A Blustery Day On The Great Orme Llandudno And A Nemesis Laid To Rest

The wind was rattling the windows and looking out you could have been forgiven for thinking it was November and not late June. But after a whole day of admin the previous day time to get out for fresh air very fresh in this case.

Coat on, first time for a good while, and walked down to the pier at Llandundno north shore and literally held on to my hat in the forty mile per hour wind! Once past the pier and on to Marine Drive it was slightly less windy under the cliffs and the familiar calls of Red-billed Chough echoed off the limestone rock walls. A pair of these wonderful corvids were flying around not so high above the Marine Drive and then landed on a ledge and preened each other how lovely to see. A Common Whitethroat sang so loudly from the bracken on the seaward sea opposite the Chough. A little further along a third Chough, this one a juvenile with shorter paler bill, swept up and down the cliffs putting on a wonderful flying display before landing on the grass slope below. The screams of Peregrine drew attention to one the juvenile birds high on the cliff above the Marine Drive but the view was pretty distant. Just then a feral pigeon flew over and headed towards the cliff where the falcon was sat, this could be interesting, and it was! The Peregrine launched from the cliff like a jet propelled rocket and dive down towards the pigeon! Somehow the pigeon twisted and turned away from the falcon and escaped low towards the town, breath-taking to watch!

Around the bend in the Marine Drive the wind was really strong and it was a battle to make head way and the uphill towards Pink Farm was a struggle. A lovely juvenile Song Thrush hopped along the path offering an excuse to pause to watch it and get breath back. Nearing farm a red fox dashed across the corner of a sheep field next to path, not one sheep even looked up from their grazing, no threat what so ever.

Turning back to Llandudno at the farm luckily the wind was behind it was so strong! Amazingly a few birds along the heathland here despite the grim conditions, Linnets, Stonechats and Meadow Pipits. At the ski-slope it began to rain and no let-up in the wind not great conditions for trying to locate a nemesis. In recent visits to the Great Orme we have put a good bit of time into finding a particular species but all to no avail. The species in question is not a bird but a plant – dark-red helleborine a species of orchid in flower in late June on the headland; we also searched unsuccessfully for them this time last year. Armed with new information from our friend Robin including a photo of the very spot we set off for another attempt in the rain and wind. There are a lot of rocks on the Great Orme but thankfully Robin’s directions were good and we soon saw “the” rock on a steep slope above the narrow path. Scrambling up there it was at last a beautiful dark-red helleborine whew! It was hard to photograph due to the strong wind waving the plant from side to side but we had at last seen one.

The rain came on harder on the homeward bound walk but it didn’t matter it was a case of mission accomplished.

We are so lucky to have so many species and habitats within easy reach here in North Wales, and once the world returns to normal, we would love you to join us for one of our Best of North Wales Birdwatching Trips days out. We expect to enjoy a lot of birds during these relaxed pace tours and we can tailor make the day to suit you.

We would love you to join us on our Birdwatching Trips in the future just drop us a line to arrange a custom tour and please see our tours pages for set departure trips. 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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