Monday, 15 February 2010

Scoters and Wagtails!

Just a picture to show you what a Velvet Scoter looks like - This was taken by myself at Barrow Lower Lodges near Clitheroe on January 1st (1st-winter male).

Evening all, tonight, my blog will be updated completely.

Anyhow, scoters and wagtails. What a trip that was. I don't how many people know, but I presume there are a few people out there that knew about the 3 Drake Surf Scoters that were off Abergele and Pensarn in North Wales a week or so ago. These birds were seen just offshore from Abergele and Pensarn and were best viewed between the Promenade and the cafe. Some days they were seen briefly and some days they were seen for hours at a time.

Seeing as though I had never seen a Surf Scoter before, I decided to twitch them via train as it was only a short journey from Bangor. But as usual, the only day that I was free was the day they decided not to show and I ended up dipping! Urgh - not happy! I spent the whole afternoon looking for them with several others, but no joy!

As I had missed the Drake Surf Scoter at Meresands Wood Nature Reserve a few years ago; I was in Austria at the time skiing! Oh well.

They were then reported again a few days later and the next thing I knew was that I had a text off Mike Stocker from back home, to say that he had just been watching the 2 Surf Scoters just offshore from the cafe! That was it, bag packed and on the train; only to find when I got there, the birds could not be pinned down by myself or Mike; who kindly nipped in again to try and find them for me. I was not best pleased as I had dipped these birds twice now and both times I had to wait for the 6:02pm train back to Bangor as the last one before that was 4:30 and I was not going to get on that train, just incase I got a text to say the birds were showing.

However, I did see 16 Velvet Scoters when the whole scoter flock lifted, which was pretty damn impressive. I had spent a whole day looking for one off Llandulas in December 09 and dipped and now I had just seen 16 together, it just shows doesn't it!

Having got bored of scouring the flock of scoter, my attention was drawn to a Pied wagtail call nearby. I lifted my eyes off the scope and looked to my left to see a Pied Wagtail with a shiny metal ring on its right leg. ''It's ringed, hmmmm, I wonder where from''. A look through the bins had me in total shock as it was colour-ringed! I had never seen a colour-ringed wagtail before.
I searched around for the bird and eventually found it feeding along the sea wall. Now, a quick text to Kane revealed the only Pied wagtail colour-ringing projects in Britain that we knew of were to be: East Kilbride/Glasgow, Abbotsbury/Weymouth and Slapton/Devon. Wherever this bird had come from, it had travelled one heck of a distance.

As the weather had taken a turn for the worse, I tried my best to follow the bird and get some shots but they were not decent enough to completely confirm where the bird was ringed. At the moment it is thought to be ringed from East Kilbride in Lanarkshire near Glasgow.

I intend to go back to Abergele and Pensarn sometime during this week and try and photograph the wagtail in better conditions so the place where the bird was ringed can be positively confirmed.

(See poor pictures below)

Many thanks to Kane Brides, Ian Livingstone, Charlie Howe and Dennis Elphick for their help with this colour-ringed Pied Wagtail. I shall be in touch sometime this week with them and will let you all know where the bird was ringed.

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