Targeting Some Special Birds On Day Three Of Custom North Wales Tour

Hawfinch Roy de Hass

The H bird was well and truly enjoyed before breakfast - what a wonderful bird.

We picked up Andrew and Bryan from their Llandudno hotel at 6.45am and we headed south down the Conwy Valley. Bryan had long wanted to see a Hawfinch and this was one of the main reasons he had joined Andrew on this special three day “Best of North Wales” Birdwatching Trips tour. Now was the time to try for the bogey bird, could we find a Hawfinch. We walked along a narrow lane scanning the tree tops, yews and beech trees here both loved by the “H” bird as it had become known. We added Song Thrush and Goldcrest to the impressive trip and then wonderful views of Red Kite also new. Then Alan heard the sharp metallic tick call of a Hawfinch! Adrenalin surge, one was close, but where was it? Then two Hawfinches flew low over-head but kept flying away, oh yes and oh no! We had seen two “H” birds but only briefly. Over the next fifteen minutes or so we brief flight views and even briefer perched views of at least nine Hawfinches but they were proving hard to get good looks at. Then at last Andrew spotted one right on top of a fir tree pretty close and amazingly it just sat there! We all had time to get the three telescopes set up and enjoy prolonged views of this beautiful brute of a finch, fantastic! Bryan was so thrilled, grinning from ear to ear, finally he had seen the “H” bird and really well! Now we needed to find Andrew’s most wanted bird, Goshawk.

We made a couple of quick stops on the way back to the hotel including the viewpoint overlooking RSPB Conwy where we boosted our day list with wildfowl, waders, grebes and gulls, including Black-tailed Godwit and fine drake Goldeneye. Then breakfast back at the hotel, what a fantastic start to the third day of this custom tour.

After breakfast we formed a convoy as Andrew needed to leave early afternoon and Bryan soon after that. For easy get away Bryan left his car at RSPB Conwy and Andrew parked his at the wonderful Princes Arms Hotel in the Conwy Valley. From a nearby viewpoint we scanned the wooded ridges and soon realised a lot of birds were up taking advantage of the warm air and fairly calm conditions. Common Buzzards and Ravens were soaring and then Goshawk! A female Goshawk was over a conifer plantation near two Common Buzzards for nice size comparison, panic as we had not even had time to set up the telescopes! Alan dashed for the scopes but sadly the Goshawk moved out of sight before we could get the raptor in the scopes. We kept scanning enjoying more Buzzards, four Red Kites, two Sparrowhawks and even a fly over Hawfinch crazy! Then we spotted another Goshawk coming over from behind us, yes! This hawk was in the mood to show off and we all had plenty of time to admire this barrel-chested muscular raptor in the telescopes as it soared over us, yet another amazing wow moment during three days of superb birds. Andrew was now grinning from ear to ear!

Super views of Common Crossbills before Andrew headed for home, what a three days!

We had pretty much seen all the possible birds in the area and Andrew and Bryan were really thrilled with the three days. But we still had some time to enjoy more birds and walked through an upland forest with stunning views across the mountains of Snowdonia. We had not gone far when we heard the “chup-chup” call of a Crossbill and we spotted the caller on top of a larch tree. The Crossbill was soon in the scopes and had lovely views of this female bird. A little further along the track and more “chup-chup” this time a beautiful male Crossbill above us and it was showing very well. We watched this wonderful bird as removed larch cones and removed the seeds from each before dropping the cone. What a thrill to able to watch this tricky to find species for so long and the sun even came out to light up the red-orange of this large finch. Coal Tits and Siskins were enjoyed along with the beautiful views; North Wales really is a wonderful place to enjoy birds.

Sadly Andrew needed to head for home and we waved him off and looked forward to more birding adventures together. We then headed back to RSPB Conwy and had a look from the hides where plenty of birds and we managed to add one more species to our amazing three day bird list, Pochard. With the rain now coming in Bryan decided to hit the road very well pleased with a fantastic array of memories to take home.


Puffins are arriving back in North Wales along with so many migrants, join us to enjoy them!

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 tours. 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 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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