Best Of North Wales Five Day Tour Day Two Foryd And Anglesey 14 February 2023

The lovely Princes Arms in the Conwy Valley the perfect base for our North Wales tours.

Our day began on the doorstep of the hotel at 6.45am, looking up at the very first glimmer of light in the east. At 6.50am we saw what we hoped for – a Woodcock! This wonderful nocturnal wader flew from the valley to the wood behind the hotel to roost for the day. Three more of these winter visitors whizzed over before the light came and the show was over. A delicious cooked breakfast went down very well after the Woodcock watch and we enjoyed more birds from the window as we ate – a wonderful base for our tours.

Greenshank feeding

A Greenshank dashes through the shallows in pursuit of small fish.

A different location this morning as we headed through the dramatic scenery of Snowdonia National Park then down to Foryd Bay near Caernarfon. We made a quick comfort and hot drink stop before arriving at the shallow bay where we could see lots of birds. A very rare Baikal Teal had been seen here recently, and had been reported the day before, but sadly no sign of the rarity despite a good number of birdwatchers looking. But there was plenty to enjoy – large numbers of beautiful Northern Pintail roosted in a channel along with Eurasian Wigeon and Teal. Greenshanks strode through the shallow waters passing Common Redshank and Dunlin. A huge flock of Northern Lapwings rested on a seaweed covered spit and rose into the air on mass – a wonderful sight. Little Egrets fished the shallow waters and Common Snipe whizzed low over the saltmarsh.

Lots of birds took to the air across the bay and we speculated there might be a Peregrine Falcon causing the panic? But there wasn’t a Peregrine but two Peregrines! These fighter-jets of the bird world tore low across the bay and the larger female homed in a small flock of Teal. One of these little ducks broke away from the group and the Peregrine locked onto this lone bird and bang! The unfortunate Teal became breakfast for the Peregrine, what a thrilling sight. Luckily the female falcon landed in sight with her meal and was soon joined by the male. Great to see these two magnificent birds of prey side by side in all their detail through the top of the range telescopes. The female kept the male waiting for his food as she tore into the Teal, not for the faint-hearted these views.

We then made our way along the east side of the bay, now in drizzle and a cold wind so mostly watching from inside the minibus. Flocks of Pale-bellied Brent Geese were flying into the bay from the direction of Anglesey, and we also watched both Black and Bar-tailed Godwits feeding on the estuary and a flock of Goldeneye diving in the channel. Further around the coast, now following the Menai Strait east, we watched Ruddy Turnstones “bulldozing” their way through tideline seaweed and several Shags mid strait. Super views of the very impressive Caernarfon Castle were enjoyed as we headed for Anglesey.

We enjoyed a lovely lunch before heading for the Cefni Reservoir to look for another rare duck, this time a visitor from North America – Ring-necked Duck. We soon found the female Ring-necked Duck amongst Tufted Duck, Pochard and Goldeneye, whew! This rare visitor spent a lot of time underwater, so it took a little time for everyone to have decent views through the scopes. The woods here gave us Goldcrests and Long-tailed Tits as Ravens flew overhead.

Rock Pipit front view

We enjoyed super views of Rock Pipit on the seafront at Benllech.

A short drive took us to the seafront at Benllech on the east coast of Anglesey. There was a haze over the sea making it tricky to see birds that were further out so no sign of the hoped for Surf Scoter, another rare duck from North America, one out of three rare ducks today. But of course, there was still plenty to see, and we had great looks at Common Scoter and Red-throated Divers and a single Long-tailed Duck flew around the bay and then landed in view, nice bonus. A Rock Pipit showed off walking along the pavement right next to us, very nice indeed.

On the way back to the hotel we had a stop at Llanfairfechan for loos and a brew with a view. Common Eider were offshore here and we were treated to wonderful aerobatic display by a big flock of Dunlin wheeling back and forth low over the water, wow! A small of Ringed Plover were roosting on the pebble beach here and it was fun to see how many we could spot; they blended in with the background so well.

Back at the hotel another superb dinner was enjoyed and we caught up with the bird checklist.

We run our Birdwatching Trips throughout the year a mix of set departure tours and custom-made trips perfect for you! To book your custom tour or any of our set departure trips please email us here….

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