for me and my wife - and of pushing my mums wheelchair all the way up to the Llandudno Cable Car station!

Llandudno - Great Orme:
Lapland Bunting x 1 (lifer for me)
Other birds seen included: Stonechat , Raven and Meadow Pipit

Llandudno - West Shore:
Snow Bunting x 1 (was seen by other birders in the morning - but we dipped in early afternoon)
Swallow x 1 (latest one I have ever seen in UK!)
Little Egret x 1
Teal x 2
Oystercatcher x 10
Jackdaw x 40
Crow x 25

Llandudno - North Shore:
Curlew x 20
Rock Pipit x 1
Raven x 2
Great Black-Backed Gull x 1
Lots of Herring Gull and Black-headed Gulls

Also, on Sunday, 3rd November 2019 - I saw 3 Chough near the summit of the Little Orme




-- Edited by Steve Judge on Tuesday 5th of November 2019 04:32:41 PM

-- Edited by Steve Judge on Tuesday 5th of November 2019 04:33:49 PM

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Monday, 4th November 2019. 11:00 - 15:00 hrs.

Walk from Rhyl Harbour (Foryd Bridge) along west bank of River Clywd - to Rhuddlan - and return via east bank of River Clwyd.

Ruddy Shelduck x 2
Shelduck x 35
Little Egret x 5
Pink-Footed Geese x 31
Greylag Geese x 100
Canada Geese x 20
Wigeon x 50
Goldeneye x 2
Goosander x 5
Curlew x 25
Redshank x 30
Lapwing x 15
Oystercatcher x 45
Meadow Pipit x 7
Buzzard x 5
Kestrel x 1
Pied Wagtail x 1
Starling x 30
Crow x 50
Dunnock x 1
Wren x 2
Great Tit x 2
Robin x 1
House Sparrow x 7
Magpie x 12
Blackbird x 3
Herring Gull x 50
Black-Headed Gull x 50
Lesser Black-Backed Gull x 4
Cormorants and Shags



-- Edited by Steve Judge on Monday 4th of November 2019 04:27:42 PM

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Dave Ousey wrote:

Eastern Yellow Wagtail at Cemlyn Bay, Anglesey. Friday 27th September 2019

   It showed really well at times and would allow you to watch it down to 5 yards.

 




Further to Dave's post here is my only photo of the bird feeding in the grass

Cheers, John

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Eastern Yellow Wagtail at Cemlyn Bay, Anglesey. Friday 27th September 2019

   The news of a probable Eastern Yellow Wagtail having been seen again on the 26th of September had me thinking of making a trip to see it. All my regular birding mates were contacted, with no takers, until John R of Red Throated Pipit fame and Craig B made contact. We had a plan to wait for news and meet up and go, the weather forecast was not very good though. Friday morning dawned and at around 9am, news of the bird being present had us preparing to go. Unfortunately Craig B had to pull out after a family problem ruled him out. It was raining as I picked up John and headed for Anglesey but the rain stopped by the time we got onto the A55. We made good time and further reports that the bird was still present helped us. Near Llandulas some roadworks did slow us down by about 15 minutes, but once on the island the sun came out. The narrow lanes around Cemlyn Bay had us both thinking about the parking arrangements on site, but as we passed about 20 birders, their cars were neatly parked on the banking!

   At 1-30pm we managed to get into a position looking over a metal field gate and were a small spoil heap that has been favoured by the bird was. News that the bird had been seen 10 minutes earlier had us thinking about the 15 wasted minutes in the roadworks! At around 2pm the Eastern Yellow Wagtail flew over our heads for about 20 seconds and the long seet seet call was heard. It then flew down the field towards the shingle ridge that it had been seen at before. There now followed a 3 hour wait hoping that the bird could be seen on the ground. During this time Lee Evans and other birders had arrived and a wider search of the area began. Our time at the gate was spent counting all the other bird species that we saw, highlights being: - 3 Chough, 2 Raven, 2 Swallow, 1 Wheatear a total of 24 species. Lee had arranged with the landowner/ farmer for a small group to go into the field and search for the wagtail. Within 10 minutes a call came in that the bird had been found, we gained permission and around 15 of us were soon watching a new bird species in Great Britain. The bird liked staying in the grass carefully moving around whilst catching prey items. It showed really well at times and would allow you to watch it down to 5 yards. It flew up onto a wall and was admired for a few seconds and the distinctive call was heard again. We returned to the gated area and a collection for the farmer was made and the bird was left in peace. It was last seen at around 6-20pm flying out to the shingle ridge (it was not present on Saturday) we headed for home, both of us having enjoyed a new bird.

  On Saturday the Eastern Yellow Wagtail had its probable title removed after a recording of its calls clarified what it was.

Dave O.



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Doc Brewster wrote:

After a long spell in the shop I had 2 days off so today wanted to head out & the decision was made when news of yesterday's probable Eastern Yellow Wagtail (news out too late for anyone to go for it) was refound today at Cemlyn.

