Three Day Best Of North Wales Custom Tour For Two Produces Fantastic Birds

We do love putting together custom trips for our lovely guests - look for the birds you want to see.

Barry and Wendy are regular guests on our Birdwatching Trips Tours and we always look forward to each trip them very much. Not only are they lovely people but they have an amazing knack of bringing great weather with them! Sure enough the day Barry and Wendy were due to arrive here in Llandudno, North Wales was just beautiful and over the following three days not a drop of rain fell on us and often blue sky above with temperatures climbing into the 20C’s just wonderful.

We had super close up views of Northern Wheatears on day one of this three day custom tour.

Day one of the three day tour we picked up Barry and Wendy from their Llandudno hotel – both raving about the superb breakfast – and then headed for Anglesey. At RSPB South Stack we were soon enjoying fantastic views of Red-billed Chough one of the most wanted birds of the trip so a perfect start. The Chough really put on an amazing display all around us and showing off their amazing flying skills. A Red-throated Diver flew south past the lighthouse and then Wendy spotted dolphins offshore always a thrill to see these marine mammals. We expected them to be bottle-nosed dolphins, the most regular off this coast or perhaps Risso’s dolphins that we had been lucky enough to encounter a few times recently on our tours. But looking through the telescopes we could clearly see these animals were two-tone dark above light below with long thin “beaks” these were Common Dolphins and not all common here in fact the first time we had ever encountered them off the North Wales coast! Great spotting Wendy! It was also lovely to watch beautiful Northern Wheatears and Skylarks along the cliff tops here. A short drive took us to Holyhead where with some scanning we found three Black Guillemots on the calm sea and then two more further out. A nice selection of waders were roosting on the rocks here at high tide with Curlew, Oystercatchers, Turnstones, Dunlin and Ringed Plover.

Mediterranean Gull underneath

Great to watch Mediterranean Gulls feeding over the fields near Valley Lakes.

Next stop was RSPB Valley Lakes where we walked out to a viewpoint and scanned the large lake. A nice surprise as we walked out was a flock of twelve Greenshank resting on a rock above the water unusual to see waders at this location as there is no muddy edge to the lake for them to feed. From the viewpoint it was rather quiet but both Great Crested and Little Grebes showed well and scanning about we noticed gulls feeding just to the north of the lake mostly Black-headed Gulls but we picked out four Mediterranean Gulls amongst them – nice record for this site.

Next a stop overlooking the Inland Sea but sadly the area was disturbed by canoeists but we did manage to spot three Red-breasted Mergansers, a distant gang of Goosanders good to see here and lots of Little Egrets. We enjoyed a really lovely lunch at the nearby Sea Shanty restaurant in Treaddur Bay.

We then headed north and up to Cemlyn Bay where we walked out to the beach and scanned the rocks, a lovely flock of Golden Plover were resting here along with Shags and Atlantic grey seals. Not many birds passing over the sea but a few Gannets, Kittiwakes, Razorbills and a lone Sandwich Tern kept us looking.

A European Turtle Dove had been seen briefly the previous day in the nearby village of Cemaes and as these beautiful doves are so rare, especially in Wales, we headed over in the hope of relocating it. Plenty of Collared Doves around the leafy back-streets but no Turtle Dove sadly, we walked about and scanned but no luck. We were thinking of giving up but decided to check once more some fields nearby where a flock of feral pigeons and a number of Collared Doves were feeding but no sign, but then there it was! The Turtle Dove flew in and landed on some telegraph wires amongst Collared Doves. Panic to race to the car and grab scopes and set them up but luckily the dove was happy on the wire and we had great views of this most beautiful bird and were able to share it with the folks from a nearby house. What a wonderful way to end our first day of our three day custom tour for two here in North Wales.

Day two of our three day tour and we had planned a visit to the Dee Estuary and by chance a Wilson’s Phalarope had been found over there! This very rare North American wader was at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands the very place we had planned to start day two of the tour how lucky was that? We arrived at the reserve and were pleased to see the car park not so very busy and hurried towards the new Border Hide where the bird had been seen already that morning. As we neared the hide a lady coming back had bad news the rarity had flown off and out of sight, oh no! We continued to the hide and hoped it would return, plenty to see while we waited with two Cattle Egrets close to the hide and a gang of Ruff amongst Lapwings and Black-tailed Godwits. Suddenly Barry called “it’s back!” and sure enough the Wilson’s Phalarope dropped in and landed with the Lapwings whew! What a delicate little wader it was tiny with a needle for a bill and a lovely face pattern and we soaked up the frame filling views in the telescopes as the bird preened its feathers like crazy making photos tricky! After a good wash and brush up this rare wader began to feed in a very odd manor – crouching down and grabbing insects in the air and off the surface of the mud wonderful to watch. We also enjoyed watching a Marsh Harrier hunting over the reserve, good views of Water Rail, lots of Common Snipe and a lone Barnacle Goose.

