Just For A Change A Walk Around The Great Orme At Llandudno 24 April 2020

Whinchat male May 2015

A new bird for our rather short 2020 year list today - Whinchat.

An early start for today’s exercise walk heading out at 6.30am, stepping into the cold morning air was a bit of a shock but certainly got rid of any remaining sleepiness. Fulmars were calling from the cliff opposite and a Raven “cronked” overhead, Goldfinches twittered from a TV aerial above the street.

A new route today, well sort of, we decided to do our longer Great Orme walk in reverse, wild! This meant turning left out of the door and then almost immediately right and began to climb uphill very steeply, hmm maybe this was not the best route, especially before breakfast. We could hear birds singing, just above the panting, and picked out Blackcap, Song Thrush, Great Tit and Dunnock as we climbed steadily above Llandudno. The views really are breath-taking and a good excuse to pause and take in the vista with north shore, a beautiful horseshoe shaped bay backed by Victorian Hotels below us.

At last we reach the crest of the hill, blimey that was a steep old walk, and breathed deeply getting the heart rate something like back to normal. A track led towards the Copper Mines and just before the closed mine is the “Cromlech Field” – a stone structure – where a wonderful male Ring Ouzel was hopping about on the short grass in the morning sunshine, wow! This handsome thrush was then attacked by a male Blackbird, the Ouzel flew straight towards us and landed very close in a hawthorn bush but sadly mostly hidden behind branches. A second Ring Ouzel was in the scrub on the far side of the field where a Blackcap showed off in a dead tree.

Walking up the slope past the mine a pair of Chough floated over the ridge, calling loudly, and bounced down onto the grass. We are lucky that we see these amazing red-billed crows most days but they always make us smile. Wheatears were on the short grass areas above the cemetery and looking very smart with their black “bandit” masks. Following the stonewall out towards the limestone pavement area a few Swallows skimmed past low over the heath, today moving west, yesterday they were going east. A movement on a bank caught the eye and raising the binoculars in expectation of another Wheatear it was lovely to see a colourful male Whinchat, first of the year for us. This smaller relative of the Wheatear posed on the gorse and looked simply stunning! The hawthorn bushes along the wall held male Blackcap and Willow Warblers and we enjoyed super views in the now warm sunshine as a Peregrine cruised slowly over the area. Out on the limestone pavement plenty of Wheatears sat up and showed off and more Willow Warblers, looking very out of place, moved through the heather and perched on boulders, migration happening right in front of us, magical. Then a second Whinchat seemed to drop out of the blue sky, and probably did, and landed on a rock allowing more super views. A pair of Chough looking amazing in the strong sun their feathers glowing green with irradiance beautiful. A lone Sand Martin flew west, no House Martins seen today surprisingly and still waiting for the first Common Swift should be any day.

It was a long old walk back along the Marine Drive into Llandudno, think a lot of energy was used climbing hill at the start of the walk! The seabird cliffs held all the usual suspects and a pair of Black Guillemots were on the dark blue sea with Gannets further out and nine Sandwich Terns flew east. On the way back a Common Whitethroat showed nicely, Rock Pipits, Stonechats, Ravens, a pair of Chough and a Peregrine were all great to watch. Back near the pier a Whimbrel flew west, a pair of Oystercatchers called from the beach and a gang of Turnstones were in their regular high-tide roost spot.

Feet were aching by the time we got back home and stomachs rumbling might not do that route very often!

Very little of note from the window today, very hazy not helping spotting, a Sparrowhawk, a Peregrine and five Sandwich Terns best so far.

News from our friends across North Wales….

Some late for 23 April – Garganey and Ruff at Cemlyn, Anglesey

Today –

Marc – Ring Ouzel, Lesser Whitethroat Little Orme

Marc – Garden Warbler in a Llandudno garden videoed by a friend of Marc’s!

Richard – Grasshopper Warbler Benllech, Anglesey

Steve – Lesser Whitethroat Cemaes, Anglesey

John – Lesser Whitethroat and Garden Warbler at Amlwch, Anglesey

Tony – Cuckoo Brynddu Woods, Llanfechnell

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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