Sunday, 24 February 2013

What happened to the sunshine??

Well lovely weather was the last blog and now the remaining birding days had everything but mmmmmmm.

Wednesday saw me traveling up to Denbigh arriving Dave's at 6am and then a quick switch over of cars and we were off to Worlds End in the hope of witnessing the Black Grouse lekking.

All I can say is what a strange name for a place , well that's what I thought until we got there! We could hardly see a thing!! The mist up there made even driving very difficult let alone us trying to spot the grouse.
It wasn't long until we heard the male's hissing and slamming wings together, then as it started to get slightly lighter we could just make out the dark shapes of 4 males in the mist and we could also hear some Red grouse. Then we spotted a Kestrel above the Grouse and that was that; they were spooked and flew off :-(

We decided to drive on a little further and wasn't long until we could hear a lot more Black Grouse lekking but there was no way of spotting them through the thickening mist so we decided to turn around and try the first stop again.  No good there either, so we decided to try and call up the Red Grouse and low and behold a lovely Male flew in from the thick mist. We watched him for a few minutes but he wouldn't come out from his hiding place behind the bracken until he flew off into the mist again.

Then a female walked out in front of the car and slowly made her way to some water on the edge of the road and after a very brief drink she turned and disappeared into the heathland.

Please excuse the VERY POOR quality of the pics but best I could do given the weather conditions :-(

So after Worlds End we decided to make our way back to Denbigh and try Bron Branog for the Great Grey Shrike. On route we had a few nice birds but the most impressive was a very bold Buzzard on the side of the road.
We arrived at Bron Branog and noticed the mist had followed us :-( but since Charlie needed her walk we carried on upwards.  It was a very quiet morning we bumped into a few birders and they hadn't seen anything of note but you never know so we arrived at the summit; mmmmm COLD in the mist and thick frost everywhere.  No chance of the shrike today then , but we did get a couple of bullfinches up there as a consolation prize.

So after the frosty uplands it was time for me to set off home so i picked up my car and said bye to Dave and Charlie and off homeward bound.

On the return trip home I stopped at Llanddulas and had a scan through the scoters plenty of common as per usual as well as Red-throated Divers and grebes but no sign of the surfs :-( a linnet sat on the fence in the carpark singing away with a mouthful of food! well it was a female,,,they can multi-task you know ;-)
From here I carried on towards home and as I emerged from the Conwy tunnel it was as if i had been catapulted forward to summer!! unreal !!  Anyway next stop was the Spinnies in search of the Smew which has been around there for some time now, fingers crossed.
The hides where very quiet but with full feeders the birds where plentiful. All the usual suspects and some lovely views of Long-tailed Tits nice to see them hanging around long enough to appreciate them.
The tide was right out but with great views through the scope i was made-up to pick out the Red head Smew, happy days!
On the return walk to my car it was lovely to see the wild flowers bursting into bloom in the warm sunshine even tho it was only a few hours ago i had been in lapland!

So the next time I got out to do any birding was Saturday with a quick trip to Flint to try to see the Twite which have been there for a few weeks or so now.  It wasn't long before we got onto them I counted 57 in all and I'm sure they're all in the first pic below, some great views but was bitterly cold so after a few record shots it was back to the car and heaters on full blast to defrost my fingers.
I tried to get back asap to Conwy so I could take the kids around the castle but low and behold FLASH!!!! bloody speed camera got me in Flint mmm well my own fault and to top it all the castle would be closed by the time we got there so visit there another day. so here's a few snaps of the Twite from my expensive visit to Flint lol


  1. Try appealing, after all you had know idea of your speed, cos your speedo doesn't work! Lol