Trip reports

Surfs up, but were there scoters?

Surfs up, but were there scoters?
Conwy birders N Prenderagst

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Our trip to Llanfairfechan had the feeling of Groundhog Day, well weatherwise that is, wet, wet, wet, with no sweet little mysteries.

An early diversion on our way saw a number of us searching through a huge raft of scoters at Pensarn for the reported surf scoters, (more at home wintering in the U.S) with inclement weather and a choppy sea only the most eagle eyed espied their distant quarry. A little flock of green finches scouring the beach and a ringed plover in the pebbles were a lot easier to identify!

Further down the A55 we were on the promenade at Llanfairfechan, the downpourings had not abated, and at times Anglesey and Puffin Island we're barely visible through the mist hanging over the coast. The gang of twenty six, including two visitors from the North Wales RSPB group huddled together under the veranda of the pavilion café, wafted by the aroma of chip fat! More common scoter, cormorants, shelduck, gt crested grebes and a red throated diver bobbed about. A fulmar was seen skimming the waves.

Moving on along the seawall path we checked out the stream for the dipper we had seen the year before, no such luck, still there was a nice gathering of birds assembled around the lake, a family group of mute swan with six near grown up cygnet's, oystercatchers, jackdaws, mallards, black headed gulls, with herring gulls on the lake.

We headed into the wind, well hell they say rain's good for the complexion. No sign of life in the path side wood bar a goldfinch! But more activity on the Morfa Madryn reserve pools and wet grassland, lapwings, godwits, redshank, widgeon, teal, heron, oystercatchers, sheep, starling, shelduck, dunlin, ringed plover, Canada geese, and curlew, a menacing raven flew overhead.
Looking out to sea along a shingle spit ,battered by the elements a large gathering of oystercatchers and bar-tailed godwits huddled along with a few, dunlin and redshank. Further on at the hides more mergansers were joined by curlew, turnstone, gadwall, shoveler, teal, widgeon, shelduck, lapwing, pintail, mixed gulls and redshank.
The pitiful sound of bleating alerted us to the plight of a lamb separated from its mother and sibling, a few yards of watery marsh between them, appeared insurmountable for it, distressingly we could not help, but hoped as the tide receded they would be reunited.

Heading back to the promenade, via a short detour to the sewage works, a solitary grey wagtail was making the most of the insect life around the settling tanks. A few tits and finches flitted around in the surrounding woodland.

The weather showed no sign of improvement so we drove to the shelter of RSPB Conwy and a welcome cuppa in the cafe.
A quick saunter to the hides ensued, where we rewarded with great views of tufted duck, grebe, greenshank, goldeneye and scaup.

The weather we did battle, but it failed to rain on our parade!

53 species amassed in all