Monday, 23 October 2017

Cors Caron Great White and Harriers.

The Great White Egret has been on private pools at the north end of the bog but it came for a fly round so here is a record shot.

The news from Raptor Persecution Uk is that 75% of the satellite tagged Harriers have gone missing over grouse moors yet still Natural England are withholding information about the where and when. See: Raptor Persecution UK for full details.

 With that in mind I'm somewhat reluctant to publicise the Harrier roost on the bog but having met a group of birders from Derbyshire in the waiting room last week who were thrilled to be watching them I think the benefits of publicity outweigh the possible problems.  The more people who come to see our raptors and spend money(they were staying in a hotel not sleeping in cars!!) and publicise the joys of West Wales to other birders the better.

So the news is that there are 2 males and 2 ringtails one of which is moulting so I reckon a female especially as she is frightening everything she flies over!!
Unfortunately the optically imperfect glass and truly awful light conditions in the waiting room precluded anything other than a fuzzy atmospheric pic.

Brent Goose at Llansantffraed

There was a Brent Goose on the sea off Llansantffraed beach this morning, along with a couple of Red-throated Divers, three groups of Wigeon and a Seal. A Sandwich Tern flew past, heading south. Birds on the beach included Redshank, Ringed Plover and Turnstone.


Not surprisingly most of yesterday's gulls had moved on when I got to Tanybwlch late this morning.  A good mixed bag of birds to be seen, though, including a Little Grebe and two Goosanders on the river and single Redshank, Grey Wagtail and Wheatear.
On the wet fields, three Med Gulls, 20 Curlews, 25 Oystercatchers, six Canada Geese and 36 Teal still at the far end.  Starlings everywhere in good numbers, 45 Mallard along the ditch and the Kingfisher  on the adjacent fence. As yesterday, lots of Meadow Pipits passing through. 
On the way back I stopped for a chat with Elaine and Ian as the drizzle came in off the sea and slowly engulfed us.

Merlin on Ynys Las

Forgot to mention the Merlin which shot by on the wind yesterday morning.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

At the coast today: Skuas and Brents

The strong winds from the west/north west were so tempting Silke and I ventured down to Ynys Las where we found a flock of Golden Plovers near to the posts with a couple of Grey Plovers and a small group of Dunlin and Ringed Plover. A lone Brent (Pale bellied)hugged  the shore.  Earlier a group of about 20 Grey Plover had flown down the estuary.
At the Point the wind was so strong and the sand blasted everything so having spotted one Sanderling and a few Ringed Plover among a larger ?60 group of Dunlin we retreated to Llanon.  A group of 16 Brents flying south, a flock of Starlings plus a couple of Chough were a good start.

Again the wind was still very strong but a swirl of gulls, starlings and crows in the air indicated something was about and yes, amid the mayhem was an adult Skua, very well marked with some yellow showing beneath a dark cap and a distinct point to the tail.
 Unfortunately it went back toward Morfa Mawr and was not in range of Silke's 400mm lens.
As we looked on to find it a fast flying brown bird came across the field towards us at a rate of knots and as it passed Silke got this shot of a young Arctic Skua, not easy as it blended with the dark rocks of the foreshore.  Seemed worth a day out getting blasted by sand, blown inside out and without any lunch!

Hen Harrier at Llyn Eiddwen

During his usual Sunday afternoon visit to Llyn Eiddwen, Chris was delighted to find an adult male Hen Harrier nearby.  It caught a small bird and was eating it on the ground when a Red Kite came along and tried to take the prey.  Both birds rose high in the air, skirmishing until the harrier was forced to release the prey item, which the kite then caught in mid air.
On the lake, at least one, probably two Scaup and by the time Chris left around 100 Lesser Black-backed Gulls had come in to roost.

Aberystwyth and Tanybwlch

Like Ian I headed for the coast this morning.  A Purple Sandpiper with ca25 Turnstones huddled on the beach next to Castle point was a good start.
Slightly more sheltered on the castle for a seawatch.  Strangely enough, the commonest bird passing was Shag, with at least 85 going south very close in, including one flock of ca70.  Also several parties of Cormorant.  Pretty quiet further out: the highlight was a late Sandwich Tern.
A Kestrel hovered over Constitution Hill.
Decided to brave the elements at Tanybwlch next.  Hundreds of gulls, mostly Black-headed with some Common were dip-feeding close inshore; others, including 31 Great Black-backed and 44 Mediterranean were resting on the fields. 36 Teal were on the floods at the far end and a Wheatear was on the riverbank.
Finally, on the way back and after many scans, a 1st winter Little Gull found among the gulls feeding in the bay.

All shook up

I got an early indication of the kind of birding I was in for as soon as I arrived at Llanrhystud this morning with a juv Gannet low across the field next to the little sewage plant. Six species of gull inc about 400 BHeaded, 30 Med Gulls and what looked like a steady passage of LBB Gulls. Also 2 Choughs and a Wheatear. Very close to shore through the churning waves were 25 Shags (6,19) and 19 Pale bellied Brent Geese (10,8,1).

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Little Gulls

The storm brought two juvenile Little Gulls to South Bay in Aberystwyth this afternoon.  Also still ca 20 Med Gulls around.

Chris Bird

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Red-legged Partridges

This afternoon, Chris Bird found two Red-legged Partridges in a field by Llyn Syfydrin.  See posts by Phil Dennis and Mike Hayward on 4th and 5th Oct.
Yesterday a flock of ca30 Redwings flew over Chris's house.