Friday, 17 February 2012

'Not-so-Common' Yellowthroat

Action stations were put into action when news broke of a Common Yellowthroat near Newport, Gwent. I was picked up at 5am this morning by Ken Croft in Bangor and joined Chris Jones and Robin Sandham (and later Reg Thorpe) arriving in Gwent by about 9.
There was a decent crowd present when we arrived and the bird was visable almost straight away! It flew across a field into brambles below a large pine tree. The bird then spent the next 35 minutes showing on and off in the long grass. It was very elusive as it skulked in the undergrowth but occasionally sat out in the open which set off all the camera shutters and excited twitchers!
I would estimate that there were about 200 birders present whilst I was there including big names like LGRE, Stu Piner, the famous Craig family etc

Check out that tail!
The bird suddenly became rather mobile and we decided it was best to call it a day as we had enjoyed such incredible views of one of the most beautiful birds I have ever seen! What a stunner!
If accepted, a 10th for Britain and my 3rd American passerine (and since October 2011!). (Don't let the name fool you!)

En route back, we checked out a possible Caspian Gull which would be a first for Wales, but failed. Finally stopping off at Borth for the Spanish-ringed Glossy Ibis

Thanks to Chris Jones for doing the driving and Rob, Ken and Reg for making it a really incredible twitch!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Spinnies Bean Goose - 3rd February 2012

Brucey, Etienne and I went to the Spinnies this fine winter's morning to have a look for the Tundra Bean Goose that has been present in the area with Greylag Geese on and off for a while now. It really didn't take long to pick the bird up in the flock of Greylag Geese on the estuary as it was so much smaller than them. The 'smokey' neck and head, the two toned slate and orange bill and the bright orange legs stood out well. In flight the dark upper wings and the black and white tail really made the bird stand out compared to the Greylags (especially the small size). A very good North Wales bird.

In the hides at the Spinnies, we enjoyed very good views of Water Rail, Little Egret and the feeders just outside the hides were very busy providing super views of Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Robin, House Sparrow, Reed Bunting, Blackbird and 4 species of Tit.

With the cold weather overnight plummeting to -10oC, the pools were frozen and the air was crisp which really made for an enjoyable morning's birding in North Wales.