Sunday, 26 February 2012

Pendle Hill

Had a walk around Pendle Hill today. Not many birds about, the best were 3 Stonechats and a few Red Grouse.

Eccleston Mere

Blackcap 1 singing male
Siskin 2
Kingfisher 1
Goldeneye 1 male
Pochard 1 male
Tufted Duck 8 (7males 1 female)
Sparrowhawk 1

Presumably the Blackcap is an overwintering bird inspired to sing due to the mild weather, rather than a returning migrant.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Moel Famau

The forecast of bright blue skies never really materialised on the Clwydian Range today, and in fact we even had a period of snow and hail. It wasn't really as cold as might appear from the pictures though, probably due to the light winds.

Not too many birds about today, but we did see quite a few Ravens, Stonechat, 50 Siskins and 2 Crossbills.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Ryhd-y-creuau, Betws-y-coed

Just spent the week at the Ryhd-y-creuau field centre, Betws-y-coed, studying freshwater invertebrates.

Drift sampling, one of the many types of sampling we used.

Rhithrogena semicolorata, one of many species of mayfly nymphs we found in the local streams.

An unidentified case caddis fly nymph.

The centre pond was good for amphibians. We saw lots of Common Toads and Palmate Newts, and most spectacularly on the last day, at least 50 spawning Common Frogs.

Cors Bodgynydd, near Llanwrst, a good site for many sphagnum moss species, and in summer for Golden-ringed Dragonfly and Keeled Skimmer, as well as Nightjar. I saw Siskins and heard Crossbills at this site.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Coue's Arctic Redpoll and Black Brant

I had an appointment in Norfolk on Thursday, so I decided to go a day early and stay over in order to get in a bit of birding on Wednesday. I started off at Titchwell, where I saw the long staying Coue's Arctic Redpoll, which was a new bird for me. Also at Titchwell, two drake Velvet Scoter just offshore, 4 Long-tailed Ducks and 3 Red-head Smew.

Next I called in at Wells-next-the-Sea, where the farmer had just very conveniently flushed the Dark-bellied Brent Goose flock off the fields and onto the harbour, allowing me to get great close up views of a Black Brant which was accompanying them

Finally I headed for Cley-next-the-Sea, which had a nice selection of birds, including another three Smew, but no sign of the long staying Western Sandpiper.

Wells harbour - spot the Black Brant. It is in the picture!

And here it is.

Note the more impressive neck collar which joins under the chin, and the bright, white flanks, compared to the accompanying Dark-bellied Brent.

I love Cley, it brings back so many happy memories and is so atmospheric!

The East Bank at Cley, one of the most famous birding walks in England.

Titchwell. Believe me, it was as cold as it looks!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

A cold day

Siskin 2 - Eccleston Mere
Fieldfare 100 - Moss Lane
Corn Bunting 1 singing - Moss Lane
Yellowhammer 10 - Moss Lane

I had an early morning walk to the mere, when it was still very icey. The jewel in my hand had formed on the leaves of privet. The whole hedge was covered in ice. Quite a remarkable sight.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Eccleston Mere

Water Rail 1 in ditch in SW corner
Willow Tit 1
Buzzard 1
Teal 2 (m&f)

Alas this weasel was all too brief a view, resulting in a blurred, if still interesting photo.

The sedge Carex acuta, which here grows in tussocks on the edge of the mere. It will look a lot more impressive in about 4 months!

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