Trip reports

North Wales - 24/01/15

North Wales - 24/01/15
Purple sandpiper - Holly Page

Saturday, 24 January 2015

We began the day with a trip to Caer Hun churchyard down the Conwy valley. This is a well known spot for hawfinch but sadly there were none of these beautiful finches around. Alongside the River Conwy were redshank, shelduck and Canada geese while in the fields next to the churchyard a small flock of mistle thrushes was feeding with a single fieldfare.

Our next stop was RSPB Conwy where we were hoping to catch up with the overwintering firecrest. We were foiled again but a goldcrest and a very tame robin were a nice distraction. The feeders were playing host to a couple of male bullfinches and the pools held winter wildfowl and a few black-tailed godwits.

We then headed further west to Aber Ogwen, also known as The Spinnies. The tide was right in which gave us good views of flocks of goldeneye, wigeon and red-breasted merganser. A number of winter-plumaged great crested grebes could also be seen diving for food. The banks on the far side of the water were full of birds waiting out the tide - little egret, redshank, curlew and 4 or 5 greenshank.

Llanfairfechan was the next place to visit. The wind had really picked up and so the sea was quite choppy - this made seawatching quite a challenge but we were able to pick out several red-throated divers on the water.

Onto Rhos-on-Sea in search of purple sandpipers - we soon found about a dozen of these lovely little waders mixed in with a flock of turnstones.

Our final stop was at Old Colwyn where we were hoping to pick out the oddities in the large flock of common scoter which winters off the coast. We were looking for the white wing patches of velvet scoter or the white head patches of surf scoter. We were lucky enough to find a surf scoter but no velvets were spotted.

61 species were seen in total.