Wednesday, 18 January 2017

And again

As I hinted earlier this Wigeon does not look like the picture of an ad M American in Collins, but then I have no expertise in duck hybrids.
However, wouldn't a Eurasian/American Wigeon hybrid be even rarer than the real thing?.

The Wigeon again

A number of responses have been received now, including from Glenn below, Gareth Jenkins, etc. There seems to be a growing feeling that the bird is likely a hybrid, though this may not be the last word. As Glenn says, a great bird either way.


I was watching the bird this morning with Chris and Brian and I suggested the possibility of hybridisation. I have seen such a bird a few years back in Kyoto. I was drawn to the degree of russet colour on the head, which I have never seen in the typical Am Wigeon in the USA.
'Rare birds of Britain and Europe' Lewington/Alstrum/Colston p56 Note on hybrids "show some intermediate characters, eg. some reddish brown on the head." Chris' superb photographs clearly show this.
Whatever; a great bird and well worth seeking out.
Best wishes,
Glenn Ibbitson

Ring-billed gull still Llys y fran

Paul and I had a look at the gull roost. Almost 'arm-chair' conditions with the roost forming close in and the lake surface virtually flat calm. Many of the LBB even came onto the near bank to bathe and rest. An adult GBB with a red ring left leg among them but the number was obscured in the grass.
The Ringed-billed gull still there,  at least 8 adult Meds and at least 3 Yellow-legged gulls. Pair of Goldeneye.


..and new feathers on flanks grey rather than pinkish?


Is the American Wigeon at Newport rather warm chestnut etc around the head, as appears in the photos here. Is there any chance of hybridisation? I wonder if anyone can give reassurance that this is a pure Yank Wigeon. Sorry to be a little doubting, hope I'm concerned about nothing.

American Wigeon Newport

Top marks to Paul M for finding this. As Brian says...

American wigeon, Cattle egret - Newport

Couple of photos of the wigeon, Chris was in a more elevated position and may have some better shots. Good to see Sam this morning.

Newport Cattle Egret & American Wigeon

The Cattle Egret again resting just downstream from the bridge.
The American Wigeon is with the flock of c25 ordinary Wigeon which alternate between the seaward Parrog rocks at low tide, moving to the creek upstream from the Boat Club at high tide. It had to be pointed out to me as I was looking for an obvious green face flash, as per Collins, which it doesn't have, but the very pale cream forehead stripe & pinkish flanks were clear in retrospect.

Jays and Oaks

It was a poor acorn crop in mid Pembs last year. However, Jays are not reliant on acorns having a catholic diet it just that in good oak crop years they have a good living and prosper. Otherwise they need to cast more broadly, in extreme cases large numbers erupting out of woodland.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Newport Estuary American Wigeon and Cattle Egret

American Wigeon drake sorry for the poor photo but will try again tomorrow Cattle Egret


We have Jays here at Mullock, though we've never understood why as we don't have many oak trees!

Newport Estuary

American Wigeon drake found 200 yards up from tennis courts showing well photos to follow
Cattle Egret 1 from bridge
Wigeon 100
Mediterranean Gull 1 adult
Dunlin 50
Ä¢oosander 2 male 1 female

Oaks not OK for acorns...

During the autumn it became evident that the acorn crop around here had failed. The same thing seemed to have happened in Monmouthshire where my daughter lives. I usually see Jays most days along our lane but this winter they seem to be absent. I wonder if this is just a local thing or is this the case all over Pembrokeshire/Wales?

Monday, 16 January 2017

Plumstone Mountain

Three adult male Hen Harriers put on a splendid show at dusk on my BTO count before roosting. No Starlings whatsoever were recorded.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Flagpoles Fishguard

Glaucous Gull 2 1st winters
Shag 10
Razorbill 3
Turnstone  20
Curlew 25
Stonechat pair

Carew/Cresswell Rivers, Cosheston Pill - WeBs

This mornings WeBs counts produced relatively modest numbers of birds. Wigeon and Teal numbers (at least 500-600 of each species) although still quite reasonable, were well down on December totals. Five pintail and a couple of shovelers at New Shipping Point area were typical numbers for this location in early January.

Wader numbers too, were down on December counts, with only c.700 dunlin on the Carew/Cresswell, a couple of hundred lapwings and no obvious golden plovers at all. There seemed to be no sign of any grey plovers this morning - usually a regular species in small numbers in the area. There were only five black-tailed godwits obvious at Cosheston Pill this morning (last Sunday there were 30+). Annie recorded 3 ringed plovers along the Daugleddau, where they seem to have become less regular in recent years.

Along the Carew/Cresswell shore as the tide dropped, some lapwings appeared to be resting in very narrow drainage slits in the mud - possibly sheltering from the wind, or maybe just trying to maintain a low profile to keep out of the way of aerial predators?

As well as a few buzzards and a sparrowhawk, a rather scruffy-looking immature female peregrine was hunting over the estuary. Having failed to catch teal/wigeon after at least one attempt, she landed briefly on a rock at the edge of the saltmarsh.

