Wednesday, 30 January 2013
Foot It to Rhos-on-Sea
Prompted by a tweet from Julian Weldrick that the pair of Eiders were off Rhos Point late morning, I headed off from Penrhyn Bay for a couple of hours. Despite the strong wind, it was worth it.
The rock bund nearest to Penrhyn Bay had a nice roost of a dozen Grey Plovers and a few Dunlins, but no Purple Sandpiper. A larger group of Dunlins were feeding with 15 Ringed Plovers along the beach near the Golf Club, and so I walked as far as I'm allowed (by the rules of Foot It, not by the restraining order), to the end of Church Drive in Rhos. This is half a mile short of the Eiderfest that is Rhos Point, but I was hoping they'd drift west as the tide receded.
With waves crashing against the rock armour, the few birds I could see gave fleeting views, then dived. This was going to be hard. For 20 minutes, a few auks, Shags and the occasional Cormorant were as exciting as it got. Things looked up a lot when a Black-throated Diver flew past, dropping into the waves and lost from view. Then, in a blissful few minutes, the two Eiders drifted right in front of me. I took my eyes from my scope to enter it in BirdTrack and realised that a Purple Sandpiper had landed on top of a rock just metres away. Almost immediately, it ran over the seawall, not to be seen again. Back in the crashing waves, with hundreds of Kittiwakes and the occasional Gannet flying west, a huge Great Northern Diver landed on the sea and preened for a few moments before diving.
Yesterday, by the way, there were 20+ Red-throated Divers off the end of the Little Orme, some of them close in, wailing to each other. Well worth a visit once the wind drops.
One day of January to go, and I'm two past my target of 85. I'm happy with that, even though I know that with a bit more effort earlier in the month, I could have got more (as Marc has amply demonstrated in almost the same area). The other plus is that I just noticed that I've now entered more than 10,000 records into BirdTrack.
For those who want it, there's a longer version of this on the FootIt blog