Moors Mere And More Birdwatching Trips Tour 25 February 2020

Snow Bunting 1 Great Orme October

Snow Bunting, not this one, was a surprise find today, one of 83 species enjoyed!

We picked up Louise and Vince from their Llandudno self-catering apartment at 5.30am and an hour later we were on the moors enjoying a fantastic wildlife spectacle. Seventeen male Black Grouse were performing their spectacular lek right in front of us, just amazing! These most gorgeous of birds were really fired up on this clear frosty morning and bubbling and gurgling away like crazy, what a fantastic sight and sound. We watched spell-bound for ages as these blue, black, red and white beauties strutted their stuff so close to us. Most of the display was for show as the birds puffed up their feathers and spread their lyre shaped tails, but every now and then they came to blows with a “thwack” of wing on wing! Few things in the natural world can compare with a Black Grouse lek in full flow on a beautiful morning in a wild landscape, we are so lucky to able to share the spectacle with our guests.

As the grouse wound-down we left them in peace but had not gone far when a small bird flew along the tack in front of the 4x4, a male Snow Bunting! An amazing bird up here on the moors, we had never seen or even heard of one in this area before. We had several views of this lovely white-winged bunting as it moved ahead of us before flying off to the right. A little further along and we watched several Stonechats and Skylarks first time this year we have seen these “summer” visitors up on the moors. We also enjoyed some fantastic views of Red Grouse and lots more Black Grouse in the sunshine, what a start to the day!

Moving to an area of conifer woodland we watched a large flock of Siskins in the tops of some larch trees and at least three Common Crossbills flew around but just would not land in view. Then we spotted a large bird flying towards just above the ridge opposite, Goshawk! This huge female showed superbly in the morning sunshine as it flapped slowly along, sometimes against the blue sky then against the orange of the dead bracken another real wow moment! We do love sharing Goshawk sightings with our guests they are just awesome raptors. A pair of Dipper gave lovely views, one bird on a waterfall, just how you want to see your Dipper, really close in a beautiful setting.

All this excitement had really given us an appetite and we headed off for a huge cooked breakfast which really hit the spot, many thanks Vince for treating us all, very kind.

The Long-billed Dowitcher at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands by @calkillikelly1 on Twitter.

Next we visited RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands on the Dee Estuary and as we drove along the entrance track we saw a Cattle Egret in a damp field with nine Little Egrets, great start. The car park was almost full, mid-week in February; obviously news of our Long-billed Dowitcher here yesterday had birders all heading here! From the reception hide we enjoyed plenty of birds including Great White Egret, three species of egret always nice during a day. We then walked down to the Inner Marsh Farm hide, seeing many people we knew on the way, in the hope of seeing “our” Long-billed Dowitcher. The hide was pretty full but birders were very polite and moved around to allow new arrivals a chance to view. The dowitcher was just to the right of the hide resting on the edge of the lagoon with a small group of Common Redshank. Through the telescopes we had frame filling views and were able to share these with other folks in the hide. Then the birds all flew and the Long-billed Dowitcher did several circuits of the pool, low over the water, before landing on the far side of the pool where we again enjoyed good views in the sunshine. It was wonderful to see so many people all enjoying this rare visitor, from North America, and chatting excitedly about the bird in the hide.

We headed back to the Reception Hide and added Avocet to our very impressive day list and met up with more friends, nothing like a rare bird to bring people together.

Driving back west we stopped at Rhos-on-Sea and had super close views of a Purple Sandpiper roosting on the seawall at high tide. Scanning off shore here produced a flurry of new birds for the day, Red-throated Diver, Shag, Common Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser and Common Guillemot.

Just time for a quick look at the Great Orme back in Llandudno, the Marine Drive was closed halfway round but the road was open two way up to the closure! So we had the weird experience of driving the “wrong” way round the headland on the way back. Two Peregrine Falcons showed nicely and lots of Fulmars were on the cliff ledges. Two drake Common Eider flew west along with a Kittiwake both new for our day list as was a very showy Rock Pipit just a few feet away! The views from the headland were impressive too and it was a lovely finish to a really great fun day. Huge thanks to Vince and Louise for their company and we hope to enjoy more birds with them in the future.

Hawfinch lo res

March in North Wales best for Hawfinch, above, Goshawk, Black Grouse and 120 more species!

We have two spaces, due to a cancellation, on our five day Best of North Wales tour 21 -25 March 2020 based at a lovely hotel in Trefriw, Conwy Valley. Lots of birds, superb scenery, great food and lots of fun await you. Come and join us!

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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