Day Zero Custom North Wales Birdwatching Trips Three Day Custom Tour

Wendy Barry and Alan

The usual view of North Wales for Barry and Wendy, bit different this time!

Barry and Wendy have been joining us on our Birdwatching Trips since we began, ten years ago, so always lovely to welcome them back. The last few years Barry and Wendy have made an annual three day visit to North Wales in May and always been blessed with blue-sky and sunshine. This year they decided to have a change and sample some winter birding in North Wales and arrange a three day custom tour in February. Now Barry is a very keen and very experienced birder with a huge UK life list and loves to see lots of birds so we were a tiny bit nervous about their switch from May, the best month to be looking at birds in the UK, to February. Also our emails with Barry before the trip told of his recent adventures in Norfolk and at home in Bedfordshire where in 2020 he had already amassed a very impressive year list including such birds as Black-throated Thrush and Eastern Yellow Wagtail.

They arrived in Llandudno on Sunday the 16th February and checked into The Empire Hotel just along the road from us. Barry and Wendy rate the hotel as excellent and we joined them for meal one evening and certainly agree on the food front and the service was spot on too. It was after 3pm by the time they checked in and the tour didn’t officially start until the next day but they were here and Alan was free so we popped out for a little birding, why not?

Purple Sandpiper Rhos

Purple Sandpiper at Rhos-on-Sea one of "the" most wanted birds.

Well the weather was very different from that Barry and Wendy usually experience with heavy showers and gale force winds battering Llandudno. It was high tide so we decided to look for Purple Sandpiper, one of Barry’s target birds for the trip, at Rhos-on-Sea. The sea was rough but some sheltered water off the west end of the prom and new birds came quickly – three Red-throated Divers rode the swell and a Kittiwake swooped over the breakers, both new for Barry’s year list. We checked the spot where we had seen Purple Sandpiper a few days earlier but no joy. Local birdwatcher Dave Williams came over and told us the birds were a little further along the sea-defences, thanks Dave. After walking right past them in the gale force winds, twice, we finally spotted them hiding behind a boulder, just the top of their heads visible. Luckily the rising tide soon pushed them further up the rocks and we enjoyed frame filling views of these delightful waders. As we looked up from watching the sandpipers we saw a dense black cloud rushing along the coast towards us, we dashed back to the car and leapt in just with a split second to spare as a hail storm struck! It was bouncing off the car and the pavement and poor souls that were parked further away were being hammered!

Chough pair flight Gt Orme

We are so lucky to be able to watch Chough just minutes from home!

We then headed to the Great Orme in the hope of seeing Fulmars, another target bird, but none on the cliffs sadly. At least it was sheltered here and we watched Shags and Common Guillemots on the calm sea below the magnificent cliffs. Rock Pipits showed off and another new bird for the 2020 list. Then loud calls had us spinning around to see two Chough swoop in and land on the cliffs just above us! Wow! So lucky and certainly one of the most wanted birds for the trip. Very happy with our first hour and a half of birding we headed back to the hotel. We all enjoyed a lovely meal in the evening and made plans for the coming three days of “official” birding. Please check back soon for days one to three of this custom Birdwatching Trips tour.

We would love you to join us on our Birdwatching Trips, please see our tours pages and if you have any questions at all please fire away here….

We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds in beautiful places with you soon!

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