Heading off after rush hour meant an easy journey over and on arrival only a handful (prob 12) folk were on site for this potential mega! After locals had pinned down its favoured fields I joined others on the shingle bank on the seaward side of Cemlyn RSPB lagoon.A short search ensued and then a shout that the bird was there went up. A minor panic as I couldn't find the right area, followed by relief as I scoped the (prob) Eastern Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla tschutschensis) sitting on a wall above the opposite field. This immature bird had clear double white wing-bars, a clear white supercilium and no yellow in the plumage, quite similar to a Citrine Wagtail. Previous pictures ahd shown it to have a very, very long hind claw and its call matched that for Eastern Yellow Wagtail. The bird then flew back over the ridge to where it had first been seen so I drove round to there, but no sign from the gate on the road. Then a huge slice of luck. A birding mate who knew the farmer appeared and had gained permission for him and me (& 1 other) to enter his fields. We stalked carefully and obtained fantastic close views, down to a few metres, of the bird. We heard it call and were happy with the ID. The farmer has asked for all others to keep out of the fields, if birders ignore then I fear the bird may be deliberately flushed away from the area. Our job was to try to get better ID features and views. The bird is easily viewable with patience from the shingle ridge - with a scope!

The bird was still present (from RBA) at 6.20pm.


A recording of this bird has been confirmed as Eastern Yellow Wagtail, so a real mega, with less than 10 records ever in the UK (I can find evidence of just 5 by searching RBA archives) smile The curse of the weekend occurred with no sign on Saturday or today.



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After a long spell in the shop I had 2 days off so today wanted to head out & the decision was made when news of yesterday's probable Eastern Yellow Wagtail (news out too late for anyone to go for it) was refound today at Cemlyn.

Heading off after rush hour meant an easy journey over and on arrival only a handful (prob 12) folk were on site for this potential mega! After locals had pinned down its favoured fields I joined others on the shingle bank on the seaward side of Cemlyn RSPB lagoon.A short search ensued and then a shout that the bird was there went up. A minor panic as I couldn't find the right area, followed by relief as I scoped the (prob) Eastern Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla tschutschensis) sitting on a wall above the opposite field. This immature bird had clear double white wing-bars, a clear white supercilium and no yellow in the plumage, quite similar to a Citrine Wagtail. Previous pictures ahd shown it to have a very, very long hind claw and its call matched that for Eastern Yellow Wagtail. The bird then flew back over the ridge to where it had first been seen so I drove round to there, but no sign from the gate on the road. Then a huge slice of luck. A birding mate who knew the farmer appeared and had gained permission for him and me (& 1 other) to enter his fields. We stalked carefully and obtained fantastic close views, down to a few metres, of the bird. We heard it call and were happy with the ID. The farmer has asked for all others to keep out of the fields, if birders ignore then I fear the bird may be deliberately flushed away from the area. Our job was to try to get better ID features and views. The bird is easily viewable with patience from the shingle ridge - with a scope!

The bird was still present (from RBA) at 6.20pm.



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After an enforced stay at home yesterday I was itching to get out so I headed over to the Great Orme this morning. Parking at the Limestone Pavement car park I headed up towards the cairn and then to the cliff edge where 2 birders were watching the very obliging Lapland Bunting that has been there a few days. We stayed quiet and still and the bird approached within 2-3m of us feeding non-stop. A bit later several more birders/photographers appeared and even though the bird was still not really bothered it stayed 5m away most of the time. I was able to show a few passing members of the public the bird through the scope and all seemed impressed at what must have initially looked like an LBJ to them! Soon only myself and two others remained and again the bird came to within 2m. The main difference to me was the level of chatter when more folk were there. Even though it wasn't loud or excessive it did seem to affect the bird slightly, but never stopped it feeding, so wasn't really a problem to the bird. Also present were a Wheatear and Choughs.

 






-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Sunday 8th of September 2019 09:58:57 PM

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Spent two and a half hours at Rhos Point today, over the hide tide from 12pm. Weather sunny after a couple of early deluges with brisk westerlies. Of note :-

Great crested Grebe (2)
Fulmar (1)
Manx Shearwater (1)
Gannet (c.15)
Cormorant (c.150)
Common Scoter (3)
Oystercatcher (5)
Ringed Plover (6)
Grey Plover (1)
Turnstone (4)
Kittiwake (c.20)
Sandwich Tern (150 min)
Guillemot (2)
Razorbill (30-40)
Swallow (2)
Wheatear (2)

Most of the birds were heading west after being blown in to Colwyn Bay and thereafter fighting their way back out. It was quite pleasant, wrapped up in a few layers sat on one of the many promenade benches. Unfortunately, no skuas which was the main reason for my visit.

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It is now reported by the RSPB that the male Savi's Warbler that we were watching at Cors Ddyga turns out to be one of a pair that had nested on the reserve, this is a first for Wales. 

Following the discovery of the lone male, found by warden Ken Maurice on 14 June, a second bird was seen a while later. Volunteers kept a close watch and saw behaviour that confirmed the birds were breeding, including carrying food to an unseen nest. Good news.



