A Damp Day In North Wales But The Great Is Still Great Even In The Rain

Common Sandpiper June 2017 1

Wonderful to see Common Sandpipers on the rocks at Llandudno Pier, autumn migration.

Low grey clouds hung over Llandudno this morning and heavy rain showers were sweeping across the peninsula. But having had a day stuck in it was worth braving the showers and heading out onto the Great Orme. A phone call earlier from Steve, a friend on Anglesey, told of some passage waders moving through not that we get many waders on the Great Orme not much habitat for them sadly. Approaching the pier we checked the rocks in case any Turnstones had returned yet, long shot, but about the only wader we do see fairly regularly on the Great Orme. Peering over the wall down onto the rocks where the Turnstones like to roost at high tide it was no surprise no Turnstone but it was a real surprise to see four Common Sandpipers! Wow! This was such a lovely surprise and a good species to see here. Amazing that autumn passage is under way in early July, bird migration is just so exciting!

On to Marine Drive and the lovely calls of Red-billed Chough were filling the air, two birds on the nearest rock face and five more a little further along. Over next fifteen minutes or so the Chough put on a wonderful performance flying above, at eye-level and below us constantly calling just amazing to see these rare birds so well so close to home. As we enjoyed the Chough circus Fulmars were whizzing back and forth just above the Marine Drive and making their lovely chuckling calls.

A little further around the headland and three handsome Black Guillemots were on the sea close to the base of the cliff their scarlet red feet and legs glowing even in the grey light. Just beyond here we stopped to admire the fragrant orchids still in good condition and were amazed to see many more nearby. There were also pyramidal orchids here, an orchid we didn’t recognise and some lovely examples of butterwort – an insectivorous plant. A lovely "scaly" juvenile Northern Wheatear was on the rocks below the Marine Drive lovely to see birds returning to the headland already.

First time we have seen butterwort on the Great Orme - an insectivorous plant.

The return leg of the walk, past Pink Farm and the back down past the ski slope was pretty wet. Not much in the way of wildlife but nice to see a selection of juvenile birds including Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail and Song Thrush, hopefully a good breeding season. A damp Common Buzzard flapped heavily across some sheep fields looking fed up with the rain.

Back home the rain stopped of course. But it is always good to get out whatever the weather.

Big news! On Monday 6th July some of the lockdown restrictions are due to be lifted here in Wales and we can venture further than five miles from home! It will be really weird to be able to go birding other than on the Great Orme. Hopefully our blogs will have some new species featured soon, but don’t worry the Great Orme will still our local patch and lots more to come from there too!

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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