Hen Harrier Icing On A Great Day Best Of North Wales 30 June 2018

Whinchat male May 2015

We enjoyed wonderful views of Whinchat in the sunshine.

The date had been in the diary for a long time, Jill and Dick had booked Saturday 30th June for a Best of North Wales day trip. Only when the date got closer did we realise it clashed with “National Armed Forces Day” a huge event being held right here in Llandudno with masses of people expected and many road closures! A cunning plan was needed, luckily Jill and Dick were very flexible and readily agreed it would be a good idea to leave town early. So at 6am we picked them up, pre-breakfast, from Stella House Guest, but our plan immediately hit problems! We had intended on starting with some birding on the Great Orme just around the corner, but the access road was closed, thankfully a very helpful Policeman allowed us through, whew!

We had not gone far when we stopped to look for birds on this wonderful limestone headland and what great timing, two juvenile Peregrine Falcons were putting on an amazing flying display right above us! Wow they were just breath-taking and just as good as the Red Arrows due later! The two young birds were joined by their dad and we marvelled at these turbo-charged raptors.

Further round the headland we watched Black Guillemots on the clam sea in the glorious morning sunshine. Lots of other seabirds here too, Common Guillemots, Razorbills, Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Shags, Cormorants and a flock of Common Scoter flew west. A wonderful start to our day and all just round the corner from home.

We then headed into the hills before it got too hot, not a cloud in the sky and the sun was rising quickly. Soon we were enjoying wonderful views of Whinchats in a spectacular setting, surrounded by magnificent mountains. One of the many joys of birding in North Wales, so many varied habitats in a small area and lots of birds in them! Stonechats and Skylarks were also enjoyed and a Reed Bunting sang his simple song. Next up was probably bird of the day, a simple fantastic male Hen Harrier! This grey, white and black raptor appeared from nowhere and sailed along a ridge above us just brilliant. Luckily this most spectacular of birds of prey soared against the blue sky and we enjoyed great views through the Leica telescopes. A thrilling encounter, and made so much more special by the scenery we saw the harrier in.

Dropping down in altitude we watched Dipper and Grey Wagtail at the same spot before our hunger got the better of us. The snacks we enjoyed up in the hills had kept us going but now we needed a real meal and we knew just the place for a super full breakfast. Jill and Ruth went in to order as Dick and Alan got a table outside in the sun and couldn’t wait for the food to arrive. But oh no! No breakfast was available disaster! A big party had just ordered and it would be an hour wait, we made do with toast, gutted!

Luckily the rest of the day went very well and we enjoyed lots more birds in more wonderful scenery. Common Redstarts wowed us, Wheatears showed off, we enjoyed Eider and Goosander back on the coast and finished the day at RSPB Conwy. Here we were treated to a great selection of waders for June including Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Common Snipe. We also enjoyed tea and cake in the coffee shop, we were the only customers on a Saturday afternoon!

A really great day finished off with a fun dinner with Jill and Dick in a very busy Llandudno. We do hope we can enjoy more birds together soon. To arrange your day out please email us here….


We look forward to sharing great birds in wonderful places with you.

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