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Given our collective amnesia it's a surprise that 4 members of Oldham and District Birders managed to remember to turn out for today's trip to North Wales!biggrin

We started at Cors Ddyga where the Savi's Warbler showed very well in the hedge across the marsh from the track (Probably the 'well right of the bridge' of previous posts). Good views of it singing in both the lichen-covered tree to the left of a gap and the bushes to the right. A distant white house visible through the gap made a useful reference for levels. Probably the best views of a Savi's we've had since the bird at Thornham in the early 1990's. It had a very unhappy male Reed Bunting for company, as well as at least one Lesser Whitethroat, but the bonus bird of the morning was a Turtle Dove in the dead tree right of the gap. A bit of a walk beyond the Savi's site failed to produce the hoped-for local insect specialities, but we located two Spoonbills very actively feeding in the same pool where Mike A and I had had the Whooper Swans in December, and 3 of us got an Odonata life tick with Variable Damselfly. The car-park was busy, Sid (the cycle path is popular with dog walkers), but there was a good turnaround in terms of visitors.

From here we headed to South Stack, where the parking was even busier, down to Ellen's Tower and almost straight onto 3 Puffins on the sea below the cliffs. Another bird was on the right hand side of the middle section of the first 'seabird city' and a little later one was in the vicinity of a burrow a little higher up. Plenty of Razorbills and Guillemots, the usual variety of gulls, at least 1 pair of Fulmars, 1 displaying Rock Pipit, Chough, at least 5 Gannets out to sea and a raft of Manx Shearwaters leap-frogging each other as they joined gulls pursuing a shoal of fish just under the surface. Stonechat and Linnet completed the list for this site

It was quite windy at Cemlyn when we arrived so a quick scan of the tern colony from the inland side usefully produced the sought for Arctic Terns, with a couple of chicks. There was one Black Guillemot in the bay, Common Sandpiper and female Red-breasted Merganser flew in off the sea, a single Gannet headed west and some Manx Shearwaters looked to be scavenging around a fishing boat.

Mike A and I chose to head up the Conwy valley to Coed Hafod, but the arrival of the rain put paid to our efforts before we'd added many woodland species to the day's total of 64.

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sid ashton wrote:
Phil Hampson wrote:

Likewise Sid. Cracking bird and great to see. South Stack dipped on Peregrine and Raven, Chough overhead. Beware of limited parking whilst development work ongoing at RSPB VC.

 

On my way home I called in at RSPB Conway, no problems parking there Phil, but there wasn't much to see either!!

On the other hand the car park at Cors Ddyga for the Savi's was overflowing when I left at about 10ish.  


 I noticed a couple of reports re the Savi's today and wondered if anyone from the forum went over and if so how busy was the car park? I have a non-birding neighbour who is going to be over in that direction tomorrow/Monday and he was thinking of going to have look to see what I was so excited about biggrin.



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Well it did start well, Anglesey. 19/6/2019

   A Lesser Grey Shrike in Norfolk then a Black Winged Pratincole in Lincolnshire had been on our sights to visit but, as so often happens the birds fly off! So we made other plans to go to Anglesey to see a Savi`s Warbler that had taken up residence at RSPB Cors Ddyga near Pentre Berw. With Kev C and Steve B we headed along the A55 on a good looking morning. After a bit of navigation we found, what is to us, a new reserve. Lots of birds in song including the distant Savi`s Warbler could soon be heard along with Sedge, Reed & Cettiss Warblers. Eventually the main bird could be seen at distance either perched on a bush or a reed stem whilst blasting its buzzy song out. As it was a new bird for one of our crew we lingered a while and just enjoyed the moment. We had a small stop at South Stack and watched the Chough`s flying around enjoying themselves with lots of Guillemots & Razorbills flying in & out of their nests / ledges. Another brief call near RAF Valley to try to hear/see a Lesser Whitethroat that had been popular in the area a couple of years ago, no joy their then!

   Always one of the highlights of the year is a trip to Cemlyn Bay to watch & admire the Sandwich, Common & Arctic Tern colony that has been established here for such a long time. This area has produced lots of rare birds in the past with Bridled & Sooty Terns to name but two. We all enjoyed our hour in nice sunshine watching the Sandwich Terns returning with their beaks full of fish to feed their nestlings. Up to 4 Black Guillemot`s were also seen in the bay. As time pressed on we decided to call at Aber Falls and see if we could catch up with any of the woodland species that the area is famous for. As we all wandered around the area I managed to hear a Redstart, but seeing it proved to be more difficult. A Ringlet & Common Blue butterflies were also seen in this beautiful valley as we headed back to the car.

Dave O



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Phil Hampson wrote:

Likewise Sid. Cracking bird and great to see. South Stack dipped on Peregrine and Raven, Chough overhead. Beware of limited parking whilst development work ongoing at RSPB VC.

 

On my way home I called in at RSPB Conway, no problems parking there Phil, but there wasn't much to see either!!

On the other hand the car park at Cors Ddyga for the Savis was overflowing when I left at about 10ish. 