The Wilson's Phalarope at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands was a bit far for our camera - great scope views.

At nearby Burton Marsh Ruth spotted a Hobby on a post and always a thrill to see this beautiful falcon that will be leaving us soon for winter quarters in Africa. Common Buzzard, Kestrel and more Marsh Harriers here too along with two brief views of a Green Sandpiper in flight over the marsh. We then enjoyed a lovely lunch at Ness Gardens before more birds just up the road at Parkgate Marsh. A Great Egret was on the marsh right next to two Little Egrets so lovely to compare the two species and at least three more Great Egrets were further out on the saltmarsh. Then on the flash were two Eurasian Spoonbills doing what Spoonbills usually do – sleeping with their bills under their feathers. Luckily after a while these marvellous birds did wake up and preen allowing us to enjoy those amazing beaks! Lots of birds on the same pool with Black-tailed Godwits, Common Redshank, a Ruff and many Common Snipe as two more Marsh Harriers hunted further out over the Dee Estuary.

We made one stop on the way back to Llandudno at Rhos Point and were pleasantly surprised to see a flock of over 200 Sandwich Terns on the beach here a wonderful sight. Amongst the terns we picked out Common Gulls, Kittiwakes and along the shoreline we watched Turnstones, Dunlin and Ringed Plover. A really great day with Barry and Wendy – as always.

Day three of the three day tour was a bright and breezy morning and we picked up Barry and Wendy from their hotel at 8.30am and were soon on the Great Orme. We saw Turnstones on the nearby pier and offshore many birds were moving west past the headland the majority were Sandwich Terns. Careful scanning picked out other species including Manx Shearwater, Fulmar, Gannet and Common Scoter. A Peregrine Falcon flew in carrying prey and landed on the cliff in the sunshine and we had super views in the telescopes then a second Peregrine flew in landed above the first – brilliant. A Rock Pipit showed very well along the Marine Drive as we made our way to the cemetery where it was sheltered and we enjoyed watching Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Stonechats. Near the lighthouse we watched another pair of Peregrine Falcons riding the wind at the sheer cliffs wonderful to watch. A quick stop in Llandudno Junction to look for a juvenile Rose-coloured Starling in the back streets we did find a large flock of Common Starlings but no sign of the visitor with them and it wasn’t the best place to hang around. Just minutes away we were at RSPB Conwy where we were soon enjoying plenty of birds in the warm sunshine. Highlights included not one but two Garganey which – when awake – we had great looks at along with lovely views of Pintail, Teal, Wigeon and Tufted Duck on the deep lagoon. A nice selection of waders came onto the reserve as the tide covered the adjacent mudflats of the Conwy Estuary and included Greenshank, three Bar-tailed Godwits, two Black-tailed Godwits and Dunlin. Our fifth Peregrine of the day also tore around the lagoons sending ducks and waders in all directions and a Water Rail showed briefly. We had a lovely late lunch at nearby Snowdonia Nurseries before heading into the mountains of Snowdonia.

Ring Ouzel male May 2015

We are so lucky to have such an amazing variety of birds here in North Wales - Ring Ouzel.

At our first stop after lunch and we tracked down two superb Dippers feeding in a small stream and enjoyed watching them in the very warm sunshine. These wonderful birds were another species high on Barry and Wendy’s most wanted list on their three day custom tour. At the next stop in a beautiful valley we scanned the scree slopes hoping to catch a glimpse of a Ring Ouzel always tough to find. No ouzels but four Red-billed Chough were feeding on a grass slope always a thrill to see and especially in the mountains. Then Ruth struck gold a Ring Ouzel feeding in a rowan tree high on the hillside! Amazing bit of spotting as the bird was mostly hidden by the leaves and branches of the tree. We kept watching and at least two more Ring Ouzels flew in to feed on the beautiful red berries and when the sun broke through we could see much detail of these rare mountain thrushes and yet another most wanted species.

Just time for one more stop on the way back to Llandudno at the seafront at Llanfairfechan were we soon found the target bird here Common Eider yet another new bird for Barry and Wendy’s 2021 year list that had really been boosted by their three day custom tour.

In the evening we again enjoyed a lovely meal with our guests this time at the Princes Arms in Trefriw and the food was just delicious a fitting end to a wonderful three days. We would love to put together a special custom Birdwatching Trips custom tour for two just drop us a line and we can do the rest.

Of course a wonderful way to see more birds is to join one of our Birdwatching Trips and learn a lot about the birds you are enjoying too. We have tours suitable for all from beginners to experienced birders that are seeking particular species. Just drop us a line here and we can arrange a perfect custom tour for you!

We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds with you soon.

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