Thursday, 19 September 2019

Treecreeper - Pen Caer

A Treecreeper out on the cliff top in one of the Gorse bushes, not seen one for years, and a strange place to find one.
(Rob Johns)


Plumstone Mountain 19:45 - the Dotterel was feeding very actively next to the track (halfway between the car park and the rock).

A Grand Day Out.......

Courtesy of the Walrus & the Lady Cartlett, with a motley crew of 11 including a certain Ian Smith the finder of last year`s Buff Breasted Sands, so I knew we were in for a good trip!
We left Neyland at 10.00 & headed out S.W. from St Anne`s Head anticipating the day ahead talking about the things we`d like to see, as ever I started banging on about a Sabine`s having spent several hundred quid on Pelagic trips over the years to see one, Dolphins aplenty, Sabs no.
We were some six miles south of Grassholm when the Dolphins turned up & put on the usual entertainment of close passes of the boat. A few miles further on a big splash proved to be that of a Minke Whale while we were watching it a Sabines Gull appeared  with some Kittiwakes - spotted by Ian - YES! Back of the net! I managed to make eye contact with it & held out my hand, it was just about to land on my arm when one of the now two Minkes slipped under the Lady Cartlett & everybody rushed the otherside of the boat to watch the Whale submerge beneath us, I rushed back to the other side again but my new found bird friend had left! Seriously though everything seemed to happen at once, a tick & some close Whale encounters. Then a Dark Phase Arctic Skua appeared briefly & to finish everything off a nice Sooty Shearwater dwarfing the Manxie flock it was with. on the way back more Dolphins. A fabulous day, stunning sea conditions, a couple of hundred dolphins, 2 Minkes (a possible third?) a Sabine`s Gull (adult) Arctic Skua, Sooty Shearwater, Manxies, Gannets, Kittiwakes, Swallows too & a nice "crew"Worth every penny & thanks to Cliff & the Skipper of the Lady Cartlett.

Dale Airfield & Gann

Lots of birds on Dale Airfield this evening.  19 Ringed Plover & a single Dunlin were the wader highlights.  A smart juvenile Whinchat fed from the fenceline on the eastern side, and in the same area at least 9 Wheatear, 60+ Meadow Pipits, 30+ Skylarks, and 20 alba wagtails of which at least 12 were migrant White Wagtails.

At the Gann as the tide came in 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 21 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover & 6 Little Egrets.  At least 20 Curlew included colour-ringed birds 06 & 08.  On the lagoon 2 Knot still, along with a newly arrived juvenile Black-tailed Godwit.

Dotterel - Plumstone

The Dotterel reported anonymously to Steve Berry on Plumstone 100m beyond the rock.

Still present at 1730 - update and record shot from Alison Rees


Autumn is ticking along without any sign of fireworks's highlight was 5 rook (Alys Perry), not an annual out here and the largest single count in recent years. Red kites have been absent so far this autumn but perfect conditions today saw 7 drift over. Also of note 4 collared dove, 2 blue tit, 2 wheatear, 4 goldcrest, 2 chiffchaff and just a single willow warbler. 20 house martins were diving in and out of the nest boxes this morning with some of this year's juvs still roosting in them

Dotterel, Plumstone

Dotterel reported earlier today at Plumstone, 100m beyond the rock.

Dinas Mountain

Earlier today 3 Golden Plover, 2 Chough, 1 Sparrowhawk (juv/f), 1 Red Kite being mobbed by the resident Crows and Ravens, and a lot of Skylarks flying over.


For about 15 minutes on this perfect morning I had the Gann to myself: no campervans in the car parks, no dogs chasing everything off (& no bait diggers as the tide was in)....bliss!

Knot had increased to 2, Dunlin up to 23, Ringed Plover down to 4.  5 Grey Herons were resting on the lagoon & another flew across the bay. A Water Rail crept along the edge of the Crabhall reedbed (as it did a few days ago) & there were 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls briefly with the larger gulls (a 2CY was present yesterday).  Again heard Skylark going over (couldn't see it / them).

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

St Davids area

A Spotted Flycatcher perched on lines at Treginnis Uchaf first thing. A Snipe on the pond nearby. In the bushes on the way down to Porth Lysgi, 6 Blackcap and a few Chiffchaff. A very noticeable passage of Swallows streamed eastwards - at least 2000 as a rough estimate.  Skylarks were also noticeably on the move. On the fields around the peninsula 20+ Wheatear. Robins were also noticeable with 50+ scattered around.
A Red Throated Diver flew past and north up Ramsey Sound.

