Saturday, 9 April 2016

Patch Update

Summer has really started to show. For example I added Sand martin and Kittiwake on the 2nd April at Hunmanby Gap, as well as these there were 4 Chiffchaffs
Then on the 3rd I added another two birds, Sandwich tern. It flew gracefully north through the bay. Further out I then spotted a Fulmar, lots of them were moving as we were just a little way from Bempton Cliffs. Also present were 8 Chiffchaffs.
(Record shot) Sandwich tern
Song thrush
The next tick was on the 6th in Hunmanby, a Swallow. Unbelievably in the small area where I was birding there were at least 10 Chiffchaffs and a Tree sparrow.
(Distant) Swallow
The next tick was on the 7th at Hunmanby Gap, an early House martin. Before that I was with a local birder watching some visible migration (mostly Meadow pipits and Linnets). He told me that I had missed an Egyptian goose by minutes! Also present were 6 Chiffchaffs, 7 Shags, a Blackcap, 8 Sand martins and a swallow
1 of 3 Roe deer also present
Later that day there was also a Blackcap, 2 Swallows and 3 Chiffchaffs in Hunmanby.
Today (the 9th) was a very productive and we managed two ticks. Before we got to Hunmanby Gap we saw 6 Buzzards displaying. Acting on knowledge given to me by a local birder we walked down Gap lane at the Gap and saw a Black Redstart. We then went on to see a Yellowhammer and 2 Sandwich terns. The second tick was two Wheatears in the fields.
Black Redstart


Pied Wagtail


Sunday, 3 April 2016

Week in Wales (also Burton Mere on the way home, then patch when back)

The family and I were staying in a cottage in the Conwy valley from the 26th March - 2nd April, it was great.

Day 1- Conwy

This was the first full day (after the first night) We went to a wet Conwy castle and then RSPB Conwy nature reserve in the afternoon, we then went for a walk in the area around the cottage (and got a bit lost!). That morning there were lots of garden birds around the cottage including Blue tits and Chaffinches. We then went to Conwy Castle. There were hundreds of Jackdaws and lots of Herring gulls there including a few Lesser black-backed gulls. At Conwy there were lots of Waders as the tide was in, predominantly Redshank and Curlew but also Oystercatchers, Bar-tailed godwits and a Snipe. Highlights on the water were Red-breasted mergansers. On the walk we saw Mistle thrushes and Meadow pipits.
Curlew, Oystercatcher, Redshank and
Bar-tailed Godwit
Red-breasted mergansers and
a Moorhen

Day 2- South Stack

Lesser black-backed gulls and
a Herring gull
One of the target birds of the trip was Chough, previously I had only seen them at a distance in Spain. We got great views of them all around South Stack as they came very close. Also at South Stack was a Lesser black-backed gull colony, this was amazing to walk through. One of the birds was ringed and came close enough for me to read the ring number, GR00992. It was ringed as a nestling at Llyn Trawsfynydd in 2011 making it about 5 years old. We also got great views of Raven and Peregrine falcons. The first summer birds were moving through too; a Barn Swallow and 5 Sand Martins. On the sea there were small numbers of Guillemot, Fulmar and a Shag.

Day 3- Caernarfon and Betws-y-coed

Barnacle goose
We set out to go to Caernarfon castle on the way there we saw a Jay. The castle was great but to make it better we saw an adult Mediterranean gull from one of the towers. Then, on the way to Betws-y-coed I saw a drake Goosander from the car window on a lake. After shopping at Betws-y-coed we stopped at Caerhun church, a small building built on the site of an old Roman settlement, there are often Hawfinches there but we saw none. We did see Red kites and a Barnacle goose.

Red kite

Distant Mediterranean gull

Day 4- Conwy (again)

Little egret
We got up to go to Caerhun Church again, where we did not see Hawfinches! We then went to Conwy as there was a small farmer's market on at the nature reserve there. We saw some new ducks for the trip: Shoveler and Wigeon. We also got great views of Little Egrets and Moorhens fighting. We then briefly drove around Great Orme which produced a Chough.

Moorhens fighting

Day 5- Snowdonia national park

We started the day at Llanbedr-y-cennin church and then Caerhun church, we saw a Jay and a Peregrine but no Hawfinches! In the National park we went to Cwm Idwal where we went walking, it was incredibly scenic. On the Lakes there were two Goosanders and two Great-crested grebes. Also in the area were Buzzards, Ravens, Meadow pipits and Herring gulls. The natural beauty of the area was even more amazing as we went up, though we couldn't get to the top of the mountains as we weren't outfitted for the snowy peaks. We then went back to the cottage, I was looking out of the window when, after looking for them for so long, a Hawfinch flew past! Dad and I then stood outside and heard it briefly!
Meadow pipit (Graham Scott)


Day 6- Betws-y-coed, Sygun copper mine and Beddgelert

At the cottage dad saw a Merlin but I didn't manage to see it. In Betws-y-coed we saw two new birds, Dipper and Green woodpecker. We then went to Sygun copper mine, a self-guided tour underground where there were obviously no birds! In Betws-y-coed we saw lots of Chaffinches and a Jay.

Day 7- Going home

On the morning we saw a Nuthatch which sang for a while above the cottage as well as a Great-spotted woodpecker, two nice birds to leave the cottage on. The last addition was a Stock dove on the Welsh/English border.


All in all we saw a total of 83 species.

On the way home we stopped off a Burton Mere, there we got good views of three Water pipits, Sand martins and lots of Avocets, also present was a Black-tailed godwit, a Barnacle goose and a Little-ringed plover. Better than a service station!

Below are pictures that I took at Burton mere and below that is a patch update.

Black-tailed godwit 
Barnacle goose with a Canada goose
Water pipit

Distant Little-ringed plover

 I also managed to visit the patch (Hunmanby Gap) on the 2nd and 3rd. I added two new species on the 2nd: 2 Sand Martins flew south and there were Kittiwakes on the sea. Also present were 4 Chiffchaffs, lots of Gannets, 13 Sanderling and a Fox. Then on the 3rd (after a great morning at Bempton Cliffs, seeing a Long-Eared Owl) I added a Sandwich tern and a Fulmar, also present were 8 Chiffchaffs and a Song thrush, this left me on 71 species and 85 points for 'Patchwork Challenge 2016'

Song thrush

Sandwich tern

Pied wagtail

Herring gull