Friday, 14 September 2012


Today saw me join Rhys Jones on the south part of the peninsula. It's been one of those weeks and a few hours of ornithological therapy was much appreciated.

First stop was Llanengan where the flooded fields looked great for hordes of waders. I do have to wonder what's passed through here over time (like so many local sites!). Marc Hughes found a well-twitched Glossy Ibis here back in October 2005, a Golden Oriole was seen in the village a few years ago, there are historical records of Bittern, Greenland White-fronted Goose and regular visits by small numbers of Whooper Swan... am I forgetting anything else people?

Talking of historical records, I'm always intrigued by the tale of a White-tailed Sea Eagle seen 'near Abersoch' for two weeks in November 1910 before the poor thing was shot in the wing, captured and sent to an aviculturist in Wrexham. I can well imagine the bird hunting the fowl over the flooded Afon Soch! Check out the great books by H.E. Forrest The Vertebrate Fauna of North Wales (1907) and the updated supplement entitled A Handbook to the Vertebrate Fauna of North Wales (1919) for other fascinating tales from the old days.

Sadly, five Dunlin was the highlight although 14 alba wagtails (mostly Whites) and a mixed flock of  Barn Swallows, Sand' & House Martins gave us something to check through. The wind was a bit of a pain today with a fresh W veering NW later although at least the sun was out. Seawatching weather even; indeed, Rhys had been at Porth Ysgaden this morning but there was very little moving apart from a few Arctic Skuas and Red-throated Divers.

Next stop was Abersoch which was surprisingly busy with various touristy types wandering around. The beach held the usual few Great Ringed Plovers and a small posse of loafing gulls that included nine fine Mediteraneans (eight adults and a second-winter - all unringed). We also managed to gain entry to some swanky eatery pub place overlooking the harbour despite me not getting changed for lunch ;-p

The fields at Penrhos beckoned afterwards. These really look 'monster' at the minute with a couple of natural scrapes having formed there after a summer of wet. On arrival something managed to flush everything off them but the birds soon returned. These were a decent flock of Curlew, 26 Dunlin and a couple of Ringed Plover. Twenty Golden Plover hunkered down out of the wind while a Northern Wheatear and a couple more White Wagtails were scatttered around. No Buff-breasted Sandpipers revealed themselves although we did try hard to string one. Visiting birders should check this place out - pull off the main road down the track to Carreg-y-defaid and walk back along the sea defences to view.

Pwllheli harbour was about as dead as it ever has been although a fine peachy Greenland Wheatear scuttled along the shore flycatching and 20 Teal were on the Cob Pool.


  1. Sally and I had 2 Barnacle Geese on the floods at Llanengan about 20 years ago. They were with Curlew, and very "flighty". I have always believed them to be the real McCoy.
    Dave Lamacraft has had Yellow-browed Warbler in the village, amongst other goodies.

    1. Thanks for the late news Eddie - you suppressor! Reckon those Barnies could be part of the Dyfi flock but as with all wildfowl - who knows.

      Good reminder about that Yellow-browed - I actually saw that bird too. Dave had a Glaucous Gull when surfing there a few years ago as well.