A Tour For Two Tour With A Difference A Photographic Trip 1 to 3 June 2021




We are so lucky to have Red-billed Chough so very close to home here in Llandudno - library photo.



We love running our “Tours for Two” Birdwatching Trips as this custom format allows us to tailor the trip perfectly for our guests. Ian and Virginia had booked a three day “Tour for Two” and as Ian is a very accomplished bird photographer they had asked for a tour that allowed plenty of photo opportunities and of course we were very happy to oblige.


The views of Fulmars on the Great Orme were frame-filling - library photo.



Ian and Virginia were staying at the Stella Guest House right here in Llandudno so ideal for pick up and drop offs. On day one we started just a few minutes from the B&B on the Great Orme and enjoyed great birds right away. Fulmars were back and forth above us and Ian was busy taking flight shots and birds on the cliff ledges, a Rock Pipit posed right next to us, a Common Whitethroat proved a trickier subject as it just would not sit still but with perseverance great photos were obtained. A Peregrine showed off, both in flight and on the cliffs high above us, always a thrill to see this spectacular bird of prey. Next a pair of Red-billed Chough swooped along the cliffs calling loudly and Ian was quick on the draw to take some lovely flight shots. Luckily the Chough stayed around though not always close and we enjoyed a number of sightings of these scarce corvids. Two juvenile Ravens “played” in the air above us really putting on a marvellous show of their new found flying skills a real treat to watch.

Further around the headland we watched the busy seabird colony with Common Guillemots, Razorbills, Cormorants, Shags and Black Guillemots all breeding here. Atlantic grey seals were hauled out on the rocks below the sea-bird city – so much to see here! A pair of Stonechats with a recenty fledged juvenile showed off just below us in the glorious sun shine and some cracking photos were taken of these beautiful birds. Another pair of Chough flew in and landed on the cliffs above us.

Up on the limestone pavement area of the Great Orme Ian was able to get close to a Chough feeding on the short turf and more great photos were in the bag. Lots more Stonechats here too along with Meadow Pipits and fantastic views across Snowdonia and Anglesey – what a wonderful start to the three day tour for two.

Whinchat male May 2015

Whinchat was one of the species on Ian's hit list for photography - library photo.



We then headed inland and up in altitude for a complete change of birds and habitats. Ian had a list of birds he hoped to photograph and it was great to find several on the list up here in the beautiful mountains of the Snowdonia National Park. We watched Whinchats and Lesser Redpolls at close range, both target birds, more Stonechats, listened to a reeling Grasshopper Warbler that stayed stubbornly out of sight, two brief views of a Hen Harrier were frustrating but Red Kite and Kestrel showed off. We enjoyed wonderful views of Skylarks and great photos were taken as a Cuckoo called in the distance. As we dropped down a stunning male Common Redstart posed for ages and a Tree Pipit popped up along with even more Stonechats. What a fantastic mix of birds and habitats to kick-off our three day “Tour for Two”.

On day two we headed for Anglesey and made an early start, leaving Llandudno at 7am, another big advantage of a custom tour – flexible start and finish times. We had left early to be over at RSPB South Stack for great morning light and before the reserve got too busy, the plan worked perfectly. So many seabirds to enjoy in perfect weather – sunshine but not too hot and sheltered below the cliffs – masses of Common Guillemots on the ledges along with hundreds of Razorbills, about a dozen Atlantic Puffins, small numbers of Fulmars and Kittiwakes while offshore we added Manx Shearwaters, Gannets and Shags. Chough were again a feature and we soaked up the views of these most wonderful crows. Chough feeding amongst the sea pinks against a blue sea in the sunshine has to be one of the real joys of summer on Anglesey. The endemic plant, Spatulate Fleawort, was also in flower along the cliff top along with a riot of other flowers what a beautiful place to enjoy fantastic birds. As we returned to the car the area was getting very busy indeed and we were all very glad we had gone for the early start.

At nearby Holyhead we watched the very smart Black Guillemots before heading north to Cemlyn Lagoon. We enjoyed our picnic lunch overlooking the lagoon where lots of terns were nesting on the islands. We picked out a first summer Mediterranean Gull on one of the islands and enjoyed super views of a singing Sedge Warbler. Food done we walked out on to the shingle ridge for close views of the tern colony and of course lots of photos. The majority of the birds were Sandwich Terns and we enjoyed frame filling views of these black-billed terns with that distinctive “dipped in mustard” yellow tip to the bill. Plenty of Arctic Terns here too and again really close up views were enjoyed including some white-headed first summer birds. Smaller numbers of Common Terns were enjoyed along with the Sandwich and Arctic’s and plenty of nesting Black-headed Gulls. A walk on the west side of the lagoon gave us views of Common and Lesser Whitethroat, Reed Buntings, Sedge Warblers and Sand Martins. A wonderful day with huge numbers of birds enjoyed.

Pied Flycatcher 2 male April 2015

Pied Flycatcher a real North Wales "classic" species and we enjoyed super views - library photo.



Day three, our last day, of our “Tour for Two” and again we had an early start at 7am for some pre-breakfast birding at nearby at RSPB Conwy. It was rather cool and windy so not as many birds as usual in view at the reserve. But of course still lots to enjoy and we added a good number of new birds for the trip – a pair of Little Grebes were busy building a nest, a Cetti’s Warbler was actually seen not just heard, a real surprise was a very unseasonal Wigeon on the second lagoon, Curlew were out on the estuary. Then back to the B&B for breakfast, out again at 10am and we headed south down the Conwy Valley. In an upland forest it was cool and windy and very few birds were singing or showing but we did see Garden Warbler, Blackcap and Willow Warbler and at a second stop singing Common Redstart and Jay. We dropped down where it was a little warmer and less windy and after a good search enjoyed super views of Pied Flycatchers and Ian was able to take some super shots. A Wood Warbler sang and called in the same area but didn’t show.


We had lovely views of Northern Wheatear in the uplands - library photo.



We then moved on to another upland area where we enjoyed our, late, picnic lunch and watched Siskins and Lesser Redpolls in the sunshine. Driving over a moorland area Ruth spotted a large raptor ahead of us and we were thrilled to see it was an Osprey! It was then a case of follow that bird! We nipped along the minor road trying to keep the bird in view finally getting pretty close to this magnificent raptor. Ian bailed out and managed to take some great photos of the Osprey before it slowly flapped off over a ridge – a thrilling encounter. Just along the road we stopped to watch a Northern Wheatear, first one of the tour, and we watched this lovely bird feeding from a fence line and were thrilled to see a Whinchat fly in on to the same fence – two beautiful birds to photograph. On the way back to Llandudno we stopped to watch a stunning male Common Redstart and two stops for Curlew the second of which allowed wonderful views and gave us a glorious audio experience too with that hairs on the back of the neck bubbeling song what a way to finish a tour.

Many thanks to Ian and Virginia for their wonderful company over the three day “Tour for Two” enjoying great birds in beautiful places, come and join us.

Of course a wonderful way to see more birds is to join one of our Birdwatching Trips and learn a lot about the birds you are enjoying too. We have tours suitable for all from beginners to experienced birders that are seeking particular species. Just drop us a line here and we can arrange a perfect custom tour for you!

info@birdwatchingtrips.co.uk

We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds with you as soon as it is safe.





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