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Sunday, 26 January 2014

Possible Nordic Jackdaw at Betws-y-coed

This Jackdaw was at Betws-y-coed showing characteristics of Nordic Jackdaw

   Last week we went to see the falls at Betws-y-coed. As soon as I got out of the car, perched on top of a bin on the main road, was a Jackdaw with an obvious silvery collar on the side of the neck looking good for a Nordic Jackdaw. It flew off and I rushed to the car and got bread and me camera out. With in seconds of throwing the bread in the park, some 20 Jackdaw took interest and included the one I was after. It came down for a few seconds and I never saw it again. While were in Newgale last week, I also observed another Jackdaw showing the same markings as this one.

In the breif seconds it was down, I managed to get these 3 pics. It's probably a 'Western' Jackdaw with Nordic genes.
  The following day we were back in Shropshire watching my third Great Northern Diver in the county at Ellesmere that was found at the end of December last year. Just up the road, at the Wyre Forest, there were 3 TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL that were discovered on the 30th November '13. With in minutes of being in the area where they hang out, I could hear one and managed to see the female breifly with 15 crossbill before they all flew off and that was that. Not as rare as the Two-bars, but still a mega for Shropshire, was a female VELVET SCOTER at Prisorlee Lake that was found mid-month hanging out with 3 Scaup. There was no sign of the Scaup (not suprising really as 8 were up road at Belvide that day) but asleep on the lake was the scoter. As the weather was crap, I returned to the scoter the next day and found that it had been joined by the 1st winter male Scaup. Thinking that it was one of the 8 returning from Belvide, I didn't think much of it until I dicovered later that there were now 9 on the reservoir! The scoter was not as close as I would of liked, so, I was back the following moring and all 3 Scaup were present and there were still 9 at Belvide. They hadn't been on the flash nearby when missing, so where had they been? The scoter had been commuting with Aqualate and Belvide in Staffs before it turned up at Prisorlee and like the diver, was my third for Shropshire.

The 1st winter female VELVET SCOTER at Prisorlee Lake could easily be overlooked when asleep with Tufted Duck. The last one for the county was also a female in April some twenty years ago that I found on Newtonmere and before that was another female that wintered on the sailing lake, Venus Pool '91.
A stunning evening on top of the Long Mynd

The great Tom waits

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Interesting gull at New Quay, Ceredigion

Had this gull off New Quay 

  While scanning the gulls on the beach off Cie Bach country Club, New Quay, from a long ways off with me bins, I immediately noticed a rather dark looking gull with a loose flock of Common and Herring Gulls. I wanted to run back and get me scope, but I could see a dog walker close by who was going to flush them. I tried to get ahead to get better views and it was looking interesting for a possible American Herring Gull. However, it was no good and they flew off. I really didn't get much detail of the bird, except from the photos below.

As well as other details, the rear end ain't looking good for smiths, although I took these shots a long ways off and are heavliy cropped. Someone living nearby, might be worth seaching that area and hopefully get better views than me. Any comments welcome

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

KUMLIEN'S GULL at Newgale, Pembrokes

Adult KUMLIEN'S GULL at Newgale
Yesterday, from Cornwall, we drove to Pembrokeshire, dipping out on the Thayer's Gull at Burry Holmes on our ways, but we did see an adult Iceland Gull. We arrived at Newgale, mid-afternoon, in the heavy rain. From the road looking down towards the beach were the 3 Glaucous Gulls. We had to move on and decided to stay overnight up road. This morning, I found myself watching 4-500 Black-headed Gulls feeding on the surf with 3 adult and a single 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull at the north end of the beach. I moved further up road, walking south along the beach and stumbled upon the 3 Glaucous Gulls we had yesterday. A near adult and 2 juveniles. A scan through the gulls and I picked up Mushuq Ahmad's ADULT KUMLIEN'S GULL! Nice one Mush! It showed well but flew towards the south of the beach and over the cliffs. Shite! Another scan and this time I picked out a juvenile Iceland Gull a long ways off. Like the Kumlien's, it was gone. I also had to make a move. 
Gulls scattered out along the beach. Note 2 Glaucous Gulls in the foreground
The 2 juvenile Glaucous Gulls both performed at very close range
Near adult Glaucous Gull

