Thursday, 21 March 2013

A day in Wales

Had a day out in North Wales with the Captain part work – part pleasure! Unfortunately it was probably colder than the last one day there in February – if that was possible. Anyway, I started in Porthmadoc, where I delivered the Job. The Cob held a couple of Little Egret and a good number of Shelduck, but we didn’t stop.

We went straight to South Stack, RSPB on Angelsey. Great views of a Peregrine, four Chough and a pair of Stonechat (It was brass monkeys) strangely there were no auks on the cliffs, although it is early I have seen them here before at this time of year. Next stop – Hollyhead Harbour where amongst other things there were four Black Guillemots. We then travelled the short distance to Penrhos Country Park on the outskirts of Hollyhead. There were around 60 Pale-bellied Brent Geese here, these I think as the most attractive of the Brent Geese. We also saw Slavonian Grebe, a couple of Bar-tailed Godwit, and good numbers of commoner birds.

We then drove to Aber, it was freezing here, we were hoping for Goshawk but although conditions looked good it was probably too cold as there was a lot of lying snow on the surrounding hills. We dropped in next at Llanfairfechan, unfortunately the tide was out but we picked up a few Common Scoter a single Gannet but not a lot else. This site in the past has always delivered but not in the last couple of years. I have even had Twite land in the car park on more than one occasion. As I had parked at the east end the Captain wanted to check the boating pool, I huffed a bit, but with a gale behind us we were there in no time (took longer to get back though). I set up in the shelter and started to scan the sea (you needed a scope to see the sea, if you see what I mean). Anyway, the Captain announced that he had a Med Gull – camera out – back to the car.

We then dropped in at Conwy RSBP, but as usual nearly everyone was in the cafe didn’t see anyone actually birding! It was only early afternoon and the plan had been to search again for the Hawfinch in the Conwy Valley (did you notice, how I cleverly avoided trying to spell the name of the village). But we both agreed that it was probably too cold and certainly too windy, we had hardly seen any passerines at all. In the end, as we had been up at 5am that we would head back and pop into Gailey to have a try for the White-fronted Geese. Two hours later after being stuck behind no end of Lorries, Milk Floats, Haywains, Geriatric Speed Walkers, Slow Coaches and bloody annoying octogenarian drivers – we got there.

As my blood pressure returned to normal we drove down the back road to find the field with the geese in. The Captain having seen these birds previously, led the way, then he shouted “Stop” I braked, (probably noisily) reversed back only to see the back end of a flock of grey geese flying off!
I turned round parked up and we searched the pools themselves. On the main lake we drew a blank, but the Captain picked the birds up on the upper pool, I hobbled up, saw them, and drew a curtain on the days birding.

Med Gull, Llanfairfechan
Altogether, not a bad day. As the Captain/Count Arthur would put it ‘You’ve got to be up early to catch the hungry worm’

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