A Wonderful Day Along The North Wales Coast Just A Few Miles From Home

Just a few minutes walk from home the Great Orme is a wonderful place to start a day trip.

We met Paul and Jane at Llandudno West Shore at 8am on 18th November 2021. We were soon on the nearby Great Orme and one of the first birds we saw was a Great Northern Diver. This is a scarce visitor to this part of the coast and we were delighted to see it and what’s more really enjoy it as it was so close in. Through the Leica telescopes we could see every detail of this marvellous bird that come to the UK to escape the Arctic winter. The North Americans called this species the Common Loon such a wonderful name. As we watched this muscular diver a Common Guillemot surfaced close to it and the diver lunged at the auk! We have never seen this behaviour before, perhaps the auk had a fish and diver tried to mug it? It was all over so quickly hard to see what did happen but fascinating to watch. Back on the cliffs were five Fulmars and it was so lovely to see these ocean wanders back after a long absence from the Great Orme.

So wonderful to see Northern Fulmars whizzing back and forth above us.

We decided to try further west and visited Morfa Madryn where it was still very windy but we could stand up at least. The tide was high and there were plenty of birds to enjoy right where we walked out onto the beach. Paul had just mentioned he would like to see a Goosander and there was one! In the channel just ahead of us was a lovely female Goosander preening her feathers and allowing wonderful views. Amazingly two Red-breasted Mergansers, a very similar species, popped up next to the Goosander – ideal for comparison. There were lots more right here with Wigeon, Teal and Shelduck all showing well, flocks of Oystercatchers and Dunlin whirling around in the sky then five Grey Plover flew past. On the adjacent saltmarsh lots more Wigeon and amongst them some fifty beautiful Pintail such graceful duck. We enjoyed super views of these and then scanned the ranks of Curlew roosting beyond and picked out several Bar-tailed Godwits along their larger relatives. Skylarks and Lapwing flew over our heads and the calls of Curlew were carried on the wind- magical.

Shelduck drake

It was day full of beautiful ducks including stunning Shelduck - superb birds.

A short walk took us to hide overlooking a pool behind the beach and what a fantastic sight – a football crowd of waders were shoulder to shoulder on the edge of the pool hundreds of birds! We took in the sheer spectacle before looking through this jumble of different sized waders with a much variety of bill shape and length. The biggest birds were the magnificent Curlews then came small numbers of Bar-tailed Godwits, below the hundreds of Common Redshank and pottering about between the legs of all the others diminutive Dunlin a real feast of waders. On the grass next to the jostling “football crowd” were a gorgeous flock of Northern Lapwings so so good through the telescopes. As looked harder at the mass of birds we picked out even more species – a ghostly Greenshank, four plump Knot and a single Black-tailed Godwit. A Kingfisher flashed past the hide as only Kingfishers can a blue and orange bullet.

We had lovely views of a Grey Wagtail in a stream such pretty birds.

We made a quick stop at the seafront in Llanfairfechan but the strong winds were making seeing birds tricky. But we did see gannets and Common Scoter offshore and a beautiful Grey Wagtail in the stream here. Time for lunch and headed down to Glan Conwy and Snowdonia Nurseries where we enjoyed a lovey meal and many thanks to Paul and Jane for treating us.

After lunch we visited nearby RSPB Conwy and enjoyed lots of birds from the first two hides. It was great to able to compare the various species of duck and be able to enjoy super looks at them in the Leica telescopes. Gadwall, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck and Goldeneye were all new for our very impressive day list. We had great close views of Little Grebes and heard the explosive song of a Cetti’s Warbler that remained hidden in the reeds as so often the case.

Mistle Thrush in yew 1

We had wonderful views of thrushes in the Conwy Valley including Mistle Thrushes in the yew trees.

Next we headed south down the Conwy Valley to a viewpoint overlooking the Conwy River. A beautiful place and we were soon watching beautiful birds in the shape of two Red Kites! These wonderful raptors are still scarce in North Wales and always a joy to see. It was a great place for thrushes with Mistle and Song Thrushes, Blackbirds and even better both Redwings and Fieldfares. On the water meadows below our viewpoint we watched flocks of Lapwings and a lovely drake Goosander on the river. Sadly the light was fading and as we turned for home thousands of Starlings moved overhead what a wonderful finish to a really great fun day!

We are thrilled that Paul and Jane have already booked another day out with us in the New Year and we are very much looking forward to enjoying more birds together.

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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