Sunday, 27 May 2012

North Wales Bird Race - 25/26 May 2012.

I 17.30 on Friday 25th, I joined Marc Hughes, Chris Jones and Mike Duckham at Conwy RSPB. We started a 24hr Bird Race at 18.10 and headed up the Conwy Valley seeing target species like Yellowhammer, Hen Harrier, Red Kite, Whinchat, Cuckoo and Common Sandpiper

We ended the first leg at Gwydir where we had incredible views of Nightjar about 20 feet away wing clapping whilst the light still allowed all the plumage to be observed. Fantastic! We also had drumming Snipe here which was very evocative in the dusky light.

Sleeping at Marc's house, we got up very early the next morning and met Ken Croft by the Menai Bridge for the Anglesey leg of the BirdRace. The first bird of the day was Tawny Owl in Menai Bridge, but we then shot off to Malltraeth Marsh RSPB for the Baillon's Crake, hoping for views of the bird. We managed to hear the bird very well at very close range, which was slightly frustrating as it was just slightly too unviewable. We also picked up Grasshopper Warbler, Red Kite and Water Rail here. (The Kite was a quality Anglesey bird!)
Throughout the day, we headed off to Cemlyn, Alaw Estuary, Penmon, Valley Lakes, Llywenan, Treaddur Bay and South Stack with species highlights of Curlew Sandpiper at Cemlyn, Marsh Harrier at Llywenan and 3 Red Kite across Anglesey migrating South East. We also got a couple of migrating Crossbill at Penmon including a stunningly red male calling loudly.
Dropping Ken back over the Menai we finished the Anglesey leg and headed off up the Ogwen Valley and Aber Ogwen producing Ring Ouzel, Redstart, Wheatear, Little Egret and Common Gull. We ended the day at Conwy RSPB picking up Little Ringed Plover, Whimbrel and the last bird of the day, just as we were about to run out of time, was Sparrowhawk!

We managed to see/hear 133 species (including 7 Welsh Ticks for me and lots of yearticks!) which is by far my best day total and 10.
The list is as follows: Mute Swan, Greylag, Canada Goose, Barnacle Goose, Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Eider, RB Merganser, Goosander, Red Grouse, Red-legged Partridge, Pheasant, Fulmar, Manx Shearwater, Gannet, Cormorant, Shag, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Red Kite, Hen Harrier, Honey Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Kestrel, Peregrine, Water Rail, Baillon's Crake, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Dunlin, Turnstone, Snipe, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Redshank, Knot, Grey Plover, Common Sandpiper, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Kittiwake, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Guillemot, Razorbill, Puffin, Black Guillemot, Stock Dove, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Cuckoo, Tawny Owl, Nighjar, Swift, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Hoooded Crow, Rook, Raven, Chough, Goldcrest, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Skylark, Sand Martin, House Martin, Swallow, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Wood Warbler, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Wren, Nuthatch, Treecreeeper, Starling, Dipper, Ring Ouzel, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Robin, Redstart, Whinchat, Stonechat, Wheatear, Spotted Flycathcer, Pied Flycatcher, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Tree Pipit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Siskin, Goldfinch, Redpoll, Linnet, Crossbill, Bullfinch, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting.

A truly awesome day with some quality birds and lots of great banter. Thanks to Marc and Chris for the invite, to Marc for the driving and to all 4 of the other members who made for a fantastic day!

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