Thursday, 20 October 2011

Goldcrest invasion

First, have to mention some late news for the last few days:

Eddie Urbanski and Dan 'Punkbirder' Brown visited Porth Meudwy on Tuesday and saw very little apart from a Clouded Yellow just before the pool and a Hummingbird Hawkmoth. Later they found a 2w Med Gull in Pwllheli Harbour sporting a yellow ring on its right leg.

Yesterday I walked down to Plas yn Rhiw for a quick afternoon visit. Rhys Jones interrupted my birding by informing me of a ringtail Hen Harrier on Mynydd y Graig. He joined me later and we had a look around the Plas and down towards Tre-heli Farm. A nice selection of woodland species were about (Jay, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Bullfinch etc) but more surprising was a flock of tardy hirundines actively feeding over the farm - 4 Swallow and 3 House Martin. A group of 12 Lesser Redpolls were also in the area. 

This morning Rhys and I visited Uwchmynydd then the valley where we met Eddie.

One of the first species we noticed before sunrise was a large flock of Raven - a minimum of 34 were 'gronking' away over Mynydd Mawr. Presumably these just left a local roost?

Visible migration was good again; totals between 0740-0840 hrs came to: 

Skylark 4
Meadow Pipit 49
Alba wagtail 3
Fieldfare 28
Mistle Thrush 3
Carrion Crow 1
Jackdaw 40
Raven 3
Starling 194
Chaffinch 655 
Brambling 4
Greenfinch 6
Goldfinch 15
Siskin 3
Linnet 25
Redpoll sp 1
Reed Bunting 20 
Yellowhammer 6

A 1w Merlin was chasing the finch flocks for breakfast.

A quick look at Safn Pant revealed a few Blackbirds and 10 Goldcrest while a Wheatear - and a large Fox - were up on Mynydd Mawr, with another Mistle Thrush was feeding at the Ty Newydd campsite. If you're not a local patch worker you may wonder why the excitement about this species - and Goldcrest numbers for that matter - but they are relatively uncommon down here!

A Woodcock was flushed at Pwll Bron-llwyn while a couple of Yellowhammer and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was at Ystolhelyg.

Porth Meudwy was quite simply crawling with Goldcrests today - a couple of years ago they were as scarce as hen's teeth for some reason but this morning we counted a minimum of 36. Unfortunately there were no rare phylloscs - just a Chiffhcaff for accompaniment.

Another Woodcock leaped out of the undergrowth while other bits and pieces included a fine male Ring Ouzel, 18 Blackbird, a couple of Redwing, 6 Song Thrush, 7 Blackcap, 6 Bullfinch, 12 Crossbill heading SW and 3 Brambling. A Stoat was also down by the boat house.

A Merlin was busy terrorising the passerines on the stubble field at Cwrt which held 38 Skylark and a couple of Reed Buntings.

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