A Visit To RSPB Conwy North Wales In These Strange Virus Times 9 July 2020

RSPB Conwy Autumn View Oct 2016 1

The RSPB Conwy Nature Reserve has been closed for months, like most places, since the lockdown following the Covid 19 virus pandemic but now at last the trails at least are open again. So time to go and see some different birds and see how a visit to a reserve is during these weird times we are all living through.

Well first thing you notice that is different is that there are a lot more signs, signs everywhere! Do this, don’t do that, this way, one way, not this way! No one could arrive in the reserve car park and think it was business as usual that is for sure. So having parked among the signs and taped off areas time to find the way in, again lots of signs to help, the visitor centre is closed so signs direct you up the path towards the coffee shop. The entrance to the coffee shop is now the reserve reception area, a table across the doorway acts as a desk, a plastic screen in place to keep visitors and staff safe from one another, what weird times.

Membership card shown it is out onto the trails, toilets and coffee shop still closed, and more signs, a one way system around the reserve. At the viewing screen off the boardwalk more signs reminding folks of social distancing and to keep as far apart as possible on a boardwalk and at a viewing screen. Luckily no else to keep away from and Little Egrets, Lapwings and Teal are enjoyed. A couple arrive but no panic we all keep our distance and chat about birds more than the virus.


Two Dunlin along with a Knot, Common Redshanks and 20 Black-tailed Godwits on the lagoons.

At the Tal-y-Fan hide more signs but no people to keep away from and plenty of birds. Two adult Dunlin in breeding plumage feed on one of the islands and nearby a flock of Common Redshank and amongst them a lovely surprise – a Red Knot and for once it is red! We usually see Knot in their grey non-breeding plumage but this bird is in full summer dress a real looker!

Continuing right around the reserve, about a two mile circuit, there were very few small birds about though both Sedge and Reed Warblers did sing unseen and a Blackcap popped into view briefly. On the far lagoon another unexpected bird – a fine drake Greater Scaup and in good plumage too very smart chap and very unseasonal in July! Scaup are very much winter visitors to the UK and even then very scarce here in North Wales.

On the estuary, the return path runs alongside the Conwy Estuary, the tide was just dropping and a flock of Curlew were roosting on the saltmarsh and amongst them three Whimbrel more signs of Autumn migration. Both Red-breasted Merganser and Goosander were on the water and a Black Swan was buddied up with a Mute Swan. A lovely scaly juvenile Northern Wheatear was on the track side rocks as Common Swifts skimmed past at eye-level just feet away wonderful to watch!

Back at the car park, safe and sound, having enjoyed a great walk and a super selection of birds for July well worth the visit. Only about fifteen people seen during the entire visit so looks like it will be a while before people are confident enough to venture back to our nature reserve now lockdown has eased.

Oh and don’t forget Hen Harrier Day Wales on 18th July streamed live on Facebook and free for everyone to join in! Please get involved and make some noise for our wildlife. End the illegal killing of our “protected” birds.

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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