Posts Tagged ‘Black Guillemot’

A nice trip to the principality to see some birds that, sadly we don’t get to see very often, which is a good enough excuse to visit Wales. We met in Norden at 6am with myself, Steve & Chris Brown with Chris driving. There was a feel of spring in the air as we gained height towards World`s End, we were hoping to get some pictures of the “lekking” Black Grouse. We first saw a distant couple of males but, as we reached a pull in around 14 male Black Grouse were all doing their posturing, displaying etc, only problem was a car was stopped right in the middle of the road! We headed along the single track road and watched from the car as another 20 male birds were displaying. Raven, Peregrine, Meadow Pipit & Stonechat also observed. As we headed back downhill around 6 more birds were seen and a few pictures taken. Great birds to watch and in a really good place.

The long drive to Anglesey was brightened up with lots of Daffodils in full bloom along the roads, very nice. We reached Holyhead Harbour and soon managed to watch a single Black Guillemot. The tide was very high and we remarked that we had never seen it that high before. We headed up to South Stack with its impressive seabird colony, Guillemot, Razorbill and Herring Gull. We were a bit early for Kittiwake and Puffin but a few Sand Martin heading north made up for that. The local Chough flock also put on a good display for us, Steve searched in vain for a Rock Pipit and we all missed a Hooded Crow that had been seen in the area.

We called in at Penrhos, but could not find a Slavonian Grebe that had been seen earlier in the day, next stop was the Spinnies or Aber Ogwen. We managed to see a Greenshank in the tidal pools along with Redshank, Teal, Shelduck and lots of Oystercatchers. We decided to head for Pennington Flash near Leigh as a Yellow Legged Gull had been “coming to bread” on the car park for the last couple of days. We even saved some bread, but no sign of the gull, a few contenders were seen out on the flash but as we had all left our scopes in the car an ID could not be clinched. Got home by 6pm after a good trip out.

Dave O.



Though we have not been known for going to difficult places to see rare birds, Three “A Team” members decided to give it a go. So when a Cretzschmar`s Bunting was found on Bardsey and a “booking system” was in place (kindly policed by Lee Evans) after sleeping under boats etc. We made the arrangements on Tuesday evening to go on Friday morning, weather and bird permitting. Wednesday & Thursday really managed to rack up the “twitchyness” (new word). An early start on Friday morning with Bob K driving, myself and Steve K aboard. We got through the mystery that is the M60 motorway around Manchester onto the M56, along the A55 coast road passing Rhyl when a check of the bird news revealed the bird was still present. Going through Caernarfon, Morfa Nefyn and some beautiful scenery with some of the small villages reminding us of Little Britain and a certain sketch! We passed Aberdaron, previously visited to see Lesser Grey Shrike and Black Headed Bunting and reached the car park at Porth Meudwy in 3 hours 10 minutes, well done Bob. Our time was 11-30am to get there, so time to have a sleep or watch some birds, Black Guillemot, Rock Pipit and a few Manx Shearwater were seen. Off we went with birders from Bedfordshire and Devon, reaching Bardsey at midday. The sun was shining and it wasn`t to windy so we hurried along to the area, passing Rob Lambert (sorry for not stopping to talk Rob) who told us he had seen the bird really well. We were greeted by the warden who told us some do`s and dont`s and all assembled near the lighthouse. We all got decent viewing positions and settled down to watch the concrete block`s that had seed on them that the bird came into. The bird had last been seen at 11am, it was now 12-10pm. After the first hour of waiting, House Martin, Swallow, Linnet, Pied Wagtail and a small flock of Chough were seen. The bird had not been seen for over two hours by now, the tension was building and we had to be off at 4pm. Now standing still and in silence is not a problem for “hardened, dedicated twitchers(nutters)”, but as the second hour passed and still no-show from the bunting with only Linnet`s for company, we all needed some help. It duly arrived in the shape of the warden`s trying to see where the bird was for us all (ta for all the help) After the third hour had drifted by (3-10pm) we all suffered from the horror`s of dipping this ultra rare species. Hardly anyone had missed seeing the bird in recent days would we be the first? At 3-30pm a bird landed on the wall and disappeared back into the grass, it looked good, then suddenly the Cretzschmar`s Bunting was feeding on the seed. It was on show for about 5 minutes and made everyone, who had waited 3 hours and 20 minutes to see it, very happy! The bird then flew past us all, calling and giving great flight features. Hand shakes all around by the “A Team”, the collection bucket was sorted and we headed back. Bob K remarked,”Am I dreaming or did we just see the bird?” I guess the long wait had made it all the more special for us, as we only saw it with 20 minutes to spare. We didn`t have any time to search this beautiful area and we were soon back at the car park for our return home. We had a good laugh about it with all our co-sufferers and saId goodbye for now. The drive home was all the more special now we had seen the bird. Bob had us all back in Milnrow by 8pm, three very happy birders!