With one of the juv Glaucs


As quick as this juvenile Iceland gull had appeared, it was gone!
I returned mid-afternoon in the rain. I thought I would try the Green-winged Teal at the marsh nearby. 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls were already present and the near adult Glaucous Gull came in for 20 minute wash. Right at the back I located the GWT and that's where it stayed, at the back. The rained eased off and I returned to the beach an hour before dark to find the Kumlien's feeding with over 30 kittiwake. Here it showed off, but the light was crap and it started to rain.
Altogether I had Kumlien's, Iceland, 3 Glaucs and 4 Mediterranean Gulls and a distant Green-winged Teal.
Glaucous Gull by passing an adult Mediterranean Gull on the marsh

Angus & Julia Stone are an Australian brother-sister folk-blues group which formed in 2006. Their parents played as a folk duo before Julia and Angus were born. Angus & Julia Stone have released two studio albums, A Book Like This (8 September 2007), which peaked at No. 6 on the ARIA Albums Chart; and Down the Way (12 March 2010), reached No. 1. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2010 they won five awards from nine nominations: winning 'Album of the Year', 'Best Adult Alternative Album', 'Best Cover Art' and 'Producer of the Year' for Down the Way and 'Single of the Year' for "Big Jet Plane". The siblings have each issued two solo albums with Angus releasing Smoking Gun (under the pseudonym Lady of the Sunshine) in April 2009 and Broken Brights in July 2012; Julia's albums are The Memory Machine (October 2010) and By the Horns (May 2012).

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Glaucous Gulls in Cornwall

Juvenile Glaucous Gull at Swan Pool, Falmouth
In the early hours of the morning, driving down the M5 towards Cornwall, a Barn Owl flew low across the moterway just before we hit the Avon Bridge.  While in Cornwall, On the 7th, an adult and juvenile Glaucous Gull had been seen on Marazion Beach. I arrived an hour before dark and found a 2nd winter Glaucous Gull at the far east end of the beach. The following day while sitting in the car looking over Marazion Marsh, we observed both a Bittern and male Peregrine. On the 9th, we travelled along the south coast from the Lizard and arriving at Swan Pool, I scanned the pool and picked out a juvenile Glaucous Gull having a wash at the far end. Ten minutes later it was up and made a fly past towards the beach where I lost it. A phone call to put the news out discovered that the gull was found yesterday.

2nd winter Glaucous Gull at Marazion Beach just before dark

We arrived at Swan Pool near Falmouth and a quick scan, on the far side, there was a juvenile Glaucous Gull having a good wash. It flew past me and headed out towards the beach where I lost it. Later I discovered that the bird was present the day before.


There were also 2 2nd and 1 adult winter Mediterranean Gull in the area
This Razorbill was also close inshore

Unfortunately this Guillemot was not in good shape at Sennen
Record shot of a Bittern a long ways off at Mazaion
Pied Wagtail at Falmouth Elmarie Humphries
Before we left Salop, Elle ringed single Woodcock, Fieldfare and 3 Meadow Pipit in North Shropshire. Thanks to Alan Heath 

I first heard this song on a documentary film, Utopia last Dec by the Journalist and film-maker John Pilger. The Utopia of the title refers to the Northern Territory region north of Alice Springs. The documentary is about how the indigenous people are still being treated like dirt to this day. Goodooga born musician Glenn Skuthorpe is recognized in the music industry as a compelling storyteller, a modern day troubadour and urban cowboy, singing stories of love and loss, betrayal and renewal with considerable skill, charm and good looks.