Sunday, 23 November 2014

Little Owl and Snow Bunting

From Steve Jarvis - Sunday, Lochvane near Solva, Little Owl enjoying the late sunshine.

And from Andrew Tuddenham  - Good views of a very approachable Snow Bunting around Foel Cwmcerwyn this afternoon at around 3:30.  I walked it up the path to the north of the trig point for 100m or so before it flew back round towards the summit.  


On the airfield around 4-500 Lapwing, 25 Skylark & 12 Snipe (no sign of any Lapland Bunting).  In the village a good looking candidate for a Siberian Chiffchaff sticking to the upper canopy of the western most pine bordering the car park.  Offshore the gull roost didn't really get going (just 3 Med Gulls), also a Guillemot and at the Gann a Greenshank flew over calling and there was a Kingfisher at the southern end of the lagoon.

Newport Sun am

Highlights at the bridge were 3 Greenshanks & a pair of Goosanders. With the gulls was a Skokholm ringed Great Black Back.

An even later swallow

Following my Stackpole house martin the other day - a juvenile swallow flying about in the sunshine near the sheep pens on Stackpole Warren.

Black Redstart

Info and pic from Helen Wood - Black Restart still present at the cottage by the old lighthouse, St Ann's Head yesterday 22nd.


Over the Irish Ferries dock, a peregrine just after lunch today.

Long-tailed Duck at Bosherston

An imm Long-tailed Duck was consorting with a female Goldeneye in the eastern arm of Bosherston Lily Ponds this morning.  The birds were about mid-way between Eight-arch Bridge and Grassy Bridge and staying in the shade close to the far bank.  Also ten or more Goosanders nearby with at least five Tufted Ducks.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Fortune's Frolic

Had a quick walk down the Frolic on the outskirts of Haverfordwest this morning. Highlights were a Red Kite drifting over, a splendid male Goosander, Little Egret, 2 Water Rails heard and a squabbling couple of Kingfishers- All within a short walk of the town centre!

Barn owl

On the new A477 a barn owl where the pylons cross the road, this evening at dusk.

Garden Warbler @ Broad Haven

Had a sniff around the promising looking valley at Broad Haven behind Broad Haven Holiday Park (there is a nice footpath that runs up towards Haroldston from where you can cut across to the Coast Path).  Whilst I was hoping for something unusual, I was not expecting to see a Garden Warbler, which I saw 3 times between the gate by the caravan park and the tyre-on-a-rope over the stream.  Also here Long-tailed Tit, Goldcrest etc, so worth a look.

Marloes, Gann - again

Returned to Marloes Mere  with my scope to count the Lapwings properly - 563. Then 3 more flocks flew in containing a total of some 400, then another 30 dropped out of the sky as I left, so just over a 1,000 birds on the field at Trehill. 25 Shoveler, 5 Gadwall, 1 female Merlin were the other noteworthy`s.
On to the Gann, GN Diver offshore, then I started counting Med Gulls - quite distant on a flat sea - I  counted 60, then up to 70, then 80 before the light started going, then some from the rear started leap frogging, in the end I gave up as I was struggling to see in the twilight, certainly 60+ birds. On the way home I followed a Barn Owl up from Mullock Bridge for 100m or so, it seemed completely unfazed by my headlights behind it as it flew along the road in front of me. Was it using them to spot any potential meal?


2 colour ringed Med Gulls today.
Green AJRN has been around since Nov 5. It was ringed as an adult on a nest near Hamburg in May 2010 & has mostly been seen in that area apart from a sighting in Dorset in Feb 11.
White 3E71 was ringed as a 3cy near Antwerp in June 05, & has been a regular visitor to West Wales with many sightings at Fishguard, Aberystwyth & Newport. I first saw it in Sept 08 & it spent most of Jan 2014 at Newport. Not surprisingly it's ring is beginning to look a bit tatty.
On another note a count of 77 Common Gulls 2 days ago set the Bird Track red light flashing.Similar numbers today.

Black Redstart

Today a Female/Juv on St Davids Cathedral at the bottom of the Clock Tower facing the Bell tower also c200 Golden Plover in fields opposite Ocean Haze - StD 

Marloes / Gann

Fairly busy this morning at the Mere, several hundred Lapwings in Trehill fields, with a rather out of place Brent Goose. Also a large mixed Corvid flock beyond the farm. Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler  & visiting couple from Chepstow   picked out a female pintail & 2 Golden Plovers in with the Lapwings.
At the Gann, the GND has gone, being replaced by a Merganser, a couple of  big Gull roosts mainly Lesser / Greater/ Herring, quite a few Teal
& Wigeon around too.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Black Redstart

From Helen Wood - We have been staying all week in the small holiday cottage attached to the old St Ann's Head lighthouse. This morning at 11:10 during a dry spell between the showers I again saw the Black Redstart from the rear window feeding on the patio close to the cottage. This probably means that it is resident in this area.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

St David's Head this morning

With settled weather continuing, Annie and I had another 4 hour session at St David's Head this morning surveying seabird activity.

Kittiwake was the main species on the move today. More than 2,000 were recorded in several waves of bird movements heading SW. A further 1,000+ were feeding several km offshore to the NW (on the edge of the misty-haze) and several hundred more were feeding at the same time off Careg Trai to the west. In all we estimated up to 4,000 kittiwakes in the area.

We noted very similar kittiwake feeding activity and movements off St David's Head in late November last year.

Other species moving SW included some 1,500 auks (plus dozens more feeding offshore). Some of the guillemots were already sporting smart breeding plumage and quite a few others were almost in summer plumage.

At least 100 gannets (95% adults) were heading SW, hundreds of black-headed gulls, c. 50 common gulls, 30 common scoters (no velvets seen today), 6 red-throated divers flew SW and a great northern diver fed briefly within 200 metres of the cliffs.

