Monday 31 October 2016

Tresinwen (30 Oct 16) - Pallas's Warbler

Tresinwen (30 Oct 16) - Yellow Browed Warbler

Tresinwen (30 Oct 16)

Graham Rees taught me a valuable lesson on 9 Oct 1994 (see post from 29 Oct 16).  On that day I self found my first ever Yellow Browed Warbler at the top of Porthsychan valley.  I ran back to the lookout to inform Graham whom I had left sea-watching and also knocked on Tresinwen to tell Steve.  Both, and others, got onto the Yellow Browed.  I left happy with my find and retired back to the family caravan in Saundersfoot.

The next day when I met Graham again at the sea-watching lookout he informed me that he had wandered off later that previous day and had found a Pallas's Warbler in the Good Hope valley.  That would also have been a lifer for me at the time and was a bird that obviously had a higher ranking in rarity status.  Lesson learnt - if you find a "goody" in the field then keep looking as there may be something even better lurking in the next bush!

Well roll on the clock and on 29 Oct 16, late evening, I find a Yellow Browed in my garden at Tresinwen.  Chuffed to bits to finally get one on the garden list.  Remembering the lesson learnt from previously I vowed to get up the next morning and to stake out the Yellow Browed, get some shots of it for the record and to keep an eye out for anything else - maybe I would find that elusive Firecrest that I still want for the garden list.

Well on 30 Oct the Yellow Browed took all of 30 seconds to relocate!  I set up my camera on the patio and proceeded to try to get pics.  It was noticeable that the Yellow Browed was not calling.  In fact it only gave up a few quiet squeaks every now and then which I have not heard them do before.  I started to think that I needed to make sure it wasn't a Hume's.  However, that thought was eventually squashed when the Yellow Browed found its voice.

The Yellow Browed was very loyal to its favorite Willow and I watched it chase off Robins and a male Blackcap.  Numerous Goldcrests came through the garden.  At one point in the morning during a short sortie the Yellow Browed chased another small warbler out of the Ash tree and back into the favorite Willow.  I managed to get my bins on the Yellow Browed but the bird being chased shot out and disappeared.  I was left wandering what it was - could I have two Yellow Browed in the garden?  Could this second bird be the one that had not called all morning?  I was certain it wasn't a Chiffchaff or Crest.  However, it never re-appeared over the following hour.

At about 1045 I was watching the Yellow Browed as it moved towards the pond and it showed well on the overhanging branches above the pond.  It then dived into one of the bushes behind the pond that is still full of green leaves and was lost to sight.  After a few seconds a small warbler appeared out of the left of the bush and started to fly-catch on the leaves of a neighboring Sycamore.  I got my camera onto it and started to fire off shots..... Wait a minute that bird has a bright yellow central crown stripe and a yellow rump... Mind into gear... b****y hell that is a Pallas's!!!

Lightening strikes twice at Strumble - find a Yellow Browed and there is a Pallas's lurking in the next bush waiting to be found!  Thanks Graham!

Well eventually most people got onto it, a lifer for some which was all the more pleasing.  I managed to get some shots of both birds - see below.  Excuse warning - Yellow Browed and Pallas's are some of the hardest birds to photograph well!  My best attempts at both birds are on the next two posts.

Sunday 30 October 2016

Yellow browed Warbler

I am sure there will be better photos than this to follow but this is the Yellow browed Warbler from today.

Tresinwen (30 Oct 16)

Pallas's Warbler now joined the Yellow Browed in garden !!!!!!!

Tresinwen (30 Oct 16)

Yellow Browed still in garden this morning behind pond.

Saturday 29 October 2016

Tresinwen (29 Oct 16)

Yellow Browed Warbler - 1

In the garden by the pond this evening.  Been looking for migrants around the garden and Porthsychan all day and only found this at 1730 this evening!

On 9 Oct 1994 I found my first ever Yellow Browed at the top of Porthsychan.  That bird eventually made it into Tresinwen garden.  I have had to wait until now to find one in the garden since buying Tresinwen.  Well worth the wait.

Male Blackcap in the garden as well and Redwings and Fieldfare over this morning.

Jay in Porthsychan, lots of Goldcrest, Chaffinch, Goldfinch around.

Massive flock of Starlings around which are very mobile.  Not yet found anything rare with them but there is a Common Starling with a completely white tail in the flock which gets the pulse racing!

Snow Bunting

Myself and Adrian had a walk along the outer breakwater this afternoon.The Snow Bunting still present and showing well,also the Wheatear was still there.

Thursday 27 October 2016

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Another Strumble Surprise

A surprise, well for me anyway. What I first thought was an approaching Bonxie turned out to be a juvenile  Hen Harrier out over the tide race. Several strings of Scoter mostly females and a few Wigeon. A resting Kestrel completed a good morning for birds but a poor one for the porpoise that I was hoping to get.

