Thursday, 25 September 2014

More from the island of the Druids

The Safari keeps a tally of Buzzards v Kestrels and dead stuff on our longer journeys. Our trip to and round Anglesey gave us a minimum of 17 Buzzards and only three Kestrels, the first of which wasn't seen until our first morning at the cottage perched on the electricity pole in the garden. The number of Buzzards is a minimum as we only counted them in general areas once we were only the island to try to avoid double counting.
We also try to count roadkill except Rabbits which were squished everywhere. Thankfully our drive to the cottage only gave us singles of Hedgehog (worrying hat there weren't more perhaps), a Badger, and near Chester a Polecat (or a Polecat-Ferret hybrid - hard to tell at 60 mph!).
Other notables were a couple of Jays, part of a then unknown about movement.
Once at the cottage we set about exploring early the following morning and the commoner birds soon made the notebook; Wren, Blackbird (more about them in a bit), Swallows gathering on the wires, Carrion Crows, a Pheasant calling somewhere down the hill, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Robins, Magpie, Grey Wagtails, Woodpigeons, a Curlew calling somewhere down towards the coast a short mile away. A Chiffchaff almost came into the porch but best was a small flock of Yellow Wagtails (164) going over to the south east, a relief to get those on the year list as we're running short of time for summer visitors.
There were four or five Blackbirds in the hedge by the kitchen but then we found more in the big garden hedge. At first we thought they may have been some of the same and we counted 16 working their way down the hedge towards the road! Only to find the original family were still poking around on the lawn. There were no were near 16 ever seen again along that hedge and they picked up a Song Thrush from somewhere. Blue Tits, Greenfinches and Goldfinches were entered on the page followed by skulking Dunnocks and noisy Jackdaws.
A wander down to the beach to suss it out gave us a Sanderling while we were having a paddle with Frank, it flew right in front of us. A Raven cronked unseen, gulls loafed on the nearly empty beach and Cormorants flew here and there. In the dunes a Wheatear skipped a long across the top of the scrub at the back of the dunes.
The trip to South Stack gave us our wanted Choughs but the seabirds had left as we had expected, no Puffin on the list this year. Wifey's sharp eyes spotted one then another juvenile Stonechat along the cliff top path and the Warden picked out a Gannet before it was lost to view round the far side of the lighthouse. Several each of Peacocks and Red Admirals passed us going south, probably on migration.
Further round the coast a small lake on the inland side of the road held a herd of Mute Swans. The last few yards of the drive back to the cottage saw a Bullfinch dive in to the roadside hedge yards in front of the bonnet, the only one we saw all week.
Swallows still chittered around the wires and Ravens and Buzzards soared over the garden. Frank wanted a pee in the middle of the night and when out in the garden the stars were stunning and a Tawny Owl hooted from the woods in the little valley we cross on the way to the beach.
In the early morning light two Chiffchaffs sang in the 'migrants' hedgerow.
Our next day trip was out to Penmon Point where we were lucky enough to see at least three Bottlenose Dolphins feeding in the rip to the north of the lighthouse, closer inshore was a winter plumaged Black Guillemot, the other side of the lighthouse nearer the island an 'ordinary' Guillemot dived for fish. Across the bay a Fulmar wheeled but despite the glassy calm sea didn't give up a Harbour Porpoise. The supporting cast was made up of Herons, Rock Pipits, lots of Oystercatchers, Shags and Cormorants as well as distant Common Scoters. The environs of the cafe were the home of a good number of House Sparrows and the usual cheeky Robin. A juvenile Hobby cruised over upsetting the local Swallows.
A school group that had been doing some geology fieldwork came to enjoy the tea and cakes when to two or more of the girls found the only tree in the area behind where were sat. They proceeded to giggle and climb it and encouraged some more of their friends to join them in the tree - and then we heard it - - crrraaaaackk followed by thud thud thud as their ar*es hit the ground - my how we sniggered but daren't turn round to look! The did a good job of of putting the branch back you could hardly see the join but it won't last!
Back at the cottage an after dinner stroll along the cliff top saw us watching a Buzzard sparring with a very large Peregrine for several minutes - a masterclass in flying skills. Out to sea we added Red Throated Diver to the notebook, the clifftop edge vegetation held a good flock of Linnets while a spit of rocks below had a roosting flock of about 40 Ringed Plovers, a Sanderling or two, a Turnstone and a few Curlews. The way back took us through a sheep field where two Ravens were on the hunt for who knows what - worms? Not a bad hour out at all.
Here's some pics of dubious quality.
Shag
The kitchen garden Blackbirds
Black Bryony - not a plant we see much in our normal haunts
Yummy and sweet with just enough 'tang'
Almost finished Sneezewort
The wildflowers in the hedgerows along 'our' lane would have a sight worth seeing through the summer but almost all had gone over by now.
Where to next? We'll let you know about some of the marine-life we found tomorrow and you might get a bit of video if we can edit it into something worth watching.
In the meantime let us know who's wandering round with the sheep in your outback.


1 comment:

cliff said...

Not much about then Dave ;-)

You certainly crammed plenty into your trip.