Wood Sandpiper At RSPB Conwy Gets August Off To A Flying Start 1 August 2020

Wood Sandpiper pool

Wood Sandpiper - not today's bird this one from our library of photographs.

What a difference a day makes, yesterday it was so hot today cool and drizzle. Looking out of the window early this morning the weather did not make you want to leap up and dash out, low cloud and drizzle had replaced yesterday morning clear blue sky and glorious sunshine. Lucky the news of a Wood Sandpiper seen at nearby RSPB Conwy yesterday afternoon was enough to have us up and out.

Arriving at RSPB Conwy the drizzle was only light and a short walk took us to the viewing screen on the boardwalk which overlooks the first of two lagoons. Even before we reached the viewpoint we could see two huge Great White Egrets dwarfing the Little Egrets they were stood with on a small island. Wonderful to see these once very rare birds in the UK doing so well here in recent years, perhaps Great White Egrets will join the Grey Herons and Little Egrets breeding nearby.

Lapwing at RSPB Conwy photographed today 1st August 2020.

Next we had a quick look from the Benarth hide where more Little Egrets, beautiful Lapwings and a lone breeding plumaged Dunlin. Then on to the Carneddau hide where we thought we had the best chance of seeing the Wood Sandpiper seen yesterday on the reserve. We scanned the edges of the second lagoon but no sign of the wader we hoped for. Oystercatchers were roosting on the island in front of the viewing screen here along with Teal and lots of Black-headed Gulls. Then we saw it, the Wood Sandpiper, it was on the far side of the pool feeding in the shallow water close the edge and we quickly had the bird in the telescope allowing good views. This small rather dark brown wader on skinny legs fed quickly in the shallows around the lagoon. It then flew low over the water, showing off its square white rump and barred tail, before landing a little closer on one of the islands. Here it was next to some Teal, our smallest duck, but the wader looked tiny next to them. We soaked up the views of this rare visitor to North Wales and the drizzle stopped and even a bit of blue sky was visible, all good.

Common Swifts whizzed over the reserve and plenty of House Martins too fed on the insects kept low by the damp air, a single Sand Martin was nice to see but surprisingly not one Barn Swallow. A juvenile Grey Wagtail fed around the lagoon with plenty of Pied Wagtails for company. Walking further south we reached the viewing screen at the far end of the lagoons. From this viewpoint we could see two Whimbrel roosting on the nearest island along with more Lapwings and a few Curlew. The willow trees near here held Sedge and Reed Warblers, Blackcaps and a Chiffchaff; a Buzzard soared over the trail. The path then leads out onto the estuary track; this takes you back to the reserve car park completing a circular walk of about two miles.

Whimbrel photographed today at RSPB Conwy 1st August 2020.

The tide was dropping exposing an area of saltmarsh and here some 150 Curlew were roosting and we picked out two more Whimbrel amongst this flock. Another viewing screen looked in to the reserve and we could now see a flock of Common Redshank roosting on the side of one of the islands and amongst them were six Greenshank – this was a good count for RSPB Conwy. A Common Sandpiper flew low over the water on distinctive curved wings and landed briefly in view before dropping out of sight.

Todays Wood Sandpiper at RSPB Conwy a shocker of a photo best we could manage!

At the Benarth hide that looks over the lagoon, hides are closed due to Covid 19 but screens alongside allow viewing, we again watched the Wood Sandpiper and had super views through the telescope but sadly too far away for decent photographs.

Back to the car well pleased with our first outing in August sure to be lots more birds soon as Autumn migration gathers pace.

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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