Saturday, 26 October 2013

Pure quality in North Wales

Hoopoe 1 Rhyl
Grey Phalarope 1 Gronant
Surf Scoter 2-3 (2 males & possible female) Llanddulas
Common Scoter lots Llanddulas
Velvet Scoter 1 Llanddulas
Red-throated Diver 2 Llanddulas

Year 247 (Grey Phalarope, Hoopoe)

Wow, what a day of quality birds. I started out at Gronant to see the fabulous Grey phalarope which has been there since Thursday. It performed brilliantly, spinning and twirling exactly as it was meant to. Phalaropes are always great birds.

Next I moved on to Llysfaen Station Road at Llanddulas to have a look at the scoter flock. As usual they were distant, but thanks to a little help from my friends, I didn't have to wait long to pick out not one but two and possibly three Surf scoter! The bright sunlight lit up the water and picked out the white on the Surf scoters heads really well, almost making them look large headed, and they were unmistakeable, my best views ever of Surf Scoter. The two males chased each other around and were even seen briefly displaying, and since they were constantly accompanied by a female scoter, it seems logical to think that she was also a Surf. It really was great experience, I watched them for well over an hour, until the arrival of some other birders set me off on the road again, because they brought with them news of a Hoopoe at Rhyl......

I don't know how I found the place, but find it I did with relative ease. A cycle track next to the river on the edge of town. I had no map with me and I didn't really understand the directions, but I noticed a road called Marsh Road near the centre of Rhyl and took a chance and by a miracle went straight to the correct car park and immediately saw a group of birders on the bank. It took about half an hour for the Hoopoe to show, but when it did it showed well, both on the ground and in flight, when it looked like a gigantic butterfly. Only my 5th Hoopoe in Britain, and perhaps surprisingly all have been in the north west. I've still never seen an east coast or a south coast Hoopoe.

I don't know how it would be possible to have a better day than that....

Little and large!

Video of the Phalarope.


Whilst visiting other local sites in search of better Hoopoe photos than mine, I came across this photo on Zac Hinchcliffes blog of me in action, watching the Hoopoe! I wonder why he took a photo of me...

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