Little Egrets

7 Roosting in the trees next to the lagoon at the Gann this evening.

Newport High Tide

11 Dunlin, 6 Ringed Plovers, 4 Knot, 3 Redshanks, 2 Little Egrets & 1 Greenshank.


A decent selection of waders this morning included single Knot & Snipe, 2 Lapwing, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits, 14 Ringed Plover & 11 Dunlin.  A Skylark flew over calling, my first of the autumn here.

Great White Egret - The Teifi

A Great White Egret was feeding along the river, best viewed from the river view point on the reserve.

  Earlier the GWE was found on Mallard Pond by Tommy Evans.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Stackpole and Pembroke Millponds

This afternoon at least 6 wheatears (all looked quite bright large Greenland race) were feeding on the coast at Stackpole and a whinchat was perched on gorse on Stackpole Warren. 

The Lesser Yellowlegs was still present below the Castle at its usual location later on this afternoon. Heron numbers were higher (at least 13 resting on the mud - dispersing birds?) – 8 in Pembroke River channel between the Castle Pond outlet and Wogan’s Cavern area, 3 in the Castle Pool channel and 2 more in the Middle Pond area. 

183 mallards (previous highest was 176 in 1997) were counted at the Pembroke Millponds at the weekend and also 74 moorhens – the highest yet recorded by WeBs counts - their numbers have been rising steadily over the last 6 years.

Sea Trust are looking at a Cartlett Lady Survey Trip, on Thursday 19th as weather looking good at the moment! £80 per person for 8 hr trip. We would be looking at heading out to the Celtic Deep Iin search of Whales Dolphins etc as well as whatever sea birds may be out there! This time last year we also had Leather back Turtle and Blue Fin Tuna! 
On our last trip we had Risso's Dolphins, Oceanic Bottlenose Dolphins and over 1,500 Common Dolphins!
If you are interested , let me know which day/s suit you,ASAP, with mobile phone number etc, email:  allthingsgood, cliff

Monday, 16 September 2019


Highlights from the last 3 days on Skomer include the long-staying juvenile Marsh Harrier, a smart Lesser Whitethroat seen every day, a flyover Yellow Wagtail and this peachy Whinchat this afternoon.  The nearby Stonechat was not impressed!  The Ravens here have been an absolute joy, at least 30 in the air together and perhaps 50-60 present around the island.


A Wryneck is at Crab Bay.

Whinchat - Dale Airfield

A Whinchat was at the Marloes Sands end of Dale Airfield this morning around the blackthorn thicket where the Red-backed Shrike was present last year. Among the other birds were several Stonechat, large numbers of Linnet, plenty of Meadow Pipits, a few Skylark, at least 2 Wheatear and a Sparrowhawk.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Curlew sandpiper, Dale airfield

A Curlew sandpiper together with 19 Dunlin and 26 Ringed plover in recently sown field this evening. With that beak it seemed to have the edge for digging out some huge worms. It would scurry off with its prize eagerly followed by its less adept mates.
2 Manx shearwaters just out from Fowborough Point, Cleddau Estuary early this morning and couple of Great crested grebe.

Canada Geese

My biggest ever Webs count at Newport - 1725, give or take. All the followers - 1 ea Bar Headed & Barnacle, 4 Greylags & several odd crosses. The white & Snow Geese & their hybrid offspring of previous seasons seem to be no more.

The Teifi

A juvenile Curlew Sandpiper at the The Webley high tide roost 9-10 am, also the first Firecrest of the autumn ringed on the Teifi Marshes this morning.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

The Teifi - Curlew Sandpiper

Only 1 Curlew Sandpiper seen today, both this morning and this evening.

This morning at The Webley the juvenile Curlew Sandpiper was present with 2 Turnstone, 4 Knot, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, c10 Sanderling and the usual small waders.
(Tommy Evans records and photo)
This evening 1 Turnstone, 2 Knot, 20 Dunlin, 31 Ringed Plover and 1 Curlew Sandpiper.

Counts from around the Teifi today included 130 Barnacle Geese, 6 Greylag Geese, 2 Shelduck, 8 Wigeon, 9 Teal, 1 Water Rail, 1 Greenshank and the Black Swan.

