Finally Reached 50 Species In A Day And Wonderful Dolphins 8 May 2020

Wonderful views of Northern Wheatears on the limestone pavement this morning.

Regular readers of this blog will know that our regular exercise walk takes us out of our front door and on to the Great Orme, a wonderful limestone headland at Llandudno, North Wales. Each walk we keep a list of the bird species recorded and it is remarkably consistent between 42 and 48 so we have been thinking would 50 species be possible?

Our friend Steve, from Anglesey, came up with the idea of doing a combined North Wales Lockdown Day List for Friday 8th May. All our birder friends across North Wales would keep a list of the birds they could find in walking distance from their homes, some folks can walk a long way! A fun idea and another friend Martin, from Bangor, volunteered to update the list and we decided on a 6pm cut off.

So of course we were up for our favourite longer walk on the Great Orme, from the pier along Marine Drive and then back over the limestone pavement. An early start was called for to maximise bird activity so at 5.30am it was off on the walk. Down at the pier Turnstone was quickly seen and a nice early bonus bird of a Black-headed Gull, scarce here in May. The walk along the Marine Drive produced the expected regulars but no more bonus birds sadly.

At the lighthouse the seabird colony was busy with many birds on the flat calm sea including Black and Common Guillemots, Razorbills, Shags, Cormorants, Kittiwakes, Gannets were diving for fish close to the cliffs. Then a big disturbance in the water near the Gannets – dolphins! Five bottle-nosed dolphins were feeding just offshore a fantastic sight with the animals lunging through the water and occasionally leaping clear of the water, spectacular stuff! Sadly the early morning light and the distance was not great for photos but an amazing thrill to see these beautiful marine mammals.

Up on the limestone pavement very few migrants about sadly for our big effort day, but great views of Wheatears are always lovely. A family of Stonechats were a delight to watch and the three juveniles showed off nicely. A Tree Pipit flew over and this was quickly followed by a stunning male Yellow Wagtail on the path by the stonewall bordering the sheep fields. Buzzard and Kestrel were good to see on the way back and a single Sand Martin flew north with a gang of Swallows. It didn’t feel like we had seen a lot of birds so it was a great surprise to tot up the total over tea and toast back at base – exactly 50 species of birds! We had done it on the big North Wales day wonderful!

This recently fledged Stonechat showed off this morning on the limestone pavement.

This shocking yellow Yellow Wagtail added a splash of colour this morning.

The combined total for all our friends across North Wales was a very impressive 130 species! This really shows how wonderful North Wales is as birdwatching destination as soon as it is safe come and see!

Great thing about doing a "day list" is that all species count equally - Dunnock.

A few of the highlights from our friends across North Wales...

Ken - Short-eared Owl The Range, Anglesey.

Steve - Short-eared Owl near Cemlyn, Anglesey.

Reg - Arctic Skua and Great northern Diver Dinas Dinlle, Caernarfon.

Marc - an impressive 79 species within a 5km radius of Penrhyn Bay.

Chris - Green Woodpecker and Dipper Llysfaen near Colwyn Bay.

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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