Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Teifi estuary

A couple of Common Scoter feeding close in the surf was unusual here, also 4 Red-throated Divers in the bay this afternoon. Great to watch a distant duck flock come in off the sea....c80 Wigeon flew past and up river, eventually settling opposite St Dogmael's Quay to feed.

At the Webley HT roost, 1 Knot, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Grey Plover were the best amongst the commoner waders, c85 Common Gulls best amongst the mainly Black-headed and Herring Gulls this evening.
(sev obs)

Monday, 23 January 2017


From Elaine Turpin - No sign of the Cattle Egret but plenty of interest anyway. Loads of Little Grebes seen from the iron bridge (most I have ever seen together), Redshank, Teal, a fabulous Curlew and some Wigeon (Eurasian- alas no sighting of the  American Wigeon). My brother (Andrew Turpin) took a picture of a Redshank with what looks like a small crab in it's beak.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Castlemartin peninsula

Made a visit to Castlemartin this afternoon. Not too much to report, but it was nice to see a flock of 45 grey plovers roosting in a quiet spot in the middle of Frainslake Beach (they'd possibly moved over there from a usual roost site on rocks at Freshwest - being quite busy there today). In addition, c. 30 ringed plovers and 75 curlew were also roosting nearby on the beach.

A single merlin flew over the dunes. Later an adult male sparrowhawk seemed to be trying his luck with blackbirds preparing to roost near Frainslake millpond.

Yesterday, on our way from Angle Bay over to Bosherston Lakes late in the afternoon, a couple of hundred golden plovers were at Kilpaison near the Angle road. At the lakes goosander numbers seemed quite good - we saw at least 38.

Nothing of any real significance to report from Angle Bay really, but it was still nice to get good close views of 14 bar-tailed godwits roosting with at least 10 knot. The usual waterfowl here included at least 6 pale-bellied brents, plus a few pintail and shoveler.

Long-tailed duck still Pwll Crochan

From Maggie Bissmire - we sighted the Long-tailed duck at Pwll Crochan very close to the high tide line at about 10.45 am on 20th January.

American wigeon at the Gann

After a good look through ID guides and at online material, I agree with Dave that this bird is probably an adult male American wigeon, though I have to admit that duck ID is not a specialist subject of mine. Initially, the background colour of the cheeks seemed to lack the cold, grey/white tones that are characteristic of American wigeon, and at some angles in a low sun they appeared quite rufous, but they are still within the range of variation shown by American wigeon. The most helpful article was by Steve Votier et al in British Birds Jan 2003, link here. In particular, Plate 18 of that article, shows a similar bird among a variable range of others. The black line along the base of the upper mandible is supposed to be a diagnostic feature, and this shows on some of the photos. Whilst watching the bird on Thursday, Rich D was on the phone giving us many helpful pointers including the fact that pure white axillary coverts would be diagnostic for American wigeon but we didn't get a chance to check out this feature. It was disturbed several times by someone searching for a good spot to dig bait, but it was still almost impossible to gain an impression of the underwing colour. Hopefully it will stand up and flap in front of camera one day.

Whooper Swan -- Teifi

Tommy had better views of our very mobile Whooper Swan today...

The Swan was missing this morning but seen this afternoon flying over the Marshes and St Dogmael's Quay. Late this afternoon it was mid channel best viewed from the Railings, where the Water Pipit was showing, present since mid-December.
At high tide late afternoon, the 1st Knot of the year appeared at roost with the 2 Grey Plover and Bar-tailed Godwit.
(sev obs)

American wigeon still at the Gann

Paul G and I had another look at the wigeon today. In the same spot, but liked to keep some distance between us, even disappearing around the point at one stage before drifting back and starting to feed on shoreline. Based on articles online and Seb Reebers 'Wildfowl' the feelings are it could be a first winter bird coming into first breeding plumage. Still a bit more reading to do. After reading a bit more this afternoon, adult bird seems more likely. The white patch, as Dave suggests, is very obvious.

Cattle Egret, Firecrest..

The Cattle Egret still present this morning at Newport, see posts below for details.
A Firecrest was in the little "woodcraft teaching glade" 20m  before the river view point on the Teifi Marshes this morning.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

American Wigeon

Worth noting that on the 3rd December Birdguides carred a report of a 'possible drake' American Wigeon, presumably seen by a visitor.  If the bird is favouring the shoreline over at Musselwick, it seems entirely plausible that report relates to the same bird.

American Wigeon @ The Gann

Saw this bird late afternoon, in exactly the place Brian describes below - on the east side of the bay below the red brick house at Musselwick with 11 Wigeon.  Having now seen it I am convinced it is a drake American Wigeon, need to do a bit more research to be sure if it is a 1st winter (the white on the forewing would suggest not) or an older bird retaining some eclipse feathers in the mantle, flanks & undertail.  The clinching features that I could see were the thick black line at the base of the upper mandible, tail projecting well beyond the wing tips, and noticeably larger headed with a steeper forehead and more rounded crown & nape.

Ring-billed Gull, Whooper Swan...

The adult Ring-billed Gull was in the Llys y fran Resr  roost this evening. Also 1 Yellow-legged Gull and 3 adult Med Gulls, and a pair of Goldeneye at the reservoir.
An adult Whooper Swan was found (Bernie B)  on the Teifi this afternoon.  Three Shoveler (locally scarce bird) were also seen today.
(sev obs)

Great White Egret

A Great White Egret flew over the car at Mullock Bridge this morning, heading from north to south.

