Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Angle to Angle Point Revisited 17.01.22

A return to Angle yesterday afternoon on a flowing WolfMoon high tide produced much better views of the 2 Great Northern Divers.

They were seen best either side of Angle Point beach. And through the scope looked fabulous in the strong sunlight. (When they weren't constantly diving!)

(Poor record shot of one of the GNDs with its foot hanging out to dry.)


We only saw 7 pale-bellied Brents. The 2 Common Scoter were absent. And the list of birds were similar to recent reports. The wader roost on The Ridge was as good as the previous day. 31+ Turnstone here came along the beach, almost right up to us, as we quietly sat. And more Snipe pretended to be seaweed.

2 males and a female Bullfinch fed on dock seeds in the horse paddock beyond the old pub.

A Greenshank was vocal. 4 Great Crested Grebes were in the bay. Lots of Pintail arrayed along the southern shore, but distant, and 3 Little Egret were on the mud in the middle at one point. A bonus was a Sanderling that almost landed near our feet while we were watching a Loon dispatching a crab.

A huge Starling flock made its way, from the West, to Castlemartin Corse near dark. And we were again wowed by the impressive Rook and Jackdaw roost in the trees at the east end of Angle. They were less wowed by the 2 Buzzards that flew low over them when they'd got settled for the night.

It's all a bit addictive!


Pam Buckle & Phil Baber


Monday, 17 January 2022

Angle

From Pam Buckle & Phil Baber: We paid our first visit to Angle yesterday, and mopped up some of the birds that have recently been reported.

Angle - Village to Angle Point. 16 Jan 22. Mid Afternoon to dusk.

In line with recent reports:
The 2 Great Northern Divers were eventually seen near each other well into the bay on high tide near dusk. Earlier one was briefly seen in the mouth of the bay, and it, or the other, was seen in flight a bit later heading out to the Cleddau.
The 2 female Common Scoter were seen distantly within the bay. A group of 20 light-bellied Brent Geese were towards the point.
A Kingfisher perched in the hedge alongside the road briefly, which was bizarre.
Otherwise 6 Great-Crested Grebe. 3 Knot. 22 Blackwit. 20+ Turnstone. 90+ Dunlin. 70+ Oystercatcher. Plenty of Redshank. A few Curlew and a single Greenshank. Plenty of Snipe delighted with some very close views out in the open.Wigeon in abundance, but only 3 pintail in the immediate area.
Our first visit here and a huge area to cover. We will certainly be back!

Recently 1 Blackcap still present at Pembroke Mill Pond and Water Rail still calling from the reeds (3 the other evening.)

Dowrog Sunday evening

From Chris Dighton: Great couple of hours at Dowrog common this evening began with a male Merlin fly past. Met another birder (also Chris) and we watched a ringtail and a stunning male hen harrier which gave great views. Then a couple of shorties put on a show for 15-20 minutes and at one point had a coming together in mid air as they quartered the common in front of us. After they broke away, one was then buzzed by a barn owl. Other birds included a common buzzard, kestrel, red kite, redwings a single snipe and 2 distant little egrets flew through. Chris also had a couple of woodcock. 




Breeding Robin ?

 A predated Robin egg in the garden yesterday - Den Vaughan

Singing Dipper

We explored Toby's stamping grounds this morning - the Old Mill Grounds in Haverfordwest - while waiting for an appointment at a phone shop (no we didn't know you needed one either!). Best sighting was a Dipper singing lustily but scratchily from a grid on the sewage plant just upstream of the circular path. 

Rosemary Royle

Marloes Mere

 A quick visit to Marloes Mere at dawn this morning gave great views of a ringtail Hen Harrier who put up the ducks and 36 Snipe. A pair of Pintail was nice to see along with the Teal, Wigeon, Mallard and Shoveler. A quick fly-through by a female Merlin as I was heading back to the car rounded off the visit. 

Teifi Marshes

High tide, a flowing river and the ponds still frozen. 2 drake Goldeneye, 2 drake  and 3 female Goosander  from the river view point on the reserve at dawn.

