Conway & Tal-y-Bont Fieldtrip – 16th February 2014

Snowdonia (c) Joan Disley
In the middle of all the chaos with our recent terrible weather, somehow we managed to get a decent day for our trip. As we traveled nearer and the distant Welsh mountains came into view, we could see they were covered in snow on their tops.

A few stints at sea watching at Pensarn and Llanfairfechan gave us a few different gulls and some of the Black-headed Gulls were now getting their dark heads returning, Fulmar and Cormorant were seen flying past, as was some Common Scoter but way out at sea, Great Crested Grebe and the odd diver were seen again out at sea and a few members even saw a Surf Scoter. Joan managed to spot a few Grey Plover flying past and we could also hear a Dunnock from a nearby railway embankment.

The Spinnies, Tal-y-bont (c) Joan Disley
On to Tal-y-Bont but unfortunately by now the tide was fully in so most of what could have been there to see had been disturbed by the incoming tide. Out on the water we could see some Goldeneye, Shelduck and a Merganser was seen. We had a close look at some Curlew flying past us and Oystercatchers and Redshank were seen. Although it was a distance from us we could make out a single Heron perched on a dead tree by the edge of the water. While we were walking to “The Spinnies” reserve some Greylag Geese were seen in one of the fields and a few Starlings were feeding in another field. From the hides overlooking the pools we saw a few Teal, two Little Grebe and just one Little Egret, a Goldcrest was seen and coming to some feeders were 4 species of Tits, House Sparrow and a Great Spotted Woodpecker amongst others. A Buzzard and Sparrowhawk flew past again although this time it took one of the Blue Tits with it.

Near this reserve were clumps of Snowdrops in flower but I wonder if these are from garden escapees; despite all the bad weather spring is trying to get started as the leaves of Cuckoo Pint are showing through.

Conwy Castle from the RSPB Reserve (c) Joan Disley
Our last stop was at the RSPB reserve at Conway were we saw more Goldeneye plus Pochard, Teal, Shoveler, Shelduck, Merganser and both male and female Scaup. In waders we saw Lapwing, Curlew, Snipe and Oystercatcher. A Kestrel was seen hovering not far from the path and we saw more House Sparrows, Greenfinch and a beautiful Song Thrush singing from the top of a bush.

At this reserve the Gorse bushes were covered in their bright yellow flowers and the male catkins on the Hazel were a few inches long although I have been seeing these on our local Hazel for the past few weeks.

It was then time to start off back for home, so it is thanks to Al for organising the trip and to Joan and Jim for giving Jen and myself a lift.
Jeff Hurst

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