A Moor, A Marsh, A Mere And A Headland Birdwatching Trips Tour 4th March 2020

Cattle Egret one of three species of egret we enjoyed on this super tour.

We picked up Steve and Ruth at their Llandudno hotel at 5.15am and an hour later we were all watching wonderful Black Grouse. It was still pretty dark when we arrived on the moor but already we could see white flashes of the grouse tails and listened to the amazing bubbling calls of these spectacular birds. It was flat calm, unusual up here on the moors so the noise generated by the seventeen male Black Grouse on their “lek” was just wonderful. The light came up and the views got better and better of these magical birds. Black and white viewing became, royal-blue, red, white and black as we could really appreciated the gorgeous Black Grouse with better light. A Raven landed near the lek and Black Grouse flew off and shot across the moor. But then we noticed two males had stayed put, we waited, soon the males all returned and began to display even more enthusiastically than before. The sight of Black Grouse displaying at dawn really is one of those most wonderful experiences.

Superb views of both Red Grouse, here, and Black Grouse early morning.

Further across the moor we enjoyed very close views of Red Grouse, posing in the heather, the males looking beautiful with their red “combs” over their eyes. Stonechats were also in the heather here but few other birds. A welcome hot drink was enjoyed by a forest plantation where we watched Siskins, Coal Tits, Goldcrests and two Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Lower down we had great views of a pair of Dippers always a delight to see.

Breakfast at a farm shop went down very well indeed large plates of hot food just what was needed after our early start and the cold of the moors. Then a short drive to the Dee Estuary, first stop was at Burton Marsh. No sooner had we arrived than we saw one of our most wanted birds, Great White Egret. We enjoyed super views of this ever so long necked bird and saw at least three more out on the vast marsh. It was great to see a Little Egret next to the nearest Great White Egret and Steve was able to take some great photos. Two Marsh Harriers were out over the marsh along with a Kestrel and at least three Common Buzzards. Large flocks of Pink-footed Geese were also on the move over the marsh, soon to be returning to their Icelandic breeding grounds.

We then visited RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands and we got off to a great start seeing our third species of egret for the day, a Cattle Egret in a field alongside the entrance track! From the Reception Hide we enjoyed a lot of birds, Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits, Common Redshank, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, and Gadwall all showed well. A Sparrowhawk circled overhead mobbed by a Carrion Crow as a Kestrel hovered really close to the building. Alan spotted a Green Sandpiper in a pool off to the left, always a thrill to see this scarce wader.

Avocet pair North Cave 1

Avocet numbers are increasing by the day here, Spring is coming at last!

We walked the trails and were very lucky to enjoy super views of a Green Woodpecker in the top of a bare tree, “yaffeling” away, the distinctive call of this wonderful bird. We heard Cetti’s Warblers singing but not in the mood to show on this occasion, Little Grebes did really show off though, very close. A Whooper Swan on the Inner Marsh Farm pools was a nice surprise but no sign of any Woodcock this time in the damp wooded area. As always a great variety of birds at this super RSPB wetland reserve always something different to see.

We drove back to Llandudno but the birding was not over yet, we squeezed in a quick visit to the Great Orme. This proved a good move; we were soon watching Fulmars and a Peregrine Falcon shot off the cliff, sadly spooked by two para-gliders sad they have to disturb birds. Further round the headland no disturbance thankfully and we were able to enjoy Razorbills, Common Guillemots, Kittiwakes and Shags as Raven flew above. Up on the limestone pavement we had super views of a pair of Chough and a pair of Stonechats.

Back in Llandudno we made a quick stop to admire the high tide roost of Turnstones, super close views of these delightful birds. We also added another two species for our very impressive day list, a fine breeding plumaged Black Guillemot and three Great Crested Grebes in the bay here.

What a wonderful bird filled day, huge thanks to Steve and Ruth for their great company and we look forward to more birding adventures with them both.

Black Grouse May 2016 6

Beautiful Black Grouse just one of over 120 species you can enjoy with us in March.

We have two spaces, due to a cancellation, on our five day Best of North Wales tour 21 -25 March 2020 based at a lovely hotel in Trefriw, Conwy Valley. Lots of birds, superb scenery, great food and lots of fun await you. Come and join us!

We would love you to join us on our Birdwatching Trips, please see our tours pages and if you have any questions at all please fire away here….


We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds in beautiful places with you soon!

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