Dave O.SAM_2325

Anglesey. Saturday 23rd May 2015
Just myself and Bob K made the trip into Wales last Saturday due to poor weather forecast for Sunday etc. We left Shaw around 6am in my new (ish) Kia Rio Diesel. Decent conditions had been forecast. First stop was Holyhead Harbour and a couple of Black Guillemots were soon located, the weather was quite nice by now, so, on to South Stack. Always one of Bob and my favourite places to visit, such a variety of habitat and the view is spectacular! A small gathering of Choughs were watched feeding and as we walked towards Ellin`s Tower a few Rock Pipit`s were doing a bit of courting. After locating a few Puffins on the sea below the cliffs, a look north revealed a few passing Manx Shearwater`s with their stylish flight very much in evidence, what cracking birds they are! We passed along a new path, for us, after the RSPB visitor centre, with a sign saying, “Public Right of Way”. Bob was spoken to by a lady, who said, ” I own all this land, but not for much longer as I am sick of all you twitcher`s walking along this path”. We were both quite mystified by her comments and left her to get on with looking after a few goats! Not very many small birds were seen as we walked a few of the many paths above South Stack, time to move on. As we passed Penrhos NR a few terns were seen, in amongst them were 2 Little Tern`s, well spotted Bob! Next stop Cemlyn Bay with a very good showing by lot`s of Sandwich, Common and Arctic Tern`s. Along with a couple of breeding plumaged Mediterranean Gull`s you might have been forgiven for thinking you were on your holidays. Bob took advantage of the warm conditions and took a nap, whilst I tried in vain to take some pictures of the passing tern`s carrying food items. Returning to the car a local cow (Moo Type this time) had gone for a walk onto the shingle and stubbornly sat down on the car park, nothing the farmer could do would move it! We just missed a Yellow Wagtail and after a good search for the bird, returned empty handed, but we did managed to enjoy the view of the Skerries though. It was now quite sunny and so, we decided to stop at RSPB Valley. We have not been here for quite a while, but on this evidence we will call in again. Lots of warblers, Willow, Chiff-Chaff, Reed, Sedge, Cetti`s, Whitethroat and then we heard singing, a couple of Lesser Whitethroat. Lots of water birds made up a good selection at a nice reserve. We decided to set off for home at a leisurely pace and reached Rochdale by 5-30pm. Good day out in typically nice Anglesey conditions.
Dave OuseyIMG_8573

A 6am start with myself driving and Steve & Chris Brown on the trip. A nice morning and our first call at Holyhead Harbour to see the Black Guillemots. The birds where soon located and a few pictures were taken. We used to have to go to Fedyr Fawr to see these stunning summer plummaged birds,but, now its much easier to catch up with them. It was a strong off shore wind that greeted us at South Stack RSPB reserve. Plenty of Manx Shearwaters were heading to the north and up to 5 Puffins were seen alongside lots of Guillemots & Razorbills. Large gulls patrolled the cliffs in case any food was availiable from the breeding areas. At our much awaited destination of Cemlyn Bay, the sun shone and 20 degrees of heat but, alas, the wind was that strong that any pictures could not be taken as it took you all your time to keep your telescopes or bins still! Sandwich, Arctic and Common Terns were seen and a single Roseate Tern and the most splendid Meditereanean Gull in breeding plummage also. A walk along the adjoining headland was very nice but, mainly birdless. At Frodsham a Red necked Grebe and Lesser Scaup had been present for a few days so, we headed over there. A few comments about how well watched the place used to be and the variety of birds that used to be found followed and as we arrived a few birders were present and information was exchanged on the whereabouts of our two “target” species. The Lesser Scaup was with some Tufted Ducks on number 6 tank and looked too be starting to moult. The Red necked Grebe was on the Weaver Bend and required climbing over barbded wire, metre high grass and various obstacles that were on the footpath to the river! It was well worth the effort as the bird showed well if a little distant for close camera work. An Avocet was seen, bringing back some memories of myself and Steve B seeing our first in the north west in almost the same place many years ago. We met a twitching friend of mine and he told me about seeing the Short Toed Eagle, thanks for that Simon! Next stop, much nearer to home, Rindle Road and Astley Moss for the hard to locate Treecreeper. This species is prooving hard for me to see this year, is it declining? No joy on that species again, but a tip of from another birding friend had us in the deep grass again and succesfully finding a Yellow Wagtail in a field full of Llamas, it was a bit odd true but, again worth the walk. Time for home, back at 6pm and we all got at least 9 year ticks.

