Trip reports

North Wales

North Wales
Snow Bunting - Jill Islam

Saturday, 14 January 2017

After meeting at Chester services we made our way to our first port of call.
Caerhun Church situated on the River Conway has in the past been a reliable site for Hawfinch. Unfortunately, this visit failed to produce any. Chaffinch and Goldfinch plus a few Mistle Thrush and Robin. The only interesting siting was a distant Red Kite, plus a Mallard being put into the boot of a shooter's car!
We then travelled a mile further up the valley to the church at Llanbedr. Here we were more successful with a small flock of about 10 birds flying around, though always remaining in the tree tops. The feeding station at the nearby house had obviously attracted these along with Nuthatch, House Sparrow, and a few Tit species.

We then moved on to the Aber Ogwen Reserve (or the Spinneys), near Bangor.
Here the tide wasn't favourable but we did have a good selection of waterfowl and waders.
On the fields near the car park were a good number of Curlew and Oystercatcher.
A Little Egret was on the inland pool along with Little Grebe, but the Kingfisher which had been showing well all morning, decided to take a break while we were there.
On the sea the ducks included Mallard, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, and Goldeneye. There were distant Shelduck and Cormorant, and a small party of Red Breasted Merganser cruised around the estuary. Oystercatchers and Redshank were tucked found on the far shore.

We moved on to Llanfairfechan to have lunch and sea watch but this was curtailed by a bit of heavy drizzle.
There wasn't much visible on the sea with only a few Great Crested Grebes on the water and a distant fly by Red Throated Diver.

We then went into twitching mode and drove over to the Conway side of Llandudno where a walk along the dunes gave good views of Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Stonechat, and finally the target birds in the shape of 3 very approachable Snow Bunting which were obviously used to birders and dog walkers.

Next port of call was Rhos on Sea, but again the tide wasn't favourable and no Purple Sandpipers were visible, only a few Ringed Plover and Dunlin. Out to sea some Common Scoter were visible and a few Shag flew along the coast.

Last port of call was another twitch in heading to the Kinmel Bay area near Rhyl where we finished the day with a flock of a few dozen Waxwings showing well.

55 species in total seen