A Super Day Birding With Peter And John 2 March 2020 North Wales

One of the very first birds we saw - a superb Peregrine Falcon!

We met up with our lovely friend Peter, and his great friend John in the evening of 1st March and enjoyed a lovely meal and chatted about plans for the following days birding. Huge thanks to Peter to treating us to a super meal at The Queens Head, Glanwydden.

As arranged we picked up Peter and John from their Llandudno hotel at 7.45am and even as we stood outside first a Sparrowhawk and then a Peregrine Falcon flew right over us, what a great start to the Birdwatching Trips tour. A few minutes drive and we were on the headland of the Great Orme gazing at Fulmars whizzing just above us and on the ledges of the limestone cliffs. We enjoyed frame filling views of these “tube-nosed” seabirds through the scopes in the morning sunshine. On the sea a pair of Common Eider bobbed about in the swell along with Common Guillemots, Great crested Grebes and Shags. Three Kittiwakes fed over the waves further out and two huge Great black backed Gulls stood on a rock below us.

The views of Chough on this Birdwatching Trips tour were just superb.

Distinctive calls had us turning back to the cliffs as two Chough swept in making their wonderful “cheeow” sound. Luckily these lovey corvids landed on the cliffs really close and allowed us just the best looks. We now know when the best time to see and photograph Chough is, early morning with a low sun catching them! It was even possible to get a dot in the eye of these superb crows, something that is usually very difficult as the plumage is so dense black. The Chough were really in the mood to show off, both flying and feeding all around us just breath-taking.

Things got even better with the appearance of a Peregrine Falcon, this ultimate bird of prey zoomed around the cliffs in the sunshine, really putting on a show. Often almost right above us we could every detail but we all held our breath as the falcon suddenly dived at the pair of Chough and all three were lost to our view below us! Tense wait as none of the three birds reappeared, then at last the Peregrine was spotted flying below us, thankfully no Chough attached! And soon after both Chough came swooping in landed back on the cliff above us, whew!

Further around the headland we enjoyed amazing close views of Rock Pipits and then four Black Guillemots and great looks at Ravens before setting off for Anglesey.

Peter and John had two activities planned for their visit to North Wales, a day’s Birdwatching Trips tour and to walk the south-west section of the Anglesey Coastal Path. The night before we had hatched a plan to visit Anglesey, the north-west part, and then drop the guys at their hotel in Beaumaris so they were ready for their walk on the coast path.

We again enjoyed lovely views of the first-winter Rose-coloured Starling.

We headed first for the village of Llanfaethlu in the hope that the Rose-coloured Starling would still be about. The sun was out but a really cold wind was cutting as we walked to the garden where the bird had been seen. A few other birders were on site and great to catch up with Martin, Leon and Margret, Roy and Rose but at first no sign of the Rose-coloured Starling. Luckily the rarity was soon located in a tree not far from its favoured garden. We all enjoyed great views of this fawn-coloured starling before it flew and was lost to sight behind a bungalow. We had a wander around in the hope of seeing the bird again and noticed a chap mowing his lawn, the mower was loud, the man was wearing ear-defenders so we knew the bird would not be there. How wrong can you be? Ruth spotted the Rose-coloured Starling on a small bird table just a few feet from the man with the very loud lawnmower, bonkers.

The flooded field at Valley held plenty of birds and the sunshine lit them up beautifully. Here we watched Wigeon, Shoveler and Teal along with five Black-tailed Godwits and a few Common Redshank. Just up the road at Beddmanarch Bay the tide was perfect for viewing the birds, Pale-bellied Brent Geese were really close to the parking area and plenty of waders too. Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Turnstone all showed off in the sunshine, further out we could see Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew and Oystercatcher all feeding on the fast disappearing mud. Scanning the bay we picked out two Slavonian Grebes on the choppy water with supporting cast of Great crested Grebes, Goldeneye and Shag. A large brown rat at the back of the car park was an addition to our mammal list!

We had quick look at Holyhead KFC restaurant in case the Hooded Crow was still about, we had seen it here a few days ago, but no, just Rooks. A brown rat ran down a grass bank and out into the road where was instantly squashed by a BMW sports car! Don’t think the driver or the rat knew much about it!

John, Alan and Peter chat about birds and enjoy the sunshine - so good!

A quick look at RSPB South Stack next, more to show John the scenery as it was his first visit to Anglesey, we knew there would not be many birds. It was really blowing on the cliff top but the views were amazing in the sunshine. A few Common Guillemots and Razorbills were on the rough sea just off the lighthouse but tricky to see well in the waves. A gang of Ravens really showed off, above and below us, they seemed to love the strong wind as they dived and rolled over on their backs “cronking” loudly, a wonderful display!

At nearby Treaddur Bay we quickly found eight Purple Sandpipers roosting in the lea of a sea-weed covered rock and enjoyed good views through the telescopes. But these tough waders were not really doing much and we were hungry so lunch at the Sea Shanty was next.

After our lovely, if rather late lunch, we headed south and stopped to watch masses of gulls following two ploughs in roadside fields – a wonderful sight. We scanned carefully through the huge numbers of gulls but could not pick out any unusual species but still a great sight to watch. At a lake we watched a gorgeous drake Goosander in smart breeding plumage and our first Little Grebes and Coots of the day. In the fields here we enjoyed lovely views of a mixed flock of Redwings and Fieldfares and a big flock of Skylarks.

Beautiful Short-eared Owl wowed us and Peter and John, what a bird!

We then visited another area where we scanned the heathland and waited. Buzzard, Kestrel, Raven and Stonechat all entertained us before Alan spotted the hoped for bird, a Short-eared Owl. This gorgeous bird was on the ground and with the telescopes we had great views. After a few minutes this amazing bird was up and flapping slowly over the heath, what a fantastic bird! We were all thrilled to witness this buff and black owl slowly patrolling back and forth. The Short-eared Owl landed again and we drove a short distance and again enjoyed frame filling views not far from the track, what a thrilling way to end a fantastic Birdwatching Trips tour.

The owl was always a little to far away for our humble camera but still superb to watch!

Of course that wasn’t quite the end we did take Peter and John to their hotel in Beaumaris and thanked them for their lovely, enthusiastic company and wished them good luck on their walk.

Black Guillemot

Handsome Black Guillemots are just one of the many birds you can enjoy with us in March.

We are so lucky to have so many birds and habitats within easy reach here in North Wales. In a five day trip you should enjoy at least 120 species of birds!

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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