A Blackcock or two 16/4/2018

We headed first for a dawn start at World's End near Coedpoeth, and watched as up to 18 male Black Grouse joined the lek by the road that I always go to. Here it is imperative to stay in the car, which we did. It was easy to pick out the dominant male in the prime position on the lek and most other birds were matched up fighting in pairs with a few occasionally daring to challenge the 'alpha' blackcock. All challenges came to nothing as he kept the number one status all morning. Displaying Curlew also used the lek area to land in, and were occasionally faced off by the grouse. Skylarks and Meadow Pipits were in the same area too. We watched from 6am-8am and left with 15 grouse still on the lek, but with the sparring being a little less intense than it was at dawn.


Next we headed to Clocaenog Forest and after finding heavy forestry work going on at Craig-bron Banog, we concentarted on Bod Petryal Picnic Site. Here we had lots of Crossbills, but all as flyovers, most in groups of up to 5 birds. Also here were plenty of Siskins, Buzzards and Ravens, the latter seen in tumbling display flights, always fun to watch. A pop up to Rhos-on-Sea gave us time for a short sea-watch with Red-throated Diver, Guillemot, Red-breasted Merganser, Common Scoter and Cormorant all seen.


Finally we headed up onto the Great Orme, concentrating on the limestone pavement area. The best birds here were 3 superb Wheatears, 2 males and a female, glowing in the sunshine. Two Chough showed very well at several locations including the picnic area once folk had left. Keith spotted a Peregrine which hit a baby rabbit with an audible squeal as the mammal was killed. Mammalian prey for Peregrines is pretty rare, but is well documented, but is something I've never seen before. The falcon, a male bird, flew off with the rabbit, some feat of strength since mammals weigh heavier than birds and a rabbit is a good sized prey item. Also up on the Orme were lots of Stonechats, again in pristine summer plumage.


We headed back after a great day out, with lots of good species seen and a few year ticks under our belts. I ended the day with a celebratory bottle of stout, 8.8% ABV strength, very nice !!






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