Lockdown At Birdwatching Trips HQ Saturday 28 March 2020

The view from the Great Orme, Llandudno, just above our house, looking east.

With a report of two Common Cranes seen flying over two locations on Anglesey yesterday, 27 March, we spent some time scanning the skies in the vain hope they might fly over Llandudno, they didn’t, well not yet. However we did have a flurry of activity with a superb male Peregrine cruising by the window at eye-level, we are on the fourth floor, and a Sparrowhawk and Raven in view at the same time! But the three Black-headed Gulls that flew east over Llandudno were the rarest birds of the scanning session, weird this lockdown birding.

News from local birder Peter A told of a Black Redstart on the Great Orme, the headland above our house so seemed like a good idea to take our daily exercise walk, with binoculars. We puffed up the very steep hill right behind our house and eventually reached the crest of hill and stopped to admire the amazing view, nothing to do with not being able to breathe of course! Below us was the whole of Llandudno and the beautiful north shore beach, the Little Orme, the Conwy Estuary and the mountains of Snowdonia just wow! And all this just a few minutes brutal uphill from home.

Black Redstart Gt Orme Oct 2016 2

Black Redstart at the Copper Mines on the Great Orme, Llandudno.

A few minutes of level walking, lungs calming down now, we reached the Copper Mines, a popular tourist attraction but closed due to lockdown, and scanned the bare rock faces. Nothing, not a bird, nowt, less than one, moving along the perimeter fence we scanned and scanned, no Black Redstart. Then loud “cheeow-cheeow” calls had us spinning around to see two Red-billed Chough bounce onto the grass slope just behind us. These corvids fed totally unconcerned and allowed us super views as they dug those wonderful red-bills into the soft ground in search of insects. Turning back to the Copper Mines we were just thinking we should head back when movement caught our eyes, Black Redstart! This Robin sized bird hopped up on to a fence post and posed as if to say “were you looking for me?” A lovely bird and the first we had seen in 2020 and even better that it was within walking distance of home. The Black Redstart did what Black Redstarts do flicked from perch to perch darting to the ground to grab an insect than back to a post or rock flashing that lovely orange tail with each flight, superb.

Wonderful to see Red-billed Chough just a short walk from our front door.

We left the redstart happily feeding and walked out to a view point nearby from here the view was even more impressive. We could see right across to Liverpool in the east, Bangor in the west and vast swathes of North Wales to the south it really was breath taking this time.

As we walked back we stopped to watch a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers examining fence posts on the edge of a field. The same small field also held a gang of Goldfinches, Greenfinches and a pair of Pied wagtails. A Kestrel drifted past and a Raven plonked down on the hillside just above us and watched as we walked past it.

So lucky we have all this just a few minutes from home and we thought of all the amazing NHS staff battling to save lives across the UK while we watched birds, sobering thoughts.

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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