Sunday, 27 December 2015

Ramsey Sound this morning and a brief early afternoon stop at Newgale

We watched the Sound and surrounding area for a few hours this morning, finishing around 13:00 hrs when dull drizzle conditions had well and truly set in. Upon arrival at St Justinian just as it was getting light, it was obvious that quite a lot of herring gulls were moving towards the Sound, many settling and feeding in coastal pasture some three fields in from the coast. A quick scan revealed at least one white-winger among them, a 1st winter Iceland Gull. The light conditions were terribly dull and the view point from the coast path was quite far away from the gulls but some photos were attempted anyway - wishing that we'd had a larger camera and lens today, than the lightweight compact system but better than nothing anyway.
A very poor photo of the Iceland Gull (near centre between 2 adult herring gulls) 
it was in a flock of 100+ gulls some 3 fields inland from the coast at St Justinian
During the morning a couple more light-bellied brents flew south through the Sound and also a few flocks of common scoter (largest flock was 38). A single great northern diver fed in the Sound for several minutes before drifting south and becoming lost from view. It was also nice to see a couple of adult gannets feeding in the Sound today - Grassholm returnees?

There were somewhere between 800 and 1,000 black-headed gulls dip-feeding in the Bay between Whitesands and St David's Head. The views were quite distant from the Point St John area but this revealed at least 6-8 Med Gulls with them; mostly adults but at least one 2nd winter and a couple of 1st winter birds.

The flock of choughs feeding in the stubbles numbered 15 today, they were there at first light so presumably must be roosting somewhere close by.

A very obliging unringed kestrel posed well at Point St John this morning;
a peregrine chasing B-H gulls in the Sound was much less accommodating!
On our return south we had a brief look at the gulls in the flooded Newgale marsh and quickly spotted at least 4 Med Gulls there bathing with BHGs. Perhaps these included some of the birds that had been seen earlier moving south through the Sound?

At least 4 adult Med Gulls offered reasonable views alongside numerous BHGs in the flooded Newgale Marsh