Day Four And Amazing Birds Best Of North Wales With Iolo Williams

Great Grey Shrike Holme NOA

Charismatic Great Grey Shrike, Birdwatching Trips library photo

Thursday 3rd February 2022 and day four of our Best of North Wales Tour with Iolo Williams. The day got off to a perfect start with the very first bird we looked at being a stunning male Hawfinch on the ground and in full view at close range – wow! We had two more views of this often elusive finch, one on the ground and then a male in a tree top in wonderful light that posed for ages, just wonderful. Also here we had super views of Peregrine, three Goosander, a gorgeous Grey Wagtail, Nuthatch and a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker. Up into the Clocaenog Forest next where we saw two Common Crossbill at the first stop but they soon flew off sadly. Wonderful views of colourful Brambling were enjoyed along with lots of Siskins.

We then went in search of the Great Grey Shrike which had not been seen for some days so we weren’t too confident of finding it. We needn’t have worried as a within a minute we had it! Amazing luck as we spotted this handsome bird on a small bare tree and had decent views in the telescopes. The shrike then dropped over a ridge so we moved position and here we had much better views of this rare winter visitor. What a thrill to see this stunning bird as it moved from tree to tree in an area of open moorland. A short drive took us to the north end of Llyn Brenig where we soon found a pair of displaying Goldeneye, a new species of bird for our impressive trip list. Also at this rather windswept spot we watched Tufted Duck, Teal, and another new species for the trip, beautiful Fieldfares in a small copse by the lake.

After all that excitement it was time for a tasty lunch where the birding didn’t stop as we were able to watch a rare Willow Tit along with more Bramblings and Siskins. It was interesting to chat with one of the staff at the Visitor Centre who pointed out the “Marsh Tit” that was coming to the feeder. Alan politely suggested that the birds in this area were in fact Willow Tits and not Marsh Tits. He was somewhat taken aback by the response from the member of staff who said, “We’ve had the local experts up here and Alan Davies said that all the birds here are Marsh Tits!!” I wish we’d been able to get a photo of Alan’s face as he heard this comment. As you can imagine the member of staff was quickly corrected in no uncertain terms and firmly told that the birds were Willow Tits as he was in fact speaking to said 'local expert'. You couldn’t make this stuff up!

We then spent the afternoon exploring other areas of the forest enjoying numerous sightings of small flocks of Common Crossbill. The last flock that we watched really showed off, posing on top of the trees allowing frame-filling views through the telescopes and it was lovely to share these views with some local residents who’d never seen these birds before. Other birds enjoyed included Dipper at a lovely waterfall, Red Kites riding the breeze, Goldcrests chasing each other through the tree tops, and a Treecreeper, before the rain set in and we headed back to base.

What a wonderful day four of this five day tour, come and join us!

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