Visiting The Local Patches On A Sunny July Day Feels Like Autumn

Chris and Mel Redshank 2

Common Redshank a much over-looked species we think, they are great birds.

This morning was a beautiful sunny and warm morning so it seemed the right thing to do to get out and enjoy the weather. We are so lucky here in Llandudno with so much lovely scenery, also known as habitat for birds, within easy reach of home. So the question was where to go? The tide was coming in so RSPB Conwy might be good but also it was lovely and calm start to the day always nice to be up on the headland of the Great Orme in these conditions. Oh well, just do both!

Within a few minutes Fulmars were on the cliffs and a wonderful view of the north shore, of Llandudno, was enjoyed on the Great Orme. Just amazing to have this huge headland so close to home. Linnets fed along the wall of the Marine Drive, the scenic road that runs right around the Great Orme. A Stonechat popped up on a bramble and a Great black backed Gull dwarfed the many Herring Gulls flying about the towering cliffs.

Next stop the cemetery on the headland, an area that has hawthorn bushes and bramble patches always worth checking even this early in the Autumn. As expected very few migrant birds but three bright yellow juvenile Willow Warblers were a sure sign birds were on the move. Nice to watch a Mistle Thrush alongside four Song Thrushes, not very often you see them right next to each other. Noisy families of both Greenfinch and Goldfinch were in the hawthorns and two more Stonechats were along the border wall of the graveyard. Ravens “honked” as the passed over against the clear blue sky and a Common Buzzard flew low over the graves.


Kittiwakes are true sea gulls only coming to land to nest, lots of them here today.

Next stop the sea-cliffs near the lighthouse on the Great Orme, you can enjoy a wonderful view here and with the telescope enjoy a lot of birds. Surprisingly for late July there were still lots of Kittiwakes on the cliffs making a right racket! Also plenty of Cormorants and Shags on the ledges, scanning the water small numbers of Common Guillemots were here and a little further out Gannets were diving like darts into the sea after a meal of fish. Around the same area where the Gannets were feeding a flock of some fifteen Manx Shearwaters were also feeding lovely to see these ocean wanderers here. A Curlew, a Great Crested Grebe, many Sandwich Terns and a line of nine Common Scoter all flew west, migration is happening right now. Two Rock Pipits fed on the cliffs above the road in the glorious sunshine.

Time to leave the Great Orme and take the short drive to RSPB Conwy on the east bank of the Conwy River just south-east of the town of Conwy. With the tide coming in fast best plan was to walk south along the estuary track as the birds were being pushed closer by the rising waters. One hundred and fifty Curlew were roosting on the shrinking saltmarsh here and amongst them were five Whimbrel lovely views in the perfect light. Local birder and very old friend, Marc Hughes, was also taking the same route and it was great to catch up and share the birds and great weather. A juvenile Mediterranean Gull was on the saltmarsh with hundreds of Black-headed Gulls. A juvenile Stock Dove walked along the track in front of us and Marc managed to take some photographs – not any easy species to get photos of locally.

On the lagoons there were lots of Common Redshank roosting on the islands and amongst them nine Black-tailed Godwits and a single Dunlin. Three Common Sandpipers whizzed around the edges of the lagoons always busy. No sign of the recent Wood Sandpiper sadly but plenty of time for more good waders to arrive as the migration is just getting started. A Swift cruised over the pools, wonder if this will be the last this year, hope not.

A Reed Warbler, Reed Bunting and two Blackcaps all show nicely during the walk back to the car and a huge Emperor Dragonfly posed on a reed and a toad crawled across the path. A pretty good start to any day. And even better all this had been enjoyed by a total drive, home to home, of only 14 miles! Over seventy species seen in just three and a half hours so close to home, wonderful.

If you are looking for a short break this Autumn our North Wales tour might be of interest. We have a great selection of birds and habitats all within a few miles of our home here in Llandudno. Come and join us in September for our five day “Best of North Wales Tour” where we visit a wide range of habitats enjoying over 120 species of birds at a pace that gives us plenty of time to really enjoy the birds. The tour is based at a lovely country hotel with lots of birds around the hotel, great food throughout too! For all the details or to book your place please email us.

Please email us here to arrange your very own Birdwatching Trip…..

We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds and great fun with you soon!

Curlew Sandpiper juv Sept 1

We have an excellent chance of seeing Curlew Sandpipers on our September tour.

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