Day Three Great Orme And More With Iolo Williams Best Of North Wales 21 February 2023

Black Guillemot

Super views of Black Guillemots were one of the many highlights on day three.

After some pre-breakfast birding by the river just a one minute walk from the hotel we tucked into a wonderful breakfast. Always tastes so much better after some fresh air and some great birds. A drake Mandarin was a lovely surprise on the river and a Kingfisher flashed past.

We then drove north to the Great Orme at Llandudno in beautiful sunshine with the bluest of skies above – so lucky with the weather. A mixed flock of Ruddy Turnstones and Common Redshank were roosting on the rocks, just below us, at the first stop. Offshore here Red-throated Diver and Shags. A Kittiwake was a surprise on the sea near the pier – they don’t usually return this early in the year.

A little further along the headland and we had stunning views of Northern Fulmars both in flight and on the cliffs. On the sea were four very handsome Black Guillemots already in their breeding plumage and close enough to see their scarlet red feet and legs! A pair of Peregrine Falcons put on a fantastic display for us – what a thrill.

A cove provided us with lovely views of Atlantic grey seals both in and out of the water and some of the famous or perhaps infamous Great Orme goats!

Red-billed Chough are always a delight to see and especially in such a beautiful setting.

We stopped at the café near the lighthouse and were treated to a pair of Red-billed Chough around the cliffs here, and the sun still shone feeling pretty mild as there was no wind. Large slaps of Victoria sponge, Welsh cake and coffee went down very well indeed. The views across to Anglesey and the mountains of Snowdonia were beautiful.

We do love good food on our trips and with Iolo along excellent chance of cake!

A short drive took us to RSPB Conwy where the sun just kept shinning. Lots to see here on the lagoons and the ducks were looking splendid in the perfect light – Eurasian Wigeon and Teal, Northern Shoveler and Pintail, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Pochard and a female Greater Scaup. Northern Lapwing were loafing about on the islands and again looking gorgeous in the sunshine. A singing Chiffchaff was a lovely surprise in the wildlife garden – most likely an over wintering bird “waking up” in the mild weather. A lovely lunch was enjoyed at nearby Snowdonia Nursery.

At Llanfairfechan we tracked down a Dipper on the steam along with a lovely Grey Wagtail. Offshore here were a gang of Common Eider. Then west to Aber Ogwen where we spent the rest of the afternoon. A hide here overlooks the Ogwen Estuary one side and a wooded pool on the other. Lots to see hear, a real case of where to look first! Siskins, Nuthatch and Great Spotted Woodpecker were visiting the feeders by the pool. Out on the estuary Greenshank strode through the shallow waters, Black-tailed Godwits probed for food on the mudflats and further out Great Crested Grebes, Goldeneye and more Common Eider.

We took the scenic route back to the hotel through the heart of the Snowdonia National Park. Another wonderful meal was enjoyed in the evening with so much laughter!

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