 

 



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sid ashton wrote:

With excellent directions from the Doc and a little help from two local birders I was watching the Savi's Warbler very soon after I arrived at Cors Ddyga at 08.00 this morning in calm and sunny conditions. It made four appearances and was singing a lot of the time in the hour or so I was watching. It was nice to get out today to a reserve (Maltraeth Marsh) that I haven't visited for quite some time and to see a good selection of species including Sedge Warbler, Reed Bunting, Wren, Swifts, Swallows, Marsh Harrier and Cetti's Warbler singing in competion with the Savi's!!! Also nice to meet again Phil Hampson and his mate Chris Evans.

Likewise Sid. Cracking bird and great to see. South Stack dipped on Peregrine and Raven, Chough overhead. Beware of limited parking whilst development work ongoing at RSPB VC.

-- Edited by sid ashton on Friday 21st of June 2019 06:19:13 PM


 



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With excellent directions from the Doc and a little help from two local birders I was watching the Savi's Warbler very soon after I arrived at Cors Ddyga at 08.00 this morning in calm and sunny conditions. It made four appearances and was singing a lot of the time in the hour or so I was watching. It was nice to get out today to a reserve (Maltraeth Marsh) that I haven't visited for quite some time and to see a good selection of species including Sedge Warbler, Reed Bunting, Wren, Swifts, Swallows, Marsh Harrier and Cetti's Warbler singing in competion with the Savi's!!! Also nice to meet again Phil Hampson and his mate Chris Evans.



-- Edited by sid ashton on Friday 21st of June 2019 06:19:13 PM

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Savis Warbler still present at Cors Ddyga RSPB Reserve (formerly Malltraeth Marsh) today. Arrived at 13.45 and with no luck by the Bittern sculpture, I ventured on over the bridge to the information post. The bird reeled on and off for a good half hour out in front of this spot. One brief view just before I left in the difficult 27mph winds. I understand it showed a bit better later in the afternoon. I had almost postponed my visit until tomorrow because of the high winds but now Im glad I didnt. Nice UK tick.

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Saturday 15th June

Cemlyn Bay and South Stack with Stockport Birdwatching Society

After a wet week it was brilliant to get out into the depths of Anglesey and remember what that big yellow thing in the sky is. The day started at Cemlyn but it was hard not to feel a tiny pang at whizzing past Cors Ddyga knowing full well that birders like the Doc were on there watching the Savi's Warbler. However the majority of the Society members are not for the transient pleasures of twitching so we avoided the chance to stare at the reeds for hours on end and treated ourselves to the tern colony instead. I did see 3 swans on a pool from the coach, and it was tempting to think they might be the 3 Whoopers that have been reported on the bird news services. We will never know of course.

Cemlyn was excellent, the sound first then the sight of dozens of Sandwich Terns shuttling to and from their nests, with a good smattering of Arctic and Common Terns too. We found 3 Black Guillemot in the bay and there were plenty of Manx Shearwaters buzzing around on the open water beyond the spit there, along with expected things like the odd Gannet and numerous auks. I was also delighted to spot a Sedge Warbler bringing food to a nest as I walked back up the hill to the coach, a nice bonus year-tick having missed this species at more conventional sites this spring.

The sun was shining brightly by the time we got up to South Stack and so commenced a very enjoyable afternoon watching the colonies of breeding birds and the ever delightful Chough. I got some of my best views of Chough this time, one bird fed on the ground from us about 25m away and in my scope the bright red legs and bill and glossy black coat absolutely popped. Amidst the hordes of Guillemot you could see a steady stream of Manxies heading south and the whole scene was fabulous. Small passerines were represented by Stonechats and Rock Pipits along with Skylark, Whitethroat, Linnet and Meadow Pipit and some members saw Whinchat and Peregrine too.

The Society visits South Stack every couple of years and this was probably my favourite trip to date, although it is always good. For more information on the Society see: http://stockportbirders.blogspot.com/

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Up before 7am today to pop over to Anglesey!

A good, clear run saw me parking up at the Cors Ddyga NR near Pentre Berw before 9.30am. I headed on the path 400m past the bittern sculpture, where I found a group of 3 birders looking glum! I was informed that the bird that I had come to see had not been seen nor heard for approximately 1.5hrs, not great news. The birder who had seen it then, was just leaving, that meant just the 3 of us would have to refind it.... hopefully! Amazingly my luck was in, and how, within 2 minutes of me setting up my scope the bird in question popped up on top of the reeds directly in front of us and was singing, facing us. I had my scope on it instantly and was watching my first 'Welsh' Savi's Warbler (although it was my 4th UK one at least). A few moments later it flew left and dropped into the reeds, although I picked it up again as it came up and flew purposefully right, out of view behind some emergent willows in the reedbed.

Thereafter, several more birders joined us and, trying to help, the 3 of us stayed to try to try to relocate the bird. However after an hour it hadn't reappeared so I left. Monitoring the news services it seems that after my view of it flying right at 9.20am there was no further sign until late afternoon when it was heard singing well right of where we had it perched up, which fits with where it flew to. An elusive bird but well worth it to get it onto my Welsh List which is the only country list I keep over and above my UK List. Also I was back home before midday, so a pretty easy mini twitch smile



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Great Orme Llandudno 11.30-16-00

1 Chough, 4 Linnets, 4 Stonechats (Family Group), 6 Ravens, 2 Peregrines (Flying Together), 2 Buzzards and 1 Kestrel.

On the sea below the cliffs were 1 Puffin, 1 Black Guillemot plus numerous Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwakes, Shags and Fulmars.

