Back to our local patch North Wales For Great Birds

Ring Ouzel male May 2015

Ring Ouzels are always a thrill to see and in spectacular scenery too.

After a very successful three week custom tour, for a group of four American guests, around the UK we were back in Llandudno. We had four consecutive days of local guiding lined up and it was great to be seeing our wonderful local birds again.

On 13th May we took out Hywel and Ann, we met at Llandudno West Shore at 8am and a few minutes later we were in the sunshine on the Great Orme. As we stepped from our 4x4 a pair of Peregrines appeared right above us! Wow! The falcons put on a wonderful display and amazingly as we watched them four Chough flew onto the cliff right next to us. Where to look! The Chough were calling and chasing each other and at one point the male Peregrine dived at the red-billed crows, just breath-taking stuff. We enjoyed the breeding seabirds on the cliffs of the Orme, getting our breath back, including lovely looks at Black Guillemots. Next we called in at RSPB Conwy where we enjoyed a lot of birds in the sunshine, a Great crested Grebe on its nest, a pair of Teal and four Curlew all great to see.

Whinchat male May 2015

Our uplands are home to small numbers of Whinchats, lovely birds.

Heading into the hills, still in lovely sunshine, we listened to Skylarks singing above us, Whinchats on gorse bushes, Cuckoo called and best of all a superb male Hen Harrier showed off. What a thrill to this superb, rare, bird of prey in a beautiful wild mountain setting, it doesn’t get better. We did really well for raptors as Ruth spotted an Osprey soaring over the same valley, an amazing record here!

On the 14th May we met John and Chris at Llandudno and again we were lucky with Peregrines on the Great Orme and had super views. The seabird colony was busy and the morning light was perfect to enjoy them. On top of the headland we were lucky to encounter three Chough, while we enjoyed the amazing views of Snowdonia and Anglesey. The hills were stunning again bathed in sunshine but the raptors were shy on this occasion. Whinchats did show alongside Stonechats and Wheatears.

After lunch we birded an area of woodland and enjoyed Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Wood Warbler, Tree Pipit and a lovely Dipper on the stream here. Back into the mountains and after some scanning a cracking male Ring Ouzel in the Leica telescope – what a wonderful bird. One last stop back on the coast where we added Eider and Gannet to our very impressive day list.

On 15th and 16th May we took out Herb and Sylvia, two American birders staying here in Llandudno. On the 15th we visited Anglesey and on the 16th mainland sites. Day one was a little murky at first and looking towards Anglesey it looked grim so a change of plan. Stopping at Aber Ogwen, on the mainland, we were soon enjoying great views of Eider, Goosander and Whimbrel. Alan phoned a friend and the answer was good, sunny on the north coast of Anglesey, back to plan “A”.

Herb mentioned Lapwing was his number one most wanted bird, a few minutes later we were enjoying Lapwings at Malltraeth as Skylarks sang above and Swifts zoomed overhead. A Pink-footed Goose here was a real surprise. At RSPB South Stack we soaked up the seabird spectacle in warm sunshine including Puffins, always a thrill to watch. After a lovely lunch we visited Cemlyn where we watched Sandwich, Common and Arctic Terns with Dunlin feeding alongside them. A Black Guillemot in the bay was nice bonus and we had great views of Ringed Plover on the beach. At Valley Lakes we boosted the list nicely including Great crested Grebes and Pochard, both species our American guests were keen to see. Over 80 species enjoyed at a relaxed pace and mostly in sunshine.

On the 16th Herb and Sylvia opted for a later start so we picked them up at 9.30am from their seafront hotel. The weather wasn’t great with low cloud and a bit of drizzle so we headed for RSPB Conwy. Here the hides provided shelter and good views of lots of birds. A few surprises with a Bar-tailed Godwit and a Common Sandpiper. We also enjoyed a singing Garden Warbler, a lovely songster but boy was it hard to see! Eventually Alan spotted it and we all had good views in the Leica telescope.

With the cloud still low we didn’t head for the hills as planned but birded at low level in the Conwy Valley. Sylvia was thrill that we visited Caerhun 13th century church as she loves history. Unfortunately the Hawfinch chose the moment that both our guests were inside the church to show! But we did see Stock Doves and a lovely singing male Redstart. After a lovely lunch we watched Pied Flycatcher and Dipper before seeing Tree Pipit further along the river. With the cloud finally lifting we headed for the hills and enjoyed Wheatear, Ravens and Kestrel but could not see a Ring Ouzel. We kept scanning and scanning. Alan finally saw a male, but frustratingly the bird dropped behind a ridge. We moved our position and scanned, then bingo! Male Ring Ouzel on top of a boulder showing off, whew. Happy we headed back to Llandudno.

We now packing our bags, for our annual Birdwatching Trip to Finland and Norway. Here we will enjoy some 200 species including lots of owls and woodpeckers. We will do our best to keep posting blogs about our adventures.

For details of all our tours please email us here....

We have just posted details of a new tour – Birdwatching Trip to Morocco in April in 2019.

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