Very Windy Local Birding And Floods North Wales 10 January 2023

Spotted Redshank

A Spotted Redshank was a nice addition to the 2023 list - library photo.

With heavy rain showers and gale force winds it wasn’t the short of day that made you want to head out looking for birds! But we wanted to check some sites ahead of guiding on the 12th and the weather on the 11th looked even worse, so we donned our waterproofs and headed out.

Pochard drake Welney

A drake Pochard riding choppy waters in a gale - library photo.

At RSPB Conwy it wasn’t raining and was surprisingly mild despite the high winds. At the Tal-y-Fan hide the lagoons resembled the sea! Waves hid the birds on the open water, and it was near impossible to hold the scope steady enough to use. We moved to the Carneddau Hide but found it had been vandalised and was shut, not good. We used the building to have some shelter and tried again scanning the lagoons and islands. Despite the best efforts of the wind to thwart us we managed to pick out a Spotted Redshank roosting with Common Redshank along with Lapwings, Oystercatchers, Curlews, Dunlin and a lone Common Snipe. Then Ruth spotted a drake Common Scoter, wow, a very unusual bird here on the reserve. This adult drake Common Scoter was in the lee of the far bank and we had good views through the telescope, an unexpected bird for sure. Other ducks here included Pochard, Tufted Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Gadwall, Shoveler and Wigeon. Small birds were keeping their heads down in the gale but we did see three beautiful Bullfinches before seeking shelter back in the car.

We then headed south down the Conwy Valley in the hope of checking sites for Hawfinch but the rain came down in sheets driven by that wind and then we came across “Road Closed” – not good. The Conwy River had burst its banks and our intended route was under fast flowing deep water! We tried to find our way around but again came up against “Road Closed” and with the water still rising decided discretion was the better part of valour and headed for home.

A bit frustrating but we had added eight new birds to our 2023 year list even if we hadn’t completed our mission.

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