Friday, 22 March 2019

Skokholm

Siberian Chiffchaff and a male rubicola Stonechat the highlights, but also two Black Redstart, 12 Wheatear, first Blackcap of spring, singing Redwing and a nice fall of Chiffchaffs. Totals and photos on the Skok blog.

Teifi Marshes

Thirty Sand Martins feeding over Kingfisher Pond this evening where a Lesser Redpoll was singing amongst the Chiffchaff. Twenty Sand Martins feeding at Mallard Pond too.

Little Gull

Thanks to Derek for the tip off this evening, Little Gull nicely onto the garden list!!

Gadwall at St Davids Airfield

A pair of Gadwall on Waun Llechell, St Davids Airfield late afternoon. Also present were 10 Shoveller (8 smart males), 2 Little Grebe, a few pairs of Wigeon and Teal, a Coot and Moorhen. 50 or so Sand Martin flew low around the pond before heading south east in small groups. A noisy group of Fieldfare flew over. Kestrel hunted nearby. On the way home a ringtail Hen Harrier over the Dowrog and 15 more Sand Martins over Penberi Pool.

Little Gull

Still at the Gann late afternoon.

Little Gull still at the Gann

The Little Gull was back at the Gann again this morning, keeping company with a group of Black-headed Gulls and a few Mediterranean Gulls. At the Deer Park earlier, there were plenty of birds around with the highlight for me being my first Wheatear of the year.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Willow Tits near Letterston

Our search for willow tits for the national survey hadn't revealed much evidence of them in tetrads they were recorded in 10 years ago in SE Pembs. Today we headed up to the Letterston area to check out some valley woodland next to the upper reaches of the Cleddau. For a while, it wasn't looking too promising even though there was plenty of very suitable habitat. Pleasingly we found a territory occupied not far from the Fishguard railway line. They are in some nice mixed valley mire habitat (similar to Llangloffan Fen where they hopefully still occur just a few km further along the same tributary of the upper Cleddau). 

Chiffchaffs were pretty much in evidence (perhaps a dozen or so singing) plus the expected usual woodland residents.  At least 8 nests were occupied at the heronry in this area, a couple more than last year. Small flocks of redwings and fieldfares were also noted, reminding us that winter migrants are still around. About 40 redwings were near Martletwy earlier in the week and a fine adult male goshawk at Whitehill. 

Signs of summer

Rob and I saw 2 swallows over by Croeswdig about 8am today, Thursday 21st.
From Rob and Eleri Davies, 

Wednesday 1700 hours 4 swallows flying over Goodwick harbour. Earlier in the day chiffchaff singing by the Gwaun river in Fishguard Lower Town. 
From Clare Ryland

Chiffchaffs very evident today in H'west, Plumstone, Dale, The Gann and around Marloes Mere. 3 Swallows and 2-3 Sand martins in the mist at Marloes Mere. Pair of Shelduck also on the mere this evening, the resident Pintail and drake Tuftie. At the Gann, 23 Brent, the Merganser, 2 2cy Med gulls, couple of Bar-tailed godwits and couple Greenshank. GC grebe and GN diver.
2 male Yellowhammers at Plumstone.

Surprise Merlin

Heading back from town on the back road into Sutton this morning, a Buzzard on a pole was keeping company with a female Merlin on the wire right next to it, only the fourth personal record of a Merlin in Sutton.

Pencarnan Sand Martins

Shortly after midday, during a brief interlude of sunshine breaking through dense fog patches, a flock of 40/50 SAND MARTINS passed over the campsite.

Yellow Legged Gull.

An adult at Llanstadwell this morning.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Pencarnan Patch Arrivals

Despite a day of sea fog, relieved only by the occasional sucker-gap, I was not deterred from morning and afternoon patch circuits. My reward? Two annual patch firsts, both coastal deliveries.
AM. Chiffchaff behind the Lifeboat Station. PM. White Wagtail on freshly ploughed field adjacent the LBS. No surprizes there, but finding two Skylarks near Point St John at 07:00, hanging high in the fog, spilling out their fluttering serenade, was unexpected.

