The Five Mile Rule In Wales Allows A Different Area For Birding 4 June 2020

Very lucky to see Chough just about every day of lockdown such wonderful birds.

As of 1st of June the Welsh Government slightly eased the lockdown restrictions and announced people can drive five miles from home. So this morning we drove to Conwy for a change of birding scene and walked on Conwy Mountain where Alan had started birding many, many years ago as a seven year old.

It was a chilly morning around 10C compared to the 25C plus we had been used to recently. We parked at Sychnant Pass, a dry valley at the east end of Conwy Mountain and walked up hill onto the heathland bordering sheep fields. At first very few birds to be seen but once over the brow of the hill it was warmer out of the stiff northerly breeze and birds were about. Juvenile Stonechats were along the stonewall bordering the path and the adults were close by. A lone holly tree was busy with birds – Dunnock, Robin, Common Whitethroat and Willow Warbler all here. Then a Lesser Redpoll called and luckily this small finch landed on the telegraph wire near the holly tree. This was great a new bird for lockdown birding, very surprising none on the Great Orme this spring usually a regular passage migrant there. The Lesser Redpoll flew to the ground and then up into the holly tree, must be a bird magnet in there! Just to prove the theory three more Lesser Redpoll joined the first bird.

We took a circular walk around a walled farm and fields with heathland all around and at the furthest point wonderful views across the Isle of Anglesey. Lots more Stonechats were enjoyed and plenty of juvenile birds about looks like the lovely spring weather has been good for productivity. A Mistle Thrush showed off bouncing along the path in front of us, Linnets hopped along the top of the wall, two Chough flew over several times always a thrill to see and hear. Then a beautiful Red Kite drifted slowly north-west a really stunning bird and still scarce in this area. It was really good to go birding in a different area, would have been nice to have had fifteen miles not five but hopefully if the infection rate remains fairly low it will increase and we can see our Hen Harriers and Wood Warblers before the summer is out?

Yesterday, 3rd June, we heard a report of an adult Rose-coloured Starling being seen in Conwy town, pretty vague – “in town in cherry tree” was all the detail supplied! Our friend Robin amazingly remembered that there was a big cherry tree in the churchyard of St. Mary’s Church which is pretty much in the centre of this historic walled town. Robin popped over and had a good look around and his memory was correct a big cherry tree but sadly no sign of the rarity. However plenty of Blackbirds were feeding on the fruit, having heard this and given that we had to drive back through Conwy on the way home, we thought we would have a look. We quickly found the cherry tree and plenty of Blackbirds were feeding here but again no Rose-coloured Starling sadly. Hopefully we will have more chances to see one as a big influx underway into the UK.

Rose coloured Starling best one

Be on the look out for beautiful adult Rose-coloured Starlings - they are coming!

As anticipated, following reports from the Continent Rose-coloured Starlings are on the move and have started arriving in Britain and Ireland. Some of the first birds were found from 28th May - on Skomer (Pembrokeshire) and at Mayland (Essex), and in a Devon garden at an undisclosed location; on 29th May at Land’s End and Tintagel (Cornwall), Portslade-by-Sea (East Sussex), and in Cork (Co.Cork); on 29th-30th on St Mary’s (Scilly); and on 30th on South Uist (Western Isles) and in a garden at Nefyn (Gwynedd). On 31st more were found – at Carnforth and Fluke Hall (Lancashire), Marloes Mere (Pembrokeshire), Hookwood (Surrey) and Portland (Dorset); and on 1st June more were found in Cornwall at St Just and Newquay, while two birds were now present at Land’s End, and another Irish bird appeared, at Hags Head (Co.Clare). More are arriving so well worth keeping an eye on any local Starling flocks as they will join them.

A bird was in Conwy town centre, North Wales on 3rd June but no sign of it today sadly despite a good look. However Rose coloured Starlings have been seen at the following locations today 4th June ….

Foula, Shetland Isles

Port Nis, Isle of Lewis

Bonar Bridge, Highland

Desford, Leicetershire

Weymouth, Dorset

Hengistbury Head, Dorset

Sennen, Cornwall

Llanreath, Cornwall

Rose-coloured Starlings breed way to the east of us in steppes, semi-deserts and deserts of Central Asia and Southeast Europe. Many thanks to Rare Bird Alert for the information on the influx of Rose-coloured Starlings into the UK. Find out all about Rare Bird Alert, THE bird information service here...

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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