Saturday, 16 January 2021

Gann

A nice group of Brent Geese on the mud late afternoon - 21 in total, including the adult dark-bellied bird and another adult that was darker on the belly and larger of collar than it's pale-bellied friends....interesting and will be looked for again tomorrow.

2 sinensis Cormorant still on the lagoon this morning.  The afternoon low tide saw a decent gathering of mainly small gulls pre-roost.  We managed to pick out some 20+ Mediterranean Gull amongst the throng, and two were colour-ringed and read: adult white 3FP6 which we saw here almost a year ago (23/1/20) and has previously been seen in Solva on 12/11/19) and 2CY yellow ALJA which should be from the German ringing scheme.  These added nicely to the 24 colour-ringed waders we managed to record.


A short late afternoon visit to Lawrenny

We cycled over to Lawrenny this afternoon. The tide was low but numbers of wigeon and teal resting on the mud and in the channels in the Black Mixen area looked quite impressive. There must have been several hundred of each. Waders included at least 500 dunlin (there were probably others hidden in channels beyond our view-point), c.20 black-tailed godwits and a few hundred lapwings but no obvious golden plovers with them. It's a pity that there will be no WeBS counts this month but we'll try and add some counts from stretches of the Cleddau that we can walk to and add these to BirdTrack. 

Mullock

 A walk down the marsh from Mullock was pretty quiet although there were a few snipe disturbed from the upper reed sections and on the old sandpit fields well over 100 Lapwing but they were disturbed by the farmer and disappeared.  The pools held a few Teal and over 179 Wigeon which were disturbed by a dog walker  and also disappeared, a single goldeneye, a redshank and a greenshank and a couple of Little Grebe.  I could see in the far distance, the tide was a long way out, a few Brent Geese and other dots moving about.  The hedgerows were quiet along the whole route.

Green woodpecker, yaffling, Fernhill

During the recent lockdowns my birding has been largely around the Western Cleddau south of H'west. Not very inspiring, lots of road walking in wellies ain't great and the marshes are hard slog, the creeks are steep so any waders and duck can go undetected, so it can appear birdless but it is what it is. Today brought home just why it's better to be out though. High tide had filled the channels revealing 60-70 Teal on the marsh opposite the Frolic and a Kingfisher fishing in a creek near Alderwicks was a good start. Down at Fern Hill Point there were a surprising 1000+ gulls, mostly BH gulls with a few Herring gulls, they would drift in from the west to bathe and feed on the falling tide. With the channels full waders were more obvious, nothing like the numbers that have been reported further down river, but 30 Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 2 Common sandpiper and single Curlew would do. A pair of Red Kite were swooping low over fields near Boulston. The beech wood at Black Hill is a place I always hope for a Brambling but a couple of calling Marsh tits was really nice, (haven't seen any for years so chuffed with these) and then to put the icing on the cake the almost unbelievable yaffling of a Green Woodpecker broke out, it set me into a panic trying to pin it down but couldn't locate it before it fell silent. What a perfect morning. Note: back in May 2012 I had fleeting views of a Green Woodpecker in the same woods and with other recent sightings around the Cleddau hopefully there's a few birds just about hanging on.

Friday, 15 January 2021

Marsh Tit

From Richard Ellis:

Excellent pictures! I’ve seen very few willow tits – spent many years in Ireland without either – but for comparison I offer our garden marsh tits – comparatively  small head and neck, no pale wing panel, quite different shape....a valuable learning exercise, thank you Jane Everitt!

(PS and you can see the white mark on the bill too) 




Willow Tit

Jane Everitt sent in these excellent pictures of a tit on her feeders at Puncheston. She thought it was a Willow Tit but the local experts were not sure whether it might be a Marsh Tit - after Jane provided the second picture the jury has defninitely fallen on the side of Willow Tit. What an excellent bird to get on your feeders!




Pembroke River

 With a dry, albeit dull, day in prospect I set off on my bike this morning to Hundleton to see whether I could find the Cattle Egrets last reported on Christmas Day. No such luck though they may well still be around. Down at Bentlass with the tide well out on the Pembroke River there were thousands of Wigeon resting on the mud and the waters edge as well many Shelduck and a few Dunlin and Redshank. Two Great Northern Divers were in the channel fishing together as they drifted down towards Monkton. Few other birds seen on quite a long ride but I finished off nicely with a Red Kite drifting over the field back home.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

A golden hour at Landshipping

Large numbers of waders, mainly Golden Plovers but also including Dunlin, Lapwings, Curlews and Redshanks, made a fine end to the day at Landshipping. The Golden Plover numbers have been fluctuating quite a bit in recent days, but this evening several thousand were present. 

