Wild Weather And Great Birds Along The North Wales Coast

Fulmar Great Orme

Fulmars showed off on the cliff ledges of the Great Orme.

We met Roger at Llandudno, North Wales, at 8am and to be honest it was still pretty dark! But we could see Oystercatchers and Mute Swans at the west-shore boating lake. Just two minutes away we picked up Kathy and Bob at their Llandudno hotel and we set off to see what we could find.

We were soon out of the car looking across Llandudno pier to the Little Orme with enough light now to see birds well! Shags were diving just offshore, but surprisingly no Cormorants to compare them with, where were they? All three guests today were fairly new to birdwatching so we really took our time to enjoy each sighting and learn a little about identification and behaviour. Fulmars were on the cliff ledges just above us and through the Leica telescope we could see every detail of these wonderful “mini albatrosses” so lovely. Alan spotted a superb Peregrine Falcon on the cliffs and again the telescope allowed wonderful views of the ultimate bird of prey. A pair of Chough flew in; calling loudly, landed briefly, and then flew on over the headland.

Guillemots 2 Hornoya 2015

Good to see Common Guillemots back on the breeding cliffs so early.

Further around the headland we watched seven Atlantic grey seals hauled out on a shingle beach below us. Offshore here a Red-throated Diver did what divers do, dived, but we did all mange to see it! On the cliffs we watched Common Guillemots shoulder to shoulder on their narrow breeding ledge, be April though before they lay any eggs. Still no Cormorant!

Further along the Marine Drive, that follows the coast of the Great Orme, we stopped to chat with local birder, Marc Hughes, who pointed out a lovely Kestrel just below the road. And here we finally saw a Cormorant! Two Ravens showed off right overhead, love these huge corvids. Further round we saw a Buzzard hanging in the wind low over the hillside allowing wonderful views. As we watched this raptor four more Chough “bounced” across the sky above, they really do seem to fly for fun.

The Rose-coloured Starling posed for us in "Mike's Back Passage".

Back into Llandudno and we were very lucky to see the very rare Rose-coloured Starling, this bird should be in North-West India but had arrived in the back strrets of Llandudno. This pink visitor had become more elusive in recent days so we were very happy to enjoy great views after only a short search.

We then headed south down the Conwy, we could see the weather ahead looked rather grim. Luckily our first stop, overlooking the Conwy River, at Caerhun was on the edge of the rain. A lovely lady arrived at the church at the same as we did and gave us a quick guided tour of this beautiful 13th century building. She was very knowledgeable about the history of the site and we learnt a lot about the Roman fort that was on the same site. Back to the birds and we watched a large flock of Lapwings and enjoy super views of Red Kites before the weather began to close in around us. An early lunch seemed a good idea!

After a very nice meal we headed west along the coast, the weather inland looked dire. But the weather followed us and by the time we reached Aber Ogwen the rain had begun. Luckily one of the hides here is not only dry but provides super views over the estuary and the pool behind. We enjoyed a lot of birds here as the rain hammered down outside. A Kingfisher spent nearly the whole time fishing from a fallen tree in the pool, gorgeous frame filling views through the telescope. Greenshanks roosted among gangs of Redshank; flocks of Dunlin twisted and turned over the rising tide. Both Little Grebes and Great crested Grebes showed well and it was great to compare Red-breasted Mergansers with their cousins the Goosander. Lots of birds on the feeder’s right outside the hide too, perfect location for a wet spell. As we left we saw a large flock of waders roosting in a wet field behind the beach, Curlews, Bar-tailed Godwits and Dunlin.

MM Ruff

Ruff are really great birds to get to know, so variable, once learnt very useful!

Our last stop of the day was at RSPB Conwy where the weather was still rather grim but the hides allowed us to enjoy lots of birds and keep dry. We had timed our visit for high tide and many birds were roosting on the lagoons here. Black-tailed Godwits were amongst lots of Redshank and Alan picked out a single Ruff resting with the other waders. Ruff are very rare visitors to North Wales in winter so it was great to enjoy this bird and compare it with the other waders. Common Snipe were hunkered down on one of the islands and again the Leica telescope brought these lumps to life as beautiful birds. Lots of wildfowl here too, both Goosander and Red-breasted Merganser showed off, Goldeneye, Pochard and Tufted Duck all dived for food in the deeper water.

A really great day enjoying wonderful birds with great company! Come and join us soon and enjoy the very best birdwatching experience. To arrange your special day out please drop us a line here…


We look forward to enjoying great birds, wildlife and scenery with you soon!

Great Orme view towards Conwy

The views from the Great Orme at Llandudno are breath-taking!

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