Gannets numerous offshore.

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A visit to Rhyl and Prestatyn as an extention to my little holiday from mid Wales, I spent the day out for today.
It was a tiring and very windy day but overall it was good!

About 41 species clocked in.

Highlights include

Great views of little terns
Sandwich terns
Ringed plover
Oystercatcher
Curlew
Pheasant
Skylark
Swift
Rooks
Linnets
Sedge warbler

Ta!

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Spent the long weekend (26th to 28th May) in the Lligwy area - and only really birded between Benlech and Bull Bay. I would have gone to Cemlyn on the Sunday (27th) if I'd known that there was a Woodchat Shrike there, but lousy internet connection meant that I didn't get the news until too late.

Only saw around 60 species due to having to rely on others for transport

LLigwy/Moelfre Area
- a small colony of c8 Fulmar
- 3 Raven
- Chiffchaff
- 2+ Rock Pipit

Lligwy Area
- 4 Red-breasted Merganser
- Common and Sandwich Terms
- Jay
- Sparrowhawk
- Male Bullfinch
- 4+ Willow Warbler
- Whitethroat
- c6 Linnet

Dulas area and Estuary
- 4 Little Egret
- 20+ Shelduck - 1 with a brood of 6
- 3+ Buzzard
- Red-legged Partridge
- Plenty of Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler
- 2prs Red-breasted Merganser
- Kestrel
- 1 singing Skylark - expected to see more than that over 3 days

Point Lynas
- pair of Chough
- Rock Pipit
- Stonechat
- pr Fulmar
- c30 of Razorbill and Guillemot seen flying offshore, heading West
- Small numbers of Common, Arctic and Sandwich Tern

Bull Bay round towards Cemlyn
- c20 Fulmar - at least 8 nesting birds
- 2 Kestrel
- 3 Raven
- 6+ Rock Pipit
- 2+ Great Black-backed Gull
- Shag
- Arctic and Sandwich Terns
- a few Meadow Pipit
2 or 3 rafts of 100+ mixed Gulls further offshore feeding - and 100s of auk sp - all rather too far away to see clearly.

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South Stack RSPB 11.00-16.00

Offshore : 3 Gannets, 1 Shag and amongst a raft of Guillemots and Razorbills were 3 Puffins.

In addition to the Guillemots and Razorbills in the seabird colony were lesser numbers of Kittiwakes and a single Fulmar.

3 Rock Pipits and 6 Choughs were seen along the cliff tops, whilst 4 Ravens patrolled high above.

1 Common Whitethroat, 7 Linnets, 4 Stonechats and a few Meadow Pipits were around the heath.

Singles of Buzzard and Kestrel were also seen in the area.



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Good day around the usual Anglesey sites. Fish Quay for Black Guillemot, then Hollyhead McDonalds for the 2 Hooded Crows. South Stack was full of birds with 5 Puffins the most I've seen there in a couple of years. Manx Shearwaters and Gannets off shore and a Peregrine about a mile out to sea being unusual. Cemlyn Bay tern colony was in full flow with Arctic & Common in amongst the Sandwich Terns. Great views of breeding plumage Golden Plover also a highlight along with circa 12 White Wagtails.

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With a delivery with work to make in Chester yesterday afternoon, I decided that I would head further west and head for the Great Orme in North Wales afterwards seeing as I was halfway there! I headed straight up to the limestone pavement and could see a small group of birders up on one of the highpoints back from the car park. Heading up there I was soon watch the 3 Dotterel that had been present for 3 days, comprising one stunning female and two males. As is the way with Dotterel they were coming really close, walking right up to us without a care in the world! With such fantastic views I rattled off a series of full-frame digiscoped shots and watched them at length.

As well as the Dotterel, a Chough flew over and lots of Gannets passed the headland close inshore.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Friday 26th of April 2019 03:52:01 PM

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Managed a day trip on Sunday.  We saw 15 Black Grouse Males of which 13 were lekking.  I did not expect to see them lekking after 9.30am but they did and I am glad I did not miss that.  Arriving later than most birders would we would have expected just to see some in the distance.   Two were spotted by the road side and 13 at the lek a bit further down.  We have all seen the Black Grouse lek on TV but to see it with your own eyes and to hear it with your own ears is a different experience altogether.  Such a shame that a mighty bird like the Black Grouse is not doing very well in Britain.  I hope fortunes are reversed. 

A big thanks to all those who sent me a PM.  Your help is much appreciated. 

 



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Sarfraz Hayat wrote:

Hoping to go see Black Grouse soon and have been told that some sights in North Wales are closer than the Yorkshire population  to where I live in Rossendale.  Not planning to arrive at dawn but for 8-9am.  I have been told of a spot which is not mentioned here.  Would love some recommendations.   Thanks.  





Hi Sarfraz - Ive sent you a pm re directions to the best lek at Worlds End. Mark.

