Saturday, 22 October 2016

Pencarnan Report

A day when the weather was sufficiently settled to encourage a Skylark to sing over Point St John and see us make AM and PM sweeps of our patch.

As a rising sun touched the horizon, Song Thrushes, Redwings and Fieldfares took flight in single number counts. 4 Fieldfare were a seasonal first for the site. Out on the headland we put up 5 Snipe. The maritime scrub here is a regular drop in zone for Snipe, and Skylarks are attracted to this area too, with flock numbers increasing steadily throughout this month. C100 today.

Porthselau valley attracted 5 Long-tailed Tits and a single Bullfinch, both are scarce patch species.

 3 Red-legged Partridges noisily took flight as we bashed the fields and hedgerows. They had a successful breeding year with three coveys recorded during the summer months.

Bird of the week  goes to Goldcrest. During twelve years of birding here at Pencarnan, we have never encountered so many in the month of October, with two or three in the valley most days, but as many as six in the withies behind Rhosson Chapel.

Finally, 6 raptors put in an appearance today: a single Sparrowhawk skewered its way down the valley, a Kestrel held station over the moor before sunrise, 3 Buzzards lifted off when thermal activity kicked in around midday, and of course, the f/juv Merlin patrolled the pipit fields (you know, our Peregrine look-alike!)

There was a lot of migrant activity today, as there has been all month. Ok, it's not like the East Coast of Britain but, with fingers crossed, let's hope that the strong run of easterlies, forecast for the beginning of the week, will keep things mobile.

JB and M.

Poppit Sands Area

Brambling male
Goldfinch 20
Chaffinch 20
Great Spotted Woodpecker 2
Chiff Chaff 2
Reed Bunting 5
Meadow Pipit 20
Rock Pipit 2
Little Egret 2

Pelagic Yesterday

I went out on a late season Pelagic with Sea Trust yesterday. It was pretty much "Dolphin Soup" at times as we started seeing pods of Common Dolphins about an hour out of Milford Haven and we then had Dolphins coming to join the boat for several hours. In all we estimated 600 Dolphins mainly females with calves.

On the bird front it was, as you would expect at this time of year, fairly quiet out at sea but we did come across several large groups of Kittiwakes, quite a few Gannets and some Razorbills and Guillemots. One Swallow and 6 Pipits passed by the boat and an unfortunate dead male Blackbird drifted past. We called in at Skokholm and Skomer on the way back in and both islands seemed eerily quiet without the hubub of the seabird colonies. At Skomer a Red Kite was drifting around attracting the attention of the local corvids and 5 Buzzards were also flying around near Middle Holm.

See the Whales in Wales blog for more info on the trip and click on the Razorbills above for more photos.

Out and about

Dale airfield: Single Chiffchaff and a few Goldcrest on track up. 3 groups of 20 Redwing passing over, only a single Fieldfare. Merlin hunting along the valley to West Dale, pushing lots of pipits around. Lots of Meadow pipits on the airfield, 8 Reedbunting and 50 Linnet. 7 Snipe. A Peregrine spooking corvid flock.  2 Mute swans flying low off Hoppers Point heading over Gateholm towards Skomer. Best sighting was a Polecat.
Llys y fran: last night. Big gull roost. 3000+ LBB,  30 BH gulls, 10 Herring gull and single adult Common gull. 6 Heron. 7 GC grebe, 3 Little grebe.


An adult drake at Westfield Pill this morning.While females have been an almost annual sighting at this location,this is the first showy male since 1997.

Freshwater East

Lots of winter thrushes moving through the dunes from West to East this morning (7.45 - 8.15). Mostly Redwing but a few Blackbirds and others mixed in, moving quite fast and the light was still low so not able to make them all out. Groups of 50 - 100 every few minutes for about 30 minutes. They didn't stop even though there are plenty of berries, although one group took cover in the trees when a local Peregrine tied for a Redwing breakfast. Also plenty of Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtails and Linnet about.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Wiston area - some winter migrants

We walked along some more minor roads this afternoon. This time near Wiston, noting general wildlife in the area. There seemed to be quite good numbers of redwings around - feeding on hawthorn berries (quite a good fruiting season it seems). Probably in excess of 100 birds were involved, but spread out in small feeding flocks through 3-4 one km squares.

In addition there were at least 20 fieldfares feeding on the berries along-side other thrushes. Two bramblings were present with numerous chaffinches in one area, and at least one additional brambling was heard in a separate one km square. A single male blackcap was observed feeding on the edge of Wiston wood. Starlings were heading over to the Slebech reedbed. They've been roosting there for a few weeks now at least, but still in quite low numbers. Several hundred flew over there from the Wiston direction this evening.

Carn media Crymych

Fieldfare 20
Redwing 60
Perigrine 1
Golden Plover 20
Raven 6
Stonechat 4


Migration really picked up yesterday with highlights being a Red-throated Diver, a Long-tailed Duck, Ring Ouzel, 640 Skylark (and some other good counts of common migrants) and Snow Bunting. Today was not quite as good but another Yellow-browed Warbler, Red Kite and a few more common migrants made for some good birding again.


Flyover Richard's Pipit the highlight of a busy day. Firecrest at Obs. Totals on Skok blog before too long.

Pencarnan Peregrine solved.

The possible calidus Peregrine was in fact a juv Merlin. (see earlier post)

Excuse the error. The bird returned to a closer perch - giving scale -  (not a bush this time) later in the day, but still distant. The scope is at max mag! The field in front of the Merlin is a regular roost for Meadow Pipits. Most evenings they can be observed dropping out of the sky. This Merlin, I suspect, will be around for a while...may be...all of winter.

