Iolo Williams Best Of North Wales Tour 2 to 6 October 2021

Red Squirrel Anagach 1

Wonderful encounters with red squirrels were just one of the many highlights.

Our five day Best of North Wales Tours with our great friend Iolo Williams are always very popular and great fun, we run these throughout the year so do drop us a line for the latest availability. We base the trips at the Princes Arms Hotel in the beautiful Conwy Valley where the wildlife begins right there with views across the river and the valley beyond.

The wildlife watching begins right at the hotel on our Best of North Wales tours, can you spot Iolo?

On the 2nd of October we met at the hotel and enjoyed lunch, a great chance for everyone to get to know each other and then set off for nearby RSPB Conwy. Lots to see here and we were very lucky to enjoy views of Garganey a scarce visitor to North Wales. Lots of ducks and waders to enjoy here along with wonderful views of Conwy Castle and the mountains of Snowdonia to the south of the reserve. Alan was formerly the Site Manager here for the RSPB and he and Iolo were able to chat about the history of the reserve and their time working for the charity. In the evening we all enjoyed the first of four wonderful dinners at the hotel and chatted about all things wildlife a really lovely evening.

The 3rd of October got off to an amazing start, not long after leaving the hotel a Goshawk flew over the road! What an amazing piece of luck and panic broke out as everyone tried to see the rare raptor. Luckily there was a safe place to stop and we all piled out but sadly no sign of the huge hawk then Ian spotted the bird flying into some trees but it was lost to view. We all scanned the area seeing a Red Kite and two Buzzards but no Goshawk. Suddenly the hawk broke cover and flapped powerfully across the field right in front of us! What a fantastic close view of this usually so elusive raptor and the three guide were perhaps even more thrilled than the guests knowing just how rare a close encounter like this with a Goshawk is.

Our wonderful group of six guests enjoying the sunshine on Anglesey with Iolo & Alan, Ruth taking the photo

After getting our breath back from the Goshawk encounter we continued over to Anglesey where we visited RSPB South Stack and enjoyed Red-billed Chough in the stunning scenery. A short drive to Holyhead Harbour and we found Black Guillemot another special Anglesey bird. Next stop was at Beddmanarch Bay where we enjoyed our picnic lunch in the sunshine watching ducks, Brent Geese, masses of waders and beautiful Mediterranean Gulls. In the afternoon Iolo took us to a lovely woodland where we enjoyed enchanting encounters with red squirrels such gorgeous animals and we had such close views. An awful lot of photos were taken of the amazing animals that are doing well on Anglesey. We took the scenic route back to the hotel through the mountains of Snowdonia - a really wonderful day.

All that wildlife, freshair and laughter certainly gives you an appetite and the food is delicious!

On the 4th of October we headed east to the Dee Estuary and our first stop was at RSPB Burton Mere where we enjoyed a wonderful selection of birds. One of the first birds we watched was a rare Cattle Egret feeding alongside a small herd of cattle near the visitor centre. On the nearby wet grassland we saw Pink-footed Geese, a family of Eygptian Geese and another real bonus bird a Ruddy Shelduck. A Merlin zoomed across the reserve and luckily it landed on a post though it was tricky to see it blended in so well with the reeds around it. It was wonderful to see and hear flocks of Pink-footed Geese dropping down onto the reserve just arrived from Iceland. We enjoyed our picnic lunch at nearby Parkgate Marsh where we all enjoyed watching three Spoonbills feeding in the pools. Lots more to enjoy here with Marsh Harriers constantly in views and lots more Pink-footed Geese and at least three Great Egrets. On the way back we stopped at Pensarn beach to enjoy big flocks of Common Scoter and some Red-throated Divers offshore.

Ring Ouzel Nantffrancon 4

We were so lucky to see a Ring Ouzel in the mountains - great spotting by Iolo.

The 5th of October was a horrid day with rain and strong winds a real test to find birds and wildlife! But at our very first stop Iolo somehow picked out a Ring Ouzel feeding in a rowan tree on a hillside – fantastic spotting! Everyone enjoyed this rare thrush through the telescopes and unusually for this species it posed for ages allowing prolonged views. Red-billed Chough were feeding on the slope here too lovely to see them in the mountains. Dropping down to the coast we visited a hide to shelter from the rain and enjoyed a lot of birds including superb long looks at a Kingfisher always a thrill to watch. The afternoon was spent over at Foryd Bay and nearby Dinas Dinlle where we enjoyed masses of Wigeon along with lots of Pintail and Brent Geese. Big flocks of Golden Plover were gorgous to see and two late Wheatears were a surprise on the beach. We also enjoyed great views of Caernarfon Castle and views across to Anglesey.

During our visit to the Great Orme we bumped into some NHS heroes - wonderful nurses - so a selfie with Iolo.

Our last morning of the tour was spent exploring the Great Orme at Llandudno where we enjoyed lots of birds and wonderful Atlantic grey seals. It was great to see Red-billed Chough again, third time on the trip, and superb views of Peregrine Falcons. Back at the hotel we enjoyed a lovely lunch before folks headed off home. Huge thanks to Ian, Babs and John, Louise, Sam, and Anne for being such lovely fun company and we hope we can enjoy lots more wildlife with them all again in the future.

Do drop us a line for details of up coming tours with Iolo Williams here..

We look forward to enjoying great birds and wildlife with you soon.

Sadly one last group photo before heading back to the hotel for lunch and the end of a superb tour!

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