Trip reports

Little Orme and RSPB Conwy

Little Orme and RSPB Conwy
Paul Towner

Sunday, 10 September 2017

My first outing with the local group was a two-car trip to the Little Orme, followed by a split which saw one car attack the Great Orme whilst the other visited the RSPB Conwy reserve. We were blessed with the weather, with about 30 seconds of drizzle being the worst we suffered, although we saw heavy downpours pass nearby.

Our trip to the Little Orme was more crowded with people than with rare birds. We saw plenty of "the usual" with jackdaws and gulls providing us with steady company as we made our way out to the bay, where we saw 100 (or so - I didn't count!) cormorants enjoying the cliff space and a Kestrel close by. We then back-tracked, and made our way to the "Twin Peaks", which gave us a good view across the North Shore of Llandudno, and a distant view of Puffin Island. After a descent to the cars, the party parted! One group headed west to the Great Orme, the rest went south-west to the reserve.

Life here was, as might be expected, quite different - here, birds came first! After a lunch break overlooking the nearby marsh, watching a mute swan, a little egret and a few coots, we set off round the reserve, stopping at an assortment of hides and screens as we went, and compiled a more significant list of birds as we went.

At each point we were joined other watchers - some apparently rooted to the spot, whilst others were much more mobile. Our own spotting was enhanced by falling in with (although briefly) someone doing an official bird head-count round the reserve and he naturally had a complete list of what he had seen. The best came last, as at our final screen we were blessed with excellent light, and a clear view of a good range of water birds - Ian managed to set up his 'scope to allow us to watch for example; a heron and little egret surrounded by lots of black-tailed godwits, redshank, curlew and some oystercatchers.

An hour's drive back brought us safely to Chester and the end of a good, friendly start to my "official" bird watching career in Chester. I've been in the county just under a year and I have been treated warmly by those who I met - and I shall be back!

Oh and the starting point. You may have realised that in fact they were not birds - they were seals! At the north end of the Little Orme is a north-facing bay, and often at high tide one can be fortunate in seeing over 20 seals - on Sunday we saw two!

PT

Partial list of species seen on Sunday 10th September 2017 (In brackets are the significant census numbers at RSPB Conwy/estuary Ian obtained later in the day)

Black tailed godwit (21)
Curlew (236)
Oystercatcher (143)
Raven
Redshank (981)
Song Thrush