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Posts Tagged ‘birds’

Anytime is a good time to visit north Wales.

Last winter was the hardest for many years, but there were some magical views in the valleys and the mountains.

Autumn is full of wonderful colours.

Spring though, has to be my favourite time; as fresh green leaves start to appear on the trees and flowers start to bloom.

There is a limit to how much I can put into one post, but I hope it gives a taster of how wonderful springtime is around north Wales.

Betws y Coed is a favourite place of artists, walkers and climbers. There is a lovely walk along the river banks, and on the day these photos were taken the weather was wonderful.

Afon Conwy at Betws y Coed, 13 April 2009

Afon Conwy at Betws y Coed, 13 April 2009

Afon Conwy at Betws y Coed, 13 April 2009

Afon Conwy at Betws y Coed, 13 April 2009

I have already written a post on Llyn Crafnant, on 23 feb 2009, so I won’t go into more detail here. I will say though that Llyn Crafnant is wonderful at any time of the year. This was a lovely spring day with blossom on some of the bushes and trees just starting to come into leaf.

Spring at Llyn Crafnant, 18 April 2009

There is not much to say about this photo. Bluebells mean spring, and they were in profusion this year. The photo was taken near Trefriw in the Conwy valley on 30th. April 2009.

Bluebells in the Conwy valley, 30 Apr 2009

Nant y Coed is a lovely wooded valley near Llanfairfechan. It was once described as “the loveliest sylvan rock and river scenery in Wales”, and I certainly wouldn’t argue with that description.

Nant y Coed, 7 May 2009

Nant y Coed, 7 May 2009


Blue bells at Nant y Coed, 7 May 2009

Blue bells at Nant y Coed, 7 May 2009

A sun-dappled path, 7 May 2009

A sun-dappled path through Nant y Coed, 7 May 2009

The Isle of Anglesey is a great place to visit. South Stack, not far from Holyhead is a nature reserve. It’s a place to see Puffins, Razorbills and Guillemots as well as the Chough, which nests here.

Walking through the heathland and farmland along the cliff tops you hear the Skylark singing. Not a common sound these days. These photos were taken on 31st. May 2009.

South Stack, Anglesey, June 2009

Razorbills and Guillemots perch on narrow ledges, 31 May 2009

Razorbills and Guillemots perch on narrow ledges, 31 May 2009

Lots of spring colours, 12 May 2009

Lots of spring colours, 12 May 20

I did a post on Bodnant gardens on 14 May 2009, but with all the spring colours there I had to put a couple of photos here, just to tempt you.

Colours in The Dell, 12 May 2009

Colours in The Dell, 12 May 2009


Fairy Glen is just   outside of Betws y Coed and is well worth a visit.

A walk down into the gorge is a must, and then a walk back up, along the top and then gently down to walk along the Afon Conwy.

The black Zwartble sheep are on the farmland which leads to Fairy Glen.

Fairy Glen, Betws y Coed, 3 May 2009


Zwartbles sheep & lambs, 3 May 2009

Zwartbles sheep & lambs, 3 May 2009


Llandudno’s Victorian Extravaganza is held over 3 days of the May Bank Holiday.

It was a beautiful day on the Saturday this year (the Sunday too, but Monday was not as good) and I ended up getting sunburnt!

I did a post on the Extravaganza on 8 May 2009 so this is just a taster.

Fairground rides on the main shopping street, 2 May 2009

Fairground rides on the main shopping street, 2 May 2009

Canada goose with goslings, Conwy, 29 May 2009

Canada goose with goslings, Conwy, 29 May 2009

Birds are every where during spring. Lots of summer migrants have arrived and everywhere you go you can hear bird song.

Not all our birds are little brown jobs either, we have plenty of colourful ones too.

