More Migrants Arrive On The Great Orme Llandudno 23 April 2020

It has been a wonderful Spring for Ring Ouzels on the Great Orme.

An early morning exercise walk today with the UK still in lockdown and no end in sight sadly. It was a lovely sunrise over the north shore at Llandudno with a watery sun coming up to the left of the Little Orme. At Llandudno Pier Turnstones were on the legs beneath the deck of the structure but only one Shag on the sea here.

A beautiful sun rise this morning from Llandudno North Shore.

At the cliffs the Fulmars were back and forth on their stiff wings and their wonderful “chuckling” calls echoed off the rock faces. Suddenly a dark shape was over the cliff top, odd looking, then it became clear, a Peregrine Falcon carrying a large item of prey, making it look slow and an odd shape. The falcon came almost overhead and called, almost at once the female Peregrine came off the cliff and flew to her mate. The male gained some height the female keeping close just below him and then he dropped the dead bird he was carrying, his mate grabbed it in mind-air and returned to the cliff, wow! Amazing to witness this “food-pass” almost right overhead Peregrines really are awesome birds.

Along the Marine Drive that follows the cliffs around the headland of the Great Orme most of the “regulars” were on show, Stonechats, Rock and Meadow Pipits, Goldfinches, Linnets, Pied Wagtails and good to see three pairs of Chough, the third of these nest building. A scratchy song altered us to the presence of a Common Whitethroat a new bird for the year and lovely to see this migrant back and singing away. At the seabird cliffs there was so much to see, hundreds if not thousands of birds! All the regulars were present with Common Guillemots, Razorbills, Shags, Cormorants and Kittiwakes all back at their breeding ledges a super sight in the morning sun. Many more birds were on the sea below the cliffs and a Black Guillemot stood out amongst them. A little further out Gannets were diving for fish and seven Sandwich Terns flew east.

Swallows were on the move with ones, twos and threes flying along the cliff tops at eye-level allowing super views of these newly arrived long distance migrants. A few House Martins too with one group of five and then two Sand Martins a species we don’t very often see here, great to see migration happening.

Up on the limestone pavement it was pretty cold despite the hazy sunshine but there were plenty of Wheatears so lovely to see so many perhaps some forty in all this morning. A sharp call drew attention to a Yellow Wagtail flying over but despite frantic scanning this scarce migrant went unseen. Almost immediately a Common Snipe lifted from the grass in front of us and flew low and fast then dropping over the cliff edge. By the stonewall there are some patches of cover, brambles and stunted hawthorn bushes, wonderful places for tired migrants to rest, nine Willow Warblers were feeding in the bushes and sometimes dropping down onto the path allowing us wonderful close views. As we watched one of the Willow Warblers a darker bird moved in the hawthorn behind it, what was it, we waited and then it moved into clear view – a Lesser Whitethroat another new bird for the year and not a very common sight on the Great Orme. Above the cemetery a second Common Whitethroat was singing away from a bramble patch and nice to see a Song Thrush in the same area.

Just time to check the “Cromlech Field” near the Copper Mine and a fine male Ring Ouzel was feeding on the short grass next to a Blackbird really lovely to watch. A Blackcap sang, unseen, from the scrub by the field but no time to track it down breakfast was calling!

Quick update on yesterday’s window watching we enjoyed our fourth sighting of an Osprey this month! This time the raptor passed close enough to our window for a few quick photos, not great images but you can see it is an Osprey!

News from our friends across North Wales for 23 April 2020

Ken – Common Tern Holyhead Bay

Ken – Swift and a Red Kite over Holyhead

Richard – Grasshopper Warbler Benllech

John H – Lesser Whitethroat Rhyl

Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtails are scarce migrants here in North Wales.

Steve – Yellow Wagtail Cemaes Steve’s 100th lockdown species!

Gareth – Cuckoo Nant Ffrancon Valley

Other news …

The Eastern Yellow Wagtail seen at Cemlyn on Anglesey last October has been accepted as the first Welsh record! Well done everyone who helped with the record a real team effort with particular thanks to Jayne, Sue and Lol for finding it!

The Eastern Yellow Wagtail at Cemlyn, Anglesey, first for Wales.

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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