Saturday, September 30, 2006
Isabelline Wheatear - Carmel Head, Anglesey - 23rd Sept 2006.
A hastily arranged days birding on the east coast was quickly shelved upon soon setting off as news came through on the pager of the discovery of an Isabelline Wheatear on Anglesey. Having only ever seen one before (Scillies 1990), I was keen to see this bird, so Dave Bickerton and I headed down, arriving early afternoon. Associating with 4 Northern Wheatear and 2 Whinchat, the bird showed well, if a little distant during our time there, but scope views were perfectly adequate. The bird showed much closer later in the day apparently.
Whilst at the site, Dave and a few other birders saw a bird in flight which Dave thought may have been a large Pipit...... next day, news of a Tawny Pipit broke - Doh!
A few Chough and several Raven were also noted.
On the way home we called in at Inner Marsh Farm on the Dee Estuary. I had forgotten just what a delightful reserve it is and more to the point there were plenty of birds to see, with highl;ights being a superb juvenile Wood Sandpiper in front of the hide and three juvenile Little Stints. At least 40 Little Egret were present and it was nice to see small flocks coming into roost during the last c1.5hr of light. Well in excess of 100 have been roosting recently. Plenty of Pintail were onsite and a Peregrine was hunting the area.
So a good day was had, despite missing out on a Honey Buzzard amongst a good mornings visible migration through my local patch.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Bridges of Ross, Co. Clare, Ireland - 2nd-4th Sept 2006.
Flying from Liverpool at 12:10hrs on the 2nd, we arrived at Shannon airport and upon picking up the hire car immediately embarked on the c1hr drive to Kilbaha, ignoring the Long-billed Dowitcher that had been present on the adj Shannon lagoon for some time, in favour of the priority... Seawatching.
Luggage was promptly dumped at the Lighthouse Inn, Kilbaha, and then it was straight to the Bridges of Ross.
Upon arrival at the Bridges, seven other birders were present, all Swedish. From 17:00hrs-1930:hrs we logged: 100 Manx Shearwater, 2 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Balearic Shearwater, 1 light phase ad Pomerine Skua, 8 Arctic Skua (5 light phase, 1 intermediate & 2 dark-phase adults), 3 Bonxie, 1 ad sum Red-throated Diver, 4 kittiwake, 2 juv Arctic Tern, 15 Sandwich Tern, 14 Storm Petrel, 1 Whimbrel & 2 Curlew.
Conversation with the Swedish birders in the Bar later that evening revealed that they had seen 230 Great Shearwater the day before, and a further 10 on the morning of our arrival. So after a few pints I retired hopeful that this species would fall the next day.
In-situ at the Bridges of Ross.
With weather conditions 'improving' IE fewer showers, we took an hour off for breakfast, returning at 11:30-14:30hrs recording: 2 Bonxie, 9 Arctic Skua, a superb light phase adult Pomerine Skua passing just offshore at 12:00hrs, 7 Storm Petrel, 28 Kittiwake, 15 Sandwich Tern, 7 Artic Tern, 1 Black Guillemot and 1 Bar-tailed Godwit 'in'.
Bonxie - Bridges of Ross, Co. Clare - 3rd Sept 2006.
With things fairly quiet, we decided to spend an hour at Loop Head, an area i had heard about and was keen to see (provided the seawatching was quiet, which it was at that time) and in particular the area where the Yellowthroat had frequented a year or two before. Although quiet during our visit, what a super area to cover for migrants, with a extensive heather/peaty area that must surely get Dotterel annually, and some fabulous Yankee passerine 'first landfall' weedy vegetation.
Inevitably, my thoughts wandered as to what it must have been like to have found (or even seen) the Yellowthroat and what the thrill of finding a quality migrant on this headland would be like. I left the site very impressed. A flock of c30 Chough was the highlight, and a Whimbrel passed over.
Birding the estuary NE of Kilbaha.
Chough - Bridges of Ross, Co. Clare - 4th Sept 2006.