Stonechat near Aber falls, 28 May 2008

Stonechat near Aber falls, 28 May 2008

Chaffinch on Anglesey, 21 May 2008

Chaffinch on Anglesey, 21 May 2008

Greenfinch at Conwy, 29 May 2008

Greenfinch at Conwy, 29 May 2008

Oystercatcher chick at Conwy, 30 May 2008

Oystercatcher chick at Conwy, 30 May 2008

Oystercatcher with a chick, 28 May 2009

Oystercatcher with a chick, 28 May 2009

Aber falls, 29 May 2008

Aber falls, 29 May 2008

Visit the Aber falls, it’s a great day out.

Near the village of Abergwyngregyn, the falls are reached after a gentle walk through pastures and woodland. The valley is now a nature reserve.

It was here that I heard my first Cuckoo of the year, last year.

The fall’s longest single drop is about 115ft.

As it’s spring I thought I’d end with some spring flowers.

Gorse, April 2008

Gorse, April 2008

Wild Primroses on Anglesey, May 21 2008

Wild Primroses on Anglesey, May 21 2008

Bee on a flower, Conwy, 28 May 2008

Bee on a flower, Conwy, 28 May 2008

Common centaury at South Stack

Common centaury at South Stack

Birds foot trefoil, Conwy, 28 May 2008

Birds foot trefoil, Conwy, 28 May 2008

I could have found much more to put in here but that will have to do for now. Why not visit north Wales and do some exploring for yourself.

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Juvenile Blackbird enjoying a bath

Juvenile Blackbird enjoying a bath

The end of the year is close so I thought I’d do a post on some of the garden birds that have visited during the year. Since I started to keep records in May I’ve seen 21 different species. 

Unfortunately I haven’t got photo’s of all of them, but here is a selection.

Blackbird = Mwyalchen in Welsh

Sunbathing Blackbird

Sunbathing Blackbird

Robin

Robin

 

 

Robins have been frequent visitors throughout the year.

Two are visiting at the moment, one is very aggressive and chases away other birds, including Chaffinches and Dunnocks. It seems to draw the line at Greenfinches!

The Robin is the first bird to appear each morning, coming to the feeder before it gets light.

House sparrow

House sparrow

 

 

 House sparrows are only occasioinal visitors. A few  years ago they would probably have been the most  common, but not now.

 

 

 

 

Brightly coloured Goldfinch

Brightly coloured Goldfinch

 

 

 

A Goldfinch and Blackbird make friends.

A Goldfinch and Blackbird make friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goldfinches are regular visitors. The one above didn’t seem intimidated by the Blackbird.

 

Great spotted woodpecker tries out fat balls.

Great spotted woodpecker tries out fat balls.

 

 

 

 

The Great spotted woodpecker is a recent visitor, but he seems to enjoy the fat balls!

 

 

 

Magpies are not frequent visitors, but call in occasionally.

Magpie

Magpie

 

 

 

 

Mistle thrushes love the Yew berries.

Mistle thrushes love the Yew berries.

 

 

 

 

 

Like – wise the Mistle thrushes are not frequent visitors, but maybe they’ll become more regular now they’ve eaten most of the berries!

Rook

Rook

 

 

 

 

 

 The Rook was a regular visitor earlier in the year,  and occasionally brought a juvenile along, which  waited to be fed.

 

Jackdaw

Jackdaw

 

The Jackdaws are regular visitors, hardly missing a day. It’s rare to see one on it’s own like this, they usually move around in gangs and often 5, 6 or 7 will arrive together. 

 

 

Collared dove in take-off mode

Collared dove in take-off mode

Collared dove

Collared dove

 

The Collared doves are also frequent visitors. During the summer there were usually 4 of them, sometimes more, but now it’s the same pair who arrive each morning.

 

 

 

Chaffinch

Chaffinch

 

 

 

 Chaffinches (Ji Pinc in Welsh) are regular visitors too. There  are more of them now than during the  summer. Maybe some are visiting from  Europe.

 

 

 

 

Herring gull

Herring gull

 

 

 

There are always a lot of Herring gulls around, we are close to the river and only a few miles from the sea. 

It’s rare to see them in the garden though, just the occasional visitor pops in. 

