Peregrine Falcon Finishing School On The Great Orme Llandudno 13 August 2020

One of this morning's Ruddy Turnstones at Llandudno Pier.

Another very hot day here in Llandudno, North Wales so an early walk was called for before the heat really built up. Heading to the Great Orme we stopped by Llandudno Pier and leaned over the wall to look at the rocks below and as expected, the Ruddy Turnstones were where they should be. These rocks provide a regular high tide roost site for these lovely waders. At least 18 of these amazing world travellers were taking it easy as their feeding areas were underwater at high tide. Some of these lovely waders were still in their breeding plumage – orange, black and white – stunning. A Grey Wagtail on the same rocks was a nice bonus bird here.

Along the Marine Drive we saw lots of gulls close to the cliffs both on the water and on the few remaining rocks – unusual to see so many here. The gulls were feeding on small fish, whitebait-type fish, and close to the cliffs amongst the gulls were Cormorants and Shags and at least one Atlantic grey seal, a bumper feeding spot! The gulls were mostly Herring Gulls with smaller numbers of Great Black-backed, Lesser Black-backed, Black-headed Gulls and a few Kittiwakes.

On the cliffs above us the juvenile male Peregrine Falcon was screaming away, presumably demanding food, but no sign of any adult birds. The young raptor kept on screaming the whole time. We reached Pen Trwyn, a bend in the Marine Drive that allows fantastic views out over the sea and back towards the Little Orme and Llandudno. Manx Shearwaters were flying west, some close in and great views with the binoculars. Also offshore were more Kittiwakes, Common Guillemots, two small groups of Common Scoter flew west and a group of harbour porpoises was visible on the calm sea but distant.

The young male Peregrine Falcon brings home his own breakfast.

Heading back along the Marine Drive a Raven flew back and forth “cronking” and doing its marvellous barrel rolls against the blue sky. Stonechats, Rock Pipits and Linnets all showed in the warm sunshine. The young male Peregrine Falcon was still shouting for his breakfast but no sign of it coming. Suddenly the juvenile Peregrine was off the cliff and tearing towards Llandudno Pier and we locked on to the speeding raptor. This young bird was fast, incredibly fast, and suddenly there were two birds, a moment of confusion and then we realised that the falcon was after a feral pigeon right above the pier! The chase was fast and short, the falcon grabbed the pigeon and was heading back to the cliff! Wow! What an amazing thing to witness, perhaps this young Peregrine’s first ever kill? The young falcon made it back to the cliff calling loudly and as it crash-landed on a ledge, the adult female Peregrine flew in and landed above the youngster, as though checking out her “son's” handy work? The youngster didn’t seem to know what to do next and just stood there calling constantly. The falcon then opened its wings hiding the prey, known as mantling and often done by raptors. At last the juvenile began to feed and we wondered how good that long-awaited breakfast was and how satisfying that he had caught it himself?

The juvenile Peregrine Falcon with his recently caught prey.

The adult female looks on, a sense of pride perhaps? Or relief?

Wonderful to see this Peregrine Falcon finding his own way in the world especially as we had watched him grow up this year.

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 tailormake 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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