Sunday, 31 January 2016

Sanderlings and Turnstones at Rhyl

I'm up north spending a couple of days with my cousins, who live just a couple of roads away from the Rhyl coast. As on every visit, whatever the weather, a stroll along the prom is always in order.  
Todays weather was high winds with a few short sharp showers. The tide was coming in as I made my way from Splash Point towards Prestatyn Dunes, which was pushing the small waders in towards the steps and sea wall.....
The Sanderling is probably my favourite little winter waders. As they run along the sea edge, it's as if someone has wound up an invisible clockwork key and let them go.  
The wind was strong today and I found my first decent sized flock huddled together, with a few individual birds braving the sea for a wash and preen before re-joining the group.
There were 27 in the first flock I found including three ringed birds, and a smaller group of 14 birds with two ringed birds a bit further towards the golf course.




I only see the Sanderlings when I pay a winter visit to my cousins, but another small wader that I am guaranteed to see on every visit, no matter what the time of year, is the colourful mottled Turnstone.
 I often see small groups of these perched on the break waters all along Rhyl beach, but as the tide was coming and in and the waves were quite choppy, the birds were lingering on the last remaining patches of sand near the sea wall and on the steps themselves.
I didn't see great numbers of these today, and several were quite active flying around so getting an accurate count was difficult, but I guesstimate I saw around 30 Turnstones today. The ones below were giving me great views, even if they were from over the sea wall....

I only walked from Splash Point to the Golf Clubhouse today, not my usual 3km walk from Splash Point to Prestatyn Dunes and back. The weather eventually battered me down and I was forced to retreat back to the comfort of my cousin's cosy warm home for a large alcofrolic drink to warm me up.
Let's hope the weather is kinder tomorrow.

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