 

 

 

Coal tit

Coal tit

 

 

 

Blue tit on feeder

Blue tit on feeder

 

Coal tits and Blue tits are probably the most frequent visitors, and during the summer I couldn’t keep up with them. The seed feeder had to be filled every day!

They are not as active now, but still appear every day and visit the feeders more than any others.

 

Nuthatch

Nuthatch

 

 

 

 

 There were a pair of Nuthatches visiting until quite  recently, now they rarely appear. I have only seen one  in the last few weeks.

 

 

 

 

Greenfinch

Greenfinch

 

 

 

 

Greenfinches appear regularly, though not as many of them come into the garden now as they did in the summer.

 

 

 

 

Dunnock

Dunnock

 

 

 

 

 

Dunnocks rarely miss a day, though they are more frequent visitors now than they were during the summer.

 

 

 

 

 

Fieldmice love peanuts

Fieldmice love peanuts

Grey squirrel

Grey squirrel

 

This Fieldmouse, there were 2 of them actually, used to visit often. I haven’t seem them for a few weeks now.

The pesky grey squirrel also visits fequently, and will try to get onto the seed feeders and peanut feeders.

 

The less frequent visitors have been Song thrushes, Wrens and a Pied wagtail. 

 

Great tit and Goldfinch

Great tit and Goldfinch

 

 

 

Great tits are very frequent visitors too.

 

 

I think 21 different species is not bad in 7 months, and I’m now looking forward to the next 12 months to see if I can add to the list.

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Most of my posts about North wales have been around Snowdonia, mainly I suppose because I love being in the hills.

I have, however, paid three visits to Anglesey this year, and it has so much to offer. It’s relatively flat, with lots of rolling farmland. Anglesey Beef and Lamb is wonderful! 

But there are lots of great sights, wonderful cliffs, great beaches, good bird-watching and history. Obviously having made three visits I still have much more to see, but I thought it was time I made a start, so here is my first post on Anglesey.

The Menai suspension bridge

The Menai suspension bridge

The Menai Suspension bridge was the first crossing of the Menai Strait, which seperates Anglesey from the rest of North Wales.                                                                  Before the bridge was built anyone wanting to cross had to walk across soft sand to the ferry, and then do the same at the other side! There were also many ferry accidents, the worst being in 1785 when 55 people were swept away.                                                                      Thomas Telford designed the bridge. It had to have 100 feet of clear space under the main span, to allow the tall sailing ships to pass underneath.                                     The 16 massive chains hold up 579 feet of roadway between the two towers. The bridge was opened on 30th January 1826.                                                     

Moelfre

Moelfre

 

Moelfre is a small sleepy village with a pebbled beach and white-washed cottages huddled around the bay. It is well known around the the world for having one of the finest and renowned life boat stations in the world.

Many of the lifeboatmen stationed there have won medals for bravery.

Moelfre

Moelfre

 

 

 

 

Cliffs near Moelfre

Cliffs near Moelfre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Royal Charter monument.

The Royal Charter monument.

 

 

 

 

On the night of 26th October 1859 a British cutter, The Royal Charter, was on the last leg of it’s long journey from Melbourne to Liverpool.                                            Sailing up the Irish Sea there had been no wind at all, but suddenly a savage storm blew up. The captain tried to get a pilot, but none would go out in such weather. he dropped anchor, but at 1.30am the chain parted, and it was dawn when two locals saw the ship being dashed against the rocks.                                                              The brave men of Moelfre made a human chain out into the breakers, and saved 18 passengers, 5 riggers and 18 crew, but on that day 452 people, including all of the officers lost their lives.                                       This is the monument, paid for by the people of Moelfre in remembrance of that night.

The beach at Lligwy Bay

The beach at Lligwy Bay

 

 

A short walk along the top of the cliffs leads to the sweeping bay of Lligwy, with it’s beautiful beach and sand dunes.

Lligwy Bay

Lligwy Bay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Orme from Moelfre

The Great Orme from Moelfre

 

 

 

 

This is the view of the Great Orme from just above the village of Moelfre.

