Uplands And More Day One Of Four Day Best Of Wales Custom Tour 12 February 2024

Fulmar Great Orme

Northern Fulmar was a wonderful bird to start the four day Tour for Two with!

We picked up Peter and Margret from their Llandudno hotel at 8.30am on the 12th of February, day one of their custom tour for two. The bird watching started right there outside the hotel! Three Northern Fulmars were on the cliffs above the hotel, such super birds, as Peter and Margret live far from the sea a perfect species to start the tour with. More familiar fare was provided with a pair of Ravens on the cliff top – none the less impressive.

A short drive took us to a viewpoint overlooking the Conwy Estuary and the adjacent RSPB Conwy Nature Reserve, the lagoons and mudflats here held a lot of birds! At first it was a case of where to look first. Ducks on the pools included Pochard, Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Gadwall, Teal and Wigeon and waders included a solitary Black-tailed Godwit. On the estuary were Curlew, Oystercatchers, Redshank, Shelduck and Little Egrets. We could see Grey Herons on their nests and Lon-tailed Tits in the scrub below us – fantastic first stop.

Heading south and up in altitude we reached a spectacular spot that gave stunning views across the whole of the Snowdonia National Park a real wow moment. Red Kites and Common Buzzards soared over the narrow lanes here and we stopped to watch a delightful pair of Dippers building their nest by a waterfall.

A hot chocolate and loo stop was welcome before we headed up into a vast area of moorland and conifer woods. As we drove, we chatted about which birds Peter and Margret would most like to see, Common Crossbill was high on that list. As we were describing where to look for these muscular finches there they were! Crossbills on top of a larch tree as we had just suggested they might be! Luckily there was a safe place to stop right there, and we got quietly and set up the telescope, wow, frame filling views of Crossbills! And the birds were content to feed in the sunshine with the bluest of skies behind them filling the frame of the scope view! Peter and Margret were so thrilled it was lovely to see their joy at seeing their first ever Crossbills.

We continued into the forest and chat turned to the chance of seeing a Goshawk another high on the wanted list. A few minutes later we reached a spot that we had great success with seeing Goshawks from before, the weather was perfect, we jumped out and scanned the huge sky in view from the wonderful spot. Common Buzzards and Ravens were up, and we considered this a good sign, conditions for soaring were good. After only ten minutes we spotted a large raptor over the trees, could it be, wait, be sure before calling it, but get everyone onto the bird quickly. This big solid looking raptor turned and circled, no doubt – Goshawk! The bird was in both of the telescopes and Peter and Margret were each able to watch their most wanted bird in the beautiful sunshine, wow! This was no quick look the fantastic raptor began to display above the woodland, climbing up and then plunging down almost to tree top height, before rocketing back up, over and over again! The Goshawk displayed for twenty minutes nonstop! What a fantastic encounter with so special bird of prey. We were all elated with the sighting and to be able watch the bird for so long.

We enjoyed our café lunch talking excitedly about the amazing mornings birds! As we enjoyed our food we were able to watch a beautiful Brambling, tiny Redpolls and Siskins – pretty good.

We then headed north to the coast and the beach near Llanddulas. Setting up the scopes here we could see a lot of Common Scoter! The light was superb allowing us to see the yellow of the males bills and the pale cheeks of the female scoter. Luckily, we soon spotted the hope for two drake Surf Scoters, their white head patches glowing in the sunshine and their orange bills looks gorgeous. The swell made the birds tricky to follow but as we watched them we picked up five Velvet Scoter in the same area. We also enjoyed see Red-throated Divers, Great Crested Grebes, Red-breasted Mergansers, and more. We enjoyed a coffee and went through the checklist of the birds we had enjoyed and the places we had visited before heading back to Llandudno thrilled with day one of the four day Tour for Two here in North Wales.

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….


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