Target Bird Made For A Very Memorable Day Indeed 27 January 2022

Iceland Gull Pensarn March 1

Wonderful views of a juvenile Iceland Gull got the day off to a super start! Library photo.

It is always great when our guests advise us which species they would like to look for on our day trips, makes planning a route easy and gives a focus for the day. Unless that is the species are tricky to find then it adds a bit of pressure, Aaron and Bridie had just one target species, the Hawfinch. Never a bird that is easy to find for sure but of course we love the challenge.

All sorts going on in the Atlantic grey seal colony - look away!

Alan picked up the young couple from their Llandudno Hotel at 9am, it was a custom tour booked by Aaron for Bridie as part of her Christmas present. A short drive to the Little Orme and after a bit of scanning there was the juvenile Iceland Gull amongst the colony of Atlantic grey seals so a wonderful start. The gull and the seals showed off really well some the male seals a little too well! Fulmars whizzed back and forth above and Shags were on the sea cliffs with Common Guillemots whizzing over the sea.

Nearby at the Great Orme a Peregrine Falcon posed for great views through the Leica telescope on the cliff edge and Ravens showed off, a favourite of Bridie’s.

Then we headed off in search of THE bird the Hawfinch a species that Bridie had always wanted to see and the main reason Aaron had booked the tour. Reaching the first place to look for these tricky to find birds Alan immediately saw a bird in a bare tree, surely not? Telescope on it and amazingly yes it was a Hawfinch! Panic get to see the bird fast in case it flies off, Bridie was so excited she knocked the scope as she rushed to see her most wanted bird of all time! Alan got it back on the Hawfinch in a moment and yes it was still there and giving good views, whew! Luckily this big finch was in the mood to show off and everyone had time to really enjoy it. Then the Hawfinch flew but not away but closer, we couldn’t believe our luck the bird landed on top of a nearer tree and even better views were had! Then it dropped down and out of sight leaving scenes of elation and relief behind it huge smiles all round.

Hawfinch Roy de Hass

Easy to see why Bridie's most wanted bird was the Hawfinch just stunning! Library photo.

We scanned the area seeing another Hawfinch briefly on the ground before it was flushed by a grey squirrel. Then Aaron said “got a bird over here probably nothing interesting” Alan and Bridie hurried over and were amazed to see a stunning male Hawfinch pretty close in full view in the sunshine right on top of a tree in full view! The telescope was straight on it and Bridie soaked up the fantastic views of her most wanted bird. Somehow seeing a bird again is almost as exciting as the first sighting as the panic has gone and you can relax and really enjoy it and this bird was a total show off. We all took turns with the telescope, even though binocular views were great, and enjoyed every details of this so beautiful finch. Well we knew we could not improve on those views so after the finch eventually flew off we headed north.

Next stop a lovely view point overlooking the Conwy Valley and we spent time scanning the tidal river, water meadows and ridge opposite. Lots to see here including a beautiful flock of Northern Lapwings, Common Redshank, Little Grebe, Common Shelduck, five Buzzards sparring in the air, Ravens and more all enjoyed in sunshine. It was then time for a lovely lunch at a nearby café.

After lunch a short drive took us to Llanfairfechan and a lovely walk along the shore with plenty of birds to see here despite the low tide. Long-tailed Tits, now known as “badger birds” showed off along with three Goldcrests in the trees. On the pools a ghostly Greenshank fed near more Redshank and Lapwings and a flock of Eurasian Wigeon looked stunning the sun. Big flocks of Dunlin made amazing shapes as they twisted over the mudflats catching the sun a real thrill to watch.

Time for one last stop at RSPB Conwy where a lot of management work was being done on the first lagoon so we went straight to the second lagoon where there were plenty of birds. Tufted Duck and Pochard both showed very well really close along with more Little Grebes, Coots and Moorhens. It was nice to see two Black-tailed Godwits roosting with Redshanks and Lapwings on the islands in the lagoon. In the scrub we watched Bullfinches and more “badger birds” always lovely birds to see.

We then headed back to Llandudno to drop Aaron and Bridie back at their hotel; it was so lovely to hear Bridie comment “that was one of the best days of my life!” – seeing your most wanted bird can do that! Hawfinches are such special birds and it was a joy to share them with such lovely people, hope we see them again soon.

We just received this lovely email....

I just wanted to drop you an email to say how thoroughly we enjoyed our trip yesterday.

The day flew (no pun intended) and at the risk of sounding a bit OTT it’s honestly it’s up there with one of the best days of my life! It’s been a dream of mine to see a hawfinch for a long time and that was just the icing on the cake.

I’ve sent the list of birds we saw to practically everyone I know. I’m sure we’ll be back on one of your trips at some point but I’ll have to have a look at my bird book to figure out what elusive bird I want to see next now the Hawfinch is ticked off!

Also Aaron is now fully on board with the hobby and we’re going to buy some decent binoculars. Do you happen to know of any shops where we can try some out?

Thanks again,

Bridie and Aaron ��

We would love to put together a custom Birdwatching Trips tour perfect for you please just drop us a line and we can do the rest…

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

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