Sunday, 16 January 2022

Llys-y-fran

2 juvenile Iceland gulls at the roost tonight, one a particularly white bird that Paul picked up in flight. 6 Yellow-legged gulls (5adult and a 2cy), 3 Med gulls (2 adult and a 3cy), 4 GBB gulls (looked like a family group with 2 adults and 2 young birds together). 4 GC grebe. A really big roost but late forming, stretching the length of the reservoir and majority stacked close to far side out of the wind. A Tawny owl calling near the dam as we left.

Saturday, 15 January 2022

Angle and the Corse - Glossy ibis, Cattle egret, Whoopers and more

After Bob and Annie's recent discoveries, Paul and I decided a trip south of the river was in order this afternoon. We began with a thorough though distant scan of the Corse from near Corseside Nursey, 1,000s of Lapwing and Golden plover were wheeling around but that was all. Angle harbour and bay was better in terms of variety. A mixed flock of waders was feeding along the rising tide line by the ridge. c200 Dunlin (with a similar number distantly in flight over at Sawdern side), 66 Black-tailed godwit, 6 Knot and a Turnstone, with numbers of Redshank in the channels on the harbour side and 25 snipe flushing. 15 Great-crested grebe, 2 female Scoter and 2 GN divers in the bay. 73 Pintail was my best count, 30 Shelduck, Wigeon, Mallard and Teal adding to the mix. And a last complete scan of the shore turned up 2 adult Whoopers beyond Bangeston Wood, nice. A dash back to Monkton next to look for egrets, the field Bob and Annie reported birds in recently was hard to check and we could only see a single Little egret in it. Down at Quiots Pill, the only egrets visible were also of the Little variety, however Paul soon picked out 2 egrets among a herd of cattle over on Pennar side one Little and one a Cattle egret (the field is at the end of Sycamore Street, Pembroke Dock), excellent. 

Back to the Corse around 4pm. As we approached from Gupton side, a Ringtail Hen harrier quartering the reedbed was a good start (quite a small bird, pale on the underside, so presumably a male), this was soon followed by a Marsh harrier heading up the valley before we'd even reached the hide and moments later a different darker Marsh harrier was hunting to the western side (Richards 2cy bird?). 30 Teal were out from the hide, dozens of snipe taking flight as the harriers moved around. 2 Cettis warbler started to find their voice as dusk approached and Starling numbers suddenly increased with many 1,000s murmerating and sweeping across the valley before dropping into the reeds towards Starmans Hall. At 4:50pm a squawking Water rail took flight, and simultaneously the 2 Glossy ibis appeared passing right in front of the hide. They came in low from the east, circled widely 2 or 3 times, affording us some nice fly-bys before thankfully settling down to roost just out from the hide, giving us some excellent views in the fading light, superb. A real red-letter day. 

Fishguard/Goodwick Harbour

A trip up to Fishguard/Goodwick late morning and afternoon produced the usual expected/variety of gull and wader species near the Flagpoles, although we failed to spot any Med. Gulls there today. In the harbour at Goodwick, it was fairly quiet when we were there, but a Guillemot was resting on the sea and occasionally diving nearer to the northern breakwater. 

A Red-throated Diver put in a brief appearance, spending most of its time underwater, sometimes being difficult to follow. After about 20 minutes, just before the ferry set sail, it swam out of the harbour into the open sea. It was presumed to have headed somewhere behind the northern breakwater, beyond our sight of view.  


It never came close enough for a decent photo 

The resident  drake Merganser was near the flagpoles too. Later on he was resting, gradually drifting on a very calm sea towards Lower Town harbour, where a Great Crested Grebe was also resting just outside the harbour.  

Resting/sleeping? on the water, halfway between Saddle Point and the Flagpoles


Down South

Fantastic afternoon around south west Pembs at Castlemartin Corse and Angle Bay.

First at the Corse where the highlight was a juvenile Marsh Harrier which drifted east along the mash. The first time I've seen this species in Pembs and one of my absurlute favorate birds so really nice to watch. Also a Sparrowhawk flushed and 2 Cetti's Warblers. Seemingly missed Paul and Brian who had a more productive time there and at Angle. 

Later at Angle in the low light hundreds of waders and wildfowl which were too much to count! At least 60 Pintail, 300 Wigeon, 6 Great Crested Grebe, 4 Knot (suprisingly new for me), 30 Black-tailed Godwit, and 2 Great Northern Diver in the Bay. Quite a spectacular show from plenty of other species and would really like to have another visit when I can acctualy see things!

