Saturday 2nd September
The morning’s gale force winds and driving rain
eventually cleared and by mid afternoon the sun was out and the Wicklow
Mountains were visible so I ventured along the top of Mynydd Penarfynydd
for some fresh air.
Raptors were much in evidence with three Kestrel/Cudyll
Coch, a Buzzard/Bwncath and Sparrowhawk/Gwalch Glas seen.
I noted a Hummingbird Hawkmoth on Buddleia at
Carreg Lefain. Three Brown Hares/Ysgyfarnog showed well near Carreg Lefain
Bach, with an adult male Stonechat/Clochdar y Cerrig and a moulting
juvenile present nearby, while another couple of Hares fed on the edge of
the Pheasant/Ffesant cover crops by Penarfynydd farm. Down at the sewage
works two Chiffchaff/Siff-saff and a Common Whitethroat/Llwydfron were
busy feeding on insects.
Returning from an unproductive seawatch off the end
of the mountain three Little Owls/Tylluan Fach called at dusk near Bryn
Sunday 3rd September
A Mackerel fishing trip off Trwyn Talfarach was
productive with a dozen caught despite the big seas and spray. A flock of
10 Chough/Bran Goescoch were a nice distraction, 45 Curlew/Gylfinhir
dropped down to Porth Llawenan and a couple of family parties of Stonechat
were seen in the gorse on the way back up to the farm.
Monday 4th September
A Tree Pipit/Corhedydd y Coed over the house was the
first of the autumn.
Tuesday 5th September
Pwllheli Harbour was the destination for a brief spot
of birding. The tide was well out and without a telescope views were
distant, although I managed to note a selection of waders including a fine
Greenshank/Pibydd Coesgwerdd, three Knot/Pibydd yr Aber and two Turnstone/Cwtiad
y Traeth amongst the usual Redshank/Pibydd Coesgoch, Curlew and
Oystercatchers/Pioden y Môr while I bumped into Eddie & Sally Urbanski who
had found four Bar-tailed Godwits/Rhostog Gynffonfrith earlier.
Wednesday 6th September
A brief stroll up onto Creigiau Gwineu produced a
fine Green Woodpecker/Cnocell Werdd which I flushed at close range with a
Wheatear/Tinwen y Garn also present.
Four Kestrels hovered over the heath and small
parties of Swallow/Gwennol and House Martin/Gwennol y Bondo drifted
Thursday 7th September
Another Tree Pipit flew west over the house this
morning while a Clouded Yellow was seen further up the lane by Eifion.
Friday 8th September
Aberdaron beach hosted 10 distant alba
Wagtails (i.e. Pied’ or White’/Siglen Fraith), a couple of Grey Wagtail/Siglen
Lwyd and a good flock of c.60 Linnet/Llinos which were drinking from the
Porth Meudwy was relatively quiet with a few finches
and warblers showing, while four migrant Siskin/Pila Gwyrdd and a Lapwing/Cornchwiglen
were overhead, alongside the usual Ravens/Cigfran and a couple of Chough.
A Little Owl showed well by the farm at Cwrt.
Hundreds of the migrant day flying Silver Y moths
were seen all over the area.
Saturday 9th September
I spent a couple of hours this afternoon at Pwllheli
Harbour, and managed to visit just as the tide was dropping – ideal for
the waders to drop in.
First look was at the reedbed
at the back of the cob pool. The boardwalk has been repaired here and a
Water Rail/Rhegen y Dwr squealed from the undergrowth. Otherwise the reeds
swayed noisily in the wind and all the rare warblers kept out of sight.
As I got to look at the pool itself a Sparrowhawk/Gwalch
Glas flushed the Redshank flock (122) and just four Dunlin/Pibydd y Mawn
over to the main harbour so off I went. A fine Whimbrel/Coegylfinir then
dropped in here and a Greenshank was located busily fishing in the
shallows as they do as I worked my way through the usual small groups of
Oystercatchers, Curlew and Ringed Plover.
I had another look at the cob pool and found a
superb first-winter Curlew Sandpiper/Pibydd Cambig.
Altogether I noted only 27 species in two hours,
making this quite possibly my worst autumn visit here. Still it's a
cracking spot and the whole of the harbour and its avian contents are
easily viewed at all stages of the tide unlike some of the larger
estuaries in Gwynedd.
