A brightly sunny day, too good to miss, so I headed for the Little Orme which offers reliable sightings of a wide variety of wildlife in a relatively compact area with little effort required. Well-used by local people and visitors to the area and part of the route of both the Wales Coast Path and the North Wales Path, the pathways of the lower part of the reserve particularly are often very busy. Opportunities for uninterrupted attempts to photograph the more wary small woodland birds may be limited, but despite close human proximity the birds carry on regardless and largely unnoticed.
I use the entrance to the reserve sited at the back end of a residential area. Today the lawns of the unfenced front gardens were providing foraging for jackdaws and a few Pied wagtails. Outside the breeding season wagtails gather here in the evenings before setting off to roost comunally for the night. On the roofs were perched gulls, Wood pigeons and Magpies and a singing Greenfinch. There’s a thriving House sparrow population here too and cheerful chirruping greeted me as I climbed the steps up to the reserve, where they frequent the tangle of brambles and shrubs there.
The Fulmars have returned to their nest sites high on the cliffs. Although a small colony of just 10 or so pairs they draw attention to themselves by noisily proclaiming their territories and can be heard as soon as you enter the site. I looked out for Ravens that have used the same nest site up on the cliff for many years, but I didn’t see or hear them today.
I was pleased to see a pair of Stonechat though, one of my favourite little birds. They were in the same area within which a pair successfully raised a family last year, so I like to think this may be the same pair. I couldn’t get close enough to them to get good photographs, but I prefer to use ‘real time’ images whenever possible, so these were today’s best record shots.
The biggest draw to the reserve are the Grey Seals that at this time of year can be fairly reliably seen, when the tide is out, hauled up on the stony beach of Angel Bay. Today there were about 20 females and their rapidly growing pups, a few in the water, the rest sleeping blending perfectly into the background of stones and rocks.
Jackdaws are without doubt the most numerous birds here and a great number gather here to breed, nesting on the rocky cliff faces. They spread throughout the site to feed and also separate into small flocks that venture back and forth to forage in a wide variety of places locally, arriving back noisily to land on the cliffs where they site their nests. It is good to see them foraging and nesting in their natural cliff habitat rather than in villages roosting on roofs and nesting in chimneypots.
Blackbirds are another numerous bird here as are Robins and Dunnocks, with males singing from shrubs throughout the site. Close to the backs of houses trees and shrubs are frequented by good numbers of birds. The House sparrows are nesting close to a busy path here and a chorus of chirrupings emanated loudly from within the shrubs, but despite being audible from some distance away, they stayed well hidden. Also seen and heard singing here were Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Wren, Great Tit and Blue Tit.
Wildflowers appear a little later on this windswept clifftop than in more sheltered areas, but there’s plenty of the early flowering Alexanders on show.
Elder leaves are well grown too.