Being in univeristy all week, lectures most days from 9am -5pm.. The weekend is something I look forward to; as of course, it means only one thing - birding!!
Seeing as though I hadn't seen the Surf scoters yet, I decided to give it one last go and ventured out, back to Abergele and Pensarn for one last look.. At 9:30am, I met up with Jason stannage, John aitchison and Bones adderley from back home.. They had driven up from Liverpool in search of the scoters, however I did warn them that seeing them needed a miracle....
As usual, got the train from Bangor to Abergele and Pensarn and arrived around 9:30am.. Met up with Rob sandham - a cracking birder by the way and thanks to him, I managed to see Brown shrike and Eastern-crowned warbler! Then found the lads.. A scan out to sea revealed several Velvet scoters, with some in flocks of more than 10.. Great views were had with a few birds in flight and several could be picked out on the sea, showing big orange bills and even the white around the eye could be seen but only when the sun was in the correct position.. A drake Long-tailed duck was a nice surprise mixed in with the scoters.. Overall, 20+ Velvets were seen..
I'm sure this isn't my scope!! Boredom kicked in after 2 hours of scoterville!! Leica???
A passage of Red-throated divers was quite unexpected with 20+ birds flying in a line heading west towards Anglesey.. A couple of R.B.Mergs floated by and yet again no sign of the surfs.. A coffee and breakfast was in order and after gorging ourselves, we moved off in search of the Hawfinches at Llanbedr-y-cennin in the Conwy valley.. On arrival, there had been a significant
fall of snow overnight, with at least an inch of snow lying on the ground - which then had turned into ice.. A roundabout near Llandudno junction saw us driving round this several times and by the second drive round, Jason and I were in stitches as we couldn't stop laughing due to the turn-off we needed couldn't be found.... Bones kindly assisted with map-reading and in no time at all, we were in the Conwy valley - somewhere??
The roads were extremely icy, so we ended up getting lost..again and so I asked for directions to Llanbedr-y-cennin.. We eventually found the correct road, to find it covered in snow and lots of icy patches, the car's wheels skidded once or twice on the hills, but, when we reached the top.. well.... Our hearts were in our mouths as we hit the corner of the road, but thankfully, very little damage done.. Very slowly, we skidded on down reaching our destination..
A quick look in the small church at Llanbedr revealed no Hawfinches.. I left the lads and went for a walk, a few minutes later, found 3 birders looking at 3 Hawfinches, a quick phonecall to John saw us all watching these lovely, bulky finches.. They soon dispersed and we left them to it..
Next stop was Kinmel bay for the Snow buntings and a short walk along the beach towards the River Clywd mouth... Jason spotted them in flight and within minutes we were watching these much sought after classic, winter birds.... As you can see from the main picture of the blog, a cracking male was amongst them.. 3 Females too.. 4 Snow buntings seen in all...
It was then time to head back to land of Bangor.. John kindly dropped me off at the train station at Rhyl and managed to get back into Bangor at a respectable time of 6pm.. A good days birding, several yearticks for the lads, but just one for me and no surfs once again..
Many thanks to John for ferrying me around, Bones for the breakfast and Jason for his amusing trips and stumbles during the day, which provided me with several outbursts of laughter..