At present we have 26 members. Fortunately not everyone turns up for each outing as that would be far too many but we do average about 15 each time we meet. We meet mainly on the 2nd and the 4th Friday of each month. Besides our interest in birds we all enjoy the outdoors and the flora and fauna. We will happily spend as much time watching a stoat as we would watching a bird. None of us are experts and we enjoy exchanging knowledge and learning from one another. During the winter months we mainly visit coastal areas or reserves, visiting Anglesey or the Wirral as well as more local areas. During spring and early summer some of our bird watching takes us inland to see the migrants as well as our woodland species. No day is complete if we don't finish it mulling over our observations whilst having a nice cup of tea and more likely than not - a delicious cake!
The winter months have seemed long and cold and yet despite a break during March the hardy group of bird watchers have enjoyed many outings to venues such as Cefni Reservoir and Penrhos Coastal Park - both on Anglesey, the Spinnies, RSPB Conwy, Llanfairfechan and Loggerheads . The visits have been rewarded with many sightings of resident ducks, geese, waders and both resident and wintering migrants.
Our outing to the Penrhos Coastal Park was the first visit there for a number of years. Owned by Land and Lakes it overlooks the sea banks and mudflats of the Beddmanarch Bay. The day was bright and sunny but cold. The coniferous forests here are home to Red Squirrel whose numbers have increased over recent years since the Grey Squirrel numbers have gradually been reduced. Besides birds we were anxious to see Red Squirrel. The question was -would we be lucky? Our expectations were exceeded and we saw several Red Squirrel at feeding stations and at play scampering up and down the trees. It was wonderful. We did also see a number of woodland birds, waders and gulls but on this occasion the Red Squirrel had to be the highlight of our visit!
Our visit to Llanfairfechan had to be the best of our outings this winter for both numbers and variety of birds. As a group we saw over 50 different species including Bullfinch, Treecreeper, Gold Crest, Stonechat, Jay, Mistle Thrush and Fieldfare.
New members are always welcome to share our days for not only do we enjoy the birds but also nature in general.
Birdwatching Jan –March 2017
Our first planned outing of the year had to be cancelled due to bad weather. Instead we had a social gathering where we had a chance to discuss our future visits.
Later that month 16 members braved a cold, windy day to walk along the Coastal Path from Horton's Nose in search of Snow Buntings. Unfortunately, on that occasion there were no Snow Buntings to be seen, however, we did see Stonechat, Turnstone, and Ringed Plover as well as a few waders and gulls. Shortly after when all our fingers had become frozen it was agreed that we should turn back and find a nice warm café to enjoy a snack and a warm drink.
In February our first outing was to Burton Mere Wetlands, where this time the weather was kinder to us. We had a very satisfying day seeing approx. 41 different species, some of the highlights being Hen Harrier, Nuthatch, and Pintail. As always no day out is complete without tea and cakes!
Later that month we visited Llyn Crafnant. Although some of us were familiar with the lake we hadn’t bird watched there before. It was a fairly mild day and although we didn’t see many birds we enjoyed the walk around the lake absorbing the peace and delighting in the wonderful scenery.
March began with a visit to Bodnant Gardens on a dry and fairly mild day. The garden was looking particularly lovely with its multitude of early spring bulbs and blossoming shrubs. There was quite a lot of bird song and as always the birds were not always easy to see. The Song Thrush was very vocal and amongst other species we saw Nuthatch, Mistle Thrush, Wren and several Goldcrest. We were pleased to see a Red Kite overhead and no visit to Bodnant would be complete without seeing a Dipper and Grey Wagtail in the Dell.
Our final visit in March was to Llanfairfechan and Morfa Madryn. The day was bright and pleasant though there was a cool breeze. We had no sooner set off than we were rewarded with the sight of several Swallows, our first sighting of them this year. Not long after this we saw several Wheatear, again our first group sighting of the year, then not long afterwards we heard the song of Skylarks. It did seem as though spring had truly arrived. Unfortunately the Skylark doesn’t have many notable features other than a streaky body and a spiky crest which it raises and depresses according to its mood, but its beautiful song has inspired many poets and composes over the years. The Skylark’s song was a familiar sound during my childhood but its numbers have declined over recent years. We stood entranced listening and being transported to times gone by as the Skylark flew higher and higher into the sky and we felt particularly privileged to hear so many of them on this occasion. Continuing on our walk we observed approx. 35 different species of bird and also bluebells and primroses by the pathway, another reminder that spring had arrived.
Click on a picture below to see it full-size with more details.