Thursday, 5 December 2013

The 4th was a beautiful day, with the sun making its first appearance for at least two weeks. With the island bathed in soft winter light, it was very pleasant being out. The pair of Bullfinches continued to take up residence around Cristin, giving out their soft hooting calls to make their presence known. A single Redwing joined the usual Blackbirds at Nant, feeding in the fields South of Ty Nesaf. The Water Pipit continued to feed quite happily around Solfach, although was prevented from being captured by a very territorial Rock Pipit, which had decided to make the entrance of the Heligoland trap its personal territory.

Gale-force westerly winds on the 5th made it a task to just stay vertical, and so birding was made doubly difficult! An excellent sea-watching session, from the comfort of Cristin, yielded a Sooty Shearwater, two Long Tailed Ducks (new for the year), and 104 Common Scoters. The huge waves, coupled with a 10.0 metre tide made for an impressive count of gulls around the Narrows, which were feeding both in Henllwyn and Solfach. Totals for the morning amounted to 46 Common Gulls, five Mediterranean Gulls, 230 Black-headed Gulls, 500 Herring Gulls, 17 Great Black-backed Gulls and three Lesser Black-backed Gulls, whilst at least 1600 Kittiwakes were seen gliding over the waves several miles to the east of the South End.

The Water Pipit continued to feed amongst the Rock Pipits on Sollfach, having now been here for three weeks. Unfortunately, the bird was not trapped in the Heligoland, due to a Rock Pipit which continually chased the bird away from the entrance of the trap
An appalling image, although showing the bright white outer tail feathers
An interesting Rock Pipit, possibly of the Scandinavian race A. p. littoralis
Another Rock Pipit, more likely to be a local, with a very reduced amount of white on the outer tail feathers in flight
The Choughs were demonstrating their aerobatic skills in the windy conditions. A very good-sized flock of 46 birds continue to feed on Solfach
Herring Gulls in front of the dramatic sea-scapes
Black-headed Gulls were in abundance around the Narrows today, with over 200 present at high tide
Herring Gull

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