Friday, 24 February 2012

Still here!

Both the Surf Scoter (at Porth Dinllaen yesterday) and myself!

Despite getting out a few times these last few weeks between the wind, rain and cloud I've seen very little - hence the lack of updates. A single Grey Plover in Pwllheli harbour last weekend was only my second ever at this site - and the previous one was over a decade ago! Has anyone else recorded them here?

Good to hear more of the resident species in the village clearing their throats in preparation for the proper dawn chorus over the next few months. Chaffinch and Little Owl were both 'singing' this week for the first time this year. The latter species seem to have been hard hit by the previous two winters with their prolonged cold spells; it will be interesting to see how they fare this spring after a particularly mild and wet season.

Friday, 10 February 2012


It was cold, grey and foggy first thing this morning and the cloud has hardly lifted all day. The sort of bone-chilling drizzly cold where you think it's going to sleet or snow but never does.

Anyway, I had to drop into town afternoon so took the scope and checked the harbour as usual. Fortunately the council have repaired the shelter on the north side which enables you to keep out of the elements whatever the wind direction. Despite trying all I could find today spread across the mud at low tide were the usual mix of several hundred Dunlin, a few Knot, Redshank, gulls etc... hard work!

I'd noticed a couple of LBB Gulls on the floods at Penrhos on the way in and found another three at my next stop, Llanengan - so at least some migrants are moving through. Numbers of Lapwing and Golden Plover were down from last weekend (to several hundred each) but 42 Wigeon, 71 Teal and three drake Shoveler added some interest.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Whooper Swan

Had an hour in town today before heading off for my morning appointment. The timing was perfect with the tide receding and the waders appearing. The Dunlin count was 192 with 11 Bar-tailed Godwits, 10 Oysteratchers, 9 Redshank and 4 Knot, plus the usual gulls, Shelduck etc so not the best selection but all showing well on this calm, dry morning.

I was interrupted from the waders by a good ten minute burst of Skylark song from the rough ground opposite the council HQ - fantastic! Greenfinch, Song Thrush, Robin and Dunnock were also clearing their throats in preparation for the breeding season while the single Great Crested Grebe in the harbour was moulting into summer plumage.

After lunch a brief drive-by stop at Aberdesach resulted in another Great Northern Diver, 3 Red-throated' and 12 Red-breasted Merganser.

A detour on the way home to Llanengan proved worthwhile with good numbers of birds on and around the flooded fields between here and Llangian. This marsh looks excellent for Bittern (and I've heard of one flushed from there in recent years) but none were seen today. A single Whooper Swan was associating with a handful of Mutes while 110 Teal were nearby. Decent numbers of waders were noted; 15 Dunlin, 120 Curlew, 660 Golden Plover and 770 Lapwing plus hundreds of Starling. Several hundred Herring' and Black-headed Gulls, plus a single LBB Gull, were also around.

Steve Stansfield also called to report a fine adult Mediterranean Gull showing from his temporary base down the road from me in Rhiw - where he'd also discovered a wing-tagged Red Kite heading over my house on Friday - fortunately I was in when he called and managed to connect with it!

The long-staying Surf Scoter is still showing well at Porth Dinllaen today, as is the adult Iceland Gull at Rhyd-y-clafdy. With the near Continent and the eastern part of the U.K. frozen I have to wonder what else might be lurking out there?