Porthmadog: Lifting the Sprits

After coming back from the absolutely fantastic NGB Week on Bardsey Island where I had the time of my life (post to come), I came back and found myself in a stressful and damaging situation which got me extremely upset and disorientated. Before I knew it, I was slammed into a low and I found myself having feelings I hadn’t felt for months, I was at breaking point. My lovely partner did what he could to try and support me as he always does, but with me being away in Wales it was difficult situation and I wrongly pushed him away. Something had to happen ASAP to lift my spirits. It was then I put my mind back to all those months ago to when I was feeling pretty depressed and then remembered what I’d done then to get me out of it – Birding.

Showy Blackwit at Porthmadog_edited-1
Black-tailed Godwit

You’d think, being in North Wales, that there’d be plenty of places to go birding; the Camp Site which I’m at is just 10min walk from Porth Colmon, one of my favourite Sea Watching spots. But for this I needed to go somewhere with waders. Waders are by far my favourite group of birds and when I was getting bullied in secondary school I’d pop down to RSBP Burton Mere Wetlands after-school and at a weekend to take off all the stress and hurt I’d had whilst at school: Avocets swiping through the water, Black-tailed Godwits in the fiery summer plumage transforming the scrapes into red, Common Snipe merging into vegetation and Greenshank (my favourite wader), blasting through the water like a torpedo chasing after small fry, waders just effortlessly take my breath away with their beauty, variety and elegance. After talking to mum I’d convinced her to drive down the road to Porthmadog as I knew that with the tide coming in and from past visits, that there’s be plenty of waders about.

When we finally arrived at Porthmadog, I made my way round to park which overlooks a small muddy inlet which as soon as it came into sight 2 Black-tailed Godwits shot right over to me which then lead me to a much larger flock of 33 birds on a scrape which was slowly getting submerged by the incoming tide. As I was making my way over to get a better view of these little gems I found that it wasn’t just Blackwits on the scrape: Little Egret, Knot, Redshank, Cormorant & plenty of Black-headed Gulls were also around. My spirits were lifted massively by this because the weather was perfect for photographing the birds, they were showing brilliantly and the back drop was just epic as you see deep inside the Snowdonia National Park. To describe it as perfect would be an understatement.

Little Egret @ Porthmadog
Very showy Little Egret, note ringed Black-headed Gull in the background
carbo Cormorant at Porthmadog_edited-1
Cormorant (carbo) with Herring Gulls
waders at Porthmadog_edited-1
Black-tailed Godwits, Redshank and Knot

Roughly 15mins after picking a spot in which to watch the birds I heard two rather familiar calls. The first of which was of 2 Common Sandpipers which jetted back and caught me off guard, but just seconds afterwards an electric blue Kingfisher shot past and I just about managed to get a record shot of it. This day was just getting better and better, could it get better than it already was and make me feel on top of world?

Porthmadog Kingfisher_edited-1
Typical view of Kingfisher

Following the path round the inlet and after bumping into a lovely couple who were fascinated by the history of the Little Egret, I finally got round to the area of the Afon Glaslyn which had flooded a large area of Grassland and oh my, it was coated in birds: Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Pintail, Cormorant, Stonechat, Teal, Little Grebe, Mute Swan, Goosander, Lapwing, Grey Wagtail, Knot and to round it all off, 9 drop dead gorgeous Greenshank; Which shortly after being discovered, made their way off out of sight when a Red Kite came over being mobbed by 2 Raven. I now felt like I was on top of the world, in just 1hr I’d gone from a low to a high and it felt epic.

No matter the situation or how down you are, birding always brings your spirits up.

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