North Wales Uplands Custom Day Trip For Hugh 7 February 2023

Black Grouse May 2016 2

Black Grouse displaying are one of THE bird spectacles to see!

Alan picked up Hugh from his Llandudno hotel at 5.30am and they headed for the hills. Making good time a coffee and comfort break was a good idea under the bright full moon. The road climbed up hill and a Tawny Owl called from roadside trees. As the moors were reached a Woodcock flew up from the ditch at the side of the road.

At the spot Alan knew very well they parked, in the dark, and peered out across the moor. In the light of the full moon Black Grouse were just where they had hoped they would be. Slowly the light spread across the clear sky from the east and more detail could be seen. Seventeen of these most wonderful birds were on the “lek” site but were mostly hunched up and not dancing or “lekking”. Several Red Grouse were here too and it was great to see the two species in the same binocular view. Then as the light got even better the Black Grouse woke up and did their stuff, wow what a fantastic sight. White under-tails fanned out, lyre shaped outer tail feathers on show and necks pumped up, making gurgling sounds and fantastic “kerrrwick” calls the grouse lekked. One male charging another, that bird backing off only to then lunge forward at the aggressor though rarely making contact, an amazing spectacle and sound scape, a must see early morning display. The light was really good now and the scarlet “combs” over the eyes of the Black Grouse and their royal blue necks showed off – just wow!

Red Grouse

Wonderful views of Red Grouse were enjoyed in the beautiful morning light.

Further across the moor Red Grouse were seen at very close range and again great to hear their calls “go back, go back” as the males rose above the heather in display flights. More Black Grouse too and this time in the beautiful morning sun and frame filling views in the high-powered telescopes allowed stunning views – even the gape inside the beak could be seen! Some of the best views we have ever had. The road here was full of giant potholes and they were very glad of the rugged 4x4 to get through them.

Yellowhammer Norfolk Sept

A real treat to see Yellowhammers in North Wales - huge decline in recent years.

Dropping off the moors a pair of Dipper were in a fast flowing stream and already collecting nest material! All that excitement makes a bird watcher hungry so breakfast next. The café was well chosen with beautiful Yellowhammers in the garden along with lots of birds on the feeders, and the food was great too! Stepping outside four Red Kites slowly circled against the bluest of skies what a stunning sight.

Then a short drive to an area of upland forest and within moments of getting out of the car Siskins landed in the nearest trees and even better two Common Crossbills perched in full view on top of a fir tree! No time to draw breath, Goshawk! A huge hawk was flapping slowly with powerful wing beats over the tree tops close! Panic get on it and get it in the scope. But there was no need to panic this monster hawk slowly turned and flapped back the way it had come, two! Amazingly a second Goshawk, this time a female, joined the first male and both birds put on a fantastic show, both Goshawks in the same scope view at times, brilliant and thrilling!

As they got their breath back after that amazing start to the forest birding a flock of Fieldfares flew in and a Raven flapped past “cronking” as it went. Then Goshawk! The female Goshawk was back and did a slow fly pass at tree top height allowing superb views of this muscular raptor. Then as if to make the point about how powerful Goshawks are a tiny male Sparrowhawk flew past. What wonderful timing to see all this in just half an hour.

Then down to the Conwy Valley but sadly a lot of disturbance at the site for Hawfinch so no joy with the big finches this time. A male Sparrowhawk displayed high over head and a Nuthatch was lovely to see.

Quick look at RSPB Conwy on the way back to Llandudno where a gorgeous drake Pintail was feeding with Eurasian Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler and Gadwall. Five Black-tailed Godwits roosted on one of the islands with Curlew and Lapwing. Diving duck included Pochard, Tufted Duck and two sleepy, Red-breasted Mergansers.

Alan dropped Hugh back at his Llandudno hotel after a wonderful day full of fantastic birds and a lot of fun. We do hope Hugh can join us again for more adventures and many thanks to Hugh’s wife for arranging the day. Come and join for a custom made bird watching day out, we know you will love it.

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….

We can then make all the arrangements for your perfect Birdwatching Trips tour.

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