Sunday’s sunshine tempted me to walk along the Wales Coast Path between Llanddulas and Pensarn. The two recent storms have washed thousands of dead and dying fish, starfish, octopuses – and yes, I did have to look that up to check that’s the correct plural form. These have attracted thousands of gulls to the beach, mostly Herring Gulls, with smaller numbers of Common and Black-headed Gulls. They were repeatedly flushed by dogs and walkers, but always tempted back by the feast on offer. Offshore, a few thousand Common Scoters and five dozen Red-throated Divers were visible with a telescope, though I failed to pick out the white wings of a Velvet Scoter seen by others.
There were also Red-breasted Mergansers on the sea, but several had taken sanctuary on Llanfairfechan boating pond. Also seeking shelter were several Black Guillemots and two Great Northern Divers in Holyhead harbour, with another diver on the Afon Dysynni. Anglesey’s Inland Sea also provides a refuge during storms, hosting a Scaup and two Slavonian Grebes. Another Scaup is with Goosanders at Rhyl’s Brickfields Pond and a Long-tailed Duck on Shotwick boating lake.
Three Whooper Swans flew over RSPB Conwy on Sunday, their trumpeting call ringing across the valley, and small herds are at RSPB Cors Ddyga and Morfa Dinlle, near Caernarfon airport, where a couple of thousand Golden Plovers are feeding.
It’s tough finding small songbirds in recent conditions, so a Firecrest and several Chiffchaffs in scrub east of Glanwydden were welcome finds, and Snow Buntings are at Llandudno’s West Shore, and on Anglesey at Traeth yr Ora and Holyhead marina. Two Hawfinches are in Llanrwst, a regular winter sighting in the town in recent years; at least one Great Grey Shrike roams Clocaenog Forest, and a Hooded Crow has been at Hen Borth, near Cemlyn.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales, published in The Daily Post every Thursday.