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A day that had it all, from mountains to the coast

As the light crept across the eastern sky over the moors our day got off to a spectacular start.

SEO and Black Grouse
A Short eared Owl floated over the Black Grouse lek!

As the light improved, and the Short eared Owl continued to show off the grouse got down to some serious displaying.

Andrew Grouse
We watched enthralled by the fantastic bird spectacle being played out before us.

Black Grouse Mar 2
Much sparring and strutting was going on as these most stunning birds showed off.

Black Grouse Mar 1
Some real action was playing out this morning, the males were up for it!

Black Grouse Mar 4

Black Grouse Mar 5

Black Grouse Mar 3
The Black Grouse had put on one of their best ever displays!

What an amazing morning already! The grouse, the snow, the magical light and the owl had combined to make for an unforgetable experience. But there was lots more to come. Not far away we watched another lek with some fifteen males and unusually two female Black Grouse flew in and landed in view. The arrival of the females sent the males into a lekking frenzy! As we marvelled at the grouse we noticed a Great grey Shrike on the ridge above. We had lekking Black Grouse and a Great grey Shrike in the same binocular view. The shrike showed off hunting the moorland from the top of small trees.

Next up was a male Peregrine that mobbed a Buzzard that was sat on a dead tree, the falcon putting on an amazing flying display. Dropping down to the river valley we were soon watching a pair of Goosander and a pair of gaudy Mandarin Ducks, the day was just getting better! Then a Dipper flew in landed below us, the water was crystal clear and we were able to watch the Dipper "flying" underwater, stunning.

A great breakfast was called for and soon vanished! Of course we kept birding even when we were eating, adding Long tailed Tit and Collared Dove from the cafe window.

Next stop was to look for Hawfinch, but first we enjoyed two Red Kites sparring with a Buzzard as a Sparrowhwak soared nearby. After a short wait we were enjoying lovely views of Hawfinches on top of bare trees. The Leica APO 82mm telescope allowed every detail of these large colourful finches to be enjoyed.

At RSPB Conwy we really boosted the day list with plenty of wildfowl and waders and luckily a Firecrest seen in the brambles by the bridge pond.

Further along the coast we had great views of three Greenshank at Aber Ogwen but no sign of the Smew seen here recently. We decided to try nearby Bangor harbour and there was the Smew! How lucky was that? We soaked up wonderful views of this lovely "redhead" Smew as it swam with Goldeneye in the sunshine.

Just time for a quick look at Rhos Point where we added Fulmar, Red throated Divers and good views of a Great northern Diver.

What a great day, wonderful birds, cracking weather and great company! A top day. Join us soon for more great birds and great fun.

For details of all our trips email

We look forward to sharing great birds with you soon. No one knows North Wales better, as authors of "The Best Birdwatching Sites in North Wales" you will have the best possible chance of seeing the very best birds.


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