Saturday, 25 September 2010

Lapland Buntings and a Grey 'Stonker' :) - North Wales -25th September 2010

Arriving at Bangor Uni for the first time on the 19th, I was keen to get birding straight after freshers (you can't do any vis mig with a hangover!). Chris Bridge, and I planned to get to see the Lapland Buntings on Great Orme. We planned to get the 06.01 train to enable us to be on the Orme for first light. Embarrassingly , I awoke at 07.15 with a few texts off Chris asking where I was! I decided to get a later join and by 10am I was on location at the top of the Orme with Chris, whom had already had 4 buntings.
It was a bit of a needle in a haystack job as they skulked in the vegetation and appeared to be as eager to fly as Jack Snipe, so unless you 'stood' on one, you weren't going to see one. We had 3 birds in flight but these were lost to view.
A little later, a bird called and we followed it and saw the area it had landed. Chris warned me that views might only be brief and obstructed. I saw a large bird wandering on some grass about 25ft away...bins up...LAPLAND BUNTING! A lifer.
Incredibly, the bird let us walk round it to better light and then sat there posing for us at about 20ft distance for at least 3 minutes! Incredible! It decided to fly off calling and being a very very educational and enjoyable bird.
Lapland Bunting - Great Orme. (These photos were taken with a Samsung Wave mobile phone...that's how cooperative it was!!!)

As we walked back down the Orme (easier than walking up!) we decided that we would stop off at Conwy RSPB for the 1st winter Grey Phalarope. It wasn't showing as well as Chris Bridge had observed the day before, but it performed well for us during our short stay at the reserve and was a nice year tick (2nd Phalarope in a week!)
1st winter Grey Phalarope - Conwy RSPB


marcbuzzard said...

Welocme to North Wales Zac. I hope you enjoyed Fresher's Week - mine was at Bangor too, great fun even if it was 20 years ago! Well done with the Lapland Buntings today - good pics. I hope it's not too long before you twitch the Great Orme again - we're due a big 'un this autumn.

Liam Curson said...

Either a VERY close bird or a pretty good Phone Camera!

Zac Hinchcliffe said...

a bit of both Liam - showed to about 15-20ft and my camera is pretty good for a phone.

Marc. Thanks for the kind welcome. I am looking forward to twitching the orme! Chris Bridge and I have made a prediction, but I won't say it as I would hate to jynx it!


Anne said...

Great pics Zac. What a great place to go to uni, loads of wonderful birding opportunities over there. I'm hoping you'll find us a Surf scoter before the years out!