The weekend…

On Friday, after work, I had a walk up to a site near High Bradfield to see if I could find a grasshopper warbler that had been reported there on the SBSG site. Sadly no signs of it, but I did get a pair of stonechats, several curlews including a particularly agitated pair, some juvenile goldfinches, a linnet feeding young, 8 stock dove, and a large flock of around 110 lapwings. Not a bad little walk at all.

Curlews

The rest of the weekend has been taken up with a return trip to Anglesey – we were offered a free room in a cottage on Saturday night and decided it would be rude and foolish to turn it down! On the way I persuaded Laura to take a rather windy detour to a place called Fedw Fawr to look for black guillemots, which once the practical problem of squeezing into the tiny car park was solved were quickly found. Five were seen at once at one point, and it’s a great location to see a bird that’s annoyingly scarce in England and Wales. Despite the photo below they were actually showing very well, it’s just they were moving too fast or diving before a decent photo could be taken!

Fedr Fawr itself is quite a nice spot, but it was marred slightly by campers taking up the main vantage spot and having a rowdy barbeque. Surely this can’t really be allowed on National Trust coastland? (Sorry going all “Angry from Tumbridge-Wells there!).

Black Guillemot

In the evening we had a walk round the town of Moefre, which turned up good numbers of sandwich terns, and overlooked a kittiwake colony out to sea.

Today I got up early and had a walk from the cottage, which was located near Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, would you believe. A number of lesser whitethroat could be heard around the area of the cottage, and I was about to put this down as a “heard only” year tick, when I finally tracked down the little bandit below peering through the leaves. Great to actually get a good look at one!

Lesser Whitethroat

The cottage was fantastically close to the Menai Strait, which housed the usual things you’d expect such as oystercatchers and shelduck.

Most of the afternoon was taken up with a walk around the vicinity of Breakwater Country Park near Holyhead, where we ended up looking out over the stunning view of North Stack. Birds seen in the area included several noisy ravens (below), a flyover peregrine falcon, a single chough, and several razorbills and guillemots out to sea. Laura also won the small £1 wager to be the first person to see a seal (probably a common).

Raven

A great weekend, and I’m knackered now! Time for bed…

Deer on the patch

Sorry it’s taken me so long to post this, I just wanted to post these online a bit to check my ID…

I had a bit of a yomp round the patch on Sunday, and extended the usual walk through Beacon Wood. The recent downpours had left the paths very muddy, despite the fact it was a sunny day, and I came across these prints which I’m going to ID (unless someone tells me otherwise) as roe deer. A new mammal for the patch!
 

(I’m not actually sure how I managed such ropey pictures of things that weren’t moving!)

Elsewhere a gorgeous kingfisher was reflecting the sunshine at Old Wheel Dam, grey wagtails and dippers were near both Olive Dam and the Fisheries, and several garden warblers were singing.

Thorne and Potteric

Today me and my old man had a trip out to a couple of sites in the Doncaster area. First off we had a bit of a disaster as we planned on popping in to Hatfield to see if the red-necked grebe is still on Ten Acre Lake. Somehow we managed to fail miserably to locate the site – the instructions I downloaded off the internet are either out of date and the road now closed, or we were being super-thick. Either way we didn’t get to see the grebe and wasted time in the process…

More successful was the next stop of Thorne Moors. This is a National Nature Reserve amd fantastic area of peatlands that yields some cracking species. It is, for example, the nightingale’s most northern breeding site. We didn’t see any of this elusive species, but some of the great birds seen included marsh harrier, hobby (two in the air at once), cuckoo, reed warbler, sedge warbler and stonechat. One of the targets of the trip was turtle dove, which sadly was never seen but we got a tantalising purr from dense branches on the way out of the site. A frustrating, heard-only lifer (now joining grasshopper warbler on this particularly annoying list…).

A couple of pics, which for once are both inverts…

Large Red Damselfly
Large Red Damselfly (I think)

Painted Lady
The now ubiquitous Painted Lady…

After this it was a trip to Potteric for a whistle-stop tour, with targets of black-necked grebe and lesser whitethroat, which were sadly both dipped. Highlights included ringed and little ringed plovers, redshank, oystercatcher, nesting sand martins, juvenile long-tailed tits, and a particularly showy jay at the feeding station.

Jay

I will get the black-necked grebes before the end of the summer, but they’ve eluded me again! A whopping 73 species seen on our travels today, with a full list at the end of this post.

I won’t be posting for a few days, but will hopefully have some good pics and tales to tell when I get back…

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