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Saturday, 20 April 2019

Male redstart perched on branch

Phew it was hot !

It was a first for the Group, a visit down the Nant Ffrancon valley. The first hurdle to overcome was fitting all the cars into the tiny ( .. and very rocky ...) car park ! That done, we almost immediately came across a male Pied Flycathcer in the wood close to where we parked, although it proved very elusive. On the return journey, a female Pied Flycatcher was found in almost the same location. Siskin and Redpoll could be heard and seen in the trees. Walking along the old road we could hear Ring Ouzel singing from the high valley sides and it took us a while to eventually find a male high up on a rocky outcrop. Wheatears could be found everywhere, on the valley sides, on the valley floor and in the farm yards. Two different Cuckoo could be heard calling but unfortunately neither could be seen ... although a local farmer said she had heard one in the trees behind her house that morning. Meadow Pipits were even more numerous than the Wheatears and that's saying something !! A lovely male Redstart was singing it's heart out in a small wood close to a farm on the valley floor and provided a real sense of enjoyment to us all. The heat was really beginning to tell and we longingly looked towards the cool waters of the river in the valley floor - just as well, as we had fleeting views of a Common Sandpiper and a pair of Goosander. We certainly needed the rest and drinks / food at the cafe close to the Youth Hostel and watched a Grey Wagtail feeding around the rocks in the river. The only birds of prey encountered were Buzzard and Kestrel and waders included Curlew and Oystercatcher. A lovely valley but perhaps not on the hottest day of the year so far !!