Tuesday, 20 October 2009

The discovery of a storm-blown Grey Phalarope bobbing around in Henllwyn, amid a throng of gulls feeding in a heaving carpet of floating flotsam, brightened up an otherwise uneventful and very windy day. The bird was typically tame and, once the crashing waves had retreated, it spent the rest of the morning pottering around in the rock pools; sometimes within a meter or so of observers. Its confiding behaviour enabled it to be caught and ringed early in the afternoon – only the third Grey Phalarope to be ringed on Bardsey. Seawatching in the morning produced a Red-throated Diver, three Little Gulls and, bizarrely, a Moorhen. The latter posed an interesting identification challenge as it flew low through the wave troughs, making its gradual way closer and closer to the hide. The usual feeding flock of gulls assembled off the west coast in the afternoon, and 14 Mediterranean Gulls, 210 Black-headed Gulls, 130 Kittiwakes and 19 Common Gulls were counted. A Black Redstart and a Golden Plover were on the South End and lingering landbirds included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Reed Bunting, seven Great Tits, a Blue Tit, a Song Thrush, five Redwings, three Skylarks, a Blackcap, nine Chiffchaffs and four Goldcrests. One or two Manx Shearwaters were noted still in the colonies during the night.

Grey Phalrarope
(c) Richard Brown

Rich B about to catch the Phalarope
(c) Steve Stansfield

Mediterranean Gull
(c) Richard Brown

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