31 December 2011

Seabirds in Oxwich Bay

Gannets, Kittiwakes and gulls on 29th December (M. Hipkin)
Alan and Shirley Osbourne informed me that since moving to Oxwich in 1963 they have never seen a concentration of birds in the bay like that witnessed over the last two weeks. Alan said that birds first started gathering in the bay around the 15th December, with numbers peaking a couple of days before Christmas day. He also said that there were around five times as many birds then than during the last few days with well in excess of 10,000 birds in the bay.
Oxwich Church in very gloomy conditions on 30th December
Herring Gulls and Common Gulls have been the most abundant species, with around 4,000 of each. I counted 530 Kittiwakes on the 29th and counts on the 27th included 154 Razorbills, 170 Cormorants, 109 Shags and 38 Gannets, though I know Mark Hipkin saw over 80 on the 29th. Other miscellaneous species have included 80+ Black-headed Gulls, 43 Wigeon, 30+ Common Scoter, 30 Great Black-backed Gulls, 20+ Guillemots, 5 Teal, 3 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Eiders and the odd Great Northern and Red-throated Divers, Mediterranean and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Scarcer species noted have included 2 Yellow-legged Gulls and 2 Iceland Gulls. Mammals have been represented by 10+ Grey Seals and 3+ Harbour Porpoise.
Kittiwakes, Shags & Herring Gulls off Oxwich Church
Iceland Gull by Oxwich Church

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