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One can enter the Llandegla Forest and go to the Black grouse hide, which looks on to a traditional lek site. 

We went there a couple of years ago and I got the Black grouse as a lifer . It was quite early morning though, not late or mid-morning..

There were lots of them at the lek. Mind you from that vantage point on that occasion the views were fairly distant.



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Sarfraz Hayat wrote:

Hoping to go see Black Grouse soon and have been told that some sights in North Wales are closer than the Yorkshire population  to where I live in Rossendale.  Not planning to arrive at dawn but for 8-9am.  I have been told of a spot which is not mentioned here.  Would love some recommendations.   Thanks.  


 By 9 am most Grouse will have gone to feed somewhere ,if you want to see Black grouse its best to arrive at a site in the dark and stay in the car and wait for it to come light ,they normally start to disperse about an hour after dawn. 



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Hoping to go see Black Grouse soon and have been told that some sights in North Wales are closer than the Yorkshire population  to where I live in Rossendale.  Not planning to arrive at dawn but for 8-9am.  I have been told of a spot which is not mentioned here.  Would love some recommendations.   Thanks.  



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Just Mike A and I for this month's trip out for a sunny but cold visit to eastern parts of North Wales.

The Black Grouse apparently finished their lekking early this morning, as we failed to locate a lek at any of five possible spots along the road to World's End, despite arriving at around the same time as last year. We did find a couple of males feeding in cleared oblongs along the top of ridge to the west of the road, so that was better than nothing.

We headed on to Llyn Brenig, ticking off Red Kite along the way and after a quick stop at the visitor centre to scan the feeders, moved on to look for the Great Grey Shrike, despite negative news re: it and the Ring-necked Duck. We missed the Shrike's 5(?)second appearance between the B4501 and the reservoir, but it was a good spot to pick up the news that the duck was with Tufted Ducks round at the bird hide. We arrived just as one party of the Tufted Ducks left, taking the Ring-necked Duck with it but tracked them back towards the sailing club. Another circuit round brought us back past the Osprey platform to a quiet inlet in the north-west corner of the reservoir where we re-located the party and had good views with the advantage of the light behind us. All in all a pleasant day out with 43 species seen, not counting possible Merlin and Goshawk, and Crossbill heard.

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A fortnight after my last visit I again was heading towards Llyn Brenig in North Wales today. This time the quarry was a Great Grey Shrike that was found (or re-found) in the area two days earlier. Yet again the drizzle started when I got within 5 miles of the area, I'm sure there's a permanent cloud hanging over this part of Wales! As I started searching lots more cars pulled up and several birders joined me in the search of the roadside moors. Within 15mins we had located the Great Grey Shrike sitting on top of a tall stump of a felled conifer. The bird showed really well in the scope albeit at some distance and in murky conditions. The obligatory record digiscoped shots were taken (1 attached) before the bird dropped distantly further down the slope. A further search with new birders arriving failed to re-find the bird, but hopefully after I had left it may have reappeared.



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With a morning to spare & rain forecast pm I headed the nearly 60mls to Llyn Bran in Denbighshire, close to Llyn Brenig. Here on this small roadside reservoir I was soon watching a smart drake Ring-necked Duck in the Tufted Duck flock. The bird showed well in the scope from by the A543 where there are a couple of places to park offroad for a few cars. Also on the lake were a pair of Goldeneye. By the time I arrived the rain had set in and it was pretty murky, a good 2 hrs before the rain had been forecast but we were up quite high so maybe it was to be expected. A low res record digiscoped shot is attached.



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A great late morning and afternoon in North Wales. Lovely, warm weather and superb scenery.

First stop was an upland location that Ive visited previously. After a wait of over an hour a Goshawk put in an appearance, circling on thermals before another Goshawk appeared from the side, both birds then tumbling down in courtship display. Over the next hour and a half, one of the birds appeared twice, again circling and gaining height on thermals. Great to see but probably less than five minutes total air time in our two and a half hours watch. There were also multiple sightings of Raven and Buzzard, three Stonechat were noted on a fence by a nearby track, a Great Spotted Woodpecker called off to our right and three Crossbill also called as they flew by. I cant name the site for obvious reasons.

We then visited an area of moorland north of Llangollen, on the lookout for grouse and possible raptors. Up to say five Red Grouse were both heard and seen. There were a few folk walking across the moors and others on mountain bikes, nothing further was added to our day list.

Photos added of a very confiding Red Grouse.

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Mike Chorley wrote:

4 of us headed over to start the day by failing to find the Rose-coloured Starling in Craig-y-don. After wandering the streets and alleyways for a while, in conjunction with other birders, we'd found plenty of the local Starlings, a flock of Oystercatchers, a female Stonechat (bathing in a pool on the field to the east of Victoria Street) and a few curious residents, one of whom pointed us towards the other end of the streets as being where the bird was usually seen. We had no luck at that end either, so headed off to Holyhead, to tick the Hooded Crows sampling the delights of a certain US fast food chain, then moved on to the harbour, where we soon found singles of Black Guillemot, Red-breasted Merganser, Shag and Rock Pipit around the harbour mouth.

