Monday, 20 February 2017

Another Brent Geese Update

First of all I am very sorry to hear about the death of Roy Bamford - while I did not know him personally I always enjoyed reading his columns in the Cambrian News which were full of interesting observations and great knowledge. Regarding the Brent Geese, thanks to Graham at the Irish Brent Goose Research Group for a very speedy reply about the ringed Brent Geese at Ynyslas. It is really interesting to be able to follow the birds' movements. Both birds were ringed in May 2014 in Alftanes, a peninsula on the south-west coast of Iceland close to Reykjavik, which is an important stopover for migratory birds. 77WB was first re-sighted in November 2014 at Strangford Lough/Ringneill Bay in County Down in the east of Northern Ireland. From January 2015 onwards most sightings were of both birds together. In January 2015 they were at Donegal Bay/Mountcharles at the north-west coast of Ireland as part of a flock of 50 birds, then moved back to Iceland where they were seen in Alftanes in May 2015. In January and February 2016 they were back at Donegal Bay/Mountcharles as part of a flock of 39 birds, then again in Alftanes in April and May 2016. In September 2016, 77WB was seen at Strangford Lough again. Between November 2016 and January 2016 there where 3 sightings in Fouesnant/Cap Coz & Fouesnant/Anse de Saint-Laurent in Brittany, France. In November they were seen together with a juvenile bird. And from there they appear to have moved to the Welsh Coast. Graham will send more information at a later stage. For anyone interested: The correct way to read their ring numbers is to take the numbers from each leg ring starting with the right leg, followed by the colour of the rings again starting with the right leg. So the bird with the no. 7 rings would be 77WB, while the other bird is 69WB (it has lost its no. 9 ring on the left leg).

Roy Bamford

I'm very sorry to have to tell you all that Roy Bamford died yesterday, Sunday 19th February.
Roy was well known to local birders and naturalists in general, he had lived and worked in the county for many years.  He was very knowledgeable about wildlife and conservation and wrote a regular column in the Cambrian News covering all sorts of nature related topics.  Birds were not his particular speciality, but I got him to lead several walks for the birding group.  He had a keen ear and I remember him helping several of those who attended sort out the differences between sedge and reed warbler, and blackcap and garden warbler songs.
Roy and I both enjoyed nature watching, I enjoyed it a great deal more in his company.

Bob Relph

Sunday, 19 February 2017

TEIFI MARSHES BirdWalk today.

The weather, drizzle and low grey cloud, did not augur well for today's Cere Birders walk but once ensconced in the Kingfisher Hide we were treated to a great display of Bittern behaviour as the great bird had to leave the comfort of the reedbed to reach suitable feeding territory in the water.

We watched it walk about, neck stretch, and fly all at close range!  Laurie managed to get some great shots especially as the weather magically improved.

Also on the pond were teal, mallard, heron, moorhens, a passing kingfisher (seen by the early birds in the hide)  and a swimming water rail.

The next hide produced singing Cetti's warbler, curlew and a variety of gulls loafing and preening.

 We examined the two new hides, sturdy and highly suitable without any expensive whistles and bells.  The slots were without any sensory glass barriers and function as HIDES!

The bird list growing steadily we walked around the south side of the reserve and finally, some of us enjoyed a super snack lunch in the visitor centre,only just resisting the temptation to spend a lot of money in the shop.

Cilgerran is now, like the islands, a jewel in the WWWT's crown; a 21st century visitor experience without losing that old fashioned experience of direct contact with nature.  Very fitting that all the hard work has been rewarded by the presence of such an ace bird!

Brent Geese update

Thank you Edward for sending the link to the WWT Colour Marking website and to Harry for passing it on to me. While I could not find the ring combination and thus a direct link to the relevant ringing project leader on the European Colour Ring Birding portal, I was able to report the ring combination on Euring and the information has been passed on to WWT. I will post another update if and when I receive more information.

Ynyslas Brent Geese

There were two ringed pale-bellied Brent Geese at Ynyslas yesterday (Saturday). One had a blue ring with a white number 7 on its left leg and a white ring with a black number 7 on its right leg, the other, as far as I can see from the pictures, only had a white ring with a black number 6 on its right leg. Does anyone have any information about the ringing scheme? Also a good number of Shelducks, flock of Dunlin, 7 Ringed Plover and a few Oystercatchers, all out from where the Tern posts are.

Ynyshir Friday and Dyfi yesterday

On Friday I went to Ynys-hir and had a count of 10 Red-breasted Mergansers on the estuary from the Ynys Feurig hide. Yesterday there were 5 Black-tailed Godwits on Glandwr and at least 3 Shoveler in one of the those rushy ditches to the north of the Leri. There were also 4 Little Grebes on the Leri. The tide was not as high as I'd hoped at the pillbox but the flocks of Dunlin were still to be seen with the usual ducks.
No sign of the Snow Bunting today at Borth but I did enjoy nice views of the green-wing tagged Marsh Harrier from the seafront hunting in between the golf course and the Leri. I spent a good few hours watching the sea from Borth and other than the usual Scoters, Grebes and distant Auks I briefly caught view of a distant Skua sp. heading south, annoyingly I lost view of it when it passed through the glare from the sun. After the Marsh Harrier from today my year list is now on 120, still missing Gadwall, Chough and Stock Dove! Eagerly awaiting the spring migrants!

Edward O'Connor

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Purple Sandpiper - Teifi

Purple Sandpiper.
Quite an unusual find this far south in the county.

(photo - Chris Jones)

After a look at the Scoter flock - c28 Common Scoter this morning, I wandered along the cliff towards Cardigan Island looking for Turnstone and found this lonely wader....A first for me on the Teifi !!
The other highlight being the increasing flock of Lapwing on the estuarine mud when exposed, c600 present this morning.

Friday, 17 February 2017

More Photos from Llyn Rhosrhydd and Borth

Nandor Veres also took some photos at Llyn Rhosrhydd this morning:

Later, after visiting the Dyfi estuary he saw the Borth Snow Bunting:


  Until very recently I lived within easy walking distance of the lake. This morning Bob and I drove there from Aberystwyth, following in Edwards footsteps.
  We met a keen birdwatcher from Romania, Nandor Veres, and we all enjoyed nice views of the Ring-necked Duck.
  This is not a great photo but it may help to show some of the differences between it and Tufted Ducks ie head shape, facial markings and the bill.
The 7 Whooper Swans, all adults, were also there but I only managed one photo which did not have all of them with their backsides in the air.

Trisant lakes

The Ring-necked Duck has now moved onto Rhosrhydd with 7 Whoopers and 9 Tufted Ducks and Glandwgan has 6 Coot on it. Also a Goshawk chasing a fieldfare/starling flock

Edward O'Connor