Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Goosander & Great Northern Diver

Another day of strong winds and low cloud saw me in town for a dental appointment. I decided the best remedy post-filling was a wander around the harbour. Highlight was a male Goosander flying upstream from the Cob Pool. I bumped into Kim Atkinson & Gwydion Morley who had been watching the bird - and also passed on news of a group of Purple Sandpipers reported to them a few days ago in the harbour.

Goosander are a scarce species in these parts. I've seen them occasionally on the Afon Rhyd-hir by the roundabout on the way out of town and at Llyn Glasfryn. The more regular sawbill - Red-breasted Merganser -  was again present with six birds showing. Other 'wildfowl' included a good count of 37 Teal on the pool, a pair of Wigeon, seven Shelduck (including a group displaying) and a Great Crested Grebe.

Wader numbers were down, despite the low tide; a handful of the usual suspects included three Knot and 12 Dunlin. A couple of hundred gulls were present including 37 Common Gull. I received a message tonight from Dave Lamacraft who found a 1w Iceland Gull off Gimblet Rock yesterday -  an excellent local record. Another (or the same) "immature" was reported off Criccieth today, with other many other records these last few days throughout the U.K.

Next stop was Abersoch where a superb Great Northern Diver was fishing offshore and a Black Guillemot flew SW. The Larus tribe here included three smart adult Mediterrnaean', 6 Great BLack-backed', a Lesser Black-backed' (early migrant?), 159 Common', 110 Herring' & 130 Black-headed Gulls.

The floods at Llanengan played host to 118 Teal, c110 Wigeon, 348 Lapwing and 168 Curlew before the rain came lashing down and I headed for home, disturbing a Raven feeding from a Brown Hare corpse on the minor road by Glan Soch.

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