 

Neolithic burial chamber, near Lligwy

Neolithic burial chamber, near Lligwy

 

 

 

A short walk from the beach at Lligwy is this neolithic burial chamber.                                                                 It was probably constructed before 3000BC, and when it was excavated in 1908 it was found to contain the bones of up to 30 men, women and children.                   The people who constructed this tomb had no tools and the wheel had not been invented, but the managed to manoevre this huge capstone, weighing over 25 tons, onto pre-arranged stone slabs around the edge.

Ruined 12th century chapel, Lligwy

Ruined 12th century chapel, Lligwy

 

 

 

Close by is this ruined chapel, built in the 12th century.

 

Part of the ruined 4th century village, Din Lligwy

Part of the ruined 4th century village, Din Lligwy

 

 

Just a few hundred yards away is Din Lligwy, an ancient village hidden in woodland. This is a Celtic settlement dating back to the last years of the Roman Empire in the 4th century AD.

Part of the ruined 4th century village, Din Lligwy

Part of the ruined 4th century village, Din Lligwy

 

 

 

 

 

All of the photos of Moelfre and Lligwy were taken in May 2008.

 

 

The beach at Porth Dafarch

The beach at Porth Dafarch

 


On the opposite side of the island is the lovely little beach at Porth Dafarch.

Sandy coves near Porth Dafarch

Sandy coves near Porth Dafarch

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cliffs around Porth Dafarch

Cliffs around Porth Dafarch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Stack lighthouse

South Stack lighthouse

 

 

A little further around the coast is South Stack and it’s lighthouse.                                                                        The cliffs around here are the breeding grounds for many seabirds, including Guillemots, Razorbills and Puffins. Also on these cliffs can be found the wonderful Choughs, members of the Crow family with bright red beaks.

An air-sea rescue helicopter at South Stack

An air-sea rescue helicopter at South Stack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of these photos of Porth Dafarch and South Stack were taken in June 2008.

Guillemots and Razorbills

Guillemots and Razorbills

Chough

Chough

 

 

 

 

 

 

Malltraeth Cob Pool

Malltraeth Cob Pool

 

 

Malltraeth Cob Pool is south of South Stack and Porth Dafarch. This is a wonderful place for bird watchers, but there are some lovely walks in the area too.

I spent a couple of hours here and saw lots of ducks and waders, including Pintails, Teal and Little Egrets.

 

 

The Cefni estuary at low tide

The Cefni estuary at low tide

 

 

 

As you walk along the path you have the cob on one side and the cefni estuary on the other, with more ducks, waders and seabirds to see.

 

 

 

Teal roosting

Teal roosting

A flock of Lapwings at Malltraeth

A flock of Lapwings at Malltraeth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn colour at Malltraeth

Autumn colour at Malltraeth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The carneddau hills from across the Menai Staits

The carneddau hills from across the Men

 

 

And so I headed back to the bridge.

The photos around Malltraeth were taken on the 6th November 2008.

 

 

 

I’m sure it won’t be too long before I’m back on Anglesey again, there is so much to see and do.

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The weather has been awful for the last few days, today being the worst. It’s windy and the rain is bouncing as I look out of the window, the cloud is so low I can’t see the hills across the valley.

As it’s been so bad I’ve not been out. Much as I love the great outdoors I prefer not to get blown around and half drowned when I’m out there. If I’m out when it starts to rain it’s different, and I can cope with light rain, but not this flood-making stuff.

Anyway it’s given me the chance to get more reading done, books and stuff on the internet. Have downloaded Google Chrome too, and so far I quite like it, seems pretty fast too. Also just finished Jeffery Deavers latest Lincoln Rhyme book, “The broken window”. I can’t understand why more of his books haven’t been made into films. This one is about identity theft and is very, very scary. Could make you really paranoid.

