Saturday, 6 February 2016

A soggy day in North Wales

A very poor day for weather but an excellent day for birds! We started at dawn at the black grouse lek at World's End at Llangollen, and fortunately the rain kept off until we were about to leave. We saw at least 20 males leking in the traditional place just off the road and the air was full of their cooing calls. There is a short video of part of the lek here. Also at World's End, several red grouse.

We spent most of the rest of the day on Angelsey, where this hooded crow has been on the car park of ASDA / MacDonalds at Holyhead for at least a couple of weeks and proved to be very approachable.

There were at least six black guillemots in the old harbour at Holyhead, in various stages of moult. Some were very white and others almost black.

This 1st winter Iceland gull has been in this field at Porth Dafarch for a few days, between South Stack and Trearddur Bay. Not obvious from this photo, but it was holding one of its wings a bit oddly, so could possibly be injured.

We were surpirsed to find this second hooded crow in a field near South Stack. It appears to be a darker bird than the Holyhead bird, but the weather was so poor and dull that it's difficult to be sure. I can't see any flecks of black in places where they shouldn't be, so I don't think that this is a hybrid, but again, difficult to be sure and the photo isn't great. The weather at South Stack was awful so we didn't have opportunity to see very much, expect that there were at least 500 guillemots already on the ledges.

Beddmanarch Bay and the Inland Sea are always worth a stop and today was no exception, with 40+ pale-bellied brent geese, two great northern divers and a good selection of waders.

We ended the day with a couple of snow buntings at Kinmel Bay near Rhyl. The male especially was a cracking bird, but much more nervous than the approachable female.

Year: 147 (black grouse, red grouse, hooded crow, black guillemot, Iceland gull, shag & something else). Amazingly, on this day in 2014 (my best ever year) I was on 132! Didn't know I was going for a big year list!

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