Friday, April 19, 2013

Eight crows a day.

We spent last week on Anglesey in North Wales looking for migrants as well as getting in some much needed walking. We had some good numbers of common migrants with Swallows arriving in numbers on Monday 15th April - well over 100 during the morning around Breakwater Country Park - along with a few House Martins and Sand Martins. The 16th saw a fall of Willow Warblers with over twenty counted along with over thirty Chiffchaff. Sandwich Terns appear to be quite plentiful with over 40 at Cemlyn Bay on 18th April. There were four adult Mediterranean Gulls there too as well as a single Arctic Tern. We picked up a Common Tern at Newborough. On the 18th we were at South Stack where there was an impressive arrival of Northern Wheatears - birds were bouncing around on the heather in all directions. We estimated in excess of fifty birds.
But for me the week will be remembered mostly for the first time that I had seen eight species of crow/corvids in a single day - although I didn't manage to photograph them all.

On Sunday 14th we were walking around the lake at Rhosneigr when I caught sight of a Hooded Crow Corvus cornix battling against the gales that were blasting in from offshore. It was in the company of a couple of  equally knackered Carrion Crows and they soon struggled to ground near the northern shore of the lake. Hooded Crow - first for Wales.
Carrion Crow Corvus corone
We had already seen plenty of Rooks at the southern end of Anglesey as we drove north along the A55 and Jackdaws were just about everywhere. Four species of 'crow' and because I was on Anglesey; one of the best places for Chough and Raven I figured that if I could catch-up with a Jay I'd manage all eight.

Jackdaw Corvus monedula

Raven Corvus corax - a friendly pair
Over to South Stack RSPB reserve on Holyhead Island - a guaranteed Chough site. Easy pickings! A couple of Chough flying by as soon as we got out of the car and Ravens flying over and calling. A volunteer warden in the RSPB visitor's centre told us later that there have been counts of up to 1 600 Ravens roosting in the Pine forests near Newborough!
Rook Corvus frugilegus
Magpies were seen, normally in pairs, throughout the day and those on South Stack were getting blown every which way. Just a Jay needed now!

Magpie Pica pica with the wind up its jacksie
We drove down to The Dingle near Llangefni - a picturesque, sheltered, wooded, welsh valley if ever there was one and as Bob's yer uncle a single Jay flew through the woods. I've not managed to get pictures of Jays as I find them pretty shy and skittish although noisy. Later this year we plan to bird western Scotland so I might get some shots of Hooded Crow but Jays might have to wait. Six species photographed so far and two to go - three if we count Nutcracker but I haven't seen one of those in the U.K. since the Staffordshire bird in 1991!
(Red-billed) Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax



  1. Would love to use"friendly pair"
    of ravens as models for a painting I have in mind. Is that okay with you?

  2. Thank you...wonderful photos of birds! Sounds like you are having fun! If you message me your e-mail on Facebook, I will send you the finished painting when its done. I am actually Nancy Cawdrey, and my son is Morgan. Thanks again.

  3. Andy, Could you please e-mail me permission about using your photos so that I am legal? My e-mail is Thanks so much. I lkive in Montana and we are currently BURIED in snow! Nancy Cawdrey

  4. Just a follow-up to get something in writing as an e-mail. Thanks, Andy. Nancy Cawdrey