A Wonderful Five Day Best Of North Wales Birdwatching Trips Tour 5 To 9 June 2021

A male Ring Ouzel was one of the 129 species of birds enjoyed on this fantastic tour.

We met Alison, Mandy, Tony and Colin at the Princes Arms Hotel in the Conwy Valley at mid-day on the 5th June, four guests as the Welsh Government guidelines only allow groups of six people to gather indoors. It was a lovely sunny afternoon and we sat outside chatting, getting to know everyone, and enjoyed some good birds right there including Red Kite and unusually for this location an Oystercatcher on the river just below us. There was real excitement when Alan spotted a Goshawk soaring over the woodland opposite the hotel a fantastic bird to see.

We enjoyed the best possible views of Northern Fulmars on the Great Orme.

We then had a lovely lunch before setting off on our first bird watching adventure, the Great Orme. At the first stop we had super close views of Fulmars both in flight and on the cliff ledges, Red-billed Chough swooped overhead, a Peregrine flew along the cliffs and landed giving us great views and a Black Guillemot was offshore – what a fantastic start to the tour. Further around the headland we watched the busy sea-bird city with thousands of Common Guillemots crowded on the ledges, Razorbills, more Black Guillemots and lots of Black-legged Kittiwakes. Rock Pipits and Stonechats gave us amazing close up views and a gang of Atlantic grey seals were hauled out on the rocks below the nesting sea-birds.

A short drive took us to RSPB Conwy where we added lots of birds to our already impressive afternoon total. A surprise here were a pair of Eurasian Wigeon, usually winter visitors to the reserve, along with Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Little Grebes and more. The afternoon had flown by and we headed back to the hotel for the first of four delicious dinners – we do love to enjoy great food along with the amazing birds on all our tours where possible. The conversation flowed all evening and it was so lovely to see everyone laughing and really enjoying the trip already.

Treecreeper 1

A Treecreeper was a lovely bird to enjoy on our pre-breakfast walk.

On the 6th of June we began with an optional pre-breakfast walk along the River Conwy right by the hotel and enjoyed a lot of birds. It was great have really good views of Garden Warblers a species that can be tricky to catch up with sometimes and Alison spotted a Treecreeper that also showed off. Totting up the list back the hotel we had enjoyed an amazing 35 species in less than hour before a wonderful breakfast.

South Stack

RSPB South Stack is always a real highlight on our "Best of North Wales" tours.

Full of freshly cooked food we headed over to the Isle of Anglesey and made for RSPB South Stack first as we thought the reserve might be very busy later in the day it being half-term school holidays. The car park was almost empty so the plan worked and we were soon enjoying wonderful birds. At the cliff top we stood and marvelled at the huge seabird city below us and soon picked out Atlantic Puffins amongst the masses of Common Guillemots and Razorbills. Further offshore we watched Gannets and Manx Shearwaters passing and we were then treated to amazing close up views of Red-billed Chough almost at arms-length and also enjoyed the carpets of wildflowers. One flower in particular was enjoyed the endemic spatulate fleawort found no-where else in the world!

Black Guillemot

What a stunning birds breeding plumaged Black Guillemots are.

At nearby Holyhead we had wonderful close up views of Black Guillemots in the sunshine, their amazing scarlet-red legs glowing against their black body plumage. Next we headed north to Cemlyn Lagoon where we enjoyed our picnic lunch overlooking the lagoon watching Red-breasted Mergansers and a very showy Sedge Warbler. From the shingle ridge we could enjoy really close views of the three species of tern that nest here – Sandwich, Common and Arctic. It is a real delight to watch these wonderful long distance migrants in such close up detail. Ruth picked out one of the very first Sandwich Tern chicks to have hatched this season and it was a very cute sight indeed.

Heading back across the island we stopped off at RSPB Cors Ddyga where Alison and Mandy spotted a Goldcrest in the hedge by the car park and we enjoyed lovely close looks at the UK’s smallest bird. Walking further into the reserve we enjoyed super looks at a hunting Marsh Harrier, beautiful Lapwings which Colin really loved as he is originally from the USA and had always wanted to see our Northern Lapwing and who wouldn’t? Skylarks sang above us in the blue sky as a Reed Bunting gave his simple song from a reed head what a wonderful sound scape to compliment the birds.

Back at the hotel we went through the days birds in the bar before another superb meal and found we had enjoyed 89 species on this one day alone and had a lot of laughs together a really lovely day.

On the 7th we took a very short drive into Trefriw village for our pre-breakfast walk and even before we had parked Tony spotted a Dipper – the very bird we had hoped to see – in the stream! Luckily this fantastic bird posed for us all to enjoy it such an amazing creature.

