Best Of North Wales Five Day Tour Day Four 5 March 2019

Black Grouse May 2016 6

One of THE birds to see displaying male Black Grouse, awesome!

An early start, on day four of our tour as we headed for the moors, to look for some very special birds indeed. After a first breakfast we left the hotel and drove up on to the moors, we knew just the spot and within seconds of stopping we were all enjoying the wonderful spectacle of displaying Black Grouse! We set up the telescopes and had frame filling views of these most stunning grouse. All males, we rarely see females at the “lek” this early in the season they were showing off strutting their stuff and making wonderful noises. This is one of nature’s most amazing spectacles and everyone should see it at least once. As we watched the sun crept down the hillside and lit up the Black Grouse making them look even better if that was possible? Their necks were beautiful royal-blue and the red “comb” over the eye just glowed in the morning sun, wow, wow! Not only Black Grouse here, as we soaked up the spectacle Red Grouse called their “go-back, go-back” calls and we saw two fine males in the heather looking stunning in the sunshine, very special birds indeed. We enjoyed drinks and snacks on the moor before heading down.

Red Grouse male June 2017 2

We also enjoyed wonderful views of Red Grouse on the moors.

At RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands reserve we enjoyed more coffee, always welcome after our early start. A mass of birds were on the man-made pools in front of the reception hide, a real case of where to look first. A flock of sixty Avocets were right in-front of us looking wonderful in the sunshine. A Marsh Harrier drifted over the pools causing mass panic amongst the masses of wildfowl and wader, luckily soon calming down again. Pink-footed Geese were feeding at the back of the pools and Paul spotted three Egyptian Geese beyond them. Back on the pools we watched Shoveler, Gadwall, Teal, Wigeon and lots of Black-tailed Godwits. A single Ruff joined one of the flocks of Black-tailed Godwits and a Spotted Redshanks strode through the shallow water.

Ruff Oct Titchwell

Ruff were feeding amongst hundreds of Black-tailed Godwits.

A short walk us down to the Marsh Covert hide and here we watched a lovely Great White Egret amongst a gang of Grey Herons. We were very pleased to see five Spotted Redshank, on the pool here, feeding amongst a flock of Common Redshank. A stoat shot past the hide at high speed always great to see this wonderful mammal.

We walked on to the Inner Marsh Farm hide, seeing a Cetti’s Warbler briefly on the way, and enjoyed lots more birds in great light. Again Black-tailed Godwits were showing very well along with lots of Lapwing and small numbers of Dunlin. Two Golden Plover were picked out amongst the Lapwings; we were delighted to see these lovely waders as we thought we had missed these.

Everyone loves owls and we enjoyed fantastic views of Short-eared Owls on this tour.

We moved on down to nearby Burton Marsh where it was pretty windy but we did see a nice “ring-tail” Hen Harrier, distant Marsh Harrier and a Peregrine. Time for lunch! We had a lovely lunch at Ness Gardens and then drove north to Parkgate Marsh on the Dee Estuary. Here we scanned the huge marsh and soon spotted a Short-eared Owl far out in the grass, no sooner spotted than the owl moved out of sight, frustrating. We scanned some more, a “ring-tail” Hen Harrier was spotted low over the marsh and this rare raptor put on a superb display back and forth over the marsh a real thrill to watch. Hen Harriers are sadly much rarer than they should be due to illegal persecution on Driven Grouse Moors, a scandal of our times. A Great White Egret flapped over the marsh and landed in view, at one point being in the same telescope view as a Little Egret. Two Merlins then flew across our view, wonderful “pocket-rocket” raptors and hard to follow they moved so fast! One of the Merlin landed in view way out on the marsh but even in the Leica telescopes it was a rubbish view! Alan then spotted another Short-eared Owl amazingly close in the grass, had it been there all along? Presumably it had, we turned the telescopes on this wonderful bird and we enjoyed great looks. But it got better; suddenly the owl was in the air in the sunshine and coming even closer! Wow! What a wonderful view of Short-eared Owl as it slowly flapped past us, just breath-taking, it then landed again to our left in almost full view and cameras were in over-drive. As we watched the owl a gorgeous Red Kite flew low over-head another wow moment. Time to head for home, what a wonderful day!

This particular Short-eared Owl was in the mood to show off, wonderful bird!

Back at the hotel we went through the check-list and found we had enjoyed 83 species of bird, brilliant, and what quality.

Check back soon for more blogs about our Best of North Wales Birdwatching Trips. Our next one, 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!

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!

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