I dread to think what passes
through unnoticed as observer coverage is extremely sparse. There are old
site records of such rarities as Lesser Yellowlegs/Melyngoes Bach, Purple
Heron/Creyr Porffor, Bearded Tit/Titw Barfog, Iceland Gull/Gwylan yr
Arctig, Ring-billed Gull/Gwylan Fodrwybig, Sabine's Gull/Gwylan Sabine,
Leach's Petrel/Pedryn Gynffon-Fforchog, Spoonbill/Llwybig etc
Sunday 10th September
I spent most of the day
Mackerel fishing near Porth Orion, which is about 2 miles north
west of Aberdaron. I noticed a Grey Seal, 10
Chough, loads of alba and a few Grey Wagtails heading SW and zillions of
Silver-Y's... I have never known them in such numbers. Apparently they do
breed when they reach these shores so maybe we are witnessing the
offspring of the June/July immigration?
A Spotted Flycatcher/Gwybedog
Mannog was nearby at Carreg Plas.
I received an interesting report from Rhys Jones of
Waunfawr who spent a good morning at Trwyn Cilan.
chough, four ravens and three kestrels were all in view most of the time.
Four Wheatears and a smart White Wagtail were nice. A white and yellow
leucistic Meadow Pipit/Corhedydd y Waun had me going for a few seconds –
The sea was a different story though. Contrary to
my expectations there were birds wherever I looked. Many hundreds each of
Manx Shearwate/Aderyn-Drycin Manaw, Kittiwake/Gwylan Goesddu and auks with
accompanying Gannets/Hugan, Sandwich Terns/Morwennol Bigddu and Fulmars/Aderyn-Drycin
y Graig. There was no discernable direction; they all seemed to be
commuting between several feeding flocks. Highlights were a juvenile
Pomarine Skua/Sgiwen Frech and some Balearic Shearwaters/Aderyn-Drycin Môr
y Canoldir in amongst the Manxies. Not sure how many as I had 6 sightings
but reckon some of them may have been repeats. There were at least two
though - one dark and one very pale. I also found the remains of a
predated Storm Petrel/Pedryn Drycin - just the wings attached to a few
bones. Also a Clouded Yellow and Hummingbird Hawk Moth amidst the
countless Silver-Y moths and craneflies.
Stopped off at Pwllheli on the way back and caught
up with the Curlew Sandpiper Andrew found yesterday - very nice – also
three Knot there.“
Monday 11th September
Inspired by Rhys's trip to
Cilan yesterday I lugged the telescope south of the village to Mynydd
Penarfynydd. Initially thick mist cleared to hot sun and a gentle breeze
and I found a few rafts of seabirds; feeding groups of gannets, sandwich
terns, auks, kittiwake and shearwaters.
Highlight was a fine dark cigar shaped Balearic
Shearwater wheeling around with 96 Manxies, a new village bird for me.
Migrant-wise I noted an influx of Robins, 58
Goldfinch, 4 Grey Wagtails, a Tree Pipit, 3 Wheatear and the first
movements of Swallows with over 118 south in 4.5 hrs. Many of these were
breaking out in sub-song as they slowly drifted over - something I've
noticed in years gone by with the initial migrants, unlike the hundreds
that whiz past low and silent on those cold October mornings...
I noticed two Chough feeding in the pasture across
the road today and managed to read the colour-ring combination (left leg:
orange ring over green; right leg: red over silver) on one bird (the other
I contacted one of the organisers of the ringing
scheme and discovered that this individual was first ringed in the nest on
Ynys Enlli in 2000 and had been sighted in Aberdaron, Cilan, Trevor, back
to Enlli, again to Cilan then Rhiw since then!
A Barn Owl was heard from the house this evening.
Friday 15th September
The air temperature dropped quite low last night and
this morning there were the first signs of Meadow Pipit migration. Unlike
many birds these are diurnal migrants. These small ground feeding
passerines breed mostly in the uplands of North West Europe and head to
milder coastal areas as far south as France, Iberia and North Africa
during the colder months of the year. Although I did not conduct any
counts birds were calling constantly over the house in the morning, as
well as another classic September migrant, the Grey Wagtail - at least six
A Green Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, two Chough and a
Raven were also noted from the office.
Saturday 16th September
Today dawned dry, sunny and mild and I spent 4 hours
birding around the village.
Highlights were 3 Grey Wagtails, 153 Swallow, 19
Skylark, two Wheatear, four Chiffchaff, Peregrine and 72 Goldfinch. A
young Weasel/Gwenci was dead on the road by the house.
Sunday 17th September
Another Weasel, this time alive, shot across the
drive up to Bryn y Fran this morning. Other interesting birds included two
Sandwich Tern off Penarfynydd, two Wheatear, and single Common Whitethroat
Tuesday 19th September
An morning walk up through the village, around to
Garth and along the back of Mynydd Gwineu proved to be good for
Yellowhammer/Melyn yr Eithin, with a total of 12 seen, mainly around a
garden feeding station with eight Collared Dove/Turtur Dorchog in the same
Later on Pwllheli hosted a variety of waders in the
harbour including two Sanderling and the first eight returning Wigeon/Chiwell
of the winter.
