Sunday, 7 October 2018

Black Grouse in Wales somewhere

And so for our second week of our big Autumn birding bash, we decided to play it safe and wait for the news to roll in and we would simply head off. We had no plans. Our social diaries were empty. It was just a case of waiting and being patient.

By Thursday, Lord Lichfield decided we were simply wasting our holiday and a trip was in order. And in emergency where do you head? No, not the nearest Oatcake shop, but North Wales.

It was my turn to drive, and we had a large list of target species. First stop was in Wales for Black Grouse. We'd never seen Black Grouse in October before, and we didn't really know what to expect. But oh my, we were blown away by what we found. My largest number ever of Black Grouse seen in Britain plus a full on lek of 16+ males in full display. An amazing sight.

Lord Lichfield nailed the action. 

Black Grouse in Wales by Lord Lichfield

Next stop was Flint Castle for two BLACK REDSTARTS. As is always the case when we visit Flint Castle we dipped. But we did spot three Spoonbills on the other side of the estuary.

Next stop was the Fish Quay in Holyhead which again failed to produce the hoped for BLACK GUILLEMOT but there was a nice Razorbill instead.

Razorbill by Lord Lichfield
And so we spent the next two hours wandering around our secret "local patch" on Anglesey and as we said on Twitter, we were looking for an American passerine. You can close your eyes when you are walking around this place, open them again and you could be on Scilly. We intend to visit again  as and when we can this Autumn. 

We visited a few other sites on Anglesey but it was drizzling and windy and so we headed for home. The day had been alright but we had missed a few target species. We decided to visit two more sites and see if we could drag defeat from the jaws of victory or could we in fact salvage the day.

We called in at Llanfairfechan. The tide was out. On the point there was a Sandwich Tern roost with in the end over 50 birds flying in. We also saw a RTD offshore. But our target bird was hopefully on the stream we had missed in the very dry stream at the secret Black Grouse site.

A quick scan of the stream and there was a Dipper sat for us.

Back onto the A55, through the roadworks and our last stop for day. Llanddulas. We were aware that the long staying GLAUCOUS GULL had been seen "recently" and so we called in on the off chance. We parked up and walked down towards the river mouth, checking the gulls on the sea and beach but there was no sign. Well it had been a nice day out. We'd seen some nice bits and bobs and it was better than staying at home on your sofa stuffing endless oatcakes and bags of sweets down your throat.

We wandered back to the car and Lord Lichfield pointed. There, by the car, sat on the wall, was the Glaucous Gull.

Glaucous Gull....taken by me

 And so to the bit at the end. This week we are very fortunate to have a small contribution from the Berry Hill stalwart himself Mr Rusil Toooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooon. Following on from yet another sighting of a 1w Mediterranean Gull at that gull hotspot Trentham Gardens, we asked Mr Rusil Toooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooon how manages to see each year more Med Gulls than the rest of the good Stoke birders put together. He sent us his simple useful guide he carries round with him and has allowed us to reproduce it here.

Next week we speak to the county recorder himself Mr Nick Cluelesskowski as he discusses how to identify Great White Egret flocks in flight.