Garth Peacock
North Wales - Day 1 and 2

Archive

Lockdown continues.

Saturday 16th May 2020

April lockdown

Thursday 30th April 2020

Local bird photography

Monday 20th April 2020

House-bound!!!

Friday 3rd April 2020

Could be the last one for a while.

Wednesday 18th March 2020

We are into March already

Monday 9th March 2020

Wednesday 12th February 2020

Thursday 20th February 2020

Slimbridge WWT Gloucestershire

Wednesday 19th February 2020

To end January 2020...

Thursday 30th January 2020

That's the end of 2019 for me.

Friday 20th December 2019

Disaster strikes

Monday 2nd December 2019

It's still very hard work

Saturday 9th November 2019

A quiet month overall

Saturday 2nd November 2019

Week ending 11th October 2019

Friday 11th October 2019

A quiet week

Friday 4th October 2019

A week of mixed fortunes

Tuesday 1st October 2019

The final catch-up

Tuesday 10th September 2019

View Blog Archive >>
Sunday 7th April 2019

A friend and I had arranged a 5 day weekday trip to North Wales, based in Llangollen. The main target here was Black Grouse that lek on the nearby moors at a place strangely called Worlds End. Lekking is a gathering of male birds around dawn to decide which of them should mate with the females by displaying and sometimes fighting, something that neither of us had ever witnessed before.

We arrived at our hotel around lunchtime on Monday 18th March, checked in and then made out way to the moors to check it all out as we would be arriving in darkness the following morning to be in position for the lek. We found the suggested spot and then carried on along the single track road to see if we could see anything - cloudy and rain was the weather at the time so not an ideal time to be on the moors.

We saw nothing until we arrived almost at the far end of the road when we found a few male Black Grouse hunkered down in the rain, looking decidedly cheesed off. They were relatively close to the road so we were able to park up and take a few shots out of the car window.

Well that was an unexpected and welcome start to the trip.

The next morning, leaving the hotel at 5.00am, we arrived at the lekking site, parked up, and listened for the tell-tale bubbling sound of the birds preparing for the lek - a deathly hush. After a few minutes we heard the sound but very distant but we waited until is was getting light but no sign of any birds at the site.

So we decided to drive further into the moors, saw a few birds lekking on the other side of the valley and too distant for photgraphy and further on a couple that were sizing each other up but soon took to flight as the car approached. As we were reaching the end of the road and seeing nothing else, we spotted a flock of about a dozen birds flying in the opposite direction to us. We turned around and after about half-a-mile, found these birds and a few others just where we had seen then the day before and starting the lek. We parked up and watched the action as it was too dark for photography. Soon we were able to get our shots. A pair sizing up,

fighting,

and calling to make their presence known.

One even trotted up the hill towards us.

And one sat on the hilltop calling away.

This spectacle continued for over an hour with a final total of 20 birds and we were even blessed with sunlight at the end.

Finally, what appeared to be the winner showed

and one by one, they flew off, leaving us marvelling at the spectacle we had just seen, and time to return to the hotel for breakfast. And, apart from one other car, we had the whole lek to ourselves.

After that, despite searching several sites, and looking for Dippers, we found nothing during the rest of the day.