L.O.S. Fieldtrip to North Wales - Sunday 13th October 2019

DYDDIAU GLAWOG A DYDD SUL (Rainy Days and Sundays in Welsh)

Our second excursion of the season, took us to RSPB Conwy and an 'off the cuff' visit to Llandudno, and the Great Orme. On arrival at RSPB Conwy, the skies were dark with the threat of impending rain and the surrounding foothills cloaked in sporadic low cloud. The air was still and surprisingly warm considering. After a quick drink we headed out onto the reserve

Curlew, Oystercatcher, Redshanks and Black-headed Gulls (c) Mandy Robertson.
The first couple of hides we found some of our more common birds: Coot, Moorhen, Gadwall and Mallard. The next hide we came across the reported Spotted Redshank, amongst a flock of some 200 Redshank which unfortunately moved towards the rear of one of the islands and out of sight. There was also an Oystercatcher, plus a herd of Curlew calling in the breathless air.

Spotted Redshank in winter plumage (c) Keith Williams
Moving on to next hide we came across two Red-breasted Mergansers, males in eclipse plumage, bearing the unmistakable white streak along their flanks. We headed further round the large pool to the various screens hoping for closer views. Along the way flocks of Long-tailed Tit, Goldfinch and Greenfinch with numerous Blackbirds feeding on the heavily-laden berry trees.

Little Grebe (c) Mandy Robertson
On reaching the screens at the top end of the pool, the Mergansers had seemed to moved on. We were left with a Little Grebe and a handful of Teal. Reaching the estuary we spotted one of the Red-breasted Mergansers returning to feed, so eventually we had closer views.

Red-breasted Merganser (c) Paul Pennington
Working our way down the bank of the estuary, good numbers of Meadow Pipit, the odd Reed Bunting, 100 plus Teal mixed with Gadwall and Mallard. Three very late Swallows took advantage of the fly-rich air. Then the rain came. We took shelter in one of the hides looking back inland and over the large pool. Here the Redshank and the Spotted Redshank gave great views. A dozen Snipe hugged the banks of the islands, a Little Egret stood looking miserable, as the rain became heavier. The rain eased somewhat and we completed the circuit. We decided to indulge in a well-earned coffee in the café, time to deliberate our next move.

Little Egret (c) Graeme Robertson
Over coffee the consensus was to head over to the Great Orme. There had been reports of a Yellow Browed Warbler and four Ring Ouzel by the old Copper Mines. On reaching the top tram stop car park of the Great Orme, we were shrouded in cloud and heavy rain and visibility was very poor. Could this be a mistake!?! Fortunately the after some 15 minutes, the sun broke through and with it wonderful views down the Orme and a chance we could find the Ouzels and the Warbler.

Chough (c) Keith Williams
Working our way down towards the Copper Mine we were on the alert. A female Kestrel gave good views perched on a dead tree, no doubt drying out from the afore mentioned deluge. In vain we searched high and low in the reported area, but to no avail. So we returned to the cars.

Kestrel (c) Keith Williams
It was decided as we made our way back that we would visit the limestone pavement. On route a magnificent Kashmir Goat (Tup), one worthy of the Welsh Guards, wandered along the roadside, stopping to watch our cars as we passed slowly.

Male Stonechat (c) Paul Pennington
On reaching the limestone pavement, we decided to do a small circuit of the area. A good decision. Two pairs of Chough, a pair of Raven, a solitary Buzzard and numerous Stonechat, which ended a fruitful day. In all 52 species recorded by the seven intrepid souls who attended.
Thanks for company and hope to see you all on the next trip.
Paul Pennington
L.O.S. Fieldtrips Officer

1 comment:

David Shallcross said...

A great report and fab pictures

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