Thursday 21st September
A party of 12 Raven over Clip y Gylfinhir were
possibly associated with yesterday’s strong winds?
Friday 22nd September
Pwllheli harbour was the venue for a flying visit,
where the following main species of interest were: one Little Grebe/Gwyach
Fach, five Wigeon, 95 Redshank, 31 Ringed Plover, 28 Dunlin, five Curlew,
a Whimbrel, one Common Gull/Gwylan y Gweunydd (first of the winter) and an
unidentified hawker dragonfly over the reedbed at the Cob pool.
Saturday 23rd September
An afternoon stroll produced brief views of a Pied
Flycatcher/Gwybedog Brith near Ael-y-Bryn. Otherwise it was remarkably
quiet bird wise in the village.
A grey start to the day soon
improved rapidly with some beautiful autumnal sunshine.
Plas yn Rhiw hosted the usual
selection of woodland birds: Green’ and Great Spotted Woodpecker/Cnocell
Fraith Fwyaf, Nuthatch/Delor y Cnau, Treecreeper/Dringwr Bach, Coal
Tit/Titw Penddu, Mistle Thrush/Brych y Coed and two Sparrowhawks. A
Chiffchaff called by Treheli Farm. It’s good to be down here and not have
to worry about the noise of road works now that the work is over. Parties
of Rook/Ydfran headed back to the woods after feeding in the pastures
Flowering ivy hosted a huge
number of hoverflies as well as a Small Copper and several Red Admirals. A
late Clouded Yellow was by the footpath down to the beach.
Down on the shore enormous
piles of seaweed have been deposited after the recent storms (as well as
the usual wood and miscellaneous rubbish). A dead seal pup poked out of
I counted an impressive five1st-winter and one
adult Mediterranean Gull/Gwylan Môr y Canoldir with 50+ Black-headed Gulls
on the west side of Porth Neigwl at low tide - with hundreds of small
gulls distant over towards the east. Also here were a Heron/Creyr Glas and
six Sandwich Tern/Morwennol Bigddu.
I worked my way around the
gardens, heath, farmland and plantation to the south of the village today
- my usual route...
Virtually the first birds noted were 2 x 1st
winter Mediterranean Gulls heading south over Eifion. Then Blackbirds/Mwyalchen
seemed to be everywhere, with 22 in one small area.
A strong passage of Chaffinch/Jbinc, hirundines
and Meadow Pipits was noted. I counted a total of 1046 Swallow, 97 House
Martin, 301 Meadow Pipits, 14 Skylark/Ehedydd, 70+ Linnet/Llinos and 18
alba wagtails in 4 hours, virtually all heading SE. I'm sure the Swallow
count was the tip of the iceberg as I was not just looking upwards - there
was a constant stream over Mynydd Penarfynydd.
Small parties of Jackdaw/Jac y Do headed SW -
quite unusual here, and both Dunnock/Llwyd y Gwrych and Robin/Robin Goch
numbers were up. Three Chiffchaff, a Blackcap/Telor Pen-ddu and increased
numbers of Goldcrest were also seen. A fly over Golden Plover/Cwtiad Aur
was the first in the village since last autumn.
Finally a fine Whinchat/Crec yr Eithin was on a
wall by the house... coupled with the usual Chough, Little Owl etc showing
well it was a pleasant excursion.
Mistle Thrushes flew over the house early morning – visible migrants.
Later in the morning I had a brief look in Porth Meudwy, Aberdaron; there
was a selection of species present including 3 Bullfinch/Coch y Berllan, 6
Blackcap, 3 Grey Wagtail and 40 Skylark over, while Rhys Jones reported a
good flock of 43 Raven over Mynydd Mawr at dawn. These birds appeared to
come from the direction of Ynys Enlli – could they have been roosting
Thursday 28th September
superb Barn Owl hunted the rushy fields at Felin Uchaf, Rhoshirwaun at
Chough, Raven, Rock Pipit and Grey Wagtail were noted during a fishing
trip to Porth Oer.
A flock of 46 Alba Wagtails (Pied/White) headed SE over the house prior
to dusk, presumably these birds were off to roost somewhere.
I called Brett Garner, Gamekeeper for Nanhoron regarding an old record
of Short-eared owls from Mynydd Penarfynydd. He informed me that a
couple of birds were seen while lamping for foxes a couple of years ago.
Still, it’s interesting news. Brett told me that he has encountered a
couple of sightings of Green Sandpiper/Pibydd Gwyrdd over the last month
at various ponds on the estate and a wandering Red Kite/Barcud in the
same area for the day.