Friday, 19 May 2017

Aber Fab

Beautiful Aber

Another sunny Sunday and the group were back at Aber falls. Meeting in the lower car park we were met by dozens of house martins flying around the Aber falls cafe.
Peering over the bridge we found Mr.  Bobbity, bob, a dipper, back and forth to over the rocks, no doubt has a nest nearby.

Moving onto the higher car park we set off alongside the path that runs along the river, the Afon Rhaedr Fawr. Woodland, shrubs and grassy glades either side. We were aiming for the Aber waterfall; here the River Afon Goch plunges about 120 feet over a sill of rock, a view worth the trip alone. Once again we were reminded at how beautiful this place; is on a sunny day, stunning; bluebells carpeted the glades, hawthorn blossom gleaming white and intoxicating. No wonder the area attracts lots of day trippers and dog walkers. 

Birdsong hung in the air, blackcap and song thrush particularly lusty. Scanning through the shrubs and trees that line the river we also observed ,blackbird, dunnock, chaffinch, robin, great, blue and long tailed tit, to name a few. But some of us had come for finer prizes and we were rewarded when we caught sight of a popular spring migrant the spotted flycatchers.  
Redstart tree
Further along the path, an old tree with broken boughs held a secret, a sudden streak of red as the bird flew up into an adjacent tree, revealed a striking redstart a pleasure to watch. But we were not done as this tree held another, a treecreeper appeared, intent on finding some insect morsel.

Onwards. Arriving at the plunge pool, the recent rain had given the falls a boost, and the waters flowed a little faster over the rocky bottom; here a crafty grey wagtail plundered the riverbed. Here, we scoured the high ground and tops for raptors and cuckoos. Several buzzard and raven were espied but raptors seemed scarce, perhaps they knew what was coming, as from the heaven's a deluge ensued, well that was a bit of surprise especially for those without a coat!
Twenty minutes later rain clouds had passed and as stomachs rumbled, we strolled back to the car park picnic tables, checking for wood warblers along the way, sadly not found although we did see a great spotted woodpecker probing the trees were our redstart had been seen earlier...
As we ate, we were serenaded by a blackcap a rich, fluted warble whilst a sweet twittering siskin circled over head, lovely.

After lunch we had hoped to move to the car park that serves an open hilly area in the valley of the Afon Anafo.  Here we had observed ring ouzel and cuckoo in 2014. However the car park was jammed full, and we had to retreat.
Ah well plan B, a drive to RSPB Conwy for cake, coffee and for some a lot of plants. The reserve was holding a local plant fair event outside the visitor centre, lots of wildlife friendly plants of course. 
A little saunter around the back path of the reserve saw us still looking for wood warblers again... just not to be. However a magnificent punk haired red breasted merganser and a lesser whitethroat proved to be worthy compensation 

A long day started well and promised more but the weather and day trippers got the better of us.

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