Conwy 12.06.18

Warm and increasingly sunny

Clearing skies greeted some eighteen members of the Team that gathered outside the VC at Conwy RSPB on what has become an annual visit to this attractive location. Quickly agreeing a plan for the day, we set off towards the Boardwalk view point and it wasn’t’t long before the rasping notes of either Sedge or Reed Warblers made themselves heard: notes that accompanied us on and off for the rest of the day. As ever, there was plenty of scratching of heads as to which song was which, and although I for one still haven’t learnt how to distinguish the difference, by the end of the day most, if not all members of the Team had seen one or other of these shy birds.

Although birds were not present in large numbers there was plenty of interesting activity to see and from the Tal-y-fan hide several members spotted a little Grebe busily transporting its chick across the water on its back. Grey Herons and Little Egrets were much in evidence, either on the prowl or flying back and forth across the lakes probably from their huge roost on the other side of the estuary where a large tree (or trees) was decorated with lots of grey and white ‘blobs’. Making our way towards the Cameddau Hide, the wheezing of Greenfinch drew our eyes upwards and we had two of three fine views of these birds, obligingly perched out in the open. At the Cameddau Hide itself there was plenty to see including upwards of an hundred Canada Geese, Tufted Duck, Teal, Coot, Lesser Black-backed Gulls and more Herons, but our ornithological skills (such as they are!) were well and truly tested, first by a trio of waders that we eventually decided were Redshank (and of which better views were gained from the other side of the lake after lunch) and then by a second trio which, after long discussion, were pronounced to be Curlew. After such an expenditure of brainpower, all then agreed that lunch was called for and we made our way slowly back to the VC, stopping en route to admire the bee and marsh orchids that are found alongside the paths all over the site, and then pausing briefly at a feeding station that was bringing in a mixture of small birds including Greenfinch, Blue tit and Great tit.

After lunch we set out on the Grey Heron trail that runs along the estuary, from where we had more views of the heronry on the other side of the water and of Conwy Castle IMG_3572itself guarding the mouth of the river. By this time the sky had completely cleared and just being in the open air, every so often catching the strong scent of the brightly coloured wild roses, lifted the spirits, with bird song and sightings a bonus. There was plenty of activity in the bushes alongside the path where a colony of House Sparrows was much in evidence, and on the mudflats that were being progressively exposed by the receding tide, there was a growing presence of birds: Pied Wagtail along the shoreline, House Martins skimming low over the shallow water, and Canada Geese, Black headed Gulls, Shelduck and Curlew(!), further out.

From the Benarth Hide we had better views of the Redshank that had been seen earlier, one of which appeared to have lost a leg, as well as Lapwing, Morehen and Mallard. The presence of a Lesser black-backed and a Great black-backed gull in close proximity afforded a good opportunity to compare and contrast these birds.

Continuing on in a great loop round the edge of the reserve, there were few further sightings although the song of Blackcap rang out from a dense clump of brambles and there were fleeting glimpses of Whitethroat in the trees and undergrowth along the edge of the reserve. A couple of final treats lay in store, however, before we got back to the VC with a couple of team members catching sight of one of the Chiffchaff that had been heard on and off for much of the day, and more of us at last catching a brief glimpse of a Sedge Warbler that performed its parachuting trick, thereby obligingly aiding us in its identification.

In sum, a very good day, and not just from the birding point of view. (CG)

Bird List (MHa)

  1. Little grebe
  2. Coot
  3. Moorhen
  4. House sparrow
  5. Starling
  6. Grey heron
  7. Feral pigeon
  8. House martin
  9. Carrion crow
  10. Barn swallow
  11. Swift
  12. Tufted duck
  13. Pied wagtail
  14. Goldfinch
  15. Magpie
  16. Little egret
  17. Mute swan
  18. Black-headed gull
  19. Gadwall
  20. Reed bunting
  21. Great tit
  22. Blackbird
  23. Greenfinch
  24. Blue tit
  25. Herring gull
  26. Oystercatcher
  27. Shelduck
  28. Lesser black-backed gull
  29. Cormorant
  30. Greylag goose
  31. Lapwing
  32. Robin
  33. Blackcap
  34. Buzzard
  35. Curlew
  36. Canada goose
  37. Redshank
  38. Kestrel
  39. Sedge warbler
  40. Chiffchaff
  41. Jackdaw
  42. Mallard
  43. Greater black-backed gull
  44. Wood pigeon
  45. Whitethroat

 

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