Dave O.

2013 has really been an exceptional year for great birds so why should December be any different. So when, “an unusual guillemot” was seen in Portland Harbour on Boxing Day, it seemed like another rarity was on the cards. The bird was quickly identified as an Brunnich’s Guillemot, but as we all know, they usually just die overnight or are found floating on the tide line. We were told that this bird was feeding happily and even looked in good health and must have been blown into Portland Harbour by all the recent gales. So, apart from feeling a bit rough after the excesses of Christmas a trip down south was planned for Saturday. Myself, Bob K and Steve K met in Milnrow and we picked up Phil R in Leigh at 4am. Steve K was driving and after passing through a bit of bad weather made our way via the M6 onto the M5 leaving at Taunton then onto the A roads. The news was that the bird was still present, so a very happy car load of birders arrived at Portland at 9am. The bird was showing to the 400+ birders that were well spread out along the quayside and followed the pattern of:- on the surface for 3 seconds, dive and surface nearly 50 meters away. What amazing lungs for such a seabird! We watched the bird for around 2 hours, at times quite close in and really enjoyed its antics as it was nearly, “rowed over” by a bunch of oarsmen, twice! Alongside a pair of Razorbills the structural differences could be seen, with a shorter thicker bill and a white line on its upper mandible. Lots of other good seabirds were also present with Black Throated and Great Northern Divers, Black and Common Guillemots, Black and Red Necked Grebes, 28 Mediterranean Gulls. A rather large cloud made us run to the car and make plans to see a Glossy Ibis near Radipole Lake, Weymouth. Upon arrival the bird was feeding on a playing field that had been flooded by the recent gales. We also met Nibber a friend from our Scilly Island’s days, good to see you pal! Next stop was West Bexington were a second winter Glaucous Gull was seen (a little distantly) on the beach, luckily disturbed by dog walkers and identified in flight. Time was pressing on and as we all basked in the warm feeling that is a “lifer” and having seen such a lot of nice birds in one day we headed for home. We called at a couple of services on the way back, as the traffic was not too bad really. Special mention to Steve K for driving there and back in a really chilled manner, don’t think me or Bob could have contained ourselves as well. Reaching Rochdale by around 7pm. Great memorable trip with a “lifer” for each of us.
Dave O.

Well two weeks ago we had planned our annual trip to Anglesey, but, a certain Pacific Swift diverted us from going, so this Saturday the three elders of our group made the trip with Bob K driving. An early start was needed as a few stops had been planned so we left Rochdale at 6am. First stop was Holyhead harbour and as we got there the sun was trying to break out from behind the clouds. A Black Guillemot rather gave itself up to us at the side of a fishing boat and lots of pics were taken. A few other “tysties” were seen in the harbour and seen at nearly all other locations we visited during the day,they must be doing really well on Anglesey. Sandwich Tern


Choughs, South Stack, Holyhead. 29th June 2013

Black Guillemot, Holyhead Harbour. 29th June 2013

Black Guillemot, Holyhead Harbour. 29th June 2013

Roseate Tern

Roseate Tern, Cemlyn Lagoon, Anglesey. 29th June 2013

South Stack next and a great joy to visit with the masses of seabirds perched facing the massive stacks. Lots of gulls, Guillemots, Razorbills, a few Puffins and passing on the sea quite a number of Manx Shearwater and an occasional Gannet. The ferries coming and going also give me and Steve B a gentle reminder about work! The small group of Chough also entertained us with their calls and sheer pleasure that they seem to get from flying around, their larger cousins the Ravens were also on patrol looking for anything to eat. There has been a lack of butterfly`s this year and next to none were seen in the day. The drive to Cemlyn Bay is always filled with anticipation and hoping that the tern colony is doing well and not like a few year’s ago when the lot were wiped out with predators. We came in from the east end and lots of terns were seen flying into the lagoon’s. Lots of Sandwich Tern’s a few Arctic Tern’s and Common Tern’s made up the breeding species.Black headed Gull, Oystercatcher were also breeding there. After taking a few pictures we noticed a Roseate Tern sat on the bricks on the edge of the colony, nice bird to see as they used to breed here. Around about this time a large female Peregrine “buzzed” the colony with everything that could fly taking to the air, quite a spectacle! It back tracked and swooped onto what we think was an Oystercatcher chick, carrying off the chick to become Peregrine chick food! A Common Rosefinch had been seen near to Point Lynas, were it had been singing almost all the time but only giving brief views. After a bit of a route march over gates, overgrown field’s etc, we reached the area. The bird could be heard, even though none of us were fitted with our hearing devices, that’s how audible it was. A small group headed nearer the bird and it gave a small perch up then flew down the valley. We all followed and apart from another flypast that was all we had on the bird. Hardly stunning and true to form. Another Roseate Tern had been showing on the River Clwyd just south of Rhyl, so as we were going that way to look at the Little Tern colony at Gronant, so we called in. As we arrived about 4 cars were there and birders, after we had parked they had all gone, the reason being so had the tern! We had a look anyway, lots of Sandwich Terns and about 6 summer plumaged Black tailed Godwit’s, what stunners! Time for Gronant and Presthaven Sands, the walk as always was only brightened up by a single Stonechat, but as we got onto the beach, at least a 100 Little Tern’s could be seen. Some on the sea fishing, others sat on nests or on the beach, quite a sight. The area is really well protected by fencing and a patrolling warden is in attendance, so the birds should produce lots of chicks. We believe it too be the only Little Tern colony on mainland Wales. Time for home now and a good day out, we all managed about 6 new birds for our year lists. Think its now time for the summer break. Oh no there’s a Bridled Tern on the Farne Islands!

