Gentle Birdwatching Is Very Good For You Indeed Three Days In North Wales

Farm and snowy hills

We are so lucky in North Wales to have so many habitats in a small area - lots of birds!

When you have been through a tough time, mentally or physically or both, getting out into nature and seeing birds is good for you. One of our lovely friends had had a tough time and decided the best thing to help would be some “gentle birdwatching” and asked could we help. Of course we could and we planned three days of “gentle birdwatching” here in North Wales. No early starts on these three days the whole idea was to help our friend recover from a tough time so a 9.15am pick up from the hotel, a lovely lunch each day at local cafes and back to the hotel around 4.30pm having enjoyed wonderful birds in beautiful scenery.

On day one the weather was not very gentle with a gale force wind and very heavy rain showers. But not a problem we know the best places to enjoy birds even in far from perfect weather.

First stop was at Llanfairfechan where a shelter on the seafront allowed us complete protection from the wind and we set up the telescopes to scan the sea and beach. We were surprised to see Gannets offshore, not a regular sight off this coast in December and we enjoyed lovely views of these huge seabirds powering into the westerly wind along with a few Kittiwakes. On the sea Great Crested Grebes rode the waves and some Common Scoter bobbed up and down in the white capped water. Lots of Oystercatchers were on the beach hunkered down against the wind and Turnstone pottered about amongst the rocks. A female Goosander was a nice sighting on the small boating lake behind the beach.

We enjoyed wonderful close views of both Pale and Dark bellied Brent Geese.

West of Caernarfon a coast road follows the Menai Straits and here we could enjoy great looks at bird from the car without getting wet or cold at a very gentle pace. Brent Geese were feeding along the tideline mostly Pale-bellied Brent Geese, all the way from Arctic Canada, but we also picked out a few Dark-bellied Brent Geese amongst them, these birds breed in northern Siberia. We do not see many of the Dark-bellied Brents here in North Wales so really nice to compare the two types of Brent Goose at close range. A beautiful Grey Plover was also on the shore and what a delight to see this button-eyed wader so close to us along with Curlews, Oystercatchers and Turnstones. Offshore we watched Shags and Red-breasted Mergansers diving for fish.

Rock Pipit side view

It was great to enjoy really close views of Rock Pipits at Foryd Bay.

A little further west and we reached the tidal area of Foryd Bay, and again the road follows the coastline making for very gentle birding indeed. There were lots of birds out there, thousands of Wigeon were feeding and resting in a channel close to our position and amongst them we enjoyed watching beautiful Pintail and Shoveler. In the channel we saw Goldeneye diving and then noticed two Long-tailed Ducks also diving near the Goldeneye, wonderful. Though the Long-tailed Ducks spent lots more time under water than above water! Waders here included two Greenshank, lots of Common Redshank and Bar-tailed Godwits. A small pool on the opposite side of the road held lots of Eurasian Teal and a single Common Snipe.

At Dinas Dinlle we enjoyed a huge flock of Golden Plover on the wet fields and these stunning birds would suddenly lift up into the air and then cascade back down to earth – stunning! Lots of Lapwings here too on the grassland and a flock of some forty Dunlin were feeding around the pools in the fields. We then enjoyed a lovely lunch before doing retracing our route back alongside Foryd Bay and the Menai Straits. We were very lucky indeed to enjoy great views of a Merlin hunting along the shoreline a real pocket-rocket of a raptor and scattered small waders roosting by the road. A Rock Pipit showed amazingly well actually in the road and a one point almost walked under the car!

We stopped at Aber Ogwen on the way back to Llandudno and scanned the estuary from the car park enjoying lots of birds out on the mudflats and in the river channel. Lots of gulls were coming into roost as the light was fading but try as we might we could not pick out a rarity but well worth keeping an eye on this roost during the winter. We also watched two beautiful male Bullfinches in the bushes behind the beach – a species that always brings a smile such stunning birds.

We returned to Llandudno after a lovely day of “gentle birdwatching” enjoying some wonderful birds at a relaxed pace with lots of time to enjoy every bird. Our friend was already feeling so much better having enjoyed time watching birds in beautiful places, it works. Check back soon for more on gentle birdwatching.

Come and join us for a “Tour for Two” – very small group just two guests with two guides, tailor made itinerary, low risk in these COVID-19 times and of course lots of birds and an excellent chance of enjoying them all. Do drop us a line and we can make all the arrangements be it a day trip, two days, three day or as long a tour as you wish. Our recent Tours for Two have visited the Highlands of Scotland, North Wales, Norfolk and the Yorkshire coast and we are planning many more! Let us know where you would like to go and we can put together a proposal perfect for you.

We are so lucky to have so many species and habitats within easy reach here in North Wales we would love you to join us for one of our Best of North Wales Birdwatching Trips days out. We expect to enjoy a lot of birds during these relaxed pace tours and we can tailor make the day to suit you.

We would love you to join us on our Birdwatching Trips in the future just drop us a line to arrange a custom tour and please see our tours pages for set departure trips. 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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