St David's - Tuesday

One Swallow and a small group of Sand Martin over the Golf Course today.
(Steve Jarvis)

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Skok

Four Sand Martin, two Wheatear and a few other interesting bits and bobs on the Skok blog. Also a Puffin vortex with a record March count.

Foreign Stonechats

Early this morning, close to St Justinian Lifeboat Station, two male Stonechats,  both sporting large white areas of plumage, were seen facing off.

Their large white wing patches, broad white collars, white rumps and limited orange breast patches immediately told me that they were not my usual hibernans patch breeding birds. Their areas of white (I considered) were far too large to be even thought of as rubicolar-types. I'll be listing them as full- on rubicola individuals.

During my fifteen years of patch-birding here at Pencarnan, this is the 2nd or 3rd occasion I've seen such Stonechats during March, always soon after dawn, close to the coast, and quickly lost as they continue their eastward journey.

Dowrog Common

Made a visit to Dowrog Common yesterday (18th) at 3pm for about 45 minutes with my father (we didn't even get out of the car) - saw 1 red kite, a kestrel and a buzzard, a pair of stonechat and then great views of a ringtail hen harrier flying low over the area on the southern side of the road, it flushed up a snipe before being chased off to the north by crows.
(Clare Ryland)

Monday, 18 March 2019

Puncheston Common

From Maria Hemingway.
While undertaking the final Hen Harrier roost survey of the season on the 17th, yesterday, I had good views over 20 minutes of this Short Eared Owl hunting. Present again this afternoon. Both days 15.30 onwards. Also spotted was a Red Kite, a Kestrel and 2 pairs of amorous Buzzards. 
Sadly the last Harrier seen was a Ringtail three weeks ago. This season there has consistently been one Grey, male, Harrier first seen on the 24th October last year and 2 Ringtail Harriers. One of these birds was larger than the other with ragged tail feathers.  None of the birds were ringed. Jean Dovey and Tommy Evans have taken great photographs of them over the winter. 
The photos of the Owl are not to their standards and it was some distance away.

Little Gull

A 1st Winter bird at the Gann around 5pm, I went there half hoping  Rosie T`s Iceland Gull fly in - a target bird for the Winter - as was a Little Gull. Got one of them anyway!

A Lost Game

Sat playing crib with Marion, with one eye on my cards, the other looking out over Whitesands Bay, a Short-eared Owl passed over the fields.

I dropped my cards, grabbed my bins, and before making it to the caravan's window, the owl doubled back and disappeared between the other caravans. Was that a mirage lost from view? No way. It soon reappeared, floating past very close to our decking.

Understandably, in the excitement, I lost the first game in this year's Pencarnan crib competition, but it was worth it for such a close view of this crepuscular hunter.

Skokholm

First Wheatear of the year today, A14 a three-year-old male.
Our 2018 Seabird Report can now be downloaded for free here:
https://welshwildlife-6aa7.kxcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Skokholm-Seabird-Report-2018.pdf

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Hirundines - The Teifi Marshes

Four Sand Martins greeted us at Mallard Pond to start our day, at 5pm we had 1 Swallow and 7 Sand Martins along with the early dusk hunting Barn Owl.

Great day for Gulls

A great day for gulls! 1 solitary Iceland Gull in the centre of Dale Airfield (unmistakable!) and good numbers of common, med and black headed gulls along the Gann. Golden plover, teal, wigeon, pochard and plenty of waders made for a cracking few hours birding today.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

The Teifi Marshes

Seven Black-tailed Godwits flying around the river this evening, eventually landing in front of Creek Hide including 1 full breeding plumage bird. Tawny Owl calling and a Barn Owl hunting over the Buffalo meadows, Water Rails still screaming from the reeds.

Martin’s Haven in the wind

Around midday:
A ringtail Hen Harrier over the valley towards West Hook: being really blown around!
2 pairs of Rock Pipits
A pair of Dunnock and a Blue Tit in the sallows
A Shag and a Cormorant fishing in the mouth of the Haven

Gulls - The Teifi

A pre high tide look this morning from The Webley found 184 Common Gulls of which 155 were immatures also 14 Med. Gulls of which 8 were immature birds.