New Month And A New Route On The Great Orme With Some Snow

Always lovely to watch the UK's smallest bird - the Goldcrest.

Today is the first of February 2021 and we are still in lockdown with at least three weeks more to come but at last a sunny day! So only one thing for it for a walk on the Great Orme here in Llandudno, but which route to take?

Well before we could decide whether to turn right or left in our street we saw goats! The Llandudno goats have become internet sensations with pictures of them “taking over the town” beamed around the world even making the front page of the New York Times! Well here we were witnessing that very thing – two goats were in the front garden and had left a plentiful supply of calling cards on the front step. It was nanny goat with a small kid and the kid had got itself down in a trench below the front windows of our building but it looked like a slope at one end should allow it to climb out, rather than stress the animals we decided to leave them munching the flowers and see if the kid was still there when we returned.

So having gone left to peer at the goats in the garden we carried on left and headed up into Haulfre Gardens on the south side of the Great Orme and along Invalids Walk towards the west shore of Llandudno. Not many birds along the stretch the wooded area held Goldcrests and Coal Tits and out in the more open area a pair of Red-billed Chough soared against the blue sky a wonderful sight and sound as they called away.

Wonderful views of a Common Buzzard today in the sunshine.

At the west shore it was decision time, turn back and retrace our steps or carry on the walk, it was a lovely morning with sunshine and blue sky and the thought of admin did not appeal so onwards. Taking the Marine Drive for a short distance we then headed up hill, on the Monk’s Path, that rises steeply up the grassy hillside to the limestone pavement area on the top of the headland. The views from the path are stunning looking back across Conwy Bay to Snowdonia and out west to the Isle of Anglesey providing a great excuse to stop and stare, and get your breath back. Out in the bay we could see three Common Eider, two smart drakes and a female on the blue water. Near the top a pair of Mistle Thrush bounced around on some rocky outcrops and at one point were flushed by a low flying Common Buzzard.

One of the three Snow Buntings enjoyed on the Great Orme.

At the top we looked for the Snow Buntings that we had seen here recently but sadly no sign of them in the area they had been feeding previously. We followed the stone wall and scanned both sides carefully but no, we were thinking the birds must have moved on when movement caught our eyes. The Snow Buntings were creeping mouse-like on the ground near the cairn on our side of the stone wall, wonderful. Three birds today, four last time we saw them, and looking gorgeous in the sunshine. We watched them for a long time as they searched for seeds amongst the limestone rocks a real treat and made all that uphill walking very worthwhile indeed.

We then headed for home following the stone wall back towards the summit of the Great Orme then back down past the Copper Mines to base. A pair of Red-billed Chough fed in a field where nine Meadow Pipits were also searching for food, first flock of these birds we have seen this year, maybe some migrants?

Back home we watched a pair of Ravens taking new sticks to their nest on the crag above our building now that is a sure sign that spring really is on the way! Oh, almost forgot the goats, no sign of nanny or kid when we got home so hopefully they got themselves out ok, they are very experienced at it! So many Llandudno gardens get raided by the famous creatures.

First of February was a busy day for bird news form our friends around North Wales, no doubt the lovely weather getting people out and enjoying nature…

Rose-coloured Starling, Black Redstart and Purple Sandpiper all seen at Amlwch, Anglesey – John D

Long-tailed Duck Four Mile Bridge, Anglesey - Ken

Ten Purple Sandpiper Treaddur Bay, Anglesey - Ken

Four Slavonian Grebes Beddmanarch Bay, Anglesey – Ken

Hen Harrier Mynydd Bodafon, Anglesey – David

Iceland Gull, Scaup Rhyl, Denbighshire - John H

Hen Harrier Gronant, Denbighshire – Richard

Black Redstart Llanfairfechan, Conwy – Jayne

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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