A Very Early Start For A Custom Birdwatching Trips Day In The Uplands 13 May 2021

Black Grouse May 2016 2

Black Grouse - simply superb birds and always such a thrill to see!

A 4.30am start from Llandudno and we picked up Helen from her home for a custom tour of the Welsh uplands. Helen had asked if we could look for grouse, hence the very early start. As we climbed up on to the moors it began to rain and it was cold just 4C, not like May should be!

Luckily the poor weather did not deter the Black Grouse and we enjoyed superb views of eleven males at a lek where they put on a fantastic display. This really is a true bird spectacle that has it all – superb looking birds, crazy calls and violence! The male Black Grouse strut about making bizarre bubbling sounds interspersed with “kerrrwickkk” calls and charge each other occasionally coming to blows and all played out on a moorland at dawn just how good is that?

Red Grouse pair

We also enjoyed wonderful views of Red Grouse - the early start well worthwhile.

Nearby we enjoyed wonderful close looks at Red Grouse such a wonderful bird and the males looking impressive with their scarlet red “combs” over their eyes. We also enjoyed watching both Stonechats and Whinchats and listening to the glorious songs of Skylarks. On the edge of the moor we were treated to a wonderful encounter with a Cuckoo. After hearing one call on several occasions but not managing to see it one finally landed in full view! Luckily this recently arrived migrant from Africa was in the mood to pose and sat on a dead branch for ages calling out his name. We had plenty of time to get the bird in the telescope and soak up frame filling views. Lower down we enjoyed wonderful long looks at a very confiding Dipper before tucking into a wonderful full breakfast – eaten outside of course due to COVID-19 restrictions. Now full of great food we watched some stunning drake Mandarin ducks on the nearby river such bonkers barmy looking birds. Helen took some wonderful photos of these stunning birds.

We then headed into an area of upland forest and looked for Wood Warbler a species Helen had not seen before. We heard one all most at once and took a trail that headed towards the song. But the warbler was happy to sing but would not show itself remaining hidden in the dense woodland. We did enjoy great looks at a pair of Goldcrests and a lovely Treecreeper before moving a short distance to another area of woodland. Here we again quickly heard a Wood Warbler singing and after some fleeting glimpses we enjoy wonderful views of this stunning little bird. A viewpoint next and we scanned for raptors seeing a good few Common Buzzards before we heard loud raucous calls from a belt of pine trees close by, we recognised the sound – a Goshawk and an unhappy one these were alarm calls. We scanned the forest but could not see a bird, the calls came again and again and then suddenly two birds burst from the pines, a Buzzard being pursued by a Goshawk! Wow! Both birds were moving very fast so we didn’t have long to enjoy the chase but what an amazing thing to witness. A few minutes later a female Goshawk cruised low over the trees and slipped into the canopy and was gone. Exciting bird watching indeed!

Siskin on feeder

Siskins are stunning little finches and we saw a lot on this custom tour.

We enjoyed lots more birds in the forest including great views of Tree Pipit, Lesser Redpolls and Siskins before heading back to drop Helen off at home. A really wonderful day with some really superb birds enjoyed, We hope we can have more days out together soon.

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!


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

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