Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Yanks in the Bag!

Another beautiful day so I headed for Ynyslas north of Aberystwyth.  The place was a tick for me I am ashamed to say but I will certainly return to this windswept but beautiful place.

My quest today was two Surf Scoters which had been cleverly discovered by Russell Jones of the RSPB.  It was easy to find the "Scoter flocks" but a real devil to pick out the birds in question.  After much searching suddenly "Bingo!" there they were amongst a flock of feeding female Common Scoters distinguished by not having a clean whitish face.  When the sun shone brightly you could see the white spots on the face and a trace of white on the nape of the immature male.  Their bill and head shape was distinct from the Common Scoters. I failed to find the Velvet Scoter also seen recently but was happy to nail the Yanks. A couple of Red-throated Divers and 3 great Crested Grebes were also offshore.

There was a major distraction to Scoter watching though.  A lone Snow Bunting fed at our feet and soon Janet Baxter and Kev Joynes and his wife arrived and frenzied photography began.  Later I understand the bird was joined by at least 5 more.  What a joy these birds are and so confiding.  I never tire of watching these Arctic wanderers.

I took my lunch to the beach where the Dyfi flows into the sea.  Here you get fabulous views of the estuary and a chance of more birds.  With autumn passage now all but over I could only find about 50 Wigeon and a few Oystercatchers.

I made my way home via Devil's Bridge and Tregaron and then across the wild moorland to the Llyn Brianne dam.  I was rewarded with many Red Kites, a Kestrel and to my surprise 2 adults and 2 juvenile Whooper Swans on a small lake by the roadside.

Another good day with great birds and tremendous scenery.  I feel so fortunate to have been adopted by this wonderful country.

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