Trip reports

North Wales

North Wales
Grey phalarope - Steve Settle

Saturday, 23 March 2019

First port of call on our second trip to North Wales in a month was Conway RSPB, where we soon located the long staying grey phalarope, busy picking flies off the water. Ok, 'twitch' done, we might as well see what else is about.

Other waders included oystercatcher, redshank, curlew, and snipe. Duck numbers were made up of mallard, goldeneye, gadwall, wigeon, and shelduck, with other water birds being mute swan, little grebe, Canada goose, grey heron, and cormorant. Black-headed gulls were the most numerous of the gull species being joined with a few lesser black-backed gulls and herring gulls. A buzzard soared over the adjacent woods, as did a couple of woodpigeons, and a chiffchaff was the only warbler noted on our short visit.

As we'd headed inland on our last trip to North Wales, we decided to stay coastal on this trip, and headed for Penmaenmawr for lunch and a bit of sea watching. Here we were able to locate red-throated diver, great crested grebe, red-breasted merganser, common guillemot, razorbill, cormorant, shag, and fulmar.
After lunch we moved on to Rhos-on-Sea where we had a short view of a single purple sandpiper in with a small group of turnstones before they were spooked and flew off.

As there was still a bit of the afternoon left, we decided to call at Parkgate on the Dee Estuary on the way home because of the day's high tide.

Here the stars of the show, for the many birders present, were the short-eared owls (at least 4 in number), that hunted and squabbled in close proximity to the crowds. A couple of more distant marsh harriers were also seen, as was a kestrel above the adjacent car park. Numerous little egrets could be picked out on the saltmarsh, as could a single great white egret. The marshes also held a number of pink-footed geese, and the small visible pool housed a number of mallard and teal along with a few Canada geese.
Smaller birds in the grassy marshes included skylark, meadow pipit, stonechat, starling, and wren.

52 species seen, 7 attended