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There’s one good thing about being surrounded by so many Herring Gulls in Llandudno: they act as a very efficient early warning system for any interesting raptors flying into the area.  The local Buzzards get a mild response with a few dozen gulls alarm calling and the odd one dive-bombing the unfortunate raptor.  Peregrines diving into the town to grab a feral pigeon are usually too quick to initiate much of a reaction; by the time the gulls have seen the raptor, the peregrine is already bombing back to the safety of the Great Orme cliffs with its booty.  One raptor, however, is sure of a standing ovation from every gull in town.  If an Osprey ventures over Llandudno on its migration north, we get plenty of warning that it’s coming.  From our living room window we have a panoramic view across the rooftops of the town and we can see the reaction of the Herring Gulls, rather like a Mexican wave sweeping across the peninsula towards us.
Today was just such a day.  We were sitting at the computer when we heard the raucous alarm calls of hundreds of gulls rising in alarm.  We dashed to the window and scanned. At first, all we could see was a swirling mass of Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls all screaming in fear.  Then we saw it: a large raptor approaching from the south, steadily beating its way towards us cutting a swathe through the mass of gulls. Luckily the Osprey’s path took it to within 100m of our window, and we enjoyed sensational views of this wonderful bird of prey. Judging by the extensive dark breast-band, it was probably a female, maybe heading for her breeding ground in Scotland?
The Osprey continued over the town and north out to sea over the Great Orme. Almost too late, it dawned on us that this was a great photo opportunity as we concentrated on enjoying the close-up view.  Exchanging bins for camera, Ruth tried to focus on the bird before it became too distant, but as you can see, it really was a case of too little, too late.
Perhaps a timely reminder that we could do with a bit of help in making the most of our photographic opportunities!  This weekend, we are holding a digi-scoping workshop with ace digi-scoper, Paul Hackett. Why not come along to Pensychnant Nature Conservation Centre just outside Conwy on the Sychnant Pass on either Saturday 17th or Sunday 18th (booking essential) to join us in finding out more about this fascinating aspect of recording bird images?  Also on Saturday at Pensychnant, there will be an optics demonstration 10am to 4pm by Cambrian Photography and Leica Sports Optics.  Do come along (free entry for all, no booking needed) and join us for tea/coffee and biscuits to talk all things optics, cameras and birding in an informal setting.  There’s an excellent chance of adding Pied Flycatcher and Common Redstart for your year-list amongst many other bird species at this beautiful location.
The address for Pensychnant is:Pensychnant Nature Conservation Centre
Sychnant Pass Road
LL32 8BJ
01492 592 595
Grid ref: SH 752 770If you are travelling westwards on the A55:
• Turn off at junction 18 and follow directions for Conwy. 
• Continue straight on at the mini roundabout.
• At the main roundabout, take the A547 left into Conwy town.
• Keeping the castle on your left, follow the one-way system into the town, passing the railway station.
• Immediately after you have gone through the archway in the walls, turn left into Mount Pleasant continuing uphill.
• Turn right at T junction into Sychnant Pass Road and continue on this out into open countryside, going over a cattle grid.
• At a junction, keep right to stay on the Sychnant Pass Road.
• The driveway to Pensychnant Nature Conservation Centre is signposted shortly after this on your right.  Please take care over the potholes in this rough track! 
• Upon reaching Pensychnant Nature Conservation, please park carefully in the car park on the left, and walk the short distance to the main entrance to the building.If you are travelling eastwards on the A55:
• Turn off at Junction 17 and take the A547 Bangor Road towards Conwy town.
• Immediately before you reach the town walls and the one way system, turn right into Mount Pleasant and follow the instructions as above.For more information about any of these events, please contact us on or call Alan on 07778 677141.  We look forward to seeing you there!


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