Black Red And White Feature On Todays Lockdown Walk 28 February 2021

Sunshine, blue sky, Red-billed Chough just another perfect day here in Llandudno!

A glorious day here in North Wales with clear blue sky, not a breath of wind, warm sunshine. Are we sure it is February? Early morning walk down to the pier and the Ruddy Turnstones and Common Redshank are showing well at the high tide roost. The cliffs have a lovely pair of Red-billed Chough, a Peregrine peers down at us, lit up by the early sun it looks almost white with the naked eye. Fulmars are very active flying back and forth and making a hash of trying to land and going back to the “holding pattern” to try again, their friends cackling with laughter at the many aborted landings! Wonderful to stand and take it all in on this wonderful spring-like morning, nothing better to lift the spirts than birds. On the sea, a pair of Black Guillemots stood out on the bluest water and we could even see their scarlet red legs through our Leica Noctovid binoculars; these bins are a joy to use enhancing each bird seen.

Black Guillemot

It is a wonderful look - scarlet red and jet black - Black Guillemots showed off today.

Further along the headland, progress was slow as we stopped to repeatedly watch some new bird, such as displaying Rock Pipits like miniature sky-divers hurling themselves towards the sea but in this case opening their “chutes” and back up for another song flight! Stonechats flitted between rocks and gorse, the males looking dazzling in the sunshine. Another pair of Red-billed Chough swept along the cliffs calling excitedly, perhaps like us their spirits lifted by the glorious weather?

At the seabird cliffs it was almost a May scene with the ledges crowded with Common Guillemots, a few Razorbills and both Shags and Cormorants; all that was missing was the wonderful cry “kittiwake, kittiwake” as none of these lovely gulls were back at the colony yet, maybe in March? On the sea just offshore were big rafts of more auks on the millpond-like Irish Sea and amongst the hundreds of Common Guillemots, a few Razorbills and an impressive seven Black Guillemots; wonderful to see these birds doing so well in recent years here.

Up onto the limestone pavement area and the view opened up to a vast panorama across to Anglesey, Snowdonia and the Conwy Valley, oh wow! We are so fortunate to see this stunning view often but honestly it never fails to stop us in our tracks and we just stand and take it all in. Walking up to the cairn there was no sign of the Snow Buntings that had been here recently despite a good search and just we resigned ourselves to not seeing them - there they were! Four of these delightful Arctic breeding “finches” were scuttling about amongst the limestone pavement about one hundred meters beyond the cairn and as we watched from a good distance they flew towards us and flew right past! Luckily these most gorgeous birds landed just past us where the light was perfect and began to feed. Now this was pretty special, not only a stunning vista before us but four beautiful rare birds right there! We settled down in the warm sun and watched and watched, a perfect Sunday morning.

Great spotted Woodpecker 2

Who knew banging your face on a dead tree attracted you a mate - please don't try this at home!

Walking back towards home a lovely flock of eight Red-billed Chough were watched feeding on a sunlit slope, their scarlet bills and feet glowing in the perfect light. Just beyond them three Stonechats including a really bright male were feeding around a patch of gorse and as we watched the male began to sing his scratchy song, what a delight to hear the first one of the year. A little way down the slope we could hear the drumming of another black and white bird, the Great Spotted Woodpecker and scanned the bare ash trees for the percussionist before spotting him high on dead branch head-banging away! A second bird flew in and it was obvious the beat did the trick; it was a brief encounter but hopefully more woodpeckers to come soon!

This male Stonechat was singing in the unexpected warm February sunshine.

One last wow moment as we dropped down back into Llandudno: a Common Buzzard passed low overhead against that cobalt blue sky – just beautiful and another moment to lift the lockdown blues, you know birds really are brilliant!

This Common Buzzard passed right overhead as we headed for home.

Of course a wonderful way to see more birds is to join one of our Birdwatching Trips and learn a lot about the birds you are enjoying too. We have tours suitable for all from beginners to experienced birders that are seeking particular species. Just drop us a line here and we can arrange a perfect custom tour for you!

We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds with you as soon as it is safe.

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