Dave O.

Not very often that you can fit a “lifer”, for one of our group, into a normal birding trip, but, we managed it last Saturday! We usually go to Anglesey around this time of the year for the seabird colony’s and for a regularly good day out. What with all the bad weather we have just had there was always a chance that the high winds in the right direction would blow something rare to our shores. Then,the news broke, just after dinnertime, that a Little Swift had been seen in New Brighton, on the Wirral. In rain and generally poor conditions, but was showing well. One of our team needed this species but was unable to twitch the bird on Friday, so, we decided that if it remained on Saturday that it would be our first stop, being sort of on the way to Wales. At 5-45am on Saturday I checked RBA news and the bird had roosted and was still present. We all met and  headed for Liverpool via tunnel under the Mersey reaching the area near Perch Rock in New Brighton by 8-15am. It was still fairly windy as we headed towards a group of about 30 birders watching the Little Swift. It was performing very well along with Swift and House Martin’s so that you could make a comparison between the species. A really nice bird to watch for the 40 minutes we were there, as the bird flew quite close on occasions. It was congratulations for one of the team also. Next stop Holyhead Harbour on Anglesey, and a nice close up look at 7 Black Guillemots that were disturbed by the arrival of an Irish ferry and flew quite close to us. Up at South Stack masses of seabirds adorned the cliffs, but as it was very windy nobody got to close to the cliffs edge to watch them! Lots of Manx Shearwaters were passing and the Choughs and Ravens were enjoying the conditions to show of their aerial skills. No small birds were seen at South Stack due to the conditions. On to Cemlyn Bay lagoon for the masses of terns, but, on a sad note, I found a freshly dead Sandwich Tern chick that must have strayed too far from its parents and was taken by a passing gull. Lots of terns greeted us, with Sandwich Tern making up the largest breeding group present and with a few Common and Arctic Terns  with a solitary Kittiwake all made for good watching. A new lady warden was quite informative and she said that a Roseate Tern called in now and then, but not today though! We managed to pick out 4 Mediterranean Gulls, all in different plumages and a Black Guillemot was seen in the bay. Now as the weather looked a little dodgy we headed for the car. Last stop was Burton Mere RSPB reserve and a very impressive centre. It should be good in the winter, but we did miss the calls of the birds whilst we were inside! We managed to see a Green Sandpiper being hassled by the breeding Avocets with lots of chasing going on. It was time to go home after a very eventful day. We reached Rochdale by 6-15pm.

Our annual trip to the “sunny” isle will be remembered by those in attendance, not for a bird, but the site of a beautifully marked Adder not 4 feet from us as we watched the seabird colony at South Stack, Holyhead. It was on view for about 2 minutes and for the lads who remembered the Korean war it was the first time any of us had ever seen this species! After adding Puffin, Rock Pipit, Chough and distant Manx Shearwater`s we had a walk around and watched lots of Silver Studded Blue Butterflies, again a new species for most of us. A trip into Holyhead harbour revealed a couple of Black Guillemot`s. Now my favourite part of the trip Cemlyn Bay for a look at the tern colony that has been there ever since adam was a lad. Lots of Sandwich, Common and a few Arctic Terns are in the colony. They are all enjoying a good breeding year with 500 chicks having hatched already. A Roseate Tern had been seen for the last couple of days and it was eventually picked out in amongst the masses and showed really well,what a cracker! We called in at Llanfairfechan on the way home not really expecting to see any Common Scoter but a small flock of about 80 birds lingered not far from the wind farm turbines, these monstrosities are not nice but they are good for picking birds out and for giving directions onto birds though! Memorable day.