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A Halcyon Day in North Wales

An early start up on the Great Orme was rewarded with a beautiful sunrise.

Dawn on the Great Orme

News of a Lapland Bunting had us scurrying back up the Orme after breakfast. Sadly the bunting had gone missing. However, warm sunshine and stunning views were a just reward for our efforts. Throw in a pair of Chough, Ravens barrel-rolling overhead, Stonechats and a lovely posing Wheatear, and it all made for a great walk.

View of Conwy from Great Orme

View from the Great Orme looking towards the Conwy Valley

Stonechat Great Orme

Stonechat wired for sound?!

We then headed west to Llanfairfechan Promenade where we enjoyed great views of fishing Sandwich Terns and a close view of a Gannet, with Great Crested Grebes bobbing about on the choppy water.

We timed our arrival at Morfa Madryn Nature Reserve perfectly as the tide was just flooding in. Masses of Curlews and Oystercatchers were dropping on to the shingle spit to roost. A fine drake Pintail was in a creek close by and more Pintail and Wigeon flighted in onto the fast-disappearing saltmarsh. We picked out a single Knot at the edge of the rising tide but nonetheless, the tide kept rising!

On the nearby lagoons, we discovered a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper roosting amongst a flock of Redshank. A juvenile and an adult Greenshank were also on the pools along with a drake Goosander.

After a delicious lunch at Hen Felin cafe in Abergwyngregyn, we headed over to Anglesey. At Malltraeth, the tide was just dropping and we enjoyed watching the waders and wildfowl. We discovered more Pintail here; these birds seemed to be literally just arriving from the north as they dropped out of blue sky and landed on the Cob Pool.


View from Malltraeth west across the Cefni Estuary

Shirley saw a flash of blue and orange over the Cefni River, and there was a gorgeous Kingfisher! Luckily this jewel of a bird was in the mood to show off and we were all able to soak up prolonged telescope views as this gorgeous bird posed on the river bank. Truly a halcyon day! We were even able to share this wondrous bird with several passers-by and they all oohed and aahed on looking through our scopes.

Lackford Lakes King 3

The jewel colours of a Kingfisher

But the excitement didn't end there! A juvenile Peregrine swept down the river channel over the grass riverbank and landed on a fencepost not far away. Scopes swivelled right and instantly locked on to this raptor. What a treat to have Peregrine and Kingfisher both in view at the same time. The Peregrine then powered off over the Cob Pool and onto the adjacent Cefni Estuary. We relocated the bird sitting on a sandbank just north of the bridge, and again we enjoyed good telescope views. We finished our day in the nearby Newborough Forest where the complete change of habitat added many new birds to our daylist. Here we enjoyed great views of Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Little Grebe, Shoveler and Gadwall amongst many others.

Many thanks to Paul and Shirley for their great company today, hope we can go birding with you again soon!


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