Sparrowhawk at Spinnies

Yep, I know, Sparrowhawk is in the headline but I won’t be getting straight in to that, just needed a catchy title. Click bait? Maybe… but hey 😉

Anyway, last Saturday my friend Sean and I went for a spot of early morning bird watching at a local nature reserve called Spinnies. I’d never heard of the place, despite it being only around 5 minutes away from my house in Bangor. It’s  a small reserve, with two hides. Both look over a lovely lagoon, with one also having a view of the estuary. I found it to be quiet and quaint but with a great diversity of species. We got incredibly lucky with the weather, cold, clear and frosty, which was a pleasant change from the wind and the rain we’d had for the previous few days.

It was a fantastic morning and we saw some brilliant species, with the total count being 32. One of the highlights for me was the kingfisher, it being the first time I’d ever observed one just sitting still and been able to get a good look. Sadly it was too far away for a photo, so I just sat back with my binoculars and enjoyed the moment. My first ever kingfisher sighting was actually only a week before on a pre-lecture birding trip with Sean, however I only saw one fly past, so this was my first ‘proper’ viewing. It was incredible, what an absolutely stunning bird. Ironically, it was seen from the second hide we visited, despite the first one being called the “kingfisher hide”.

Right, onto the Sparrowhawk! We’d been in this second hide for a fair amount of time, we’d seen the kingfisher and many other birds. I was enjoying trying to photograph the ever busy passerines on the feeders, whilst Sean was looking out of the other side at the estuary (resulting in him missing the event). When, out of nowhere, the grey shape of a sparrowhawk swooped down from the right straight across the hide and past the feeders. It was over in less than a minute but that made it no less exciting. The fact that its wings were a greyish colour would suggest that it was an adult male and I don’t believe it caught anything off the feeders. However it definitely spooked the little feeding birds as they all vanished for the best part of half an hour. It was a brilliant spectacle, always a treat to see a bird of prey going about its business.
On top of these two rather exciting moments we also saw some delightful species including: a Grey Heron, Chaffinches, Snipe (a first for Sean), Oystercatchers, Curlews, many Redshank and loads more (see the full species list at the bottom).

It was a lovely morning, and a great way to start the weekend. And if you’re ever in North Wales I would heartily recommend visiting Spinnies, it’s a perfect reserve for picking a hide and hunkering down for a few hours, it won’t disappoint.
Sean has really got me back into bird watching and we plan on making these weekend and pre lecture trips a more regular thing, so more bird posts are likely.

A bit of a longer post today, I hope you enjoyed it. And my advise to you all is to get out there, away from your screens and work (even if it’s just for an hour or so) to watch the birds.

P.S. Excluding Yesterdays post, I plan on making Mondays my publishing day to hopefully ensure that I stick to a routine and post more regularly. Also, below are some pictures from the days trip, sadly they are not quite up to my normal standard due to me not having my Nikon telephoto, therefore having to resort to my Panasonic GX1 instead. Don’t get me wrong, a cracking little camera but a little dated and not quite up to the task like my Nikon D7200 is. Still had to post a couple of pictures from the day, I hope to go back there better equipped to catch that kingfisher (Ha good luck!) and would love a better picture of the Grey Heron.


Species list

  1. Blue tit
  2. Coal tit
  3. Great tit
  4. Chaffinch
  5. Blackbird
  6. Wren
  7. Robin
  8. House sparrow
  9. Song thrush
  10. Carrion Crow
  11. Jackdaw
  12. Magpie
  13. Wood pigeon
  14. Collard dove
  15. Herring gull
  16. Black headed gull
  17. Mallard
  18. Moorhen
  19. Redshank
  20. Greenshank
  21. Little grebe
  22. Oystercatcher
  23. Snipe
  24. Wigeon
  25. Curlew
  26. Shelduck
  27. Kingfisher
  28. Grey heron
  29. Little egret
  30. Pheasant
  31. Buzzard
  32. Sparrowhawk

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