It has only been four weeks since my last visit, if the Conwy reserve was on my doorstep, to quote my wife, she'd be a "Reserve widow". I do like the mix at the reserve, and probably because I've been visiting for a good few years, long before my accident, I've come to know reasonably well what to see when and where, and also know most of the staff and volunteers.
So this visit was no less a pleasure than any other visit.
After a good drive up (and back once I'd negotiated Chester's long standing road works on the A41 Whitchurch Road), the M6 as it crosses Birmingham and the Black Country was on very good behaviour, especially as the connecting motorways (M5 to the west of Brum, the M42 to the east of Brum) seemed to be enduring accidents and lane closures.
Still, less of that, and more of the reserve.
You might want to get a cuppa and some biccies, I've rather a lot of photos shared here.....
There was the making of a nice sunrise, but unfortunately the three hour drive from home didn't provide many suitable stopping places to capture it, so I grabbed a very early sunrise photo, a Shropshire Sunrise.
There was a slight detour, I had to make a visit to Llanrwst and take a piccie or two of Tu Hwnt i'r Bont, Llanrwst, a former courthouse now a nice tearoom which the foliage on the outside turns a lovely red, and Pont Fawr, a bridge over Afon Conwy as old as the tearoom. Sadly, I was a little early, there was still a lot of green, but I took a piccie or two nonetheless.
and Afon Conwy as it heads toward the Irish Sea
Just as I was about to head for Conwy, a rather unusual hawk flew over!
Now for the real piccies.
First off, a little grebe parading with its late breakie viewed from Tal-y-fan hide.
After a short while chatting to folk at TYF hide, it was on to Carneddau Hide, which meant crossing a bridge over what I call the Bridge Pool, often good for dragons and damsels, though at this time, it was still too cool for them to be out. But there was a grey wagtail having not just a good feed, but a drink as well.
(All I had done was turn to a young couple and answer their perfectly innocent and inquisitive question!)
Don't be rude look away when I'm giving you a display of my skills...
See how acrobatic I can be, one leg and still have a scratch!
Time to reflect on life,
Thirsty work doing all these acrobatics!
Time to go now. Zooooom........
From Carneddau Hide, I don't think I've seen so many egrets on the pools for a long time. Plenty of great white and little egrets to be seen, along side the herons and cormorants.
A cormorant flying in to join the others.
By now (around 11:00 local time, high tide was 14:00 local)the tide was coming in and the mudflats on the estuary were becoming covered by the incoming tide, so the curlews, oystercatchers and others were starting to flock to the pools.
and a carrot bill (I just love that term from Pimperne Bloke)
I used to find this next view a tease post accident, but now I actually love it, and harbour great memories of the days (and nights) atop there, and the commanding views they gave. On a decent day I could make out all the places I know around and about, on all compass points, including the reserve, Llandudno Pier, Conwy Castle and much much more, and I feel honoured and privileged to have made those journeys.
More curlews coming in
and more oyster catchers....
Time to move on to Vadre Screen, often the Carneddau Ponies are to be seen around here, but only the one this time.
and many more curlews and oyster catchers already landed, viewed from Vadre Screen
A crow decides to drop in and photobomb a small mix of curlew and oyster catchers. However, it does give a good idea of size once it landed
Now, this next photo has me guessing, an adult black headed gull in winter plumage, in September!
Any corrections as always, gratefully received
A curlew decided it was going to drop in on the oyster catchers, well, they were doing the same to the curlews, so why not!
Not a brilliant photo, but I was curious as to what this possible wader might have been, at the extreme of my optics focusing range, and it turned out to be a juvenile starling bathing on the waters edge.
It was time to leave Vadre and head for Foel Fras Screen, and also lunch. A nice large screen with plenty of viewing opportunity and allowing others to enjoy the view Covid19 safe.
But first blackberries anyone?
Enroute, a common darter having a warm up on the stones
The only real movement was a trio of male tufted ducks, most likely juveniles
Moving on to Benarth Hide and walking along the side of the estuary, a widgeon posing nicely in the sun.
The view from Benarth Hide was also quiet, but I did notice that the Deep Lagoon was looking busy from the Carneddau Hide side, so it was back round there....
By now it was high tide and was it busy....
A great white egret looking proud
More little grebes
Lapwings, curlew, oyster catchers and other waders to obscured by the former to clearly ID
Another lapwing flying in....
More curlew flying in
And the oyster catchers coming in!
A great white egret coming in to join the rest....
The end of a good day and the start of the long drive home, but worth every second.
Flickr Peak Rambler
"Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again"
2013 photos & vids here
eff37 on Flickr
(Pardon the Scottish Accent)
Lot to learn
In reply to HAZY:
HAZY said:Certainly worth the trip Mike to bring back such a good range of species and scenic shots; love the great egret in flight and I can almost hear those Curlews calling in flight ! Interesting post, thanks.
Thank you Hazel, it was a worthwhile trip and those curlews were very vocal to say the least.
In reply to WendyBartter:
WendyBartter said:Great sightings Mike, thanks for sharing!
Thank you Wendy, and you're welcome.
In reply to Linda257:
Linda257 said:A very rewarding return visit Mike....certainly worth the very long drive, thanks for sharing all you lovely pics ;-)
Thank you Linda, its always a worthwhile visit to Conwy, hopefully I'll get a few more trips in before the end of the year as winter looms in.
In reply to gaynorsl:
gaynorsl said:Good day out Mike with lovely photos, I enjoyed the views of the mountain and river plus all those birds, lovely to get so many Curlew and also GW Egret, I like that last photo of the GW Egret landing surrounded by the other waders hastily moving out of the way I should imagine.
Thank you Gaynor.
That view down the Conwy Valley is fabulous, as is the view to the west over the Castle along the hills running parallel to the coast. This visit was the first time I've looked down the valley at those two mountains, both I've been atop, day and night, and actually had no feelings of frustration or anger, which has often been an issue for me post accident.
And of course, the ever calming effect of the wildlife, always makes things better.
In reply to PimperneBloke:
PimperneBloke said:Looked a super day Mike, with a fab variety :o) Thanks for sharing
Thanks PB, and you're welcome.
I hope you didn't mind my "honourably borrowing" your term, 'carrot bill'
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