Sunday, 9 December 2012

Saturday 8th December 2012

Well not a bad week at all. Bored by sitting at home all day, we decided to head to the North Wales coast on Tuesday 4th, not for any thing in particular, just to have a day out. We started off on Anglesey at South Stack. It was incredibly windy, so windy that it almost blew my bins into my eye sockets when I tried to put them up to my eyes. We did see two Chough in the fields on the way up. We saw a Black Guillemot in Holyhead Harbour, but four birds were showing far better in the Fish Quay.

Black Guillemot in the Fish Quay, Holyhead

The tide was on its way in at Penrhos/Beddmanarch Bay, and the only birds of note were two Pale-bellied Brent Geese and two Slavonian Grebes. We popped into Llyn Penryhn at Valley and eventually found the female Long-tailed Duck, but the water was choppy in the strong wind and views weren't great as it dived frequently.
Pale-bellied at Beddmanarch

Then it was back to the mainland for another session at Llandulas in my quest for the SURFIES. I headed straight for the high road this time. Viewing was good, the sun was out, female Common Scoters were easily picked out from the flock and the flock was nice and close in. But there was no sign of any SURF SCOTER for some reason. And worse was to come as we finished the day at  Rhos Point for the PURPLE SANDPIPERS. We planned the day around the high tide just before 14:00hrs. We waited for over an hour but there was not a single wader on the rocks where they usually roost. All the waders were on the breakwater, but not the PURPS. They could have been on the other side of the breakwater, but I'm not up to swimming yet.  

Westport was quite good again this week. On Wednesday 5th, I found a female Common Scoter. Not my first in December at Westport, but when it was still there the following day, it was the first time I'd ever seen a Scoter stay overnight. Eventually it became the longest staying Common Scoter ever at Westport (not hard, as there had only ever been two records previously of birds staying two days). Goosander were also increasing this week, highest count being 16.

Common Scoter by Dave Kelsall

and Goosander by Phil Jones

And so onto Saturday. Unfortunately, yet again, we headed out of Staffordshire. Now I appreciate I haven't been pulling my weight in Staffs recently, but we had a nice tripped planned for Thursday or Friday, and for one reason or another it didn't come off. So we decided, as Staffs was a little bit quiet again, to head to West Yorkshire for the AMERICAN WIGEON.

We were led to believe it was easy to get to Anglers CP near Wakefield, but our sat nav thought differently and it seemed to take ages to get there, twisting and turning through endless country lanes. We finally parked up and walked round to view a fairly smallish lake, only slightly bigger than Westport. In the week, there had been 15 species of duck recorded here, so the challenge was on. We soon found the female Long-tailed Duck(1), plus the drake American Wigeon (2) was feeding with Wigeon (3) on the bank. An immature drake Scaup (4) was asleep with Pochard (5), plus there were plenty of Tufted Duck (6), Goosander (7) and Goldeneye (8) around. We walked round to the hide to get closer views of the American Wigeon, adding Gadwall (9), Teal (10) and Mallard (11) to the list. We did see 11 species in all.

Above two pictures show the American Wigeon

Female Long-tailed Duck

An awesome sleeping Scaup