Mammals And Birds On Todays Groundhog Day Walk Great Orme 7 May 2020




One of today's Turnstones at Llandudno Pier this one in breeding plumage.



Well we are still in lockdown here in the UK though becoming harder to believe we are many more people out and about, much more traffic, some shops such as B&Q DIY stores open and some takeaways. All seems rather strange surely if we need a lockdown we need an effective one? The Government are hinting at a relaxation of the lockdown from Monday, 11th May, and that seems to have signalled to some it’s all over! Death toll still high in the UK with over 600 yesterday, 6th May, the majority in care homes with hospitals seemingly coping at the moment. The worry is will the easing of lockdown result in a second wave of infections?

Today we returned to our old favourite route on the Great Orme turn right out of the door and down to Llandudno Pier. Turnstones were on the rocks just where we expected them and some looking very handsome in breeding plumage, sad to think they will soon be leaving for their Arctic breeding grounds.


We again enoyed super views of our resident Red-billed Chough today.



Most of the usual suspects were along the Marine Drive and lovely to hear at least three singing male Common Whitethroats. The sea was flat calm and we watched several flocks of Common Scoter flying west over the glass like water. At the lighthouse the seabird colony was in full swing and at least three Black Guillemots showed off in the sunshine amongst many Common Guillemots, Razorbills, Shags, Cormorants and Kittiwakes. Further out huge Gannets dived for fish and two Sandwich Terns flew east. A commotion in the water drew our attention and at first we could not see what had caused the disturbance to the clam water. We kept scanning and then there it was again harbour porpoises breaking the surface! This was a thrill to see, it was hard to count them as they just broke the surface briefly then sank below again but we were sure at least six of these amazing mammals were present. Calm seas like this are a huge help in spotting marine mammals.


The weasel was so fast it was impossible to get a really good photo but fun to watch.



We continued up the hill towards the lighthouse and a movement at the side of the road caught our eye, what was that? Then a brown blur showed again and just enough time to see it was a weasel! These tiny carnivores are real characters and always great to see, rare to see one on the Great Orme. A bit of “pishing” – making squeaking noises – and the weasel pop out from the roadside grass and peered back at us then shot off again. More “pishing” and out he shot, looked and shot back, this went on for a minute or so as we tried to take a photo of the supercharged animal. The weasel was way too quick for a decent photo but it was fun to watch this lightning fast tiny mammal.


This male Wheatear on the limestone pavement was spoilt for choice with so much food.





Up on the limestone pavement there was a hatch of large black flies and the air was full of them! Lots of bird food and we watched a Wheatear gabbing them from the short grass as clouds more swarmed around the bird. Walking to the cliff edge the views across Conwy Bay were lovely with the millpond sea and the mountains and Anglesey beyond. With it being so calm we could pick out thousands of Common Scoter on the sea, tiny dots rather like the flies over the pavement.




This pair of Stonechats, female above male below, showed off nicely.



We then followed the stonewall back towards Llandudno and soon came across a pair of Stonechats with very recently fledged young, first of 2020. The young dived for cover but both mum and dad sat up and showed off. Further along the wall a few hawthorn bushes provide shelter for migrant birds and today they held a beautiful male Whinchat, two Willow Warblers and a lovely Spotted Flycatcher our first of the year. Wonderful to watch these newly arrived migrants as they fed on the abundant food supply of black flies allowing us great views.


Whinchat in the hawthorn bushes alongside the stonewall today.




Lovely to see this Spotted Flycatcher newly returned from Africa and showing so well.



The last leg back took us past the halfway tram station and the Cromlech field where a lovely male Great spotted Woodpecker feeding on the ground and a Kestrel mobbed by a gang of Swallows.

News from our friends across North Wales....

Norman - Wood Sandpiper at Valley flood, Anglesey

Steve - 2 Roseate Tern Cemlyn Lagoon news via the wardens.

Ken - Whinchat Holyhead.

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….

info@birdwatchingtrips.co.uk

We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds in beautiful places with you soon!







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