Saturday, 16 March 2013

Great Orme - Wheatear and seabird bonuses!

Target bird on the Orme early morning was Wheatear. My average earliest date over the past 20+ years has been March 16th so today was as good a day as any for seeing my first of the year. With the first Orme record of the year appearing over a week ago when Ray Tilsley had one on March 8th, and a record of one from Cwm Prysor on the very early date of March 2nd, I half expected one today. I wasn't disappointed either with a lovely male near the cairn - a very blue and white bird, very different to the 'Greenland' birds that pass through next month.

Apart from some lovely Rock Pipits (below) and Meadow Pipits displaying, and a few Redwings in the gorse, the limestones were pretty quiet. A scan of the sea produced many flocks of Common Scoter moving west. I soon realised that this was an unprecedented movement with literally thousands of seaduck passing the headland and landing on the sea to the North West of the Orme. It didn't take long to pick out a few Velvet, with seven in total picked up in three groups. As the flocks began to reduce in size and frequency I noticed a 'white' duck followed one group. As it approached I was thrilled to see that it was a drake Long tailed Duck; I think this is my first for the Great Orme - bingo! Several Great crested Grebes, Red throated Divers, Auks and Red breasted Mergansers off here too. The scoters seemed to drift west towards Penmaenmawr and Llanfairfechan - an opportunity to score with a Surf Scoter off here perhaps?

This morning's early Wheatear - on the western cliffs by the Cairn.
At least eleven Rock Pipits counted around the Marine Drive, many of which were displaying.


  1. good stuff mark, i have had 4 l t duck this year off pen, my first there. Did u see many when u lived there in past yrs. Velvet scoter would be a very welcome additional to the ever growing house list.


  2. Had 12 ripits on the little Orme, a pair carrying nesting material too. Common scoter on penrhyn beach breakwater.

  3. Sounds like a brilliant day. From Findlay