A Very Windy Walk At The Beach Pays Off With A Beautiful Bird 16 November 2020

Snow Buntings are such wonderful birds and having one close to home - brilliant!

After several wet and very windy days the need to get out in the fresh-air was great indeed so a break in the rain this morning was just the thing. Boots on and down to the beach here at Llandudno, well the rain might have stopped but the wind was gale force and blasting us with sand! We battled south along the tideline with waves crashing against the beach, a very high tide today, but hardly a bird to be seen. A few Carrion Crows were picking over the tideline debris and two Black-headed Gulls fought the wind to overtake us.

As we neared a breakwater two birds flew up from the beach in-front of us one chasing the other. The chaser was a Rock Pipit and the chased bird was the Snow Bunting we had hoped to find, wonderful. Luckily the Snow Bunting did not fly far and landed on the breakwater where it soon flew again, back to the beach. Here this lovely visitor from the Arctic fed at the base of a sand dune just beyond the reach of the wild sea. It was tricky to photograph the bird as the light was so poor, low grey clouds, and the bunting was constantly on the move amongst debris on the beach. But as always it was a pure delight to watch this so lovely bird feeding away and so close to home.

A whoosh of wings and we spun around to see a flock of waders shooting fast and low over the white waves, mostly Sanderling but with a few Ringed Plovers mixed in. We don’t often see Sanderling here so it was great to see this flock of some thirty birds and better still the whole flock landed on the breakwater. Walking back at least the wind was behind us and less sand in our eyes, so glad we made the effort to see this lovely bird – a Snow Bunting is a special bird.

A flock of Sanderling landed on the breakwater in the gale force winds.

As the tide was just about high a visit to nearby RSPB Conwy seemed a good idea as one of the main reasons the reserve was created was to provide a safe place for birds to roost at high-tide. Arriving at the reserve the first pool held lots of Gadwall and a small flock of Curlew and we were confident a lot of birds would be roosting on the second pool with such a big tide today. But, no, the sound of a strimmer greeted us, the islands in the second lagoon were being cut – essential maintenance work for sure but to do it over such a high tide? Of course there were no waders to be seen and far fewer duck than usual on the lagoon, frustrating for us and the birds.

A flock of Common Redshank flew in and circled the lagoon several times but then flew off again due to the disturbance but we did pick out a Spotted Redshank and six Dunlin were also amongst them. A few Common Snipe flew off the islands as the strimmer got to close and that was it for waders sadly. Two Red-breasted Merganser and a drake Pochard were the best of the ducks. A Water Rail showed briefly in the reed-bed opposite the Tal-y-fan hide and it was good to watch Siskins, Long-tailed Tits and a Goldcrest by the Bridge Pond.

Come and join us for a “Tour for Two” – very small group just two guests with two guides, tailor made itinerary, low risk in these COVID-19 times and of course lots of birds and an excellent chance of enjoying them all. Do drop us a line and we can make all the arrangements be it a day trip, two days, three day or as long a tour as you wish. Our recent Tours for Two have visited the Highlands of Scotland, North Wales, Norfolk and the Yorkshire coast and we are planning many more! Let us know where you would like to go and we can put together a proposal perfect for you.

We are so lucky to have so many species and habitats within easy reach here in North Wales 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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