A Blustery Day Birding In North Wales 16 February 2019



Chough June 2015 1

Chough certainly made us sweat on this windy day.



After two stunningly beautiful, sunny, flat calm days Saturday morning dawned with a very strong wind, not good. We met Yvonne, Steven and Julie at 9.15am later than usual as they had driven over from Cheshire and Manchester.

First stop was the famous “Mick’s Back Passage” a narrow alleyway in the streets of Llandudno. At least here in the alley we were sheltered from the near gale force wind, but no sign of the Rose-coloured Starling and no other birdwatchers. But we need not have worried the pink starling flew in and landed on a TV aerial above us in the sunshine, yes! We all enjoyed wonderful views of the Rose-coloured Starling as it moved from roof to roof, this rare bird should be wintering in North-West India! What a start to the day a new bird for all three!


What a great way to start the day, a lifer, Rose-coloured Starling.



We then headed west to Anglesey and our first stop was a shallow bay where the gale still blew shaking the telescopes and making our eyes water. But there were plenty of birds! Pale-bellied Brent Geese, no doubt enjoying the mild conditions having left their Arctic Canada breeding grounds, were feeding on the exposed mudflats. Masses of waders here too, also feeding away with heads down into the wind, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Redshank and Dunlin all here. A small flock of Black-headed Gulls, sheltering near the car-park held two smart adult Mediterranean Gulls, one already acquiring breeding plumage with its black head coming through the other still in full winter dress. Nearby at Holyhead Harbour we jumped out to see three Red-breasted Mergansers really close! These wonderful “punk-headed” ducks gave super views and Yvonne tried to digi-scope them but the gale force wind and the birds habit of diving at just the wrong moment left her frustrated. Two very handsome breeding plumaged Black Guillemots also showed nicely, job done!

We don’t usually visit fast food joints but recently we have made an exception on our Anglesey tours. Pulling into the car park we immediately saw our target bird, a Hooded Crow; this smart corvid was on top of a street lamp. We parked right underneath the Hoodie and enjoyed an unusual view through the glass roof of the 4x4! A second Hooded Crow was on the next lampstand down, two for the price of one at McDonald’s!


Hooded Crow through the car roof pretty cool way to see this great bird.



Next stop was a rocky bay where we often see Purple Sandpipers but the gale here was strong viewing was near impossible and we could see a single wader let alone the cryptically plumaged sandpiper! Move on. Our reliable spot for Rock Pipit and Stonechat was also wind-swept, just a few Oystercatchers braving the elements. Move on. Up at RSPB South Stack we did venture out, briefly, to look at the stunning scenery and we could barely stand up! We checked the whole area, mostly from the shelter of the car, but we could not find a single Chough in any of their regular spots. Move on again!

Time for lunch and hopefully a change of luck and pray that the gale might abate. Well the delicious food showed very well if briefly. Many thanks for lunch Julie and Steven. Out again and the wind was still howling but at least the sun was out. We scanned a shallow bay, again telescopes shaking and eyes-watering and luckily quickly found the hoped for Long-tailed Duck. This scarce visitor was feeding with three Goldeneye, whew; a bird we had hoped for was showing!

Next stop a freshwater lake and yes you have guessed it the wind was wild so hardly a bird to be seen on the choppy water. Lots of beautiful Lapwings were in nearby fields and Steven picked out a Fieldfare amongst them. We did finally find a pair of Stonechats always lovely to see. With a lot of scanning we did pick out some ducks, Goosander, Gadwall, Teal, and Goldeneye and in a field by the lake both Canada and Greylag Geese. A single Common Snipe flew low overhead our only one of the day. We moved on again and checked an area where we had recently enjoyed wonderful views of Short-eared Owls but not surprisingly no owls were on the wing. As we scanned, in vain, we have a great close view of a Peregrine, a Kestrel landed in a fir tree and another Stonechat was on the stonewall. Then a real stroke of luck, Chough! Very unexpected here but sure enough five of these red-billed crows flew low over the grassland and right past us, whew! Don’t think we have ever not seen Chough on one of our Anglesey days out but it was looking very likely to happen today. The Chough made two fly pasts and the two more flew the same way, that’s the beauty of birdwatching you never know what might turn up next and where!

A huge flock of Golden Plover swirled over cattle fields and we at last saw a Common Buzzard crazy not to have seen one before late afternoon. We ended the day watching beautiful Pintail and Wigeon and a few woodland birds to boost the list including a handsome Jay. Back to Llandudno where the wind just kept blowing! A great day with lovely company and some great birds despite the challenging conditions! Looking back on the birds we did see a very good day indeed.

We would love you to join us for Birdwatching Trip here in North Wales or further afield please see our tours pages for details or email us here…

info@birdwatchingtrips.co.uk

We look forward to sharing great birds, wildlife and scenery with you soon!





Contact us


* * *

*


Submit

Our Tweets


This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. See our Cookie Policy for further details on how to block cookies.
I am happy with this
 

Cookies

What is a Cookie

A cookie, also known as an HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie, is a piece of data stored by a website within a browser, and then subsequently sent back to the same website by the browser. Cookies were designed to be a reliable mechanism for websites to remember things that a browser had done there in the past, which can include having clicked particular buttons, logging in, or having read pages on that site months or years ago.

NOTE : It does not know who you are or look at any of your personal files on your computer.

Why we use them

When we provide services, we want to make them easy, useful and reliable. Where services are delivered on the internet, this sometimes involves placing small amounts of information on your device, for example, your computer or mobile phone. These include small files known as cookies. They cannot be used to identify you personally.

These pieces of information are used to improve services for you through, for example:

  • recognising that you may already have given a username and password so you don’t need to do it for every web page requested
  • measuring how many people are using services, so they can be made easier to use and there’s enough capacity to ensure they are fast
  • analysing anonymised data to help us understand how people interact with our website so we can make them better

You can manage these small files and learn more about them from the article, Internet Browser cookies- what they are and how to manage them

Learn how to remove cookies set on your device

There are two types of cookie you may encounter when using our site :

First party cookies

These are our own cookies, controlled by us and used to provide information about usage of our site.

We use cookies in several places – we’ve listed each of them below with more details about why we use them and how long they will last.

Third party cookies

These are cookies found in other companies’ internet tools which we are using to enhance our site, for example Facebook or Twitter have their own cookies, which are controlled by them.

We do not control the dissemination of these cookies. You should check the third party websites for more information about these.

Log files

Log files allow us to record visitors’ use of the site. The CMS puts together log file information from all our visitors, which we use to make improvements to the layout of the site and to the information in it, based on the way that visitors move around it. Log files do not contain any personal information about you. If you receive the HTML-formatted version of a newsletter, your opening of the newsletter email is notified to us and saved. Your clicks on links in the newsletter are also saved. These and the open statistics are used in aggregate form to give us an indication of the popularity of the content and to help us make decisions about future content and formatting.


<