With a telephoto lens, is was impossible to get any more than a third of the birds present in one photo


Lapwing numbers were fewer, a few hundred at most

Earlier in the week we were on the shore near Brickyard, between Landshipping Quay and Sam's Wood, watching 4 Great Crested Grebes and a roosting flock of 60-70 Oystercatchers (none were ringed). The usual  200-300 Canada Geese were feeding on the opposite side in the sloping pasture field above Knapp Farm/Knap Wood. They were joined by a flock of c.120 Greylags that flew in from the Llangwm direction.   

 

Black redstart

 A female type Black redstart above the main door at St Davids cathedral still this afternoon.

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Gann

A total of just 13 Brent Geese this afternoon, 1 of which was the dark-bellied adult.  Far less gulls around today (no ploughing nearby) but there were some 100 Lesser Black-backs (all adults) on the beach.  At least 1 sinensis Cormorant and 4 adult Mediterranean Gulls.  Not often I get close enough to a Redshank for half decent photo, so it was nice to get some of '88' from the road (which was ringed here on 7/12/20).


Even groovier was finally being able to read the metal ring of this Jackdaw which we first saw in the garden on Sunday and a series of photos today identified it as EK06684, which was ringed just down the road at Mullock by Steve Sutcliffe.  The best bit was that it was ringed as a chick on 26th May - 2007!  So it is nearly 13 years and 8 months old, not quite as old as the oldest ever recorded (which was 18 years and 26 days) but well over the average of 5 years.  Many thanks to Steve for the prompt & thorough information.

Carew Cheriton

Marsh tit in the taller trees along the stream opposite the church - rare visitors to the garden, I think they may live further downstream in the impenetrable wet woodland between the stream and the road. 

Also this afternoon: little egret in the stream downstream from the pink house, Mrs Peregrine on her pylon (this taken in identical conditions a few days ago). 




October Bird Diary

The October edition of the Pembrokeshire Bird Diary is now available for viewing on this link:

https://youtu.be/P16uVSaDqo8

Many thanks Annie

Llys-y-fran

The Goldeneye count at the north end of Llysyfran is now up to 16.  They outnumber the teal (about 10) and mallard (4).  Also  single tufted duck and moorhen.  In the wet woodland a tree creeper and 2 goldcrests.

Maggie Bissmire

Monday, 11 January 2021

Brambling

Much excitement at lunchtime with a Brambling in the garden. Our first since 2013! Now looking out for a Redpoll which we haven’t had since 2012.
David Ord. 

Lapwings and Golden Plover...

Driving back to Mathry from Goodwick between Panteg and Mathry a couple of hundred Lapwing and about 40 Golden plover overflew my car. Obviously brief view , could have been more in the fields, probably part of a cold weather movement from last week

 

Gann

A farmer ploughing a nearby field at Philbeach late afternoon brought in lots of gulls including at least 10 Mediterranean Gull (9 adults, 1 2CY).  One of the adults had a white colour-ring but was clearly too far away to read!  The Oystercatcher roost was bigger than we have seen for sometime, around 85 birds present just before high tide across on the Musselwick side.  Still 2 sinensis Cormorants drying off  on one of the islands in the lagoon.

Carew Cheriton

One of seemingly several chiffchaffs wintering along the stream - I've been seeing 2 or 3 together, in different spots. Loads of goldcrests and long-tailed tits, but no repeat so far of last year's firecrests. 



Blackcap in a Penally Garden

Female blackcap on our feeder - really aggressive bird and chasing off all the others.

Helen Grimes


 

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Haverfordwest Ringed Black-headed Gull


Details from Paul Roper, North Thames Gull Group, show  2B31 has been here since at least  20th December and was also here November-December 2019, which  was first sighting after being ringed as a  nestling in June 2018 at Fishers Green in the Lee Valley near Waltham Abbey.  A quick look at their records shows many Black-headed gulls hatched there head west for the winter, ranging from Galloway to Portugal.



Golden Plover @ Llanrhian

Interesting to read Davids account of disappearing Golden Plovers on the Cleddau. The opposite has been true here in the north - with numbers on their favoured fields at Llanrhian increasing from a stable 600 through the latter months of 2020, to 1700 early last week (counted from a photo) up to 2500 today. 500 Lapwings with them. These have attracted Peregrine and Merlin. This wintering site is not far from the source of the Western Cleddau.
Other lockdown birds seen lately include a Black Redstart in a suny paddock near Trefin (not on a roof for a change), in the same field as 23 Song Thrush - an influx of many hundreds locally. 2 Chiffchaff on the filter bed at Trefin Sewage works (the glamour of lockdown birding!)
The Whooper Swans just south of Mesur y Dorth have increaded to 10, from the initial 4 found on Nov 14th. A smart male Hen Harrier put up Snipe in the fields south of Trefin last week.
All records from within 2 miles of the house.

