Saturday, 27 April 2013

Greenland Wheatears

With some seriously black clouds promising heavy rain overnight - and the chance of a major fall - I hit Uwchmyndd shortly after dawn. Sure enough, the ornithological Gods had spoken and the Mynydd Mawr area was jumping with birds.

The most obvious species today was Northern Wheatear; with a very conservative figure of 83 feeding all over the hill and pasture. Most appeared to be big peachy Greenland-race birds. Small numbers were seen throughout the day in virtually every field in the Aberdaron area, indicating a significant regional arrival.

Offshore, a few Gannets and auks were passing through the Swnt, while overhead a trickle of hirundines and finches headed north and east. These comprised 1 Sand Martin, 5 Barn Swallow and 18 House Martin with 17 Chaffinch, 36 Goldfinch, 3 Siskin, 24 Linnet and 5 Lesser Redpoll.
Other bits and pieces included 5 Pied Wagtails, a Willow Warbler, Common Whitethroat and one of the resident psychedelically bright male Yellowhammers. If these Yellow Buntings were rare I would travel a long way to see one! Talking of rares, the Subalpine Warbler was located quickly, feeding low in the cut gorse on the hill affording excellent views to a steady stream of admirers.

Meanwhile, a single Greylag Goose flew north - good local year tick. If any readers suggest I have gone mad, then just get yourself a local patch, visit it regularly... and you will understand the relative importance of all species!  

A singing Lesser Whitethroat, plus a few phylloscs and Blackcaps, made the walk down Porth Meudwy worthwhile.

It would have been rude to pass the Aberdaron Woodchat without a quick look as it had been reported earlier in the day. Unfortunately, a couple of over-enthusiastic twitchers had walked down into the field for better views and pushed it away. Having suggested that it was better to keep the local farmer happy by keeping on the public rights of way, and to give the bird some space they both graciously agreed to retrace their steps. I saw a few photographers pushing the bird along the roadside fence in the week and think it's worth reminding people that great views can be obtained as it works it's feeding circuit by simply staying at your vehicle.

The shrike was not seen in the time I was present, although two Brown Hares in an adjacent field were some consolation.

As well as the Wheatear fall, residents, migrants and year-ticks it was great to meet a few old and new birding acquaintances today.

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