Firecrest at Ty Rhyg

A smart male firecrest was ringed at Ty Rhyg yesterday morning during a busy session. Lots of thrushes overhead including a minimum of 500 redwings and 120 fieldfare. Also of note were 17 crossbills in a noisy flock, 2 bramblings, 2 sparrowhawks and a late blackcap.

Possible Peregrine of the calidus race

Today, early PM, a juvenile Peregrine (male by size) sat on bush on Pencarnan's headland. It had a prominent pale supercilium; by that I mean - very prominent. It flew off while I attempted to take a picture through the scope. Arctic race? Any thoughts anyone?

A glorious afternoon walking country lanes near Brawdy

As a slight change of scenery for us, yesterday afternoon we walked some of the country lanes west of Brawdy to record "general wildlife" in a few one km squares (where records seemed to be lacking).

It was a glorious afternoon. There were not too many birds of note (an over-flying heron but no large white egret was seen). Non-the-less, we were entertained by some 800+ golden plovers, either wheeling around overhead, or else feeding in recently harrowed arable/stubble fields, occasionally being temporarily disturbed into the air by a tractor and lime-spreader.

Other winter migrants were were not particularly numerous but a small flock of about 10 redwings fed in a hedgerow on numerous hawthorn berries, alongside several mistle thrushes and other probably resident thrushes. There were dozens of linnets around and similar numbers of chaffinches. All were feeding in as yet un-ploughed cereal stubbles, alongside small numbers of skylarks moving around from field to field. Singles of chiffchaff and blackcap in the hedgerows were about the only signs of any summer migrants still around in this area.

Back at home, our regular family flocks of bullfinches are tucking into privet berries as is usual here at this time of year. Usually up to eight or so have been noted. This morning at least 14 have been gorging on this popular, if somewhat temporary, fruit resource. The males seemed to be taking probably the most ripe fruit; the females and juvs (at least those juvs not yet moulted) seemed to be mainly feeding on the smaller and greener fruit.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Newport Estuary

Greenshank 1
Redshank 5
Dublin 1
Wigeon 100
Little Grebe 6
Little Egret 2
Kingfisher 1
Chiff Chaff 2

Great White Egret

With regards to the blog from Steve Berry i had a Great White Egret flying over Treginnis Lode heading towards Ramsey sound at 10 this morning i text John and Marion who were on Point St John at the time but no sign.

Great White Egret

I had an email today a Great White Egret seen flying from Llangloffen Fen today seen by Fran Eggby.

Llys-y-fran yellow-billed Swan

I've just been talking to a reasonably competent birdwatcher who gave me a reasonably convincing description of a Bewick's Swan seen in the midst of the gull roost at Llys-y-fran yesterday evening. If not then definitely a Whooper.  Worth someone checking this evening I would think.


One this morning on the coast path just west of Hazlebeach.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

A Black Redstart at Camrose on Monday

Kate Smith, of West Wales Biodiversity Information Centre, described to us today a black redstart that she recorded in her garden at Camrose on Monday 17th October. This was the first one she had ever seen in her area.

Teifi - White Gull

White Herring Gull at the Webley this morning. Only waders were 7 Redshank and a Grey Plover.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Marloes and the Gann

Marloes mere this evening: 200+ Teal, 75+ Mallard, 20 Wigeon, 10 Shoveler. Kestrel. 2 Curlew. 3 Goldcrest and a Chiffchaff by Britton hide. c1000 Herring gulls in Trehills stubble field. Gann last light: Met Derek. 27 Grey plover, 10 Bar-tailed, 3 Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 2 Ringed plover, a Black-tailed godwit and a Dunlin. Chiffchaff in scrub by car park. c40 Pied wagtails going to roost by Crabhall.

WEBS at the Gann

Pretty useless WEBS count at the Gann this morning - the dread combination of very high tide, strong winds and dog walkers. I was cheered up by the large flock of passerines (about 60) feeding on the receding tide line - pipts, wagtails, reed buntings, linnets and chaffinches with the greatest number being Meadow Pipits. Also a lone Wheatear perched up on a rock and not joining in with the rabble.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Yellow Browed Warbler-Haverfordwest

Calling this morning 7.45am, same place

Sunday, 16 October 2016


Hoopoe still and an Oct record count of Med Gulls.

Ceibwr Bay

Dipper 1
Red Kite 2
Buzzard 2
Goldcrest 20
Chiff Chaff 2
Nuthatch 2
Treecreeper 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker 2
Red Fox 2

Yellow Browed Warbler in Haverfordwest

At 9 am took dog for a walk in the woodland on Crow Hill, heard a familiar call (like Clive's) high up in the canopy no sign though. Went back to house grabbed bins relocated and showing really well.
Directions top of Crow Hill, opposite st. martins park, there is a woodland yard, take the path to the left then the path forking right down to river. Stop here large oak and beech in front of you, up high with usual woodland stuff goldcrest/tits etc. Also increase in grey wags here and kingfisher.


A good morning with the high tide & strong wind, 8 Green Sandpipers were the highlight, Grey Plover now up to 22, a Little Stint (?) in with them, 1 Greenshank, 5 Little Egrets, 4 Wigeon, c150 Oyster Catchers pushed up on to the shingle by the high tide, 2 1st Winter Common Gulls, 1 adult Med - though given the large number of Gulls on the lagoon & river there were certainly more  - just 1 Bartail, quite a few Pipits & Wagtails too. Not that many Curlew but they tend to be further up on the flooded Mullock marsh in these conditions.