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A week in a lighthouse

Posted by on November 12, 2012 7:23 PM | 

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Just back from a very fine week with Mrs D staying at the lighthouse on Point Lynas on Anglesey's north east coast.
The wee promontory sticks out provocatively into the Irish Sea, but without decent northerlies, it made for unexceptional seawatching especially this late in the season.
For once though I tried to be a good birder, and even got up at dawn to check the headland for tasty vismig for the first four days at least.

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Small numbers of passerines were still moving, mainly Chaffinches, with a few Redpoll, Bramblings, Siskin, and on an unusually clear morning, what sounded like a Crossbill invisibly high in the big blue sky.
Otherwise it was Mipits, small numbers of Skylark and Reed Bunts, Grey and Pied Wags and Rock Pipits all the way.
Good to see Stonechats flourishing all along this section of the Anglesey coast, while Raven, Chough, Shag and Buzzard were regular, as you'd expect.

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After a nice bit of rain and low cloud, the morning of 6/11/12 was possibly the most exciting, especially down in the leafy environs of holiday/retirement home village Llaneilian, beneath Point Lynas, where large numbers of thrushes were moving through.
230 Redwing, 70+ Fieldfare, 50+ Blackbird, with Robins, Chaffinches, Snipe, Pied Wags, titmice, 20+ Goldcrest and best of all two Waxwings, which tinkled past us before finding a hawthorn bush to their liking in the November gloom.

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Two became three within an hour or two, and they hung around for a day before whizzing off in search of more berries.
Despite the grey, damp conditions they were fine to watch, especially with the missus, who even suspended her addiction to long distance yomping to briefly enjoy the Waxwings - after all, if you can't find time in life to admire a big pink Starling in drag, what's the point of it all?
As the north of the country appears to be infested with the things at the moment, I must thank Phil Boardman for sending me his excellent shot from Preston of how one should look - scoffing red berries in bright sun - ta Phil.

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Meanwhile, back on Fraggle Rock, the morning of Nov 6th was probably best in terms of Gannets and Kittiwakes offshore, and good numbers of Guillemots and Razorbills.
The North Wales pod of 11+ Bottle Nosed Dolphins put in regular appearances off Point Lynas during our stay, as they did in nearby Bull Bay, their arrival always presaged by the sudden disappearance of the resident Harbour Porpoises.
But then, cute as Flipper is, who really wants to be his punchbag????
While trying to eke 20+ Mipits out into substantial vismig, a stonkingly huge Great Northern Diver flew west over the Point at 0845 on 7/11/12, it's great big splitty splatty feet flopping about like torn wellies behind it.
Such a measured, purposeful flight, and strong necked approach compared to the frantic hunchbacked tazz-by of Red Throats.

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A walk round Cemlyn Bay for old time's sake produced Red Breasted Mergs galore, more thrushes on the approach lanes, plus 12 Little Grebes together on the lagoon and Purple Sands roosting in the rocks with Grey Plover, Redshank and Turnstone, but the heathland at South Stack was bleak and quiet as a winter grave.

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Apart, obviously, from Ravens and Charlie Chough.

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Despite the relatively slow pace (except when trying to keep up with Mrs D's inexhaustible appetite for yet another mile of heather and mud-clad coastal footpath), it was great to be back on Anglesey - the place just oozes potential birdwise, so you can never quite stop checking the superb habitat.
As we wandered over various headlands and beaches the megas I've had the pleasure of seeing here kept flooding back from the dim recesses of my memory - the white phase Gyr; Grey Catbird, Black Lark, Sooty Tern - what an island!
What a place to have as a local patch!
Even in November, you felt it was possible to stumble over something unusual, although Peregrine and Merlin in the gloom were the reality.

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A fleeting Firecrest in Llaneilian on Saturday was good, if frustratingly brief value, a jewel amongst the November dank, almost as entertaining as Mrs D navigating with an OS map down the back lanes to Llyn Alaw, only to find the place was closed.
How in the name of Owain Glyndwr and great big leeks can a lake be shut???
It would never happen on Pobol Y Cwm
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...

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8 Comments

Flock of 35+ Waxwings in Formby, corner of Barkfield Lane and Holmwood Drive. Plenty of berries still around so hopefully they will be in the area for a while yet

The Great White Egret with at least 20 Little Egrets on Marshside One north of Nels Hide late afternoon today.

Raven moving north and calling over the southern dunes at Ainsdale this morning.
Loads of Redwing piling over in the night sky at Dempsey Towers now.
Understand that the Waxwings were still doing the biz in Formby today...

Here's some video of the Formby Waxwings I took yesterday.
No audio 'cos a racket of lawnmowers, bin-carts, quad-bikes, vans cars trucks, dog-walkers Uncle Tom Cobley and all.
You can watch it at the You Tube address below:
http://youtu.be/atEAN7CRqSo
Ron

My wife & I saw the Formby Waxwings yesterday 80+
This lunchtime whilst driving past the Plough (Marshside) I saw approx 12 in a garden tree beside the main rd to the side of the Plough (Water La)?
Dashed back 5 mins later with my bins but they were nowhere to be seen.
Cheers
Les

29 Waxwings still in Formby late morning at corner of Barkfield Lane and Beech Drive. Were stripping remaining berries from a tree in a back garden. Flew off when disturbed by a Magpie.

40 Waxwings in Formby at corner of Kirklake Rd and Woodlands Rd at 1310 today.

Waxwings still in Formby today at 3.30 this afternoon, in large tree on junction of Harrington road and Barkfield.
Keep up the blog John, without it I wouldn't have found the Waxwings today.
Massive numbers of Pinkfeet passing over the Birkdale High School area every night this last week.

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