Best of North Wales Birdwatching Trips Tour Day One 16th January 2023

Hawfinch Roy de Hass

The magnificent Hawfinch, always a great thrill to see this charismatic bird

We met our six lovely guests at the Princes Arms Hotel in the Conwy Valley around midday and it was so nice to see cobalt blue sky and sunshine after the recent terrible weather here. We enjoyed a lovely lunch before a short drive took us to an area of open woodland where we scanned for our target bird, the Hawfinch. Within moments we spotted a Hawfinch on the ground bathing in a puddle. Unfortunately this bull-necked bulky finch flew up and out of sight before most people could connect with it. We waited patiently watching many birds feeding on the ground, lots of Chaffinches with smaller numbers of Greenfinch and Goldfinch and a beautiful Nuthatch. The Hawfinch put in another very brief appearance but again frustratingly not everybody got onto it.

Time was ticking so we decided to head off to look for other species. As we neared the minibus, a blob on top of a bare tree proved to be a Hawfinch! Luckily this time the Hawfinch was in the mood to pose and stayed in view for ages allowing everybody to enjoy super views through the telescopes. In fact, the bird stayed for so long that folks were able to have numerous telescope views and really soak up all the detail of this stunning finch. Very unusual for a Hawfinch to co-operate in this manner, what a wonderful start to our Best of North Wales tour.

Nearby we enjoyed super looks at a Dipper feeding in a fast-flowing stream, leaping off the rocks into the cold waters, always a joy to see. There were plenty of raptors on show this afternoon including a hunting Peregrine Falcon, perhaps some 20 Red Kites, lots of Common Buzzards and three sightings of Sparrowhawks. We also had wonderful views of Lapwings in the afternoon sunshine, Goosander on the river and Redwings feeding on a muddy field. Roll on tomorrow when we will explore the North Wales coast.

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