Friday, 21 October 2011

Porth Meudwy Peregrines

Had a brief look in Porth Meudwy this morning with Peter Kemmis Betty. I've never visited the valley so much as this autumn, and although at the end of the day rare birds are seldom seen in this area (apart from a certain rocky island not too far away!), the site's potential is great for something good to turn up and regular coverage is the best means of  connecting.

It has, after all, played host to quality birds such as Ruppell's Warbler and Red-eyed Vireo, as well as a virtually full set of scarce migrants despite extremely limited coverage over the years. I'll always remember a conversation I had with the late Clive Stephenson of Bangor who recalled being told of an unidentified Dendroica warbler (as they used to be called) glimpsed some years ago by a friend of his in the valley.

Of course, if I was only interested in the rares I'd be going crazy down here - torn between twitching Scarlet Tanager in Cornwall and Siberian Rubythroat in Shetland. Although I do enjoy the craic of an occassional twitch the prospect of staring at tarmac for hours and then finding myself in a crowd with a good percentage of idiot twitchers is not my cup of tea at all!  At the end of the day the reason I get out as much as I can is because there's a fascinating range of resident and migrant birds and loads of other wildlife to enjoy in the area. 

Anyway, today conditions were far from ideal as time was limited and there was a big SW blowing and many birds were keeping low in the cover - although at least the temperature was significantly higher than yesterday.

The highlight for me was great views of a couple of Peregrines chasing each other low up the valley. The lead bird was carrying prey with the other in hot pursuit. Not much else to report today; the 3 resident Chough, 4 Redwing, 14 Blackbird, a calling Ring Ouzel (hidden in the undergrowth), 4 Blackcap and a Chiffchaff were noted while Goldcrests were down to 12 birds... plus a few other common species.

Overhead a few Starlings and finches were moving while 12 Lapwing flew east.

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