Saturday, 26 October 2013

Hoopoe and Grey Phalarope in Denbighshire - 26th October 2013

Hoopoe by the Clwyd in Rhyl
Alex Jones text me around Lunchtime to tell me that he'd found a Hoopoe in Rhyl! A great find and a species that I still needed because they are not the easiest bird to twitch! Ros and I set off for it and after about 30 minutes on site (the bird had been missing for an hour) Ros rang me with excitement in her voice to tell me she'd refound it! Fantastic stuff! I ran over to where she was and after about 15 seconds, someone with black and white wings fluttered up out of the bramble below us. Result! It flew out of site into a tree, but a few seconds later, it flew in and landed on a branch right in the open about 25ft in front of me allowing me to get the above photo. It was a very hard bird to see well for long and was very flighty. It eventually flew across from the ditch and landed in some grass right next to the public footpath allowing excellent scope views.
Ros and Alex watching the Hoopoe (although Ros was about to ring me to tell me it was on the path right next to me as I was slightly oblivious at this point!)
Ros and I then moved onto Gronant to have a look for the Grey Phalarope that has been present for a couple of days on a pool and we were very pleased to discover it showing remarkably well right in front of a couple of photographers. It span away for the entirety of our visit (I do wonder how they don't get dizzy!) allowing for incredible views and very pleasing photos.
Never thought I'd be able to see these two species in the same county on the same day! Fantastic birds and I'm so happy to finally have seen a Hoopoe in the UK! Thanks to Alex for letting me know!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Vismig/Ringing on Bangor Mountain - 24th October 2013

Worlds worst record shot of 2 Stock Dove!

Did a spot of ringing and vis-mig on Bangor Mountain this morning as the clear skies and light breeze seemed to be nice conditions for a good morning. Ringing was mildly quiet, but managed to catch a juvenile female Blackcap in the first net round which was a new species for my permit, so that's very nice indeed. Also managed 6 male Goldcrest, 2 Blue Tit, Great Tit and Dunnock.

Vis-mig saw me get a patch tick in the form of 2 Stock Dove which flew SE in a steady stream of 234 Woodpigeon. There was also a continued notable Chaffinch and Starling movement SW with 620 of the former and 5900+ of the latter (with flock almost continuous throughout the morning, it was hard to count whilst ringing). Also, 173 Jackdaw E, 198 Herring Gull S, 3 Crossbill SW, 3 Brambling SW, 16 Bullfinch SW, 173 Jackdaw E, and 198 Herring Gull S

Friday, 18 October 2013

Bangor Mountain - 18th October 2013

Did a spot of ringing/vis-mig up on Bangor Mountain this morning with light SE and overcast, so was optimistic for both.
Vis-mig highlights were 2 Crossbill and a Brambling plus a nice array of Redwings and Song Thrush overhead

Ringing was relatively quiet but still managed 12 new birds and a recap Long-tailed Tit.
4 juvenile Goldcrest
3 Great Tit
3 Blue Tit
1 adult Chiffchaff 'collybita'
1 juvenile male Blackbird

The Chiffchaff was a real treat as it's only the 2nd I've caught whilst having a C permit, and both of this have been outside of the breeding season, so hopefully this bird will stick around over winter.

HOWEVER! I had a bird fly over that kind of made the day and spoilt it at the very same time!
I was ringing at the time and heard a very shouty, loud and metallic schreep call.
I've had Red-throated Pipit call set as my phone alarm for the last year and a half (after returning from Sweden when I saw/heard 2) and when the bird called, i kid you not, I went to turn off my phone alarm. It was a very distinctive call that tapered out at the end rather than stopping abruptly. (Sounded quite like a squeeky toy)
I then picked the bird up in flight and it was a thin bodied pipit with a relatively undulating flight.
The bird called 5 times and headed strongly East.

I obviously know that there is a very close similarity to Tree Pipit and Olive-backed Pipit, but I've always thought of Red-throated Pipit as being a lot more distinctive from the other two.

I didn't get any recordings and therefore guessed it wouldn't get accepted, told a few locals to keep their ears out and left it as that. I didn't expect it to get put out on Rare Bird Alert though....

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Bangor Ringing - 15th October 2013

1st calendar year male Lesser Redpoll
The male with an adult (2cy+) female Lesser Redpolls
One of the prettier Blue Tits of the day!

Did my first bit of ringing of the Bangor academic year this morning on Bangor Mountain with Ros. This is mainly due to Bangor Mountain always being windy as it is quite exposed, so took advantage of it being calm for the first time today.
We manged to catch 35 birds including 2 Lesser Redpoll, 14 Blue Tit, 6 Goldcrest, 8 Long-tailed Tit (inc. 1 retrap originally ringed on 16/02/13), 3 Coal Tit & 2 Wren.
The Redpolls were the first to be caught on my permit, so was quite excited by this!

Overhead I managed 2 Crossbill, 2 Brambling, 12 Redpoll and 7 Skylark + lots of Redwings still heading SE

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Windy Patching - Bangor Harbour/Bangor Mountain - 10th October 2013

 Migrant(?) Great-spotted Woodpecker on burnt Gorse on Bangor Mountain
 1 of 5 migrant 1st winter Common Gulls
 Very showy Guillemot 'wrecked' in Bangor Harbour.
I've been patching Bangor Harbour a lot this week and I had quite high expectations today with such strong wind. I hoped for some decent migration, so did some vis-mig on Bangor Mountain first thing. I managed single Brambling and Redwing, plus a trickle of Chaffinch and Siskin. Other than that, it was surprisingly quiet.
After lunch I decided to cover Bangor Harbour as much as I could with the hope of finding something decent. There was an obvious small gull migration, with an estimated 650+ Black-headed Gulls in 2 hours, plus 5 1st winter Common Gulls. I also managed to find a winter plumage Slavonian Grebe which is the first one I've seen around Bangor itself, despite seeing several off Llanfairfechan and Aber Ogwen this year alone. A nice record.
I was also nice to get some superb photo opportunities of a couple of Guillemots that appear to have not handled the strong winds especially well, but were actively feeding, so hopefully will be able to wade out the 'storms'. 

Quieter than I had hoped, but managed to get lots of records to input to BirdTrack, so not a complete waist!