RSPB Conwy – 19th September 2021 – report by Sue Brealey
After 17 months with no field trips due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, 8 members arrived at RSPB Conwy hoping for a good day’s birding after such a long period. The weather initially was cloudy, with a slight wind with a temperature of 14ºC, drizzling part of the way, then the sun came out leaving blue skies with white clouds.
While going through the new entry point, House Sparrows were found in the nearby shrubs. After using the facilities, the group started on the walk around the reserve. This had been marked out as one-way as part of the precautions as part of dealing with Covid-19 risks, and indicated to go along the boardwalk amongst the reedbed. Herring Gull and Black headed Gulls were seen flying overhead, as the group moved along turning towards a viewpoint. From this point, Teal and Shoveler, in eclipse as other ducks were when seen later, were noted, in lagoons which showed a low level of water. Later it was established this was a deliberate move in order to prepare the ground for maintenance. Due to the lack of water, there were not many birds in this section, so the group moved onto the Tal-y-fan hide. Along the way, Blackbird were noted, and Goldfinch and Starling few over. At the hide, more Teal & Shoveler, with Mallard were seen feeding away, Curlew flew over. There was a group of at least 12 Little Egret roosting amongst a Mute Swan, Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Curlew, Redshank, Moorhen, a couple of Coot, a Black-tailed Godwit, Little Grebe, Pied Wagtail and Grey Heron. Then a wader was noted to be feeding voraciously in the deeper water so that its legs were not visible. Initially it was uncertain as to what it was, but after further study it was concluded to be a Spotted Redshank, probably a juvenile going into winter plumage and difficult to identify. A couple of Jackdaw were noted.
A further walk brought the group to the Carneddau hide, where the wearing of masks was strongly advised. A scan over the islands which were being viewed from a different angle found a few more different species. A group of about 4 Cormorant were drying their wings on some rocks. On scanning forward from the cormorants were a couple of Egrets, a couple of Curlew and then between a couple of Lapwing were 2 grey looking waders roosting but eventually it was concluded that they were Greenshank which were really well disguised. Then in front of the Greenshanks a couple of Snipe and Dunlin were noted. At the other end of the island a Bar tailed Godwit was seen, again roosting, as well as a Knot amongst plenty of Gulls which included a Common Gull and a Great Black backed Gull plus some Oystercatcher. Some Carrion Crow were seen.
At this point, the group split up, with the majority moving on to finish the circuit including along Estuary where the tide was at its best. The majority of birds seen were more of those already seen but in more numbers. There was a distant of view of a Great White Egret, with Raven, Reed Bunting being added to the list. The other group saw Blue Tit and Robin on the way back at a feeding station, then while resting near the Visitor’s Centre some Magpie and Buzzard were noted.
Everyone collected at the picnic area, and discussed this first field trip since the opening up of the country after the main part of the Pandemic, and it was concluded that everyone had enjoyed themselves. Approximately 43 species had been seen.
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