Chiffchaffs - St Florence STW

Trying and failing to find any chiffchaffs around the Amroth area so far this winter I decided to widen my search and try some sites around the Tenby area this morning.

Most spots drew a blank but the sewage works at St Florence proved successful. A minimum of 7 birds seen: 6 nominate collybita and a nice cold tristis (Siberian Chiffchaff). Unfortunately, it remained silent but it looked the part.

Firecrest, Chiffchaff - Poppit

A Firecrest with Goldcrests in streamside vegetation along the path leading up from Poppit car park to Cardigan Bay Holiday Park. A Chiffchaff and Siskins with the Goldfinch / Long-tailed Tit flock feeding in the Alders above.

Castlemartin Corse

Inspired by Bob and Annie's post I parked at Freshwater West at 0700 and set off in darkness for the hide - knowledge of the terrain helped here. First grey glimmer of light by the time I drew level with the hide - by then I'd heard water rail, teal, mallard and moorhen, and had put up lots of snipe in the fen meadow. I crept down to the hide along the east side of the hedge that leads down to it (recommended): I could hear lots of mallard and teal just ahead, but made it into the hide without spooking them. It became clearer that there were a lot of duck there - as well as 80-100 teal there were 24 mallard, 10-15 shoveler, 9 pintail feeding in a tight bunch, and 2 greylags. I could hear 3 Cetti's warblers.

At 0755, there was suddenly a loud chatter of starlings from the reedbed to the NW of the hide. This continued for 15 minutes until at 0810 they suddenly began to fly, in parties of a few hundred, in an ESE direction. At 0815 the chatter stopped abruptly. 

At 0817 something spooked the ducks and they all flew at once.

At 0818 the two glossy ibis flew - they had evidently been roosting somewhere just W of the hide, unseen. They flew E past the hide, gained height, circled once and continued east. Terrible record shot, but recognizable.

At 0820, all went quiet. I set off home for breakfast. No raptors apart from a buzzard on the way back. I met Andy Bookless coming the other way and broke the bad news, hopefully he had some luck later. 

A spectacular morning, thank you Bob and Annie!

Mainly Marloes peninsular

 A ringtail Hen Harrier flying along the Deer Park wall was a nice post-breakfast treat. It flew off over the Trehill Farm fields towards the Mere.

The surprise of the morning was an influx of Bullfinches (all male). One in a flock of Linnets behind the Skomer MCZ buildings, another in the sallows (garden tick!), and a third, calling loudly, in the very middle of the Deer Park. Also at least one Red Kite patrolling along the cliffs.

As we were checking the Fulmar colony at the end of the Deer Park (7 birds sitting on 5 sites), a small cloud of Gannets alerted us to a pod of over 50 Common Dolphins at the North end of Jack Sound. They were clearly feeding very actively, and moved slowly towards Skomer over the next half hour. 

Mid-afternoon we walked from Druidstone to Broad Haven. A Black-throated Diver was feeding close to the cliffs, and was starting to come into summer plumage. We could not find any Surf or Velvet Scotors, but the sound of a flock of 40+ Common Scotors starting to display, jostle, and generally socialise was beautiful to hear.

I walked back from Marloes Mere to Martin’s Haven from about 5 o’clock, with the light fading. A Buzzard glided at medium height across the Mere, and was intercepted by a Short-eared Owl. It started to mob the Buzzard, and was joined by another owl - this made the Buzzard’s position intolerable, and it slunk off. The two owls then gained height and started what seems to me to be a form of displaying: one owl would fly with wings held stiffly erect in a V-shape, then clap them. Then the two owls would fly to each other, and briefly tumble, grasping claws in a sort of mock food pass, before flying apart, and starting it again. Wonderful to watch as the horizon turned crimson!

Friday, 14 January 2022

Around St Davids this week

From Fiona Day:

A few highlights from around St. David's this week...

Tuesday: great views of a barn owl at around 4.30pm on the Whitesands road, just next to Caeriad market garden. 

Wednesday: half an hour at Dowrog common before dark gave great views of a short eared owl and a glimpse of a barn owl. 

Thursday: just before 8am a golden plover flew across the road and landed in the verge between the Cathedral and the turning for Treginnis. 

Friday: seven whooper swans on Trefeddian at around 4.15pm. A great white egret flew over head on the Fishguard road near Croesgoch.

