Last Day Of January 2021 No Change Great Orme Walk Again

Stonechat male Gt Orme winter

Male Stonechat showed off today on the Great Orme always a delight to see.

So thirty one days of 2021 have slipped past just like that, I have driven the car three times, only ventured off the peninsula of Llandudno twice both for medical reasons and have a year list of just 90 species of birds. What a very strange world it has become. We should have been leading a Birdwatching Trips tour in South America this month – a new country for me Colombia – seeing hundreds of amazing birds including many new species. With next to no work since last March the pandemic has certainly hit hard financial though we are very thankful that we have not succumbed to COVID-19, yet, and remain healthy. We are also so very grateful to our amazing National Health Service that has been under the most intense pressure and yet somehow keeps going absolute stars every one of them.

So what do you do on the last day of a month where you are in lockdown with at least three more weeks of lockdown ahead? Easy go for a walk on the Great Orme here at Llandudno of course and take joy from birds and nature that have been here for us throughout these terrible times.

So another Ground Hog Day walk and we headed down to the pier at Llandudno, Turnstones, Common Redshank and Oystercatcher all present and correct seen through tear streaming eyes with the bitter cold east wind. The sea was choppy in the bay so no sign of the wintering Great Northern Diver but two Red-throated Divers were close enough to see in the swell.

Red-billed Chough on the cliffs of the Great Orme, Llandudno.

Walking along Marine Drive the cliffs were Fulmar less, they don’t like to come to the cliffs in winter when there are strong winds. But two wonderful Red-billed Chough swooped in over the cliff top, calling loudly, and put on an amazing flying display right above us! These two magical corvids then landed on the cliff face and began to probe about with those long red beaks and toss detritus into the air so funny to watch. As we enjoyed these wonderful birds our male Peregrine cruised along the cliffs and treated us to super views as it circled and then headed back the way he had come. A male Stonechat flicked along the stone wall so close we could see every feather but it was a little sad that other walkers strode right past this little gem of a bird without noticing it. Birds make every day better once you stop and notice them and have been a massive help in this terrible pandemic.

Plenty of Atlantic grey seal "action" on the beach today!

A little further along and the beach, what little was left with the incoming tide, held a small group of Atlantic grey seals. Not many animals today but the ones present were very active, getting in the mood to mate? A lot of touching and rolling around in the breakers going on often looking very tender, well as tender as a great blob of blubber in a wave can look! We spent ages watching them and not once did we think of anything else – nature is so good for us. Offshore two small flocks of Common Scoter bobbed like black corks on the waves and plenty of Shags flying to and fro but just a single Common Guillemot seen on the sea today.

Hiking back up past the church a Common Buzzard came over the ridge and at the same moment a Great Spotted Woodpecker landed in a tree in the cemetery after no birds for a long spell suddenly which way to look! Luckily both birds showed well and long enough to enjoy both. Very little activity near the Copper Mines but a male Kestrel was good to see and as we headed back towards Llandudno a beautiful flock of some forty Goldfinches showed off – what a riot of colour on a grey day! Nearby three Greenfinches was a good local record as was a fly over Starling, seen very few up here this month.

Almost home and a pair of Peregrines were in the air above the crag that towers above our street and we watched in awe as these falcons showed off their total mastery of the air. Ground Hog Day for sure but not a bad one!

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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