It was nice to see good numbers of fulmars back in the area and a single swallow coming in off the sea. Sadly though, no signs of the Blyth's Pipit today.


A couple of dozen Fieldfares and Redwings near Carew Castle this afternoon as well as 210 Lapwings in the area. On Radford Pill and the Carew River 47 Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 29 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Curlew, 2 Little Egrets and a few Teal.

Bird Conference - Last Chance

Just a quick reminder that bookings for the Bird Conference close on Monday. Any queries to Bob Haycock please. Conference details on the Bird Group Blog.

Peter Royle

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Velvet Scoter

Picture from Point St John taken by Malcolm Barradell yesterday.


15.30 at the Iron Bridge found 18 Teal, 3 Goosanders (2f, 1m), 3 Dabchick and a single Greenshank.

No Show Pipit

No sign of the Blyth's Pipit up to 11:30 this morning though Mark Hipkin and I gave it a really good go. As far as I can see there seems to be a general consensus behind Blyth's now. If accepted by BBRC it will be the 2nd for Wales, following one on Bardsey, in 2005, and about the 23rd or so for Britain I think. A mega in fact! I haven't seen one since the Sheringham bird, found by Tim Wright, in 1996. A couple more photos from yesterday below:

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Prob. Blyth's Pipit

If anyone wants to look for the bird tomorrow then park at Whitesands car park and follow the Coast Path out to St Davids Head. When you get to the Kissing Gate after 1/4 mile? (it's the only one), look anywhere from the path to the clifftop. It can get along any horse path in the gorse but it's favourite area is the clifftop and rocky promontary. It often feeds on grassy ledges and can be difficult to see from a distance so the first you know it's there is when it suddenly appears nearby.Then it's off. It can disappear for ages but does seem to return to this area.

Ring-necked Parakeet

From David Ord - The parakeet was back in Hook again today - looking quite handsome in the early morning light. Hopefully it is managing to find some food although we have not seen it foraging.

St David's Head and a few more pics of the possible Blyth's Pipit

Annie and I planned to watch seabirds from St David's Head for a few hours today, but on approaching the Kissing Gate we saw Mike Y-P clearly watching something interesting on the coast ahead of us. He beckoned us over and so we knew it most probably would be a good bird!

After a while I managed with Mike to see the "pipit". Although clearly larger and chunkier than nearby meadow pipits to me it didn't seem to have a bulky or long-tailed appearance and had more or less the build of a meadow pipit but was clearly larger. It's flight calls were rather short "chrup, chrup" sort of sounds, not particularly loud and nothing like any Richard's I've ever heard over the last 40+ years.

Here are some additional images. They are not brilliant but were the best I could manage with a small compact camera. The upper one shows two meadow pipits at the bottom and the "other pipit" at the top right.

Other species of note, seen by Annie at the Head, included a fine adult male velvet scoter heading towards Strumble and 2 little auks heading west. Offshore up to 1,000 kittiwakes were feeding some way off to the north-west. All in all a brilliant day.

Thanks Mike for flagging us down!


Spent all day chasing big boy around the gorse on St Davids Head, thankfully joined by Bob Haycock. Initial thoughts were just big pipit and then it called and it sounded odd. Twenty calls later and it never sounded like a Richard's. I couldn't get my camera till the end of the day and took some shots as it turned up again after an hour's wait. The moulted median covert, hind claw, pointed bill with straightish culmen and general, relatively short-tailed proportions suggest Blyth's to me. Bob and I both thought it had some of the jizz of a small pipit. I have to admit though that I haven't seen Blyth's for many years and would be glad of other opinions. A few images here:


A beautiful day today with lots of good birds. Great Northern Diver over North Haven first thing, a male Black Redstart on the Neck, Merlin, a female Bullfinch, Firecrest, Goldcrest, 2 Chiffchaff and a Great Spotted Woodpecker in North Valley. A Hen Harrier probably roosted in North Valley last night but not seen today.

Ridgeway merlin

While taking a detour to avoid the roadworks on the A477 - a male merlin perched on a telegraph pole on the Ridgeway, above Milton/Carew Cheriton.


2 black redstarts on the west coast was a nice find on Lisa's seal round (still pups being born!) - also 2 chiffchaffs still hanging around making them the latest ever record (the previous was 16/11) - will they overwinter?

City News

A Black Redstart on a St.Davids rooftop this morning - not quite making it on to the garden list. The dippers showing well just behind the Cathedral shop,


Monday, 17 November 2014

The Gann
With the sky clearing midday I couldn't resist a go at photographing the Great Northern Diver at the Gann. I hung around for 2 hours or so during which time it consumed at least 8 crabs and either stayed near the middle of the pool or positioned itself against the light. Perseverence eventually paid off when it surfaced close by. It seemed quite surprised  to see me there which is perhaps why the normally steep forehead is flattened (compare with John Freeman's photo below and Elwyn's photos on Sunday).

Also on the pools a female Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Little Egrets and a couple of Redshank.
John Freeman reports 25+ Oystercatcher beachside, 4 Greenshank, 35+ Curlew in the field opposite the car park. 3 Little Egrets in the lagoons, along with 1 Little Grebe.

Very late house martin...

...flitting about over the marsh upstream of One-Arch Bridge, Upper Eastern Arm, Stackpole, this afternoon. Watched for 10-15 minutes!

Parakeet and Black Redstarts

From David Ord - There has just been a ring necked parakeet in our garden in Hook (2pm). It flew off North.

From David Meanwell - Black redstart returned to Puffin Way Broadhaven last Friday - two weeks earlier than last year.

From Helen Wood - I saw a Black redstart at St Ann's Head, at the old lighthouse, at 11.00am yesterday 16th.