Trip reports

North Wales - 25/01/14

Curlew standing on weed, County Cork, Ireland
RSPB images

Saturday, 25 January 2014

The trip to North Wales began at Aber Ogwen, also known as The Spinnies. I really like this little reserve as it has a nice mix of estuary and woodland. Looking out into the Menai Straits a good number of wildfowl were on the water - wigeon, teal, mallard, shelduck and goldeneye. Curlew, oystercatcher, redshank and dunlin were all probing the invertebrate rich mud and a few little egrets were patrolling the water's edge. Careful scanning of the area also picked up a lovely greenshank.

We headed into the woodland surrounding a large pond where a little grebe was skirting the edge of the reeds. A few feeders hang just outside the two hides: great tits, chaffinches, blue tits and a coal tit were all in evidence.

Our second stop was at the top of the Aber Valley, up above Abergwyngregyn. By this point the wind had really picked up which made walking round the side of the hill rather challenging. Our target up here was chough - it is a known wintering place for them. Unfortunately the wind made viewing rather difficult and few birds were flying, only two of us managed to see a chough as it disappeared over the ridge. The plus side up here was a field full of redwings, fieldfares & mistle thrushes.

We parked up at Llanfairfechan to do some seawatching and eat our lunch. However, the wind was so strong by this point nobody wanted to get out of the cars. Seawatching was redundant because the water was too choppy and then the rain came! It was torrential!! We made the decision to head inland in the hope that the weather would be a little bit less severe away from the coast.

The churchyard at Caer Hun was our destination and hawfinch our quarry. Sadly the rain was no less heavy here although we could at least stand up in the wind! There were no hawfinch around that we could see and, to be honest, I didn't blame them!

At this point we decided to call it a day, defeated by the weather!