A communications failure on the part of Three Mobile meant that only half of us went to check out Plas Road allotments while the other car headed to South Stack. Luckily(?) the Redstart was also missing and the team reunited to do a quick circuit of a very windy South Stack heath before heading off to look for Chough elsewhere. Resisting the temptation to visit "Brangoesgoch" (biggrinno) we scanned the surrounding fields instead, but despite a few false alarms, had no luck. Phil Hampson had finally found the Rose-coloured Starling, "in the alley by the burnt-out car" (!) and the Black Redstart had also been reported so we returned to Plas Road where we met the finder of the latter, waiting to show a friend around to locate the bird. He kindly gave us all a guided tour during which the bird flew in from the other end of the area and showed well, giving good views and photo ops. Our guide mentioned that he often heard Chough as they flew over, and right on cue one called distantly. We headed in the direction and eventually found a pair feeding in a sheep paddock tucked away in a fold of the hill. As it seemed a good day for second attempts we headed back to Llandudno and staked out the most likely bush and tree in the alley, again with other birders for company. It seemed we were going to dip again, but a quick circuit of the street and back apparently lulled the Starling into a false sense of security and it flew in from one of the back gardens to pose for us in the late afternoon sun for long enough to give good views and photo ops, before flying up for the obligatory aerial perch and off over the rooftops. The dirty stop-outs headed back to the seafront to add Curlew, Kestrel and a pair of Ravens to the day list. All-in-all a good day out.



Some photos to go with Mike's post
Cheers John



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4 of us headed over to start the day by failing to find the Rose-coloured Starling in Craig-y-don. After wandering the streets and alleyways for a while, in conjunction with other birders, we'd found plenty of the local Starlings, a flock of Oystercatchers, a female Stonechat (bathing in a pool on the field to the east of Victoria Street) and a few curious residents, one of whom pointed us towards the other end of the streets as being where the bird was usually seen. We had no luck at that end either, so headed off to Holyhead, to tick the Hooded Crows sampling the delights of a certain US fast food chain, then moved on to the harbour, where we soon found singles of Black Guillemot, Red-breasted Merganser, Shag and Rock Pipit around the harbour mouth.

A communications failure on the part of Three Mobile meant that only half of us went to check out Plas Road allotments while the other car headed to South Stack. Luckily(?) the Redstart was also missing and the team reunited to do a quick circuit of a very windy South Stack heath before heading off to look for Chough elsewhere. Resisting the temptation to visit "Brangoesgoch" (biggrinno) we scanned the surrounding fields instead, but despite a few false alarms, had no luck. Phil Hampson had finally found the Rose-coloured Starling, "in the alley by the burnt-out car" (!) and the Black Redstart had also been reported so we returned to Plas Road where we met the finder of the latter, waiting to show a friend around to locate the bird. He kindly gave us all a guided tour during which the bird flew in from the other end of the area and showed well, giving good views and photo ops. Our guide mentioned that he often heard Chough as they flew over, and right on cue one called distantly. We headed in the direction and eventually found a pair feeding in a sheep paddock tucked away in a fold of the hill. As it seemed a good day for second attempts we headed back to Llandudno and staked out the most likely bush and tree in the alley, again with other birders for company. It seemed we were going to dip again, but a quick circuit of the street and back apparently lulled the Starling into a false sense of security and it flew in from one of the back gardens to pose for us in the late afternoon sun for long enough to give good views and photo ops, before flying up for the obligatory aerial perch and off over the rooftops. The dirty stop-outs headed back to the seafront to add Curlew, Kestrel and a pair of Ravens to the day list. All-in-all a good day out.

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With a full day off to go birding and a fine forecast I decided on possibly my longest trip of the year, To western N.Wales and Anglesey.

First stop was Bangor Pier where over nearly 3 hours I was joined by more and more birders including a new mate, Ed, one of the up & coming band of student birders at Bangor Uni. It was also nice to join up to do the first birding for ages with Alan Davies and also be joined by Iolo Williams. My first good bird was a Black Guillemot close to the pier as I first arrived. Then all we saw were Goldeneye and Great Crested Grebes. As I was about to give up the Red-necked Grebe that has been here for a few days (4th day Ed thinks!) was seen distantly. If flew towards the pier and gave stunning close views to all assembled. Also seen were lots of Turnstones, distant Dunlin, Knot and Shag. Feeling pretty cold new after the 3hrs on the windy pier I headed back to the car for a hot chocolate and carried on my journey onto Anglesey, Ynys Mon here I come!

First of all I visited a new reserve for me, Cors Ddyga RSPB. Here from the R.Cefni bridge I scoped several Whooper Swans, probably around 10 and a lone Barnacle Goose. On the pools were Shoveler, Wigeon and Teal and over head a few Skylarks and lots of Linnets. Next I headed to the Valley area, near Llyn Traffwll, where big flocks of geese were in the fields. All I could get on my first visit were Greylags and Canada Geese but with them was a blue morph Snow Goose that my Anglesey birding contacts rate as having a good chance of being a wild bird. On a return visit as I left the island I found 3+Russian White-fronted Geese and 4 Barnacle Geese in the flock. Viewing was always hard due to hedges obscruring the geese. Inland Sea was my next stop where I found 2 Slavonian Grebes quite close in at the A5 end. Over in Beddmanarch Bay another Slavonian Grebe gave more distant views. A pair of Red-breasted Mergansers was also her as well as a distant drake Goosander and several Little Egrets. Next I headed to South Stack where a drive round the surrounding roads produced 1 Hooded Crow and 2 Chough as well as several Ravens.

