A Very Wet But Rewarding Lockdown Birding Walk 28 April 2020

Golden Plover Finland 2017 2

A beautiful Golden Plover one of the highlights of a very wet morning, not this one.

Looking out at dawn it was damp, steady drizzle and low grey cloud, very different from the recent spell of wonderful weather. Would there be any birds on the Great Orme in this grim weather, well only one way to find out, waterproofs on and out the door. The rain had almost stopped and the Turnstones were on the pier, Shags offshore and Fulmars back and forth at the cliffs. Stonechats, Rock Pipits and Linnets all showed along the Marine Drive that runs from Llandudno Pier around the Great Orme. No sign of the Peregrines this morning don’t blame them for not being out in the damp. A pair of Chough swooped overhead and called as they dropped down to the cliff below the road. A Gannet cruised by and while watching this super bird a flock of 16 Common Scoter whizzed west low over the grey sea. Not so many birds at the seabird cliffs as in recent days and for the first time taking this route no Black Guillemots seen.

Up on the limestone pavement the rain came down a lot heavier and so glad the full waterproofs went on before heading out. It was grim with the rain stinging the face and hands going numb, just like normal UK spring weather, we have been spoilt by a month of glorious conditions. Uphill to the cairn, pile of stones, where there is usually a panoramic view across to Anglesey and the mountains of Snowdonia but not today, low cloud and rain cutting the view dramatically. Fellow local birder Peter was going up to the cairn from the opposite direction and we swapped gloomy reports of the lack of migrant birds. Suddenly a flock of birds were hurtling past low over the ground, waders! Very unusual to see a flock of waders here, focusing the bins they became eight Dunlin, in breeding plumage and a single Ringed Plover brilliant! Dunlin and Ringed Plover were both new for our “Lockdown List” and both rare to see over the limestone pavement area. Peter carried on his way but we soon called him back, a beautiful Golden Plover was in the sheep field just over the stonewall near the cairn.

Bangor Harbour Mar Osprey

An Osprey being pursued by Herring Gulls - the sixth time we have witnessed this in April!

With the rain still coming down we turned for home and followed the wall back towards Llandudno, we had not gone very far when a male Pheasant walked into view a surprisingly rare bird on the Great Orme. Having watched the Pheasant we set off again but were halted in our tracks by loud alarm calls from Herring Gulls, Carrion Crows and Jackdaws also cried in alarm, we were pretty sure what was happening. A moment later and yes you have guessed it an Osprey, this wonderful raptor was flying low over the fields and close, superb. We had a great look at our sixth Osprey for this month; insane number of sightings for this area, the bird moved off north out to sea and was lost in the murk. Luckily Peter had also seen the Osprey and we could see him punching the air in the distance!

Well worth getting wet and cold to see this lovely mix of birds all within walking distance of home.

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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