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Maesgwynne Valley 25th October.

A casual glance out of the window at approx. 16.20 & I noticed a flock of Chaffinches going through, then another, then another. For roughly the next hour I watched a procession of flocks fly Southwest up the Valley with flocks of certainly over 100, one in the 200 range. My last 5 minute count was 217 birds & I estimate the total to have passed through, excluding flocks that flew behind the row of cottages to be in the region of 1700 to 2000 probably more. From the birds not in silhouette I didn't pick out a Brambling & didn't hear one call either, some of the flocks were quite vocal. Best pics I could get below.


Whooper Swans

2 Whooper Swans flew over at Cwm yr Eglwys this morning heading in a generally northerly direction.

Snow Bunting Treat

A trip to the outer breakwater this morning with Cliff brought us in sight of this little beauty happily feeding away on seed heads around the grass tufts. We watched it for a while before heading off to find porpoise. It was beautiful in flight but no images of that I'm afraid.

Sunday 23 October 2016

Porpoise with small calf

A late entry from Friday 21 Oct: a sparrowhawk flying towards us on the road between Tresinwen and the Head; and at the Head a porpoise with a small calf showing well in the outgoing tiderace around 1600hrs. There were several robins ticking away in the scrub around the car park. Otherwise, very quiet.

Visual migration

A few things moving over head at Pen Anglas this morning, 8. Fieldfare,several Blackbirds and Song Thrushes, 50 +Chaffinch,200+Starlings,30 Skylark,2 ReedBunting a single Redpoll,the most surprising thing was a Great Northern Diver flying fairly low over land.
Several Redwing present at Llanychaer.

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Strumble Head 18th October 2016.

Time: 07.30 - 13.00
Weather: Bright all through watch
Wind: NW 6/7

Brent Goose - 1 ( Pale Bellied )
Pintail - 2 ( females )
Shoveler - 5 ( 1 Male, 4 Female )
Common Scoter - 78 ( 67 Males )
Red Throated Diver - 1
Black Throated Diver - 1
Great Northern Diver - 1
Manx Shearwater - 20+
Cormorant - 11
Pomarine Skua - 2 ( 1 Pale, 1 Juv )
Arctic Skua - 16 ( 7 Pale, 6 Dark, 3 Juv )
Long Tailed Skua - 6 ( 4 Juv, 1 1st S, 1 2nd S )
Bonxie - 1
Mediterranean Gull - 11 ( 8 Adult, 3 1st W )
Little Gull - 8 ( 1 adult, 7 1st W )
Sandwich Tern - 1
Arctic Tern - 1 ( Juv )

Porpoises showing occasionally.

Another all 4 Skua day but there probably hasn't been another occasion where a total number of the amount today involved just one Bonxie.

Again a good number of Gannets approx. 700+, Auks were in the 10,000+ region & fairly low numbers of kittiwakes yesterday rose to 10,000+ today.

AR, CG, RHD & two visitors from Dinas Powys, South Wales.

Monday 17 October 2016

Strumble Head 17th October 2016.

Time: 07.30 - 11.30
Weather: Ranging from Bright to Rain Showers
Wind: SW 5

Wigeon - 4
Common Scoter - 74 ( 64 Males )
Great Northern Diver - 1
Balearic Shearwater - 1
Manx Shearwater - 4
Pomarine Skua - 1 ( Pale )
Arctic Skua - 3 ( 2 Pale, 1 Dark )
Bonxie - 1
Mediterranean Gull - 2 ( Ad & 1st W )
Sabines Gull - 1 ( Juv )
Common Tern - 1

Gannets in excess of 500 today & the Auk movement of Gillies/Razorbills estimated at 7000+ in the watch.

Porpoise showing on & off.
A single Swallow in off the sea.

AR & RH Davies

Thursday 13 October 2016

A few birds from Strumbe

The porpoise action was very quiet the past few days so when the chance arose I captured a few of the birds in view. One surprise for me was the Woodpecker that landed on the handrail by the lookout. The Red Kite was captured from the roadside on my way back from Strumble.

Monday 10 October 2016


The garden at Llanychaer seems to be turning up the best birds at present with a Brambling today.
On Dinas Mountain the Golden Plover flock has increased to 30 very quite otherwise.

Saturday 8 October 2016

Yellow Browed Warbler and Lapland Bunting

A Yellow Browed Warbler was a nice turn up in the garden at Llanychaer.
A Lapland Bunting on Dinas Mountain early this morning,at the same location yesterday 19 Golden Plover and a single Wheatear.

Thursday 6 October 2016

Green Sandpiper

A Green Sandpiper on the pond at Llanychaer this morning,also a Humming bird hawkmoth in the garden yesterday.
On Dinas Mountain today two Wheatears.

Tuesday 4 October 2016


Quite an early Fieldfare feeding on hawthorn berries at Dinas Cross this morning.