Dale area

Dale airfield: Numbers of swallows and hirundines heading south all morning. Flocks of up to 50-70 Linnet with fewer Goldfinch and groups of pipits, wagtails and Skylark added to the feeling of birds on the move. 15 Wheatear. 35 Ringed plover and 10 Dunlin at the intersection.
Gann: Nice selection of waders inc c20 Ringed plover, 13 Dunlin, 9 Redshank, 3-4 Greenshank, 3 Turnstone, 3 Black-tailed godwit, 2 Knot and a Curlew Sandpiper. 2 Wheatear. 3 Little egret, a Sandwich tern and a Great crested grebe on the river.
A look around Kete and St Ann's Head just a handful of wagtails, single Blackcap and Little grebe in Mill Bay. Quick visit to a very quiet Marloes Mere, a lone Snipe and a Peregrine was best we could do. With Paul G.

Dinas Mountain

A short visit early this morning found 2 Chough feeding amongst the cattle, a Sparrowhawk (juv/f) zooming around over the top of a Gorse clump, plus a male Kestrel hovering close by.

Midday there were c20 juv Sandwich Terns fishing in Goodwick bay close to the end of the middle breakwater.

Chough roost and peregrine manoeuvres in NW Pembs

Last evening Jane Hodges, Philip Lees and I looked for a communal chough roost in NW Pembs. We weren’t disappointed. At least 42 arrived (most of them from nearby cattle-grazed pasture fields) and began to settle into various cliff crevices as the sun set over the sea and a rather nice full moon began to rise over Mynydd Preseli.

Choughs arriving and landing on the cliff-top at sunset prior to settling to roost on the cliff-face
Some of the flock had a close encounter with 2 peregrines (a juvenile female and an adult-looking male). It looked like the youngster was learning some hunting skills from the adult. They had a go at a chough but just missed. The flock quickly rose higher to be above the peregrines which looked like a smart avoidance move. The peregrines carried on with their magnificent near talon-grappling display manoeuvres before heading off, presumably to roost somewhere else.

It looked like the young female (on the right and briefly flying upside down in the top photo) was getting some food-passing lessons. Nothing was passed on this occasion!
A flock of at least 100+ linnets also settled into a roost in a large patch coastal gorse. A quite noisy heron circled high over the cliffs for a while, looking as if it was preparing to head off west towards Ireland but it turned back inland before sunset, perhaps deciding that some the nearby ponds and an irrigation reservoir were better options for the night.


Friday, 13 September 2019

Curlew Sandpipers - The Teifi

From The Webley;- no murkiness this am - and no Terns !

 Two juvenile Curlew Sandpipers were present on both high tide visits.  On the 7-8 am visit also 45 Oystercatcher, 31 Ringed Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Knot, 25 Sanderling, 30 Dunlin, 1 1w Med Gull and a Kingfisher.
On the 6 -7pm visit  we gained a Common Sandpiper, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, lost all the Sanderling but gained the Black Swan (may have been to Aberystwyth for 2 days ?)
A Greenshank calling from the river on the marshes.

Chris was ringing on the marsh - Grasshopper Warbler, Reed Warblers, Sedge Warblers and Common Whitethroats still being ringed as well as the common late warblers...and following yesterday's first Cetti's of the year, that bird a female - 2 more female Cetti's Warblers this morning.

Fishguard Harbour

A late afternoon visit to the harbour produced some surprising numbers, 23 Sandwich Terns, 19 Turnstone, 2 Dunlin, on the water off the ferry berth a loose raft of 36 Razorbills and nearby a juv plumage Black Guillemot.

Pembroke Millponds

Lesser Yellowlegs still present at midday under castle, giving great views to the small band of assembled birders, photographers, dog walkers, cyclists and joggers! Also present 139 Black-tailed Godwit, 17 Dunlin and 3 Common Redshank.

Spotted Redshank also still present on the other side of the sluice gates.

Quiet Down South

Very quiet at Kilpaison this morning with no waders other than a couple of Curlew and Oystercatcher. A sign of winter to come though with 24 Wigeon on the tideline and 6 Mute Swans.

St Govan's quiet too. 4 Chough and a couple of Wheatears. Click on the photo and look closely and you can see a small spider hitching a lift on the Wheatear's upper mandible. Wonder if the bird was able to shake it of and make a snack of it?

Curlew Sandpipers - Teifi

Two juvenile Curlew Sandpipers on the rising tide at The Webley this morning.