After breakfast we headed up into a forest area where we watched Common Redstart singing from a rowan tree, Mistle Thrushes, Stonechat, Jays and more before dropping down to a lovely oak woodland. In the oaks we scanned hard for Pied Flycatcher and at first drew a blank but we kept looking and our scanning was rewarded with a pair of these beautiful insect eaters taking food to their young. It was a real thrill to watch these wonderful birds at close range. Moving on again to an area of upland forest and again searched for a special bird this time Wood Warbler. We heard the bird giving its beautiful “spinning-coin” song but it took a little time to track down this gorgeous bird but we did and all enjoyed lovely looks. We enjoyed our picnic lunch still listening to the song of at least two Wood Warblers. We spent some time scanning for Goshawks but despite seeing so many Common Buzzards and a few Red Kites no luck on this occasion. Moving to a moorland area we looked for Whinchat and Wheatear, where we had seen them a few days earlier but no sign, we were more than compensated by fantastic views of a hunting Merlin. This pocket-rocket of a falcon was tearing over the heather chasing a Meadow Pipit and we were treated to an amazing flying display by both birds as they twisted through the air somehow the pipit evading the falcon, wow! As we dropped off the moor Tony spotted a Curlew and all had super looks at this sadly fast declining wader. But that didn’t prepare us for the next sighting – an Osprey, we had stopped to watch a beautiful Red Kite and then spotted the Osprey drifting over a wood and as we watched we were stunned to see a second bird join the first – two Ospreys what a way to end a bird filled day.

Whinchat male May 2015

Always lovely to see Whinchats in the uplands of North Wales such handsome birds.

On the 8th a pre-breakfast walk by the river from the hotel produced over thirty species of bird including the rather odd sight of a Cormorant being mobbed by Common Swifts not seen that before. After a delicious breakfast we headed up in altitude and we were soon watching Whinchats in the sunshine. These delightful summer visitors showed off along with Stonechats and many Meadow Pipits. A large flock of Rooks, birds we don’t usually see up at this altitude mobbed a Common Buzzard but no sign of the hoped for Ring Ouzel despite a lot of scanning of the rocky hillside. As we walked back to the minibus we kept scanning and then bingo! A superb male Ring Ouzel was seen on top of a stone-wall in the sunshine just fantastic. Luckily this mountain thrush was in the mood to show off and posed so we could all enjoy great looks in the Leica telescopes. We moved to a different upland area and as we climbed up we heard a Cuckoo calling and joked that it would be perfect to see one on one of the telegraph posts by the road. A few seconds later there was a Cuckoo on the wires right by the road just amazing! We all had a great look and then slowly crept closer and the bird just sat there, a second Cuckoo was calling from a nearby rowan tree and we had superb views of these delightful birds. The bird on the wire was rather brown on the chest, probably a female, and treated us to the best views ever dropping down to the ground and catching caterpillars before returning to the wire. Further up we enjoyed more Whinchats, singing Skylarks, Lesser Redpolls, Common Redstart and a brief look at a Sparrowhawk. Then on again into the mountains of Snowdonia where we enjoyed our picnic lunch in glorious weather surrounded by jaw-dropping scenery and we were able to watch Northern Wheatears and a four Red-billed Chough – so good.

Our lovely guests enjoying their pinic lunch in the stunning scenery of Snowdonia.

Dropping down to the coast we added three new species to our already impressive trip list – a gang of Common Eider were resting on a sand bank, several Common Gulls were feeding on the mudflats and eight Great crested Grebes were offshore the latter two species both very late to be here in June. We called in again at RSPB Conwy on the way back to the hotel but it was fairly quiet, back at the hotel we went through the bird list and were very pleased to discover we had enjoyed an impressive 83 species highlighting the diversity of North Wales for seeing birds.

But the day wasn’t over yet, after another wonderful dinner, we headed out into a nearby upland forest in the hope of a special bird. Scanning the heathland on the edge of the forest we heard and saw another Cuckoo always a treat but not the bird. Then a strange noise reached our ears the churring of a Nightjar! This was the bird we had come out to try and see. At least two Nightjars churred away and one bird flew low over the ridge against the sky wow what a wonderful bird to see! This was followed by a fly over Woodcock bringing the day total to a very satisfying 85 species of bird. We got back to the hotel around 11pm tired but thrilled with all the amazing birds we had enjoyed in a wonderful array of habitats all within thirty miles of our base.

The 9th of June was our last day of the Best of North Wales five day tour and we skipped the pre-breakfast walk as it had been such a long day the previous day. Breakfast was delicious as always and we then headed north to the Great Orme to again enjoy lots of seabirds. Common and Black Guillemots, Razorbills, Gannets, Kittiwakes and Fulmars all showed off. A pair of Red-billed Chough gave us super views feeding on a grass slope.

A bird that is hard to find, sadly, in North Wales the Spotted Flycatcher.

Next we headed to a small nature reserve near Conwy where the very first bird we saw was the one we hoped to see – Spotted Flycatcher. This scarce summer visitor was feeding around the car park and we had fantastic views. We were also able to watch a stunning male Pied Flycatcher while enjoying the Spotted not often we can watch two species of flycatcher at the same time. We enjoyed a walk through the woodland here and enjoyed spectacular views of Snowdonia and across to Anglesey. As we headed back to the hotel we made one more stop at Caerhun church where we had lovely views of the Conwy Valley and spectacular views of a Red Kite a lovely bird to finish one.

Back to the hotel where we enjoyed a lovely lunch before saying our goodbyes and everyone headed for home. A huge thank you to Alison, Mandy, Tony and Colin for their wonderful company and great sense of humours that made this a truly super enjoyable tour we look forward to more birds with them all in the future.

Our lovely group enjoying the last day of the trip again in beautiful scenery and great weather.

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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