Windy Day Best Of North Wales Birdwatching Trips Tour 12 January 2023

We enjoyed breath-taking views of Peregrine Falcons right above us!

We met Jim and David at Llandudno West Shore at 8am on a gloomy and very windy morning. It was just getting light and as we chatted the first “proper” bird of the day appeared – a Raven – discounting the Herring Gulls here. This massive crow rode the wind seemingly without a care. Then confirmed his identity with characteristic “barrel-roles” across the grey sky, a good omen?

A few minutes later we were scanning a rocky beach for waders, first Oystercatchers, then Turnstones and then Common Redshank all seen beautifully in the scopes. Offshore we watched a group of six Great Crested Grebes close to the beach seeking shelter from the gale and Shags leapt clear of the grey water to dive deep for breakfast.

Northern Fulmars are pretty cool masters of the air too!

Literally around the corner we gazed at fantastic Fulmars sweeping through the windy air like fighter planes avoiding radar skimming the cliffs faces at break-neck speed! (ok so we watched the new Top Gun movie recently) Some of these wonderful ocean wanderers were on the cliff ledges and again the telescopes provided frame filling views. It was wonderful to see all the detail of their amazing beaks, complete with “nostrils” on the upper part and hooked tip. On the sheltered bit of sea below the cliffs we enjoyed Common Guillemots, Razorbills, Red-throated Divers, and more Shags. Then fast movement above us was not a Fulmar but another “jet-fighter” this time a Peregrine Falcon! This master of the air showed off amazing stun flying chasing Herring Gulls and then whizzing high into the sky only to plunge earthwards. Wow! What a show. Then a second Peregrine appeared and both birds hurtled off towards Llandudno at amazing speed. They returned and one bird was carrying prey which it took to the cliff and ate it, awesome views, but not for the faint hearted!

Further around the headland we enjoyed point blank eye-level views of a Rock Pipit, Gannets and a Kittiwake over the rough seas and a huge group of Atlantic grey seals hauled out on a stony beach.

A short drive took us to RSPB Conwy where the wind was even stronger! We battled down to the Tal-y-Fan Hide and sought what shelter we could, but the wind was crazy. A large flock of Common Redshank were sheltering on an island and amongst them a lovely Spotted Redshank. The lagoon was choppy with the gale but still plenty of ducks to see. The long staying female Scaup was picked out on the far side but tricky to see in the waves. Pochard, Tufted Duck, Red-breasted Mergansers, Gadwall, Wigeon and Teal all showed well before we gave in to the crazy wind and headed back to the car.

Heading south down the Conwy Valley at the first stop the wind still battered us though we had a wonderful look at a beautiful Red Kite, so low to the ground we could see every detail. Big flock of Lapwings here and several Common Buzzards before we decided to seek a more sheltered location.

Next stop was a different world the wind was almost gone, and the sun even broke through the blanket of grey, briefly. Sadly, despite the improved conditions not so many birds here. A Nuthatch posed in the sunshine and Greenfinches showed well. It was time for lunch, so we headed back north, into rain and gales again! Lunch went down well as we listened to the rain hammer down on the roof of the café.

We then west along the North Wales coast to a saltmarsh where the wind was crazy again but luckily, we did find shelter and were able to enjoy the birds in relative comfort. Three Goosander flew in and landed on the sea and the two drakes looked stunning in the weak sunshine. Lots of Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal and six gorgeous Pintail here. Waders were roosting on a small pool and we enjoyed great looks at Curlew, Oystercatchers, Lapwing, Redshank and Dunlin.

Further west again to an estuary where a hide overlooks the sea on one side and a wooded pool on the other and there are bird feeders, ideal for a rough afternoon. The undoubted highlight here was a stunning female Kingfisher that posed so close. It doesn’t matter how often you see a Kingfisher each sighting is a thrill and we all soaked up the frame filling views. There was more of course, a Great Spotted Woodpecker came to the feeder, Goldeneye and Eider were out on the water. Little Egrets waded in the shallows along with real close Curlews and a Sparrowhawk dashed past both sides of the hide.

With light going fast we headed back to Llandudno after a great fun, bird filled day, 70 species enjoyed despite the challenging weather. We hope Jim and David can join us again soon for lots more birds, great company!

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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