Thursday, July 9, 2015

Snowdon and Conway

In one week's time I will be taking part in the International Snowdon Mountain Race, a fell race that runs to the top Wales' highest mountain via the Llanberis path. Although I have competed in this race twice before I am not a pure fell runner and definitely need to train on the route, so last week I drove to beautiful Snowdonia and ran slowly to the summit.

View from the summit looking towards Llanberis (iPhone photo)
Despite it being a warm July morning there were not a lot of people on the mountain, which at times can be as busy as the proverbial Piccadilly Circus. The summit was shrouded in cloud so I had to pause for a few minutes to take a photograph, that's my excuse anyway! The run down was a breeze, and I was soon enjoying my picnic lunch overlooking the calm waters of Llyn Padarn.
I had a number of options planned for the afternoon, if I had been very warm I had planned a wild swim in the plunge pools on the Watkin Path, but the skies had become overcast and the temperature had plummeted from the mid-week record breaking highs. Likewise, looking for Silver-studded Blues on the Great Orme or Keeled Skimmers near Betws-y-coed were both dismissed due to the lack of sunshine. So I headed for Conway RSPB reserve which is often a good place for seeing Stoats.
By the time that I was pulling into the reserve carpark the wind had strengthened and rain was beginning to fall; not ideal conditions for watching wildlife. Undeterred, I strolled down the estuary path carefully watching for any signs of Stoat activity. The tide was in and there were plenty of waders roosting on the main reserve. From the hides I could see flocks of Oystercatchers and Redshanks waiting patiently for the tide to turn. A few Little Egrets were feeding on the pools; I remember when this bird was a real rarity. I travelled to Fford Bay near Caernarfon, not that far from Conway, in 1987 to see my first ever Little Egret, how times have changed.
I was not successful in my search for Stoats but an afternoon watching the birds was more than enough consolation.
Oystercatchers heading to the estuary

Shelduck (note the rain splashes on the lake)

Oystercatcher acquiring its white winter throat collar

And just to prove there are Stoats at this site, here are two photos that I took two years ago.


No comments:

Post a Comment