Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Groppers In

Martin Jones had a singing Grasshopper Warbler at Gadfa on Sunday the 13th. There was also one at Pen-y-sarn on the 14th (OO). I had House Martins back on my estate in Cemaes yesterday and 2 Sand Martins with them was a house tick!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Cyprus 3-9th April 2014

Paphos Lighthouse

I’ve recently returned from a week’s holiday in Paphos, Cyprus with my girlfriend. Our hotel was in the middle of Paphos, just a 20 minute walk to the headland birding site (mosaics). We spent a lot of time walking around the well-known mosaic area. We also took a trip across the Turkish border and a trip into the Troodos Mountains. I managed to find 75 species with Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear, Masked Shrike, Cretzchmar’s Bunting and Semicollared Flycatcher being new for me. In the mosaic site I managed to find a nice male Dartford Warbler, apparently a first for Cyprus, though I have subsequently found more non-submitted records of the species. Here are a selection of some of my photos, any questions feel free to ask me.

Whinchats were only just arriving into Cyprus when I arrived.

Hoopoe numbers built up as the week went on.

Woodchat Shrike at Tomb of the Kings, there were 3 at the mosaic site on the last day.

Northern Wheatear with an Ortolan Bunting?

Crouching Black-eared Wheatear.

Black-eared Wheatears were common when I first arrived with numbers tailing off towards the end of the trip.
Another nice 'Eastern' Black-eared Wheatear.

Big flocks of Yellow Wagtails in the mosiacs, mostly feldegg.

Tame Cretzchmar's Bunting. One of 3.

This Masked Shrike spent the week in the mosaic site.

Masked Shrike

3 Red-rumped Swallows, numbers were building towards the end of the holiday

Singing Cyprus Wheatear in the Troodos Mountains. They were on every telegraph wire up there.

This nice flock of Squacco Herons landed on the rocks off Paphos Harbour. Great to see species like Squacco Heron migrating over the sea.

 My only Cyprus Warbler was in the Troodos Mountains, a nice singing male. I managed to see at least 7 smart looking Ruppell's Warblers around the headland and 2 Pallid Harriers, Hen Harrier, 2 Night Herons, 16 Glossy Ibis migrating overhead.

Large numbers of Red-throated Pipits were on the move. One of my highlights was watching a Nightingale land on the harbour wall whilst I was having my lunch.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Dotterels -Great Orme

Two superb Dotterel were on the Great Orme limestone pavement late afternoon and evening last night - a bright female and a dull presumed male (pics of female below). They were on the main limestone slab near the wall with the sheep trough behind it. Yesterday an Osprey flew over the headland while Golden Plover, 3 Sand Martins, Tree Pipit, 2 Stock Dove, 6 Canada Geese and 2 Greylags were the other highlights of the last few days. Chough have also been showing well. All pics below were iPhonescoped. 

Friday, 11 April 2014

Iceland Gull

Ian Hawkins and his son recently had an Iceland Gull near Brynsiencyn. It was there again nearby on a sandbar in the Menai Straight off the Sea-Zoo today. Worth a look if your passing.

Ring Ouzels

Male above the Conwy Valley on Sunday

                                Part of a flock of 25 birds in the Spanish Pyranese a week last sunday

Ring Ouzels are back on territory in the North Wales mountains now after spending the winter in the Atlas Mountains of North West Africa.Two weeks ago I had a flock of 25 migrating over the Spanish Pyranes which was great to see. Here's a shot of those birds and of one I got up the Conwy Valley last sunday. Good spots to try include the Nant Francon Valley (top end of old road - other side of valley from main road), Matilda's shaft in the Dinorwic Slate Mines (Mordor!) and the top of the road past Llanber-y-cennin, the Hawfinch spot. Good spotting!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Northern Spain 27th - 31st March 2014

I've recently come back from a long weekend in Northern Spain with Richard Birch. I followed a similar itinerary to a trip I did with Andy Clark in 2003. We flew from Liverpool to Barcelona using Easyjet and used Europcar covering c.1300km. Sites covered included El Llobregat at the end of the runway (great wetland reserve with many migrants). Then we stayed in Lecera (Hotel Rural Rincon del Cierza) south of Belchite. It was a great little hotel and handy for El Planeron and the Dupont's Larks. Then we had 2 nights in the Pyranese up the Hecho Valley at the Hotel Uson. It was another lovely hotel with it's own micro-brewery! After the Hecho Valley, Garbadito and a brief trip to the Ski Resort at Candanchu we headed back to Barca with brief stops for Black Wheatear south of Huesca and Great Spotted Cuckoo east of Ballaguer near Lleida. A great little trip. If you're off there soon and need specific gen either post a comment on here or contact me through Facebook.Here's a selection of some of the better photos I managed to take.

                                          Black eared Wheatear near El Planeron

                                          Dupont's Lark at El Planeron

                                          Wallcreeper at Boca del Infierno

                                          Firecrest at Garbadito

                                          Citril Finch between Hecho and Riglos

                                          Black winged Stilt near Barca airport

                                          Griffon vulture over Lecera

                                          Black Redstart at Riglos

                                          Rock Bunting at Garbadito

                                          Thekla lark at Tramaced

                                          Black Wheatear at Tramaced

                                          Riglos is quite spectacular!

House Martins at Llyn Cefni (Wed 9th April)

A brief lunchtime visit to Llyn Cefni today produced 2 House Martins, 5 Sand Martins and a female Goosander. I had my first Swallow on the 5th April at Cemlyn.