Sunday, 25 March 2012

Visibly migrating

Had a fantastic morning on the end of the peninsula today in beautiful weather - warm, sunny and dry with a variable easterly wind (force2-5 then dropping again).

I reached Mynydd Mawr shortly after dawn and it was immediately obvious that birds were on the move both overhead and at sea while some fresh arrivals had also pitched down on the heath and pasture.

Visible migration was interesting as ever. Although nothing like the phenomenal counts we get here in the autumn there was a good selection of birds between 0732-1135 hrs. The highlights were: 8 alba wagtails, three Coal Tits high over the maritime heath!!! (plus two at home in Rhiw in the afternoon), 5 Jackdaw, 13 Carrion Crow accompanied by a single Hooded Crow - all headed out to sea, 2 House Sparrow, 2 Chaffinch, 2 Greenfinch, 24 Goldfinch, 9 Siskin, 32 Linnet (plus the resident birds), a Reed Bunting and 12 Redpoll sp (presumably Lesser'). It's always interesting to compare these totals with those noted by the crews on Ynys Enlli (aka Bardsey Island) and the Great Orme

Three Pied Wagtails were knocking about, there were four singing Stonechats, 5 Wheatear, single Goldcrest and Chiffchaff, 4 Chough, two stonking male Yellowhammers sat out on the gorse singing away plus a female Black Redstart by the lower car park.
Seawatching was interesting - most of the following birds were moving south for some reason: several hundred auks (mostly Guillemots), 10 Gannets were logged, a Red-throated Diver, 55 Black-headed Gulls and 5 Common Gulls plus the usual Fulmars and Kittiwakes etc

An hour in Porth Meudwy gave me the usual suspects inc just 3 Goldcrest, 3 more Siskin over, 8 Chiffchaff, a Peacock (butterfly!) and a mighty fine Comma whizzed past. Please note that this was a simple sight record - unlike the rather unconventional trapping methods (and blatant attempts to increase the number of website hits) detailed here by one of the area's naturalists!


  1. A Hooded Crow at Criccieth this afternoon as well, Andrew. Are they known as a Spring Migrant in North Wales?

  2. I've had one or two in Spring in the Aberdaron area in past years - often during high pressure. presumably the Irish birds fancy their chances crossing over when conditions are good.

    Reading the odd Cambrian report shows birds year round plus a few spring migrants, might dig out the Enlli reports too.

    Hope all's well

    Good Birding


  3. Andrew

    Am coming to Morfa Nefyn for my annual Llyn fix over Easter. You mentioned that the Surf Scoter is still around. Does it have a regular hang-out.

    Maybe we'll bump into each other though I've yet to see anybody with bins there in 20 years of visits - apart from Eddie Urbanski! If you are reading this Eddie you used to play bridge with my mother-in-law Kath McNeal.

    Dave Emley

    1. Hi Dave

      The scoter seems to keep to a small area in Porth Dinllaen - usually off the small island by the house on stilts east of the Ty Coch. I believe it sometimes ventures around towards the lifeboat station but I'd be surprised if you don't pick it up immediately - it's usually the only duck there. Take a scope and hope for calm weather and you should have great views!

      Good Birding