Back To The Uplands For More Wonderful Birds After An Early Start 14 May 2021

A wonderful male Black Grouse photographed by Sarah on the custom Birdwatching Trips tour.

We picked up Graham and Sarah from their home at 4.30am and headed for the moors, no rain this time but low cloud instead! One day we will have some good weather for sure just not this morning. Luckily the mist was not too dense and we could see the Black Grouse displaying and as always a wonderful experience to see and hear. Eleven male Black Grouse were strutting their stuff and now and then the mist lifted a little and the views were much better – the males are actually blue in good light not black and we all marvelled at this fantastic bird spectacle. A Skylark sang above us adding to the scene and it was odd to see a pair of Canada Geese wandering about amongst the grouse.

Gives you an idea of how grim the weather was at times - female Black Grouse taken by Sarah.

Further across the moor we soon came across a pair of Whinchat but again the mist made the views rather poor of these lovely little migrant birds. We also enjoyed wonderful views of Red Grouse including a pair in an open area where we could really enjoy these lovely native birds. Then we came across another grouse right on the side of the track which we first thought was another Red Grouse but as we crept closer and could see more detail we saw it was in fact a female Black Grouse! Wow! This was an amazing sighting we rarely see a female as they are so hard to spot blending in with the heather so well. Luckily the female Black Grouse was in no hurry and we had super views of this greyer bird than the Red Grouse we had just been watching.

Lovely to see the bluebells out in the woodlands despite the cold wet weather - by Sarah.

Dropping down off the moors we got below the worst of the mist though it was still murky. A Dipper posed for us on the edge of a fast flowing stream and stood so still we began to wonder if it stuffed! Most un-Dipper like behaviour, maybe he had just had a big breakfast? Then we heard a very exciting sound – the call of a Green Woodpecker! These wonderful birds are very rare in North Wales these days and strangely a species Sarah had asked about only that morning and we confidently told her sadly no chance. We scanned and scanned to try and locate the “yaffling” Green Woodpecker but despite it calling again a number of times we just could not see it, frustrating but great to know one was in the area.

Lower down again and we had the cute moment of the day – a female Mandarin duck floating down stream with three tiny fluffy chicks. First time we have seen youngsters here in North Wales and there was much “oowwwing and aaahhhing” as they whizzed along with their mum.

One of the gorgeous drake Mandarin we enjoyed lovely views of - photo by Sarah.

A superb breakfast, or was that lunch, was enjoyed and a huge thanks to Graham and Sarah for treating us it really tasted so good, that 3.30am alarm call can give you an appetite! We then enjoyed close views of four drake Mandarin on the river and good looks at Grey Wagtail and another Dipper.

We then headed up into an area of forest but the weather was still murky so not raptor weather on this occasion. But we were very lucky to see two Common Crossbills, well spotted by Graham, been very few of these big finches about in the forest recently. We also watched Siskins and Lesser Redpolls at close range always a delight. A Tree Pipit posed for us on a dead tree and Wheatears bounced about on the stone-walls.

As we headed for home we made one last stop and enjoyed really lovely views of a Whinchat and no mist to spoil the moment. Whinchat was a bird that Sarah had really hoped to see on the custom tour.

It was a really great fun day and huge thanks to Graham and Sarah for being so generous and that wonderful breakfast too! Really looking forward to enjoying lots more birds together in the Highlands of Scotland if not before.

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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