Thursday 27 October 2011

Albrighton, Shropshire, UK

A day with my brother and his family.

Scary or what.
Today I spent some time (as usual not enough) with my brother, his wife Nicky and boys Jeffery, Thomas and Jamie. See you all again soon.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Worlds End and North Wales coast.

A days birding with another birding friend.

Worlds End.
John Morgan arrived in Albrighton a 07:00 to pick me up for another days birding, this time we were heading for the North Wales coast via Worlds End near Llangollan. As we arrived at Worlds End we stopped just clear of the Pine woods and started our search for the two species of Grouse that are in the area. In the area around the woods we could not hear or see any sign of either but we did pick up Pheasant (Faisán Vulgar / Phaisanus colchicus), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis), Goldcrest (Reyezuelo Sencillo / Regulus regulus), Dunnock (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis) and Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula). 
John at Worlds End.
Once we located the correct area we soon picked up several Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica) by call and then three birds flew directly overhead, probably flushed by the female (ringtail) Hen Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus) which was quartering the nearby ridge. Also on the ridge were Carrion Crows (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus). A little further along the single track road we stopped for a coffee and some breakfast on a wide passing place and immediately located two male Black Grouse (Lyrurus tetrix) moving slowly through some deep grass, three more birds were seen in flight distantly as they flew over the moorland. Here we added Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) and Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) to the day list. 
Herring Gull (Gaviota Argéntea Europea / Larus argentatus) 1st Winter.
We then made our way up to Rhos-on-sea picking up Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Common Starling (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulgaris) and Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) on the way. Once we were on the coast our first stop was on Colwyn Bay where we saw our first Red-throated (Colimbo Chico / Gavia stellata) and Black-throated Divers (Colimbo Ártico / Gavia arctica) of the trip, along with Great Crested Grebe (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), a couple of Common Guillemots (Arao Común / Uria aalge), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo), a couple of hundred Common Scoters (Negrón Común / Melanitta nigra) and one or two Shag (Cormorán Monudo / Phalacrocoax aristotelis). 
Herring Gull (Gaviota Argéntea Europea / Larus argentatus) 2nd Winter.
On the water closer in and on the sea wall we also recorded Herring (Gaviota Argéntea Europea / Larus argentatus), Great Black-backed (Gavión Atlantico / Larus marinus) and Common Gulls (Gaviota Cana / Larus canus). We continued the short distance into Rhos and parked on the front where we viewed the birds roosting on the breakwater. Here we saw Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Ruddy Turnstone (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres), Eurasian Oystercatcher (Ostrero Euroasiatico / Haematopus ostralegus), Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula), Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), Eurasian Curlew (Zapapito Real / Numenius arquata) and on the beach and sea front Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto). 
Herring Gull (Gaviota Argéntea Europea / Larus argentatus) Adult.
We moved further west along to Llanfairfechan where we again saw Red-throated Divers, Great Crested Grebe and most of the already mentioned waders. We decided to have a walk along the track from the town passed the boating lake and out to the salt marshes beyond. On the way we added Mute Swan (Cisne Vulgar / Cygnus olor), Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba subsp yarrellii), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta) x4, Bar-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colipinta / Limosa lapponica), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) and Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis) to the growing list. At the furthest point we came to a pool in the marsh which held quite good numbers of wildfowl including Goosander (Serreta Grande / Mergus merganser), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Eurasian Wigeon (Silbón Europeo / Anas Penelope), Northern Pintail (Ánade Rabudo / Anas acuta) and Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata). 
Llanfairfechan sea front.
On the walk back we had nice views of another one of the species I was hoping for, a cracking Rock Pipit (Bisbita Costero / Anthus petrosus) which bimbled around on the rocks along the tide line. Once we reached the car we made a move on to Conway RSBP reserve and spent some time wandering around the hides. Before the rains started we picked up Black-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Robin (Petirrrojo / Erithacus rubecula), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax). 
Rainbow off Colwyn Bay.
On the way back home we stopped in at Colwyn Bay again but the only new species was Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus). We then started the trip back to Albrighton via a pub for some food and to let the worst of the traffic disperse. Thanks John for a cracking day.

Monday 24 October 2011

Bilston and Chasewater, UK.

Visiting an Old friend and meeting another again later.

Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo).
This morning was spent with another of my old birding mates, Frank Dickson who I started my twitching years off with back in 1979/80. We spent some time chatting and looking through some photographs of some of the rarities we had seen together over the many years and there were quite a few.
Later I decided to walk back from Franks house in Bilston to near New Invention, these walks always turn out to be longer that the car journey there seemed.
I got back to Barbs and almost straight away John rang to say he would pick me up in twenty minutes so that we could go and have another crack at the Caspian Gulls at Chasewater. We arrived to a windier but warmer Chasewater, the Gulls were already starting to arrive so we set the scopes up (thanks for lending me yours Sharon) and started to work through the flock. 
Herring Gull (Gaviota Argéntea Europea / Larus argentatus).
The results were much the same as the last visit with the Caspians not arriving or at least not till it was to dark to see, we did again get a couple of Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), small numbers of both Great Black-backed (Gavión Atlantico / Larus marinus) and Common Gulls (Gaviota Cana / ), along with hundreds of Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Herring (Gaviota Argéntea Europea / Larus argentatus) and Lesser Black-backs (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus). Other birds seen were 6x Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and Mute Swan (Cisne Vulgar / Cygnus olor).
John and I then went back to his house were Sharon had done us some food, a nice way to end the day and the Wednesfield part of the trip as in the morning we were relocating to Albrighton for the last few days of the holiday.

Sunday 23 October 2011

Travelling back to Wednesfield, West Midlands.

The day after the night before. 

The river from the bridge.
On the Sunday morning we packed and after Breakfast I went for a quick walk around the grounds and found the suspension bridge which crossed the river. For here I picked up Dipper (Mirlo Acuático / Cinclus cinclus), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea) and Goldcrest (Reyezuelo Sencillo / Regulus regulus). On the drive back to Albrighton I saw several more Red Kites (Milano Real / Milvus milvus), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax) and Common Buzzards (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo).