A Best Of North Wales Custom Birdwatching Trips Tour 10 February 2022

Hawfinch was one of THE most wanted birds for Dave and Alan - photo by Matt Latham.

We picked up Dave and Alan, two bird watching brothers who have been out with us several times before, at 8am from their hotel and we headed south down the Conwy Valley. Dave and Alan wanted to look for Goshawk and Hawfinch in particular and of course we are always happy to make the day as best as possible for our guests. At the first stop we soon saw two Hawfinches but no sooner seen these big finches flew and headed off into the distance, not good. We kept scanning and after a few minutes we picked out a Hawfinch in some yew trees – whew! This beautiful male bird was feeding in the yew tree and staying in view for a long time allowing great looks through the Leica telescopes. Not often you can have such a prolonged look at one of these massive billed finches though it was tricky to pick out with the binoculars as the bird was in shade. We had a few more looks at these fantastic birds moving around this beautiful spot before we headed further south.

We enjoyed wonderful views of Common Crossbills along with so many other great birds.

At Llyn Brenig we enjoyed lovely views of Bramblings and Siskins and as we enjoyed these lovely finches Ruth spotted a Common Crossbill in a small bare tree. This was amazing to see a Crossbill in such a small bare tree so close and as we watched we noticed a second bird just behind the first, brilliant.

We then headed into the forest to look for target bird number two, Goshawk, and conditions looked good for raptors. We often joke that 11am is raptor time so we wanted to be in position and scanning well before then. We were in place at 10.30am and began scanning the big sky and with minutes “Goshawk!” amazing one of the powerful hawks was cruising above the conifers and we quickly had it in the scopes for Dave and Alan to enjoy. The hawk put on a prolonged show, fairly distant, but in view for ages and mostly just gliding back and forth with occasional slow deep wing-beats showing the real power of this brute of a bird of prey. The Goshawk eventually dropped below the trees leaving us thrilled with the sighting but it wasn’t over! Just moments later two Goshawks were in the air – a huge female and male. These fantastic birds again put on a wonderful display allowing us all plenty of time to soak up the views through the telescopes. Again it was wonderful to see those slow deep wing beats of these big hawks so very different from the small Sparrowhawks with their rapid shallow wing beats. A little while later and another sighting of a female Goshawk this time closer – what an amazing series of encounters with these superb birds and of course Dave and Alan were thrilled.

From the same spot we also watched two Red Kites, Common Buzzards, a Sparrowhawk, Common Crossbills and a lovely flock of Fieldfares what a fantastic hour of birding! We then headed north a little way to look for a Great Grey Shrike on an area of moorland bordering the forest. Another birder was on site and he told us the shrike was about but had moved over a ridge out of sight. We waited scanning the area but no sign of the shrike so we moved our position to try and see the area where the shrike had last been seeing heading towards. We tried two vantage points but sadly no sign of the bird and it was getting towards lunch time, we decided to return to the original spot and now two birders were on site and we were greeted with thumbs up. We jump out and there was the Great Grey Shrike on a bare rowan tree out on the moor and we had good views of this very smart bird. What a morning we had enjoyed with real top draw birds enjoyed with great company.

We enjoyed a lovely lunch watching more Brambling and Siskins before headed north and back towards the coast. A view point overlooking the RSPB Conwy Reserve produced lots of new birds for our already impressive bird list. Ducks were well represented including Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler and Gadwall with Shelduck on the adjacent estuary. Lots of Curlew were on the mudflats with Common Redshank there too and lots of Northern Lapwings on the lagoons of the reserve.

At the Little Orme we walked to the bay, stopping to watch Fulmars on the cliffs, before having great views of the juvenile Iceland Gull on the beach. This lovely rarity was feeding amongst the Atlantic grey seals – some one hundred animals here was itself an amazing sight. Offshore we saw Red-throated Divers, Common Guillemots and Shags. A Red-billed Chough showed well feeding on the short grass above the bay where a male Stonechat also gave great views.

A short drive took us to the Great Orme at Llandudno where we immediately saw a pair of Common Eider close to the shore fantastic views of these handsome ducks. Turnstones were on the rocks just below us and again wonderful views of these charismatic waders. More Fulmars were on the cliffs and we had super looks both on the ledges and in flight. Two Peregrine Falcons were on the cliffs here and the Leica telescopes again allowed super looks at these special birds – certainly a great day for birds of prey!

We dropped Dave and Alan back at their hotel after a really great fun day packed with so many special birds. We look forward to the next trip with these great chaps.

We would love to put together a custom Birdwatching Trips tour perfect for you please just drop us a line and we can do the rest…


We look forward to enjoying great birds and wildlife with you soon.

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