A Bad Decision And Some Good Waders North Wales 3 September 2019

Morfa Madryn View Sept 1

Morfa Madryn Nature Reserve, Llanfairfechan a great place at high tide.

As we were guiding on both the 1st and 2nd September and seeing great birds, see previous two blogs, we had not had a chance to look for a local Western Bonelli’s Warbler. This very rare bird for the UK, and even rarer in Wales, was found on the 1st September on the headland west of Aberdaron on the Llyn Peninsula and showed again on the 2nd. Although elusive at times the bird had stayed faithful to a fairly small patch of willows, a spot we knew well having found several Yellow-browed Warbler in that very spot over the years. We had planned to look for the bird today, 3rd September, but when we woke up we could hear the wind rattling the windows and thought the warbler would not be seen in these weather conditions so did not go west to Aberdaron. No news on the bird by mid-morning so we felt a sigh of relief, right decision made, then late morning, Western Bonelli’s Warbler showing now! Oh no! Very bad decision indeed.

To console ourselves we headed out for some local birding and west to Llanfairfechan and Morfa Madryn Nature Reserve. It was very windy as we walked out towards the saltmarsh, and we mean really windy! The tide was high and we could see lots of birds roosting on the shingle spit on the far side of the flooded marsh. We set the scopes up and tried to see what birds were here, the wind was so strong it was very hard to keep the scope still enough to see birds! But we struggled on and could make out some 200 Curlew on the spit and amongst them at least one Whimbrel and two Bar-tailed Godwits. Plenty of gulls here too, the majority Black-headed Gulls, a few Common and Herring Gulls and we picked out two adult Mediterranean Gulls. About forty Sandwich Terns were also on the spit here and they rose into the wind calling loudly only to settle again. The wind was getting even stronger so we headed for a nearby hide overlooking a small pool that can hold waders at high tide. The water level here was very high so little edge to the island for waders to roost. Some Curlew, a few Lapwings and 16 Common Redshank were all that were on view but it was nice to watch them out of that wind. Two Goosander flew in and landed on the pool but then swam behind one of the islands, time to head for home.

Sanderling Sept 1

Sanderling are lovely waders and a potential pit fall for birdwatchers, tricky to ID.

As we walked back past the spit the tide was dropping fast and Ruth spotted a Ringed Plover on the beach. We spotted to look at this one bird and were amazed to see lots more birds amongst the pebbles, so well camouflaged! We spent the next half an hour or so watching this flock of small waders, mostly Dunlin and Ringed Plover but also ten lovely Sanderling and two juvenile Knot a lovely selection. Always good to really watch these tricky to identify birds and really get to know these species, the more you know the common species more change of finding something unusual amongst them. A nice end to what was a rather frustrating day.

We would love you to join us on our Birdwatching Trips, please see our tours pages and if you have any questions at all please fire away here….


We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds in beautiful places with you soon!

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