TRANSFER FROM WREHXAM TO TREFRIW WITH STOPS AT WORLDS END – THE FOREST ABOVE CERRIGYDRUDION - LLYN BRENIG RESERVOIR – RIVER CONWY AT TREFRIW
WEATHER: dry and sunny for most of the day. Temp range 2C - 19C
I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed our early morning visit to Worlds End moorland to see the BLACK GROUSE 'lek'. it was fantastic and well worth the inconvenience of getting up at 4:30am!! The rest of the group totally agreed with me, so it must have been good.
I was a little concerned about not knowing the exact location of where to watch the Black Grouse ‘lek’ even after having been given great directions from a few people including Mike Hails who had seen 20+ Black Grouse not two weeks ago at this very spot.
As we drove up the hill to the moor we noted a HOODED CROW!!! I never expected that? We never stopped to watch it or photograph it as we had a very important date with a grouse ‘Lek’.
We saw many Meadow Pipits and Skylarks flitting around on the moor as we progressed to the top. I had absolutely no need to have worried about the correct site for the ‘lek’ because as we approached the designated area we could see BLACK GROUSE dotted all over the place, it was the best ‘lek’ I had ever seen and the birds were so much closer than at other places I have been. The only inconvenience was that we could not get out of the bus, a small price to pay for such a wonderful display.
all pictures of the grouse were taken with my mobile phone through my binoculars
The Grouse paired off and performed their posturing display, vying one on one, it was funny to watch and quite noisy too. We were spell-bound for an hour as the show went on. At least 14 birds were in attendance which included just 1 female! Finally, we decided to move on and look some other species.
We drove slowly and made a couple of stops, where we did get out of the bus, boy was it cold out there. Despite the cold we had a perfect morning for grouse-watching, a clear sky and no wind, we couldn’t have asked for better conditions.
We searched for Red Grouse, their display is nothing like the Black grouse ‘lek’, they simple make a lot of noise as they take off from the heather and drop quickly down a few meters away. They rise from cover and land in cover with just a few seconds in full view, we saw several birds doing this.
At the far end of the moor the road starts to drop steeply down into a wooded area, we parked there and birded the area from the side of the road. We saw Song Thrush, Willow Warbler, Common Cuckoo (2), Common Buzzards, several Stonechats and one very showy Whinchat.
On our way back we noticed that the Black Grouse Lek-site was deserted, another birder told us that a Peregrine had landed near the ‘lek’ and the birds dispersed (so glad we got up early). We continued our journey back, stopping to watch Northern Wheatear, Linnets, Goldfinches and Mistle Thrushes.
After our breakfast back at the hotel we packed up the bus and checked-out, we headed for Trefriw near Conwy but we planned a stop at Llyn Brenig to look at Ospreys. Just before Brenig we pulled over near a large clearing in the pine forest of Cerrigydrudion. We saw a few species there which included Siskin and Common Crossbill.
We spent a few hours at Llyn Brenig (reservoir) watching the feeders around the visitor’s centre and the Ospreys from the Osprey Watch-Point. Two Ospreys were in view, one on the nest and one nearby, we never saw either of them fly or go fishing.
The feeders and the woodland all arounds us provided views of Tree Pipit, Common Whitethroat, Stonechat, Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Robin, Common Buzzard and Kestrel. Pauline saw a Coal Tit during a solo walk. We had lunch in the restaurant before leaving for Trefriw.
male Siskin at the feeders
We arrived at our hotel around 2:30pm when we checked in and within the hour we were back out walking. The beautiful setting of the hotel along the banks of the River Conwy is a great birding place and an idyllic setting for our birding holiday.
some of you may remeber this hotel?
We didn’t see a great deal, but on a warm, sunny afternoon we didn’t have see much to enjoy the day. Dippers on the Afon Crafnant was nice to see, we also saw both Grey and Pied Wagtails. In the bushes and trees we heard Sedge Warbler, Garden Warbler and Blackcap. An in the general area we added Moorhen, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Goldcrest, Bullfinch, Sand Martin, Jay, Sparrowhawk and Dunnock to our list.
two views of the River Conwy taken outside of our hotel
We were all tired at dinner which we ate at 7pm, I think we had all retired to our rooms before 9pm.