A New Lockdown Walk And Some Exciting Birds 5 May 2020




This female Stonechat showed off on today's walk on the Great Orme.



Big excitement today we tried a new lockdown walk! With a strong east wind we figured the east side of the headland and the limestone pavement would be windswept and as a result bird less. We turned left out of the door and through Heulfre Gardens and over to the west shore of Llandudno, hoping to be out of the worst of the strong wind. It was indeed more sheltered and the sun was warm and sky was so blue, the reduction in pollution since lockdown began has improved the air quality dramatically.


This male Greenfinch posed on the gorse in the beautiful sunshine.





Reaching west shore we followed the Marine Drive along the west side of the Great Orme, on this side the headland has steep grass slopes with rocky outcrops none of the spectacular sea-cliffs of our usual route on the west side. The lush gardens along the first part of the walk, complete with palm trees, held typical garden birds along with singing Goldcrest and Blackcap. The path led us out onto the headland proper and into an area of gorse and bramble just above the beach on the west side of the Great Orme. This area always looks good for migrants but is even less watched by birdwatchers than the rest of the headland. Common Whitethroats were singing and doing their jerky song flights over the bushes. Linnets were singing too and lovely to see some really brightly coloured males along with plenty of Greenfinches and Goldfinches. Then a nice surprise a female Whinchat popped up on a dead stalk and showed nicely, just too far away for a good photo but we did manage a record shot. Three large billy goats had found a sheltered spot in the sun and dozing peacefully – impressive horns on these mature males.


Not a great photo but hopefully you can see it is a female Whinchat.




An impressive billy goat enjoyes the Welsh sunshine in a sheltered spot.



The path then climbed up the slope and the views were spectacular! We could see across to Anglesey, the mountains of Snowdonia and the historic town of Conwy. As we climbed up we found a second Whinchat, a beautiful male, and at least three Wheatears. Reaching a vantage point gave us a good view of the sea below and we scanned the deep blue water and were surprised to see plenty of birds! Lots of Common Guillemots were bobbing about on the sea along with smaller numbers of Razorbills and a single Black Guillemot whizzed past skimming the waves. Small flocks of Kittiwakes were resting on the water and a few Fulmars swept low over the sea and both Cormorants and Shags were diving for fish. The real stars offshore though were the Gannets, these spectacular seabirds were diving headlong into the sea hitting the surface with a huge splash – wonderful to watch – the smaller Sandwich Terns just could not match their giant cousins.



Swallows and House Martins were coming in off the sea in small groups it is always a thrill to see migration happening! A Chough fed on the hillside above us and occasionally had a fly around calling “cheeow” as we watched a Peregrine Falcon soar effortlessly high above. We could have stayed here for hours taking in the birds and spectacular views but rumbling stomachs told us that breakfast had been a long time ago!

On the walk back we watched a Common Buzzard on the steep west slopes of the Great Orme and a Raven flew over, back in Heulfre Gardens a male Kestrel hovered just above us. Just after this encounter four black shapes appeared against the ever so blue sky, Swifts! Wonderful Common Swifts back from Africa and always a thrill to see, fantastic birds and a sign that summer is coming! What a wonderful sighting to end our new route walk, we were really ready for that late lunch now.

News from our friends across North Wales...

Steve - 9 Spotted Flycatchers, a Whinchat at Bardsey Bird Observatory, Gwyneed.

Marc - Tree Pipit Little Orme where a Coot was sound recorded flying over at night!

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….

info@birdwatchingtrips.co.uk

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





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