Bosherston Lakes/Stackpole Warren, Angle & Castlemartin Corse Glossy Ibises

A walk around the Eastern Arm and Central Lake at Bosherston Lakes this morning produced similar numbers of birds and species to Paul. Our view of a single Chiffchaff, near the junction where the alternative upper path meets the main Eastern Arm path, was brief but it was a very pale bird with no hint of any yellow or green in its plumage. It was most likely one of the northern subspecies, but our views were too brief and it did not call at all. Out on Stackpole Warren we almost stepped on a Jack Snipe (as you do!) which flew off silently, dropping into some Marram grass c.20 metres away. 

We attempted to go to Kilpaison this afternoon, but had to turn back because the beach road had been  closed by the Bomb disposal unit! Over at Angle harbour, numbers of waders at the ridge roost were modest: around 100-120 Dunlin, 2 Knot, c.20 Redshanks, a Greenshank, c.50 Oystercatchers and c.30 Shelducks. A few Pintails were resting in the bay but Wigeon numbers had dropped considerably, although this is fairly typical here at this time of year. 

We decided to have a look at the Castlemartin Corse area just before dusk to watch the Starling roost. The first bird we saw was a Short-eared Owl, hunting in rough vegetation near the Castlemartin-Freshwater West road. A distant ring-tail Hen Harrier was hunting on the northern side of the reedbed, just before Starlings started to arrive. 

The light was dull and we had little time to get any half-decent photos.

Had we been down at the hide/shelter we would probably have had great views of two Glossy Ibises that had been feeding in the wetland. They flew initially down the valley then back up. As far as we could tell, from quite a distant viewpoint on the Castlemartin-side of the valley, they went to roost in the reedbed, close to where several thousand Starlings went to roost.  

If someone is there early tomorrow, then there must be a very good chance of getting some cracking views of the Ibises! 


The Ibises flying up the valley over some of the gathering Starling flocks

The light was too dull for anything better than poor distant record photos. The bottom photo was of them heading to roost in the reedbed near the shallow pool. 


Sprinkle Pill

 A lovely evening on an incoming tide. Highlights - 12 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Med Gulls, and watching the Canada Goose flock follow the sun, firstly up the fields and then, once the sun left the grass, onto the main estuary. The long line of geese on the water allowed a count of 538 birds. 

Golden Plover have been sporadic visitors to the mud flats this winter. A flock of about 350 birds arrived just before 4pm, followed by a further 100 a few minutes later. Settling on the rapidly disappearing mud, they left before high tide leaving only half a dozen individuals on the marsh.

Bosherston Pools 14-1-22

 A walk around some of the arms at Bosherston this morning gave great views of 9 Goosander (4m 5f), 11 Gadwall and 3 Tufted Ducks along with the Mallard and 16 Little Grebes in the sunshine. Flocks of Long tailed Tits were feeding through the trees with a few Goldcrest and 2 Chiffchaffs. Great Spotted Woodpeckers were drumming well with 12 individuals noted and a single Water Rail heard in the reeds.

Thursday, 13 January 2022

Willow Tit


Nice views of a Willow Tit at Ty-rhyg this morning but quite otherwise.



The nice weather had encouraged the Goldeneyes to display at Rosebush Reservoir.



 

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Fishguard Harbour

The drake Eider was still in Fishguard Harbour late morning near the ferry berth. Just 1 Great-crested Grebe today from the flagpoles. The drake Red-breasted Merganser was in Lower Town, close in to the far end of the quay.

Photo - Dyfed James

Cleddau Estuary

A nice day out (what amazing weather!) with Lyn and Phil looking for gulls and waders around the Cleddau Estuary.  Selected highlights included 17 Brent Geese at Angle (16 adult hrota, and 1 2CY bernicla) along with 30+ Pintail there and the 2 Common Scoter noted previously.

At Llanstadwell Polish ringed Black-headed Gull TC74, which I noted there on 29/8/21, still present.

Lots of birds at Hook, surprisingly no Golden Plover, but 10 Great-crested Grebe were notable, and geese numbered at least 100 Greylag and 300 Canada (there was also an odd hybrid in there - Canada x something...perhaps Greylag?).  Also in with the Shelduck was the odd Shelduck species noted in November by Graham Brace at Llangwm - it looks like, but not quite right for, one of the southern hemisphere shelduck species (e.g. close to Australian Shelduck). Whatever it is, it is quite smart.  In the gulls gathering pre-roost we picked out 4 Mediterranean Gull (2 adults, 2 3CY).


