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New Year local birding

Great Orme
We are so lucky living here, Llandudno North Wales, the birding begins on the doorstep!

We are taking part in "Foot It" a friendly (well, the idea was anyway) competition to see birds within walking distance of the observer's home. Birdwatchers from Shetland to Cornwall are footing it in search of birds close to where they live.

So before it was light on New Year's Day we were out of the door and straight onto a Herring Gull! First bird of our January-long Foot It challenge. As the light came up we quickly added common birds in the gardens between our house and Llandudno Pier, but of course no Fulmars on the cliffs above, they all left on the 30th ahead of the New Year's fireworks, how cruel.

From near the pier we could scan the sea and quickly boosted our total with gulls, waders and a lovely Red-throated Diver and lots of Guillemots, but not a Razorbill to be seen. Then Ruth picked up a female Shelduck flying west, great excitment we had not put that one down on our predicted list of birds for January on the Great Orme.

Shelduck drake
The great thing with Foot It, common birds become rare and exciting!

Another good bird quickly followed when we picked up an adult Kittiwake out in the bay between the pier and the Little Orme, not on our predicted list! As we scanned, still trying to find a Razorbill, we saw at least six Kittiwakes, weird. Never seen them here in January before. Or, was it that we had not really looked before? Foot It will certainly have birdwatchers looking hard at their local patches so we may find a lot of "new stuff" that was there all along, we just never looked!

We walked along Marine Drive, and lo and behold, Fulmars!

So they not gone far, just around the corner in fact. The woodland in Happy Valley near the pier held a lovely flock of Goldfinch and a pair of Mistle Thrush. Back home late morning we counted up our Foot It list and it came to 36 species, not bad and we had learned a little more about our local birds and enjoyed some great views of them, great birdwatching right on the doorstep!

We are looking forward to more Foot It birding soon and it will be interesting to see how close we can get to our predicted score of 60 species for the Great Orme by the end of the month.

For details of all our days and longer birdwatching trips, including "Bustards and Sandgrouse" Spain in March 2013, do drop us a line on

We look forward to enjoying great birds with you in 2013!


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