Trip reports

North Wales coast

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Six foolhardy members visited the seaside while storm Ewan raged which led to some challenging birdwatching!  Our trip coincided with high tide but the sea at Llanfairfechan was surf-topped rollers so attempting to pick out birds riding the waves was extremely difficult.  One tenacious Great-crested grebe was spotted with some Herring gulls.  The cars rocked on their wheels in the car park so we huddled in one quadrant of the shelter by the boat lake.  This did enable us to get close up views of a male Goosander and some Oystercatchers who were keeping the usual ducks and swans company on the lawn.
We then moved on a short distance to the more sheltered salt marsh of Morfa Madryn LNR.  Being recent arrivals in Shropshire we would never have discovered this delightful and fruitful birdwatching spot without the help of long-term members of our RSPB group.  Fortunately there are three hides so we could hunker down out of the wind and squally rain with our lunch to watch the birds.  The tide was just starting to go out so we began with a huge roost of Oystercatchers on the shingle bar and various duck such as Shelduck, Wigeon and Pintail in the shallows.  As the sea receded Dunlin, Turnstone, Redshank and Ringed Plover started to fly in.  Two of the hides overlooked brackish ponds where mixed flocks of numerous Widgeon, Curlew, Lapwing and Starling were busy feeding in the surrounding fields.  One lonely Little Egret was trying to shelter from the wind on the leeward side of a clump of reeds.  Two Greenshank were spotted at the water's edge while several smart Red-breasted Mergansers were swimming on the ponds.
We finished by calling in at RSPB Conwy and had a well-deserved cuppa and we spotted many birds familiar to us here in Shropshire.  In all, we totalled up nearly 50 species (which wasn't bad considering the weather) about 15 of which we hadn't seen last month.