Monday, 4 March 2013

Friday 1st March 2013 - North Wales

A day off, nice weather forecast and so off we went to North Wales. We had several target birds in mind, but, unlike recent trips, a few of these targets let us down.

First stop was for Black Grouse. We arrived at 07:30hrs and there were still small pockets of snow around. We were soon watching eleven fine males lekking away in the early morning light. Further along the road, we could hear the distant bubbling of another lek out of view. An excellent start to the morning.

The best I could do I'm afraid. New camera doesn't do dull and distant yet

We then had quite a long drive over to Anglesey. We paused at Beddmanarch Bay but the tide was in (and the main carpark/toilets closed for some work) and so we carried on up to South Stack. Raven were flying around cronking, and there were plenty of Guillemots and Razorbills already on the cliff faces. A few Fulmar were also present, but no Kittiwake were in yet. We also saw a distant Gannet. We hadn't had any Chough fly past yet, so we slowly drove down the access road. There weren't many crow sp in the area at all really, and unfortunately, we didn't want to spend hours searching for Chough and so we headed off. And its not the first time I've dipped Chough at South Stack either!

The early bird gets the best spot

Just tried to see if the camera will take any long distant shot at all

We called into Beddmanarch Bay again, but the tide was still in, and there wasn't much to see on the Inland Sea either. A second check of the Bay and I found 25 Pale-bellied Brent Geese way in the distance on the far side.

We crossed back onto the mainland and called in to Aber-Ogwen NR to look for the SMEW. A check of the estuary from the car park saw a few Goldeneye and Reb-breasted Mergansers. From the first hide there were roosting Redshank and 14 roosting Little Egrets, and from the second hide, a very obliging Kingfisher. But no SMEW.

A couple of shots of the roosting Redshank

The Kingfisher

Some of the roosting Little Egrets

As we were heading back along the coast, I decided to give Llandulas another go, having still not connected with the SURF SCOTERS offshore from here. We tried from the Llysfaen Station Road again and the flock were showing quite well. But the sun had gone in and all I could see were 10,000 black silhouettes. When you can't see the yellow on beaks of the drakes nor pick out the females in the flock, you know its time to give up.

And to end the day, news that the TWITE were showing at Flint Castle sent us to there again. And like the last time we visited, there was no sign of them when we arrived. It was a shame the day petered out a little, but we've had some good trips out recently, and so you have to take the rough with the smooth. As this was an extra bonus trip, we still had Saturday to look forward to.