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.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

An appreciation of the birds around the Menai Straight

Tonight at Bangor Bird-group local Birdwatcher Arfon Thomas will be giving us a talk about the birds found locally around the Menai Straight. Doors open at 7pm at the Brambell building for a 7.30 start. All welcome.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

GPS tracking of Curlew, Terns and Seabirds

Local Bird Ringer and Ornithologist Steve Dodd will be giving us a talk tonight at Bangor Bird group. He will be telling us about GPS tracking of Curlew, Terns and Seabirds. Doors open at the Brambell building at the Uni at 7pm for a 7.30 start. All welcome.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

This week at Bangor Birdgroup -Alaska : Birds and Wildlife

Spectacled Eider is one of the many reasons I would like to go to Alaska. This Wednesday night at Bangor Bird-group local Ornitholidays Bird-guide Paul Rodgers will be giving us a talk on the Birds and Wildlife of Alaska. The talk will be in the usual venue in the ground floor lecture theater in the Brambell Building at the University of Bangor. Doors open at 7 for a 7.30 start. All welcome.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Resolution and Independence at Bangor Birdgroup

Chris Wynne, NWWT's Conservation Officer, explores local conservation issues tonight. Doors open at 7pm in the Brambell Building at the Uni. All welcome.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

A Night at the Museum with Nigel Brown

Local well known and well respected all-round Naturalist Nigel Brown will be giving us his Night at the Museum experience this Wednesday in Bangor. At Bangor Bird-group this week Nigel will be giving us the guided tour around the University of Bangor Natural History Museum, giving us an insight into some of the more interesting specimens in it's collection. Meet in the usual lecture theatre in the Brambell Building, Deiniol Road Bangor. Door open at 7pm. All welcome.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Eastern Anglesey Update

I went down the east coast of Anglesey on Sunday morning with Tony. Here's a summary of the birds we had and a few counts Tony had a few days previous.
At Moelfre there were 2 Purple Sandpipers showing well with up-to 24 Turnstones. 165 Cormorants were on the island. On the surrounding sea there were 400 Auks, 9 Gannets, 21 Kittiwakes, 2 Porpoises, 3 Red throated Divers and a Great Northern Diver.
At Lligwy Tony had 25 Red throated Divers, 8 GN Divers, 400 Auks, 30 Cormorants, 20 Great Crested Grebes, 15 Red breasted Mergansers and 9 Sanderling.
At Dulas there were 6 Jack Snipe and 10 Common Snipe, 110 Curlew, 24 Redshanks, 26 Shellducks, 250 Wigeon, 24 Brents, 3 Greenshank and a Kingfisher.
At Red Warf Bay there were loads of Snipe in a small area surveyed. 275 Common and at least 8 Jack Snipe. We also saw a Water Rail, 15 Knot, Greenshanks, 8 Rock Pipits  and c.10 Brents. 
Today Tony had 2 Cattle Egrets at Pont Marquis and a 1st winter Marsh Harrier on Malltraeth RSPB reserve.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Dan Brown on Western Sahara

One not to miss! Dan Brown, son of Nigel Brown is coming back to North Wales and Bangor Bird-group this Wednesday. He will be talking about The Western Sahara. A disputed territory in the Maghreb region of North Africa, just South-West of Morocco. Come along and see what unusual wildlife can be found in this far flung corner of the Western Palearctic. Doors open at The Brambell Building at Bangor University at 7pm for a 7.30 Kick off. All welcome.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Anglesey Bird News

My local highlight over the Christmas period was a cracking Hawfinch at some feeders in a garden in Cemaes on the 29th and again briefly on the 30th. Mike Smith had a similar record in Cemaes about 5 years ago. One bird by his feeders for about an hour, then never seen again. They are very rare visitors to Anglesey, with less than one record a year, usually a fly over in the Autumn at Carmel head. Recent ringing recoveries have shown some of the birds we get in Winter are Norwegian Birds escaping the harsher conditions further north. Up to 5 Cattle Egrets are still seen in the area immediately north of Pont Marquis near Malltraeth. 4 Long tailed ducks are still in Trearddur bay with another still on Llyn Llewennan, but the 4 Greenland Whitefronts appear to have disappeared. The Inland sea still has Scaup, Black necked and Slavonian Grebe, Great Northern Divers and Mediterranean Gulls and 100+ Pale bellied Brents. These birds can also get into Beddmanarch bay. A Hooded Crow is resident in Llanfachraeth near the Chapel at the Valley end of the village. Unfortunately the bird at Mc Donalds in Holyhead has disappeared so me and Tony can't use the excuse "Shall we check for the Hooded crow at McDonalds" as a reason to swing by there anymore!
Two Yellow browed warblers on the 2nd Jan were an unseasonal find. One had been at Soldiers point for a few days. At the top of the road by the burnt out white castle/folly hotel, just before you get there there is a small track to your right down to the harbour/chalet.. It favored the evergreen bush immediately on your left. There are several little paths around here to check the adjacent scrub. These small paths were probably made by Badgers. Either that or Ken....
The other Yellow browed warbler was found by Marc et al on his birdrace on the second, by the bus stop over looking Llyn Penrhyn at Valley camp.
Also if you fancy some of the other usual suspects. It's always worth checking Malltraeth Marsh for Bitterns, Otters and overwintering Marsh and Hen Harriers. There's always a chance of a Short eared Owl on Aberffraw Common near Llyn Coron at this time of year. Check off Penmon point for Eiders, Divers, Black Guillimots and other Auks. Holyhead Fish quay and the Harbour can be good for winter plumaged Black Guillimots, and Red breasted Mergansers are in their finest plumage at the moment. Cetti's warblers can still be heard at Valley Lakes (Cerrig Bach) and Malltraeth Marsh and there's always a chance of them at Llyn Maelog, the latter site is also a reasonable site for Bittern in the winter. Choughs at South Stack whilst having a coffee is always a nice little stop then check out Trearddur Bay for the Purple Sandpipers (and Long tailed Ducks).