Sprinkle Pill/Western Cleddau

From David Ord:

The main thing of note at Sprinkle Pill and the Western Cleddau at Hook from this week has been the absence of Lapwing and Golden Plover on the mudflats. Small flocks of Lapwing are in the fields nearby but there is no sign of the Golden Plover. Of the birds that remain, 6 Shoveler, 5 Grey Plover at the mouth of Sprinkle Pill, a Little Grebe at the mouth of Millin Pill and 11 Ringed Plover in between were of note. Back at home, the frosts seem to have encouraged 2 Woodcock to roost under a bush in the garden.

Gann

An extremely peaceful walk at lunchtime, until a couple turned up with 4 barking dogs...

A nice flock of 26 pale-bellied Brents and a single lone adult dark-bellied Brent as the tide came in.  Compared to the last few weeks lots of gulls around, including at least 75 Great Black-backs but not a single Skokholm ringed bird, which would normally be expected.  In amongst the Herrings present we did pick up 3 Skokholm ringed adults and this presumed argentatus raced bird.

Still 3 sinensis Cormorants present, 1 on the lagoon and 2 sitting on an island in the river.

Black Redstart and Newport bridge

From Clare Ryland:

A male black redstart has been present on a rocky outcrop opposite our house near Dinas for the last 5 days.

A visit to Newport bridge yesterday afternoon, fortunately still within cycling distance!  revealed 6 goosander (1 male), 1 common sandpiper and large numbers of both blackbirds and song thrushes. Also 8 snipe seen from the bridge as well.

Haverfordwest - Urban Birding, Saturday

A rural market town at the end of an estuary with tidal reedbeds at one end and a meandering river in a floodplain at the other end is probably about as good as it gets for urban birding. The only thing missing is a lake. You can even watch colour-ringed birds right outside the local Costa coffee shop, which is still open in the lockdown. Today's bird:



This Black-headed Gull was probably ringed in Essex. I have reported it and asked for details which I will post when I get a reply.

Earlier on the daily walk, the local Old Mill Nature Reserve's Peregrine was just resting after finishing off lunch. The scene was too gory for pictures with entrails hanging from the tree and what looked like a long feathered neck hanging from the ivy. There were small white feathers on the plucking branch and the ground was covered almost entirely with only white feathers, although the longest seemed smokey or dirty near the ends, so the victim was probably a Little Egret. I could not see any yellow feet around.

Redwings

Right on cue, an item on redwings in the latest Garden Birdwatch weekly bulletin from the BTO:

......The snowy conditions in parts of the country towards the end of December have pushed Redwings further south and west than they might usually travel. Their numbers in the south-west up by a quarter on last year. Further cold spells could see numbers similar to those witnessed during 2018's "Beast from the East".


We've been seeing more here, both in the field and pecking around under our neighbour's larch trees, along with lots of starlings. I photographed a couple in the field for David's Lockdown Challenge!


Meanwhile the little egret has moved on to the stream, where we know there are eels - this taken just now...



Saturday, 9 January 2021

Redwings

 Seeing Peter’s post below perhaps there has been an influx of Redwings. Out for a chilly ride on my ebike this afternoon  200+ Redwing flew over the lanes between Jeffreystone  and Redberth kept on the move by a Sparrowhawk. I have also heard of C.130 Redwings close to Narberth in recent days along with the odd Mistle Thrush and Fieldfare.

Gann

All pretty quiet at the Gann the last few days, mainly spent collecting wader colour-rings.  At least 2 different Red Kites, and we finally added Golden Plover to the Crabhall list when the flock from the Sandpit Fields decided to do a fly around - some 230 birds in a flock that we originally estimated was only 120!  Large gulls (in fact, most gulls) are still very thin on the ground, so 10 Great Black-backeds today was nice (9 adults, 1 2CY) and ad adult Lesser Black-backed that didn't look on top form, although it looked fantastic as the sun went down.


Redwings and Lapwings at St Brides

We have not seen Redwings in our garden recently so I was surprised to see around 100 birds spread out across a field a few hundred yards up the road, with a few hundred Starlings. Also 80 Lapwings in the next field plus a dog fox, which the Lapwings completely ignored.  

Peter Royle