Sunday 1st July
The rain fell heavily last night but eventually
cleared. The day dawned grey but brightened later, apart from the odd
July usually sees the start of a strange pursuit
known in birding circles as ‘seawatching’. The idea is that one finds a
vantage point off some prominent headland, gets comfortable (a Karrimat
comes in useful!) and sets a telescope up to wait for some exciting
seabird passage. Usually it just means that you watch the sea and it’s
incredibly boring, sometimes to the point of sleep… but then a skua,
petrel or other good bird whizzes by, your concentration kicks in and you
have a few seconds to identify it! Like a cross between soporific yoga and
a shot of neat adrenaline. It can be very exciting when the conditions are
right - usually the day after a huge storm when displaced seabirds flap
their way back to their pelagic haunts.
Anyway this afternoon I ambled down to Trwyn
Talfarach to have a go. Believe me, it was one of those rather uneventful
sessions. No rare birds and highlights in one hour were 170 Manx
Shearwaters (some quite close in – great views), 32 Gannets, and a handful
of auks (Guillemots and Puffin). Still it is quite therapeutic, rather
like fishing - a great excuse to sit by the sea for a while!
Also seen here were a single Grayling butterfly and
A flock of c.30 Linnet were eating seeds in one of
John Jones’s game cover patches near Ty Croes Mawr. Arriving home a Grey
Wagtail headed overhead.
Monday 2nd July
A male Sparrowhawk with prey headed east over the
house this afternoon. Presumably there are still some youngsters in a nest
Friday 6th July
Tonight I headed down towards Ysgo, enjoying great
views of a Peregrine on the way. A family party of Magpies were making one
hell of a racket near Llanfaelrhys Church. Presumably they were mobbing
some (unseen) predator. Frustratingly, I heard brief snatches of what
sounded to me like a distant singing Quail (a scarce summer visitor to
Lleyn) from a nearby field over the cacophony of noise, but I could not
confirm it. Such is birding sometimes!
Reaching Porth Ysgo a distant splash became a party
of at least three Bottle-nose Dolphins, steadily heading west. It’s always
great to see these fine animals.
Sunday 8th July
A flock of eight Curlew were over Porth Llawenan –the
first returning birds of the autumn.
A single Grey Heron headed over the village.
The pasture below Penarfynydd farm held 17 Curlew,
while the game cover crop by Ty Croes Mawr hosted a good flock of 85
A single Lesser Redpoll flew over Lôn Las.
Today I enjoyed a circular walk down past Pas-yn-Rhiw
along past Ty’n-y-parc, then back over Mynydd Rhiw. Highlights were
two Green Woodpeckers by the Plas and a large Adder by the Radio Relay
Station on the mountain.
Three Bottlenose Dolphins headed east off Porth
Ysgo this afternoon where the first returning Black-headed Gull of the
autumn was noted and one of the resident Grey Wagtails.
Andrew Spottiswood has again contributed the following records from
the north coast of the peninsula:
Aber Geirch to Porth Towyn
Skuas late afternoon including a team of 4 on the sea at
SH242397 whence they frequently ambushed Kittiwakes and Sandwich Terns
on rocks at Aber Geirch and many more passing along with large numbers
of Manx Shearwaters
and small flocks of Common
Sandpipers 6+ around the in nominate cove at SH259399, 3
at the Natural Arch and one at Aber Geirch.
Mergansers 2 redheads off Penrhyn Cwmistir
one at Aber Geirch fishing the bay from the pipeline and one at the
Warbler showed very well as it posed inquisitively in a
small willow on the boggy plateau on the south side of Aber Geirch
on rocks at Aber Geirch (- bizarre
record for a woodland bird!)
Skimmer [m] on the boggy plateau above Aber Geirch
Demoiselles and Banded
Demoiselles both abundant along the river at Aber Geirch
especially in the narrow gorge
the commonest butterflies, occurring all along my coast walk but most
abundantly at Aber Geirch.
According to Butterflies of Gwynedd
: There are colonies on un-wooded cliffs in Gwynedd, not a
typical habitat. It occurs in small and fairly isolated colonies
throughout Gwynedd. . . At Nefyn, in the Lleyn peninsula, at least one
colony lives on the wind-swept and virtually tree-less cliff slopes;
this is not a typical habitat for Ringlets.
Skippers on the boggy
plateau above Aber Geirch. Again quoting Butterflies of Gwynedd: Present
in a few small and widely separated colonies in Gwynedd. . . There are
very few records of this species in Caernarfonshire.
After another murky start to the day the clouds
rolled back and later the weather was superb with blue skies and a
moderate SW wind. A noisy family party of six Choughs commuted between
Mynydd-y-Graig and Clip y Gylfinhir all afternoon.
Two Swifts were over the house – these are quite
a scarce species on this end of the Lleyn, the nearest breeding birds as
far as I’m aware are over in Nefyn.
The Penarfynydd Curlew flock has built up to 39
Porth Ysgo again hosted two Bottle-nose Dolphins,
an adult and immature and a flock of 63 Curlew fed on the adjacent
pasture as I made my way down to the sea.
Although this evening’s fishing trip was
unsuccessful it was a truly beautiful evening being mild, with a light
wind and a calm sea. A Common Sandpiper called as it flew past close by
as dusk fell and two iridescent Glow Worms were seen on the way up
towards Ysgo farm where a young Little Owl called from the old potato
store. Finally a Barn Owl was by the church at Llanfaelrhys.
Andrew Spottiswood reports the following from the
Aber Geirch to Porth Towyn
160+ Kittiwakes on rocks
at Aber Geirch
115 Curlews Penrhyn
1 Whimbrel Penrhyn
12 Turnstones Aber
10+ Common Sandpipers
1 Kingfisher Aber Geirch
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
1 Wheatear juv
Dragonfly [f] at the top of the cleft on the south side of
the cove at SH259399 where it caught and ate a large bumblebee. Beautiful
Demoiselles [Afon Geirch], Banded
Demoiselles [Afon Geirch] and Ringlets
Two Swifts were over Pen-y-Caerau.
A rather confused looking Great Spotted Woodpecker
woke me up this morning, calling from the adjacent telegraph pole before
heading off east.
This morning I found a cracking Comma butterfly
feeding on some bramble flowers by the back door. I must get a decent
camera to capture some of these memories, as they are amazing creatures
with strange ragged wings. Other butterflies recorded today included
Gatekeeper and Wall Brown.
Both Siskin and Lesser Redpoll flew over Lôn Las
Another dusk fishing trip to Porth Ysgo…. and
another Common Sandpiper heard!
A Whimbrel was a nice surprise addition to the
‘garden list’ this morning as it flew over heading east.