News archive

February 2009

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Male goldeneye

Llanfairfechan and beyond ... !

It was forecast for very cold weather giving way to snow showers later and that's exactly what we got. Arriving for an early morning sea watch off Llanfairfechan sorted the 'men from the boys'. The bitterly cold air soon rendered hands and feet feeling like blocks of ice but these were soon forgotten as the birds started to be found. Identifying the 30+ Red throated Divers - some flying whilst others swimming - amongst the 50+ Great crested Grebes kept us on our toes. 2 lovely Razorbill came in close to provide us with excellent views. All the while huge rafts of Scoter flew around low on the distant horizon but unfortunately, and unlike previous years, did not come in closer on the incoming tide. A couple of pairs of Red-breasted Mergansers provided the final tally of birds.

Moving on to Llanbedr y cenin, along the river conwy valley was our next stop looking for the Hawfinch that are there. After a fruitless half hour with only Nuthatch, Great spotted woodpecker and Raven to show for it the weather took a turn for the worse and started to snow in earnest. It was just as we were deciding to call it a day that a Hawfinch was found feeding on the floor just under some trees in a field hedge. Although about 100 yards away it could prove elusive to see due to the unevenness of the ground.

Next stop was the Conwy Reserve. Resisting the 'pull' of the cafe we ventured around the hides to be rewarded with superb close views of a Water Rail. Plenty of Goldeneye, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Teal and Wigeon frequented the pools and banks of the reserve. Long-tailed tit proved an unexpected but welcome distraction to our walk from the hide back to the centre. A Sparrowhawk briefly made an appearance as it dashed across the water / reed beds in an attempt to catch an unwary small bird.

As the winter dusk approached the weather turned to sleet but a few of us still decided to try for the Lesser white fronted Goose that had been reported at the Point of Ayr. Alas, despite seeing a large number of Wigeon, Curlew and Lapwing the in the flooded fields there was no sign of our bird. Although cold and tired, we were happy with the result of our days birding.