Newport Cattle Egret

Was in the field behind the lime kiln this morning, as it was yesterday morning.

Poss American wigeon - The Gann

The 'American' wigeon was feeding on the shoreline right over on Musselwick side of the Gann in front of the large white house SM 81887 06646. It's with a group of 10 Eurasians, if they became nervous they would move onto the sea. So no opportunity to see underwing.
Park at the Gann, and follow coast path beside the pools and around the bay. NB Footbridge across river so check tide times (noticeboard by car park). Theres a group of 30-40 wigeon that stay faithful to the pools.

Glaucous Gull - Fishguard

A juvenile again from the Flagpoles c9am
(Bernie B)

Friday, 20 January 2017

Hen harrier - The Gann

No sign of Mike and Paddys wigeon at first light. There were about 40 Eurasian wigeons in a couple of groups. Some consolation though in a male Hen harrier over the fields above the salt marsh which put up c100 Lapwing.

Waxwing in Haverfordwest - at last!

Always nice to find a good bird in your front garden whilst scraping ice off your car - this Waxwing in the front garden of 47 Furzy Park, Haverfordwest, feeding on apples this morning.  Nice find by Roger Devonald & Helen Allen whose garden it is in (about 200m from my house!).  I saw it twice between 8.45 and 9am, but it is mobile.  Please respect the privacy of residents and park nearby at Haverfordwest Cricket Club if visiting (about 200m away).

Based on this useful article (http://www.teesmouthbc.com/forumtbc/index.php?topic=5289.0), looks like an adult female to me....

Thursday, 19 January 2017


Theresa, Paddy and I were checking out colour ringed waders and this appeared on the tide line. The photo's are not the best as on the maximum zoom of my camera.

(photo Mike S)

The Newport wigeon

Does anybody know if the bird has been seen at Newport today?
Paddy and Mike Sherman have been watching a similar (or same) wigeon at The Gann this afternoon. Paddy/ Mike will post later, but following our conversation Paddy seemed to think that they were watching a different, but similar likely hybrid type wigeon..

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

American Wigeon ?

After talking to a few people this evening a friend has sugested a first winter male or possibly a hybred I have seen American Wigeon before in the UK and in Canada but over 20 years ago I am hoping to make a trip down to  Llanelli over the weekend to look at captive birds and hopefully make a decission for my self here are a few photos I took today has anyone got any experirence with this species or hybreds.

And again

As I hinted earlier this Wigeon does not look like the picture of an ad M American in Collins, but then I have no expertise in duck hybrids.
However, wouldn't a Eurasian/American Wigeon hybrid be even rarer than the real thing?.

The Wigeon again

A number of responses have been received now, including from Glenn below, Gareth Jenkins, etc. There seems to be a growing feeling that the bird is likely a hybrid, though this may not be the last word. As Glenn says, a great bird either way.


I was watching the bird this morning with Chris and Brian and I suggested the possibility of hybridisation. I have seen such a bird a few years back in Kyoto. I was drawn to the degree of russet colour on the head, which I have never seen in the typical Am Wigeon in the USA.
'Rare birds of Britain and Europe' Lewington/Alstrum/Colston p56 Note on hybrids "show some intermediate characters, eg. some reddish brown on the head." Chris' superb photographs clearly show this.
Whatever; a great bird and well worth seeking out.
Best wishes,
Glenn Ibbitson

Ring-billed gull still Llys y fran

Paul and I had a look at the gull roost. Almost 'arm-chair' conditions with the roost forming close in and the lake surface virtually flat calm. Many of the LBB even came onto the near bank to bathe and rest. An adult GBB with a red ring left leg among them but the number was obscured in the grass.
The Ringed-billed gull still there,  at least 8 adult Meds and at least 3 Yellow-legged gulls. Pair of Goldeneye.


..and new feathers on flanks grey rather than pinkish? https://www.flickr.com/groups/444365@N25/discuss/72157601805249895/


Is the American Wigeon at Newport rather warm chestnut etc around the head, as appears in the photos here. Is there any chance of hybridisation? I wonder if anyone can give reassurance that this is a pure Yank Wigeon. Sorry to be a little doubting, hope I'm concerned about nothing.

American Wigeon Newport

Top marks to Paul M for finding this. As Brian says...

American wigeon, Cattle egret - Newport

Couple of photos of the wigeon, Chris was in a more elevated position and may have some better shots. Good to see Sam this morning.

Newport Cattle Egret & American Wigeon

The Cattle Egret again resting just downstream from the bridge.
The American Wigeon is with the flock of c25 ordinary Wigeon which alternate between the seaward Parrog rocks at low tide, moving to the creek upstream from the Boat Club at high tide. It had to be pointed out to me as I was looking for an obvious green face flash, as per Collins, which it doesn't have, but the very pale cream forehead stripe & pinkish flanks were clear in retrospect.

Jays and Oaks

It was a poor acorn crop in mid Pembs last year. However, Jays are not reliant on acorns having a catholic diet it just that in good oak crop years they have a good living and prosper. Otherwise they need to cast more broadly, in extreme cases large numbers erupting out of woodland.