There's possibly been a small influx of winter thrushes to this area - mainly fieldfares. Small flocks of 30-50 were noted in a few locations around the Daugleddau, West Williamston and Carew areas. When totalled up there were probably 200-300 at least. Late this afternoon small flocks were also noted near Ludchurch.

Yesterday afternoon we had a short stroll from Amroth up to Telpyn Point and back. Small parties of feeding common scoter and at least 6 red-breasted mergansers were reasonably visible offshore but the larger scoter flocks of 200-500 or more were much more distant. There must have been at least 1,000-2,000 further out into the bay.

The Gann

Gulls formed an orderly line along the waters edge this evening, allowing a good look before they moved out into the bay to roost. Nothing unusual among them unfortunately. 133 Common gulls, c 200 BH gulls, 10 adult Meds. Very few large gulls. c 20 Redshank, 18 Grey plover, 9 Turnstone, 6 Bar tailed godwit, 2 Greenshank and a lone Dunlin. c40 Wigeon, 17 PB Brent, 2 Goldeneye. 13 Little grebe (8 on pools, 5 on river). Derek and I scanned the finch flocks moving around the marsh, but could only see Chaffinch and Linnet. A big hatch of midges showed how mild it was.

At last a very short outing rewarded by a distant but nice views of Short eared owl at Treffeiddan near St David's

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Black redstart - Tenby

From Andy Bookless. A lovely Black Redstart was feeding on the rocks near the old lifeboat station in Tenby this afternoon. As we walked back to the car park with it beginning to go quite dark, I got within a few feet of a female kestrel perched on the wall a little way beyond the new lifeboat station. 

Ring-billed Gull - Llys y fran

A cycle to the reservoir this afternoon was oddly completely unproductive for white-wing gulls but i did see the rather nice adult Ring-billed Gull. Also 6 Great Crested Grebes and 2 Little Grebes.

Glaucous Gull and other bits and pieces

A superb 'dark-bodied' 1st winter Glaucous Gull was in Fishguard Harbour this afternoon, also an adult Mediterranean Gull, several Shags and Razorbills there.  Elsewhere, there were small numbers of Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Razorbills, Fulmars, Gannets, Common Scoters and Choughs to be seen at Strumble Head and a couple of Red Kites over the flooded field at Newgale, though no pipits of any species - and especially no Water Pipits.

Long-tailed duck still Pwllcrochan Bay

Sighting from David Evans. At 0940 today, the Long-tailed Duck was riding the sea in Pwllcrochan Bay while, five minutes later, there was an Otter on the pool by the pink cottage.

Lapland buntings, Martins Haven

Lapland buntings very much in evidence today. The first over the car park at Marloes Mere; at least 2 calling from the kale field, beside Trehill farm; more birds calling from the big field next door (opposite the brick shed). Biggest flock was a group of 10 in the grassy field beside NT car park, Martins Haven, they flew up and into the stubble field opposite side of the road. Many more Skylark today with mobile flocks up to 100. Otherwise 2 Merlin and 2 Snipe on the Deer Park. Quick look at the Gann: 6 Med gulls, 9 PB brent and Kingfisher.

Ceibwr Bay

Kestrel male
Sparrowhawk male
Buzzard 3
Guillemot 1
Rock Pipit 2

Newport Estuary yesterday

Little Egret 1
Redshank 15
Curlew 50
Ringed Plover 5

Castlemartin Corse - WEBS

WEBS this morning with Rob and Christine Lewis and Mike Robinson. A bright if bracing morning on the Corse. No ducks apart from one drake mallard heard, the site still being very dry, 24 greylag were in the usual area upstream from the conifer clump. The fen meadow and damp fringes of the reedbed were lifting with snipe - we counted 234 (and one jack snipe) but the real total could well have been much higher. 350 lapwing were on a field on Kilpason Burrows where slurry had been spread.

A buzzard, a sparrowhawk - and 2 marsh harriers! Our regular female was hunting most of the time we were there, settling for a while on a patch of flattened reeds near the hide. Later  a second female appeared, slighty less well marked as the first one, and the two had a brief mid-air tumble before separating again.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Starlings this evening

As Kim observed a few weeks back. 1000s of Starlings in a huge continuous ribbon heading due east across A4076 Dredgeman Hill, H'west 4.30 this evening. Off to roost in Slebech/ Minwear?

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Tenby - Purple Sandpipers and a Black Redstart

This afternoon five Purple Sandpipers were performing well, with at least 30 Turnstones in a tight feeding and roosting flock below the Old Lifeboat station - at one of their favoured spots. At one point all five were resting together before the rising tide gradually forced them, and the turnstones, to move to slightly higher ground.

At one point all five Purple Sandpipers were resting together

As we walked back to North Beach car park at dusk under the light of the rising full moon, a splendid male black redstart (almost in summer plumage) was feeding, with a couple of robins, on some steps and a patio near the beach.  Unfortunately it was a bit too dark by then for a decent photo.