Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Black Guillemot amongst Auk colony

A cracking summer plumage Black Guillemot was found by Alan Davies on sea below the Auk cliffs. It was swimming around close to the cliff face and amongst the many guillemot and Razorbills present. Let's hope it stays to breed.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Ring Ouzel - 27/3/11

A male Ring Ouzel was highlight this morning, feeding above the Gun site, firts viewed from south of the cairn beore flying down the slope towards the Marine Drive. It wa a morning of single birds today with single male Wheatear, single Brambling and a lone Reed Bunting. The Reed Bunting was unfortunately taken by a female Sparrowhawk as was devoured deep inside the gorse bushes on the northern end. Steady numbers of Meadow Pipits, 2 Redpoll and a few Siskin and Chaffinches over too.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Wheatears March onwards

At least six Wheatears were on the Great Orme this morning and a strange influx of Dunnocks. Meadow Pipits flew west in good numbers, hile smaller groups of Siskin and Chaffinches were also on the move (per Alan Davies and Alun Williams).

Monday, 21 March 2011

Lapland Bunting - 21st March

A lovely morning up the limestone pavements today. Many more Meadow Pipits on the move with 70+ birds through. 10+ Pied/White Wagtails over too. Star bird was seen by Julian Hughes, when a Lapland Bunting flew over the lighthouse area. Stonechats were holding territory and were singing - good to see thay haven't been too affected by the cold snap mid-winter.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

First White Wagtails

A bleak and windy morning on the Orme today. Two White Wagtails in the sheep fields were best along with at least 7 'alba' wagtails flying west. 20+ Siskins flew through including a flock of 12. A single Stock Dove was the only other migrant of note.
Choughs, Ravens, Auks and Peregrine too

Monday, 14 March 2011

More Wheatears

Two more Wheatears on the Great Orme today at the north end of the limestone pavements. Great picture of one by Bob. Small movement of Meadow Pipits and Siskins too. Nearby, at Rhos Point a single Snow Bunting was in front of the Angling Shop.

Slav Grebes off Llanfairfechan

With the Great Orme in the background an amzing 19 Slavonian Grebes were off Llanfairfechan Promenade this morning. 3 Eider inc a male and a Great Northern Diver were present too. The grebes were in groups of 9, 5, 3 and 2 with the group of 9 being close inshore.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Record number of Grey Seals - Little Orme

Atlantic Grey Seals are a regular sight along the Conwy coast, usually bobbing up and down just offshore and occasionally coming onto land in one's or two's. However, there has been an increasing group of these fabulous animals in Angel Bay, Little Orme over the past few weeks which peaked today at an amazing 23 individuals. Each one is unique in colour and size and includes a number of youngsters. There was a mini twitch going on this afternoon, with all ages and types marvelling at the sight.

Birds present included 20+ Red throated Divers offshore as well as small numbers of Common Scoter, Auks, Kittiwakes and Fulmars.

First Wheatears return.

After a chilly and cloudy start, the morning turned out gloriously sunny. Two Wheatears were the highlight, a cracking male on the northern cliffs by the small valley and Pete Alderson also had one up by the cairn. Six Stonechats seemed to be a small influx, with four birds together by hamburger rock - three females all trying to get the attention of a fine singing male. Other migrants were 30+ Meadow Pipits, including a flock of 12 birds through (the first proper flock of the year), 10+ Chaffinches, 4 Siskin and 2 Goldfinch. Fulmars are back on the cliffs above Marine Drive, while good numbers of Razorbills, Guillemots and Kittiwakes have returned to the cliffs. 2 Choughs, Ravens and Peregrine also showing on the headland.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Bunting Bonanza!

A few birds on the move this morning on the Great Orme. Highlight were 3 Lapland Bunings that came out of the sheep fields and landed briefly on the old telegraph hill, befor continuing west towards Point Lynas on Anglesey. One bird was a male coming into summer plumage - superb! Around 20 Meadow Pipits flew west along with 8 Siskin, 5 Chaffinch and 6 Pied Wagtails. While chatting to Adrian Foster at the car park we heard an 'out of place' call. It soon dawned on us that it was a Yellowhammer and careful scanning revealed a female on the gorse. This is an annual migrant on the Orme in vey small numbers, so it was good to get it on the Orme year list so early in the year. A Reed Bunting flew over also. No Wheatears yet, but an arial battle between the Ravens and Peregrines showed spring is certainly on the way.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Great Northern Diver - Llandudno Bay

A superb Great Northern Diver floated by close inshore at Llandudno Bay early morning. The Great orme produced very little with a few Meadow pipits moving and some 200 Starlings. Two Chough fed on the limestone pavements.

Eastern Jackdaw - Llandudno

An 'eastern' type Jackdaw was in Craig y Don yesterday on the front wall of the school. It appeared to be a typical Nordic Jackdaw 'monedula'. The bird had an obvious white collar and seemed to have some mottling on the breast. Hopefully the bird will be back and I can get some pictures.

I've had a few of these eastern type birds in the area over the years, including a bird which wintered on the Little Orme which I really wished I had paid more attention to at the time. The first 'official' Welsh record was only accepted last year - a bird coming to nut feeders in Havordfordwest in Pembs. Our next challnge is to find the first Russian type Jackdaw 'soemmerrengii' for Wales - I'm sure they occur here as they reach the near continent.

There's an artcle on Martin Garner's excellent blog about the 3 Jackdaw races which can be or potentially be seem in Britain - www.birdingfrontiers.com/2011/02/20/3-jackdaws-types

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Just to the east of the Little Orme today, off Old Colwyn, 2 cracking drake Surf Scoters reappeared a whole 12 months after they were last seen there. I picked the birds up from Rainbow Bridge at some distance amongst a large raft of Common Scoter. After 2 hours of enjoying watching seabirds in perect light, the adrenaline moment occured at about 3.20pm, just as I was about to give up searching. Other birds here included 8000+ Common Scoter, 112 Great Crested Grebe and 45 Red throated Diver. Thousands of gulls were foraging on the coast just east of the Little Orme too with several Northern 'argentatus' Herring Gull present. Surley he starfish wreck will pull in a scarce before long.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Great Orme season is underway!

The first visit of the year produced five lovely Golden Plover on the limestone pavements giving their mournful calls. Other birds on the headland included several Siskins over, in singles or pairs, 10+ Carrion Crows, 8 Magpie, 2 Chaffinch while 3 Meadow Pipit and 2 Skylark looked to be on territory. Offshore a single partial summer plumaged Great Northern Diver was off the west side and many Auks, Cormorants and Sags were spread out on the sea.