Best Of North Wales Five Day Tour Day Five 6 March 2019

Hawfinch Roy de Hass

What a wonderful start to our last day, six Hawfinch showing well!

Our last day of our five day Best of North Wales Birdwatching Trip, today the tour finished after lunch at the hotel. We awoke to torrential rain, not good at all. Despite the down pour we tried some pre-breakfast birding from the porch of the hotel, not surprisingly, not much to see though we did watch Nuthatch and Long-tailed Tit on the feeders. Another very tasty breakfast went down very well indeed and then we headed out. Luckily the rain had just about stopped, whew! A short drive and we parked near the Conwy River and as we were all getting out Alan spotted a Hawfinch, our target bird here! Not one, there were six of these bull-necked massive-billed finches in a bare tree showing off, wow! We quickly had the Hawfinches in the telescopes and everyone had superb views as the finches moved around in the tree tops. What a fantastic start to our last day.

Red breasted Merganser drake

Drake Red-breasted Mergansers are really funky looking birds!

Next stop was a viewpoint overlooking RSPB Conwy where we set up the telescopes and scanned the lagoons and adjacent estuary. Lots of birds here! It was high tide so many birds had been pushed off the estuary and onto the reserve. Waders included Black-tailed Godwit, Oystercatchers, Redshanks and Curlews. Wildfowl were well represented too with Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Gadwall and Shoveler. A Sparrowhawk flew in landed in a tree; Brain was very pleased as he had missed the previous ones we had encountered.

Shag Hornoya 2015

Shags nest on the cliffs of the Great Orme at Llandudno.

On again to the Great Orme where it was sheltered and felt warm in the weak sunshine, this was more like it! Turnstones were roosting on the rocks just below us lovely to have such good views. A Red-throated Diver was fairly close in and through the telescopes we enjoyed great views. We watched a pair of Peregrines high on the cliffs where lots of Fulmars were coming and going. As we watched these birds we spotted a male Wheatear on the cliff top, wonderful to see our first of the Spring. Luckily the improved weather meant that the seabirds were back on the main nesting cliffs and we enjoyed a lot of birds here. Hundreds of Common Guillemots were shoulder to shoulder on the cliff ledges. Many Razorbills were on the sea below the cliffs and three lovely Black Guillemots amongst them. Lots of Kittiwakes were also on the cliffs along with Cormorants and Shags. Further offshore we watched Gannets diving for fish and a flock of Common Scoter resting on the calm sea.

Heading back to the hotel we had time for one more stop, at the viewpoint overlooking the Conwy River by a beautiful church. Sadly, the weather had reverted to dawn type, pouring rain, yuck. We gave it a go, using a large umbrellas to keep the rain off the telescopes. Our persistence was very well rewarded a gorgeous male Hen Harrier was on a log below the church! We could hardly believe our eyes, such a wonderful bird to finish the trip on.

Back to the hotel for a lovely lunch and to tot up the final checklist, on our last half day we had seen an amazing 74 species and this brought the total for the trip to 123 species, very happy with that.

Mandarin March 2017 1

Mandarin ducks are very scarce in North Wales so a lovely surprise to finish on.

As everybody was getting ready to leave we added one more species! A pair of Mandarin duck on the River Conwy below the hotel superb! So adjusted the totals to 75 and 124, even better!

Huge thanks to Val, Paul, Wilf, Ray, Brian and Rita for their wonderful company, enthusiasm and good humour and we look forward to enjoying more birds with them in the future. Also huge thanks to Lyndsay and Anne at the Princes Arms for looking after us all so well and all the delicious food!

Check back soon for more blogs about our birding adventures and Birdwatching Trips. Our next five day North Wales tour, in May, is already fully booked but we do have space on our September tour – peak migration time!

Come and experience North Wales for yourself and enjoy the wonderful variety of birds, the beautiful scenery, great food and great fun!

See the latest issue of Birdwatching Magazine for lots more about North Wales and a wonderful reader holiday that you can join, with us, here in North Wales.

We would love you to join us on our Birdwatching Trips please email us here to book your tour or for more information….

We look forward to sharing amazing birds and wildlife with you soon!

Just some of the highlights we enjoyed on this five day "Best of North Wales" Birdwatching Trip...

Red-throated Diver, Slavonian Grebe, Great crested Grebe, Fulmar, Shag, Gannet, Great white Egret, Little Egret, Whooper Swan, Pink-footed Goose, Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Eygptian Goose, Pintail, Mandarin, Common Eider, Common Scoter, Scaup, Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander, Red Kite, Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Goshawk, Peregrine, Merlin, Avocet, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Knot, Ruff, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Purple Sandpiper, Black Grouse, Red Grouse, Short-eared Owl, Kittiwake, Mediterranean Gull, Common Guillemot, Razorbill, Black Guillemot, Skylark, Rock Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Cetti's Warbler, Dipper, Stonechat, Redwing, Nuthatch, Chough, Raven, Hooded Crow, Hawfinch, and a the first Spring migrants - Wheatear, Sand Martin and Chiffchaff! Come and join us in September for "The Best of North Wales" at peak migration time.

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