A Wonderful Day Guiding Our Best Of North Wales Birdwatching Trip

Thursday 13th February 2020

Black Guillemot

Black Guillemot just one of 80 species enjoyed on this tour!

We met first Jayne and then Heather at Llandudno West Shore at 8am and watched Ravens over the Great Orme as we chatted, good start. Just a few minutes-drive away we were watching Fulmars flying back and forth from the limestone cliffs of the Great Orme. On the sea here we watched Shags diving for fish and Red-throated Divers on the calm water. A small flock of Great crested Grebes were nice to see near the pier. Suddenly a Peregrine Falcon was speeding past us, wow, a spectacular bird and always a thrill to see. The falcon was carrying prey and worked hard to gain to height, allowing us plenty of time to watch it. Then a second Peregrine joined the first! Even better and we enjoyed wonderful views of both birds flying and perched above us. Through the telescopes we had frame filling views of these awesome raptors. The good birds kept coming as a Chough swooped along the cliffs, calling, and landed on a grassy slope below us! Rock Pipits whizzed around and a Grey Heron stood, perfectly reflected, in a rock pool. What a super start to the day!

A little further round the headland we watched lots of sea-birds, already back near their breeding cliffs. Lots of Razorbills and smaller numbers of Common Guillemots were on the calm sea below the cliffs, a reminder that Spring is not so far away. A few of the Common Guillemots were already on the ledges above staking an early claim to a nest site. We picked out one very smart full breeding plumaged Black Guillemot amongst its commoner cousins – a rare bird here so lovely to see. Up on the limestone pavement the weather had taken a turn for the worse, windy and wet, but we did watch a Stonechat before beating a retreat.

A short drive took us to RSPB Conwy where we visited two of the hides and then the coffee-shop. Plenty of birds to see on the lagoons, which held a lot of water after the terrible recent storms. Wildfowl included handsome drake Goldeneye throwing their heads in display, smart drake Teal and Wigeon along with beautiful Gadwall. Common Snipe blended into the water-side vegetation but through the telescopes we could see every gorgeous feather detail. Between the two hides we had the most amazing views of a Goldcrest, so close and very prolonged views of our smallest UK bird. Jayne fed a Robin on her hand – always such a lovely thing to do – the reserve seemed to be full of Robins. We also enjoyed wonderful views of five Bullfinches including three stunning males. Siskins fed in the alder trees close to the bridge pond before we headed off for welcome mugs of hot chocolate!

Next we visited the coast near Rhos-on-Sea and enjoyed wonderful close views of Purple Sandpiper. With the tide right in the views were amazing, the waves were splashing over the rocks just below us and the Purple Sandpiper jumped to avoid being swept into the sea! Offshore we watched Common Scoter, Red-breasted Mergansers, Great Crested Grebes and Red-throated Divers.

The morning had flown by and we had enjoyed so many wonderful birds! Lunch was enjoyed at Snowdonia Nursery, Glan Conwy before we headed off south down the Conwy Valley.

First stop was a lovely viewpoint overlooking the Conwy River and again the water-level was very high indeed. Plenty to see here – we watched Redwings and Mistle Thrushes in the trees, Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk soared over the ridge joined by Ravens. On the river two Lesser Black Backed Gulls were amongst the Herring and Black-headed Gulls, early migrants back already! A lot of Lapwing were flying around over the flood water looking stunning in the winter sunshine. A pair of Stonechats posed on a fence below our vantage point and a Goosander sailed up the river. Just as we were leaving three Hawfinch landed in the top of a dead tree and then dropped down into a large yew tree just over a wall. Just at that very moment a chap walked right under the very yew tree! No further sign of the birds sadly.

Next stop was by a fast flowing stream but no sign of the hoped for Dipper. We walked a little way along the stream and soon heard the distinctive “jink” call of a Dipper. This chubby little white-breasted bird shot past us low over the water and was gone! Wow, a real bit of luck to witness this brief appearance. We were just about to leave when “jink” had us looking again, the Dipper shot back past us closely followed by a second bird! Both Dippers landed and performed a display with one bird in particular “sky-pointing” wonderful to watch. A Red Kite circling over the valley here was yet another addition to our very impressive day list.

Hawfinch Roy de Hass

Hawfinch are always a real thrill to see - come and join us soon!

On again to an area of parkland near the River Conwy and we had literally just stepped out of the car when we saw Hawfinches! Three of these huge-billed finches were in the top of a bare tree, panic as we scrambled to set up the scopes. Luckily the birds were in the mood to show off and we had great looks as they moved around the tops of the trees here. So lucky to see Hawfinches a second time in one day, and a great finish to a super day out.

We returned Jayne and Heather to their cars and thanked them for their great company, we had enjoyed 80 species of birds! Amazing for a February day.


We have had two people cancel their places, due to medical problems, on our five day Best of North Wales Birdwatching Trips tour 21 - 25 March 2020. We will be looking for all the special birds that North Wales has to offer come and join us. Contact us now for a special deal as it is short notice. We know you will love this tour.

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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