Read an interesting article about Magpies being able to recognise themselves in a mirror. Until recently it was thought that only humans were self-aware in this way. (We would think that wouldn’t we?). Anyway it was then found that Chimpanzees and Orangutangs can recognise themselves. Now tests have been done and Magpies are the first non-mammals to have self-recognition. 

I always knew birds were clever!  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7570291.stm

 

There have been a number of articles in the last week about the melting Arctic ice. It’s getting frightening but governments don’t seem to be getting it, and I have a horrible feeling that it may be too late to stop it now. The first article I saw was about Lewis Pugh, an ex-swimmer who is going to kayak to the north pole. He’s hoping to raise awareness about how climate change is effecting the ice cap. 

Lets hope it works.    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7588329.stm

 

(Not sure if this will be big enough, hope it is).

 

The other article I saw this morning, and it was also on the radio news today. Ice shelves in Canada’s High Arctic have apparently lost a huge amount of area this year. One of the shelves, the Markham, which covers 20 sq miles, has broken off completely. 

I do hope that the people who can make decisions that may make a difference will start to do so quickly.        http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7595441.stm

 

There doesn’t seem to be much good news around at the moment, the £ is taking a hammering, problems with Russia/Georgia, the FTSE 100 has taken another dive today, so I think I’ll just call that it for now. Hopefully there may be more cheerful things to write about next time. 

Until then, all good things to you all.

 

 

 

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Yesterday I decided to go up into the hills and walk around two of the lakes up there. The weather forecast was not bad, rain was forecast but not until late afternoon/evening.

Anyway, off I went, forgeting that it’s a Bank Holiday weekend. I think half of the population of the UK must have headed for North Wales! There wasn’t much peace and quiet, thats for sure, and so many ignorant people….they just walk past and don’t speak, I’ll never understand people like that.

The walk was very pleasant, I do love it up there, but the weather changed within half an hour, clouding over and with a cool breeze springing up. By about 2.30pm it was starting to rain a little, but thankfully I was almost back to the car at about 3.30 when the heavens finally opened. 

I decided not to go out today. The weather can’t seem to make it’s mind up, and I prefer it when there are not so many people about. So here i am, with not a lot to do so I decided I would post some photos that I haven’t used before. These are not the landscapes though, just birds and a few other miscellaneous ones.

 

Before I do that though, I read an interesting article the other day about Magpies being able to recognise themselves in a mirror. Well worth a read if you’re interested.  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7570291.stm

 

This Black Swan was on one of the lagoons at the RSPB reserve at Conwy in May. I haven’t seen it recently though.

 

 

 

 

 

On one of my visits to Anglesey I saw the Choughs’ which nest in the cliffs around South Stack. It’s the first time I’d seen these birds. South Stack is one of the few places in the UK that they breed.

 

 

 

 

 

Curlews were quite common when i was young, we often saw them and heard them when we were out. Now they are not so common at all, so it was good to see these two at Conwy in June.

 

 

 

 

 

This Grey Heron spends a lot of time around the Conwy estuary.

 

 

 

 

 

I managed to get a photo of this Reed Bunting in July. They don’t usually sit and pose for very long.

 

 

 

 

There seemed to be quite a few Wheatears around the Conwy estuary in May and June. I haven’t seen any recently.

 

 

 

 

 

I love the colourful Oystercatchers, and their calls. There were some breeding pairs on the estuary but the photos I managed to get of the chicks weren’t so good.

 

 

 

 

This Goldfinch and Blackbird seemed to be getting on very well as they fed in the garden during June.

 

 

 

 

This Blackbird sat sun bathing like this for about half an hour in the garden. It was in early June, maybe he knew we wouldn’t be getting much more sun!

 

 

 

 

This little Fieldmouse loves the peanuts in the bird feeders. It climbs up there most days to have a nibble.

 

 

 

 

 

I caught this busy Bee when we had summer…..in May!

 

 

 

 

 

This Gorse covered in a fine gosamer was high in the hills one day in July.

I’m not sure what it is but quite a few of the Gorse bushes were covered in it and it looked lovely.

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