Monday, 25 October 2010

Great Orme - 25th October 2010

Liverpool Bay before sunrise
1 of 3 Golden Plover
What a superb morning up the Orme! I set out from Bangor Station at 05.40 and arrived at Llandudno at 06.23 (changing at the junction)
I wonder how many time I have to walk up the Orme before my legs look like Lance Armstrong's! It certainly makes your thighs burn until you get onto the flat top. I arrived at St.Tudno's church at 06.45 whilst it was still dark, so I decided to watch the sun rise before I walked the hawthorns in the cemetery and then the pavement.
As it got lighter, I was able to hear Blackbirds angrily chasing off Redwings and Song Thrush, which were obviously fresh in due to their gorging on Hawthorn berries! It wasn't long after sunrise before I heard my first strange call and out popped a stunning Ring Ouzel on a nearby wall within the cemetery. It must have been the bird that was present yesterday afternoon.
I couldn't wait to check the limestone pavement, mainly because dog-walkers were already present and bound to flush anything of interest! I gambled, and set off up towards the pavement. Stonechat, Meadow Pipit and Wren were the only obvious birds up there until I spotted movement on shorter grass. Binoculars went up and 'hey presto!' 3 Golden Plover on the deck! They soon got spooked and called once before flying North.
St. Tudno's Church
I thought I may as well go and check the cemetery again in case I missed something, which is when I bumped into Alan Davies, whom alerted me that there were 2 Waxwings in the cemetery as well as 4 Hawfinch which had flown towards the reservoir! I didn't muck about and got to the cemetery as quickly as possible. Sadly, all 6 birds of interest had cleared off, but it wasn't too long before I had a weak call overhead and saw 2 massive Hawfinch right above me, they circled the cem and then double backed on themselves.
It was obvious that the clear night had put a lot of birds on the move and it was apparent that there was a fall of Siskin and Brambling. This assumption is only because I believe I only had 5 minutes throughout my whole visit when I didn't hear Brambling or Siskin above...they were everywhere!
Walking back up the pavement for one last check, I saw 2 Waxwing flying low over the rise from the cemetery. Result!
Bumping into Alan Davies again, he told me that the male Snow Bunting was back on the pavement. This was the only bird on the Orme that would've been a yeartick, so was keen to pin it down....I didn't! I was happy though to continue watching the wonderful spectacle of migration, with a particular highlight being a flock of 12 Coal Tit that I saw drop out of the sky flying in-off the sea and aggressively forage in a lone hawthorn on insects and berries!

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