With little daylight left I headed home, traffic was kind both ways and a great day out was had smile



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My recovery continues and I decided a day out was in order to help it!! To that end I ventured into North Wales, always a favourite destination.

First port of call was Llandudno, heading for Mostyn Avenue where a wintering bird has been attracting a lot of attention. Dog walkers and house owners all seemed happy to chat about it and give advice,however it went missing for an hour as I arrived! Always prefering proactive birding I took a wander and re-found the immature Rose-coloured Starling atop a chimney pot down a side alley. Calling other birders to me we were all soon watching it, not as plain buff as the Altrincham bird of last year, but more coming into adult plumage with hints of pink and black in the plumage (see piccy).

Next I headed to the Little Orme where Fulmars were already paired up and on nesting ridges, it it really still January!? Ravens flew over head and Shags perched along the lowere cliffs. A quick stop at Rhos Point only produced a Turnstone, but with the tide out I new I was n't going to see any Purple Sandpipers. The it was down the Conwy Valley to Llanrwst and a short wait here produced a single Hawfinch, this is the go to place for them this winter rather than Llanbedr y cennin or Caer Hun.

Then it was back up the valley and onto the coast. First stop was Llanddulas where lots of Common Scoter, a few Red-breasted Mergansers and a flypast Razorbill were added to my list. Finaly to the Kinmel Bay/Rhyl area and first to Horton's Nose, a placethat I'd never visited before. Walking round behind the cafe I found a scrubby area in which several logs were strewn. There in the sunshine, using the logs as a feeding perch was the Black Redstart that has been wintering here. Returning to the car for my digiscoping gear I returned but didn't see the bird again! However a bonus was a fly-by Red-throated Diver and lots more Common Scoters. Finally I navigated my way through to Rhyl Brickfields NR and immediately founf the female Scaup amongst a small group of Tufted Ducks.

With time getting on and light failing I headed home after a cracking days birding. North Wales never lets me down biggrin



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Tuesday 15th of January 2019 09:55:19 PM

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Just seen the Llandudno juv Rose Coloured Starling again, down the alley off Victoria Street between there and Mostyn Ave.

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A Royal Occasion on Anglesey. 11/12/2018

    The sighting of a possible Sandwich Tern on Anglesey this weekend must have started a few alarm bells ringing, due to the lateness of this species being present. Roll forward until Monday early afternoon when the bird information services said Royal Tern on Anglesey Now this species, for me, has been a particularly difficult one to catch up with after missing out at Porthmadog and twice at Llandudno in June 2009. There was also a few thoughts as to the bird being assigned to either American or African sub species but, it was later confirmed as being American? Was it the long staying bird that has been present on Guernsey and briefly on the south coast of England, doing a tour of the coastline?

   The decision to wait for news of the bird at Lligwy Dulas/Lligwy Beach, south of Amlwch was taken by myself and Steve B, so at 9am the Royal Tern was reported as flying across the bay at Lligwy, after a quick call to Steve I had us on our way by 9-45am. The traffic was reasonable for a weekday as we did the normal M56/A55 route towards Anglesey. We arrived at Lligwy Beach just before noon to the news that the bird had been on the beach for a while and had just flown off towards Lligwy Dulas, I thought typical! A couple of groups of birders could be seen scattered around the beach area probably numbering about 40/50, not a lot for such a major Twitch we thought. After 15 minutes or so news of the bird was put out that it was at Lligwy Dulas and giving good views. So without further ado a scene from Wacky Races was recreated as we dashed to hopefully see the bird. We followed the various vehicles and ended up parking up and dashing to look into a waiting telescope at the Royal Tern stood in the water, at last, what a bird!! We walked over a tidal muddy area and watched the bird as it flew up and began fishing and having a good old fly about, until it headed out towards the small island called Ynys Dulas that has a tower/obelisk built on it. I met a couple of older birding mates from the Scillies, a chef from Sunderland and a man from Bexleyheath, Kent who had travelled to see the tern.

   We headed back to Lligwy Beach hoping that the tern would come into roost on the beach at around 3pm as the tide went out. The bird was seen in flight a few more times and the general large size and its similarities to Caspian Tern were noted. Our hopes of the bird coming into roost on the beach were being hampered by a constant gaggle of dog walkers, who seemed to be oblivious of all the waiting birders gathered around, how selfish of them. The tern flew fairly close towards us and gave excellent flight views and then headed away. It was going dark by now so we decided to set off for home, the usual rush hour traffic was further hampered by an accident on the M56 that cost us about an hour, reaching Rochdale by 7-25pm. What a brilliant bird and well worth the effort, hope it stays for the weekend.

Dave O



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