With a trip planned to the Orme with Brucey for saturday morning, we met at Bangor station for 06.00 and by 07.00 we were at Llandudno. Sadly, the Orme was very quiet indeed with very little moving except a very light Meadow Pipit passage and a couple of Lesser Redpoll moving over.
Luckily, Chris Jones saved the day by texting me seeing if I wanted to spend a day on Anglesey 'mopping' up on all the current scarcities. This was just what we needed to make the 05.15 wake-up call worthwhile! We met Chris at Llandudno station and headed off to the island.
First stop was the Alaw Estuary at low tide to look for the long-staying Lesser Yellowlegs. It took a bit of searching, but we picked up the bird and enjoyed decent scope-views. This was a lifer for Brucey.
Next stop was Llyn Penrhyn at Valley RSPB. Here we quickly picked up the Red-necked Grebe. There has been discussion over the week it has been present expressing the idea that this bird could in fact be of the North American holboelli race which, if confirmed, would be only the 2nd record for Britain! The bird showed a MASSIVE bill which appeared longer than the head and showed a very yellow lower mandible. Dusky cheeks also appeared evident which is another good credential. Lets hope that more can be done to try and prove this individuals identity
Please see the photos and the discussion on We Bird North Wales
Also at this site was a bird that I probably shouldn't mention on here in case someone from DEFRA is reading and finds out... Oops! Too late!
It was also nice to catch up with Alex Jones at this site.
This site showed that today really was a day for local birders as here we met up with Steve Culley, Alex Jones among others and observed 12 European White-fronted Geese and a Pink-footed Goose with the Greylag and Canadas. Sadly, the 3 Tundra Bean Geese didn't play ball.
Whilst watching these birds, I picked up a warbler right in front of us that landed in a tree to our right. It was obviously a Chiffchaff ssp but was very very cold grey in colour with a hint of 'tobacco brown' on the mantle. There was the slightest hint of a wing bar and a reasonably prominent supercillium. Steve and I heard a very weak piping call that was reminiscent of a Bullfinch. A VERY good candidate for Siberian (tristis). Steve got some record shots into the sun, that should hopefully help our case...
Photos of the bird available here - http://webirdnorthwales.blogspot.com/2011/11/siberian-chiffchaff-at-llyn-coron.html?showComment=1321743781347#c379084489190541695
Steve Culley and Alex Jones seemed to be very complimentary of the Glossy Ibis that was showing very well at Malltraeth, so we decided to pay here a visit after Coron. We quickly picked up the bird, but it was at the other side of the field rather distantly. After about 10 minutes of watching a very unsettled ibis, the bird flew really close to us and we were able to get fantastic photos and I was really pleased with the photos I got. A nice 1cy bird and my 2nd Anglesey bird!
The day ended at the Cefni estuary watching the marsh on the south side for raptors. We managed to get a Merlin, Sparrowhawk and a superb male Hen Harrier which hunted actively...stunning!
I really enjoyed the day and it just shows what's out there if you put in the time. It was almost like a day on Scilly with everything being really close to each other and a plethora of great birds to see at reasonably close quarters! Massive thanks must go to Chris Jones for inviting us and also doing all the driving. Hope to repeat a similar day soon!