Patch Gold This Morning On The Great Orme With Two Good Birds 20 March 2021

Not only great birds on the Great Orme the views are fantastic too!

An early start to visit the very local patch, the Great Orme, here in Llandudno on a grey overcast chilly morning. Quick stop at the pier to tick off Ruddy Turnstone and Oystercatcher, then below the cliffs to add Fulmar, the female Peregrine high on the cliff top, a pair of Black Guillemots displaying on the sea, a vocal pair of Red-billed Chough, displaying Rock Pipits and a breeding plumaged Red-throated Diver all in just ten minutes!

Kittiwake on cliff 1

Wonderful to the seabirds returning to their breeding cliffs on the Great Orme, Kittiwakes.

Further around the headland the main seabird breeding area was alive with huge numbers of birds, so wonderful to see after the cliffs being empty for so long. Hundreds of Black-legged Kittiwakes were wheeling around the cliff faces calling their name “kittiwake, kittiwake” and below them a mass of Common Guillemots and Razorbill bobbed about on the sea with many of both species of auk also on the cliff ledges just so exciting to see! Four more Black Guillemots were on the grey sea too and a flock of Common Scoter shot past skimming the waves. A Raven flapped lazily overhead so close the whoosh of its wing beats audible always a thrill to see these huge crows.

Not the best ever photo but it is of the Yellowhammer on the Great Orme today.

Up on to the limestone pavement area and parked at the end of the old concrete road and despite it still being very early our friend Marc was already here and looking for birds. Next to the parking area are some gorse bushes that sometimes hold migrant birds but a quick look only produced two resident Dunnocks. Then a call above and a most unexpected one, a Yellowhammer, a rare visitor to the Great Orme now where was it? Frantic scanning of the sky as the bird continued to call then it was spotted dropping down, brilliant. Luckily this handsome bunting landed in the gorse and posed right on top. A shout to Marc who had also heard the Yellowhammer and we enjoyed good views before this local rarity was off again flying west, wow what a great start to this section of the birding.

Lots of birds were moving over the Great Orme and it is really exciting to be on the headland on days like these, what will pop up next? Marc kept a count and by 08.30 had totalled the following – 576 Meadow Pipits, 96 Chaffinch, 3 Reed Bunting, 6 Eurasian Skylarks, 18 Pied Wagtails, 15 Linnets and 5 Siskin. While Marc was busy counting Alan explored the area but very few grounded migrants despite the numbers passing over, three Goldcrests in the hawthorn bushes by the stone wall that borders the pavement area, a Song Thrush and plenty of Meadow Pipits the best.

Firecrest Cornwall Oct 7

A second year tick of the morning - a stunning Firecrest - library photo.

Walking back towards the parking area a message from Marc “Firecrest by the car park now” and the walk turned into a run! Reaching Marc the brightly coloured rarity had melted into the gorse, perhaps as well a few moments to get breath back were needed! At least five Goldcrests were playing hide and seek in the patch of gorse and some gave wonderful views but the equally tiny Firecrest was very elusive but after fifteen minutes or so reasonable views were had and the second addition to the 2021 year list following the Yellowhammer earlier.

The low cloud had turned all the spider cobwebs into works of art.

Back home for a quick round of toast and a hot drink then back up to the limestone pavement this time with Ruth to see if the Firecrest was still in the gorse bushes. What a difference an hour makes, the whole headland was now shrouded in low cloud with visibility down to less than fifty yards! But luckily it was possible to strand right next to the gorse bushes and we soon saw Goldcrests flitting about amongst the spikes of gorse. But no sign of the Firecrest, but we kept at it and eventually it popped out on the edge of a bush brief but wow! That stripy head ultra-distinctive once seen and we had a number of views of this beautiful and rare visitor over the next half hour or so. By the then the cold dank air was getting into our bones and time to head for home.

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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