Broad Haven and Dowrog

Good to see so many out enjoying the birds and sunshine this afternoon. Our tally at Broad Haven was almost exactly as Bob and Annie, 30 RT diver, 3 GN diver and the GC grebe, we eventually picked up the 3 Velvet scoters way out in the bay, conspicuous by the fact they were keeping away from the main scoter flock, we could just make out the white secondary panel in the bright sunshine and when they occasionally flapped, all first winter, 1m, 2f. Heading back to the car we bumped into Merv Hopkins watching the scoters with the 4 Eider alongside just by Emmet Rock (looked like the usual 2 2cy m and females). A brief stop at Newgale, but no sign of any pipits on the saturated campsite just 5 Curlew getting up off the marsh. 

Onto the Dowrog, which was well attended. A wheezy Greenfinch greeted us. We then managed some prolonged views of 2 Short-eared owls, a male and ringtail hen harrier, both of which perched up in view for a while and brief views of a distant Barn owl. Stunning sunset with mist filling the hollows.

Broad Haven

We had trip over to Broad Haven this morning, on a lovely sunny and almost early spring-like day. Most of the small scoter flocks were fairly distant and we saw no sign of the Velvets (we hope others there, Brian, Paul, David O. et al. were more lucky). 

It was nice to see at least 25-30 Red-throated Divers though. Again, mostly distant views, but they included some small groups of 4-7 birds. We noted 2-3 Great Northern Divers, a distant probable Black-throated Diver and a close in Great Crested Grebe feeding near the beach where we have seen one every time in recent visits. Three fairly distant Eiders gradually drifted closer in and, for a short time later on, joined one of the small scoter groups. 

A few of the Common Scoters resting offshore

The Eiders (here with some scoters) were never very close. The bills of two of them looked yellowish in the strong, low sunlight.

We had not been around the Slash Pool previously so had a brief look around the area from the board-walk. The scrub looked quite good for passerines etc and, sure enough, we had nice but frustratingly brief, close views of a Firecrest feeding in some willow scrub and in a sycamore near an observation point on the north side of the pool. The area certainly looks potentially suitable for interesting migrants at an appropriate time of year. 

North Pembrokeshire 11-1-22

 A trip around the north of the county with Paddy gave some great views. Started in Ty Rhyg for Lesser Redpoll then on to Coed Glynaeron where three Crossbills arrived. On to Newport Iron Bridge where 2 Common Sandpipers, Kingfisher and plenty of gulls including 2 Med gulls were being well watched. Cwm yr Eglwys gave Black throated diver and Red Kite whilst Fishguard Old Fort gave 3 Great Northern Divers and 1 Black Guillemot in the harbour and 2 Red Throated divers out in the bay. We finished up at Dowrog and with other birders watched a cracking feeding display put on by a Short-eared owl and 2 Barn owls, 1 Hen Harrier (ringtail) flew over and Kestrel, Merlin, Buzzard all put in an appearance.

Bosherston Ponds & Broad Haven South. Tuesday, 11 January 2022

Mid-afternoon to dusk visit.

Western Arm of the ponds held 6 Goosander (3 females and 3 males) A first winter male displaying to an adult male Mallard (!) on the Central Pond made 7 in total.
A first winter Goldeneye practising head-throwing display was on Western Arm.
Also 3 female and 1 male Tufted Duck here.
5 Gadwall (2 pairs and a lone male) on Central.
Reed Bunting and Water Rail heard and seen, and a Raven over.

Around Broad Haven Beach were 3 Chough.
At dusk a large flock of Lapwing (70+) were flying around us on the beach, and heading to nearby fields; and Snipe were heard in the air after dark around the beach car park.

Earlier a female Merlin flashed across the road between Sampson and Bosherston heading towards Stackpole.

Phil Baber and Pam Buckle

Rook survey - link to Google Drive problem

If you have previously tried but failed to open the link below, we believe we have now fixed this - sorry.

For more information about the Rook survey and how you can get involved, please click here. This also provides a link to an online booking app to view and allocate tetrads.