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Best of North Wales 4 September - a custom birdwatching trip!

We like to be asked to put together custom tours so we were delighted to be asked by Josep, a Spanish birdwatcher for a day out in North Wales. Josep had some birds he really wanted to look for and wanted to visit a cross section of habitats, we could do that!

After exchanging several emails to sort out just the ideal day we picked up Josep from his Llandudno hotel at 5am this morning and headed off to see birds.

B G Mar 5

As we climbed towards the moors, it was not looking good, fog, the last thing we wanted! We could only see a few feet and our hearts sank, no birds in this! But we could hear birds, through the fog cam the unmistakable calls of Black Grouse. Luckily the fog drifted back a little and we could just about make the daek shapes of three Black Grouse. We waited listening to the bizarre calls of these amazing birds and then the mist began to thin and then suddenly it was gone, brilliant. Now we could really enjoy the spectacle of lekking Black Grouse, just amazing! Josep was thrilled - a new bird for him, made even more exciting by the fact that grouse are his favourite family of birds and he had thought he would not have the chance to see the lek. We watched nine males showing off and Josep was able to take some nice photo and some cool video of the birds fighting, brilliant. At one point a Red Grouse landed between us and the Black Grouse, amazing to have both species in the same binocular view!

Red Grouse

Eventually the Black Grouse wound down and we left them in peace, but we did not get far, a gang of juvenile Black Grouse stepped out on to the track in front of us, amazing. Seven of the cryptically coloured birds walked right in front of us them melted away into the heather, wow! We took a walk in the returned fog but still managed to see another eight Red Grouse, six Stonechats and a Reed Bunting, not bad considering the poor conditions.

In the woodland below the moor we quickly addded Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goldcrest and Coal Tit. A fast flowing river held a pair of Dipper which really showed off in the sunshine that had broken through the mist. A large breakfast was very welcome and we thought well deserved aftre a brilliant morning with amazing birds in lovely scenery - when visible!

Full of food we headed into the mountains and lucky quickly found two Ring Ouzels one of which, a handsome male, showed off in the hot sunshine right on top of a small hawthorn bush.

Goosander female 1

Dropping down to the coast we had a mad half hour of adding lots of new birds to our day list. We didn't know which way to look as we all scanned the estuary picking out new bird after new bird. Two Greenshank showed off feeding up to their bellies next to Redshank feeding on the mudflats. We enjoyed scope views of both Red-breasted Merganser and Goosander always great to compare these similar species. Wildfowl were well represented here as we also picked out Teal, Wigeon, a drake Shoveler and the first Pintail of the autumn.

Chough South Stack 2

On to Anglesey we were very lucky to see an Osprey over Beddmanarch Bay, but we were on a roll so on again to RSPB South Stack. We were soon watching Chough swooping over the spectacular cliffs, tumbling below us calling wildly and then, amazingly, landing right next to us, so gloosy in the strong sun. We were very pleased with the variety of seabirds we enjoyed here, not normally the best conditions a flat calm sea! Gannet, Fulmar, Common Guillemot and Razorbill and then best of all Manx Shearwaters skimming over the placid water, a bird Josep had particularly wanted to see. But there was more to see, mammals, an Atlantic grey seal showed off just below the cliffs, three harbour porpoise broke the surface of the mill pond like sea. But the cherry on a very nice cake was the appearance of two huge Risso's Dolphins rising out of the water! An amazing sight to see these pale dolphins in the sunlight, just breath-taking!

Black Guillemot 2

At the nearby harbour we enjoyed comparing Shag and Cormorant both in flight and perched close to each other. A Black Guillemot was swimming about on the blue sea showing off nicely through the Leica scope. At nearby Beddmanarch Bay the rising tide was pushing birds in to the bay. Great Crested Grebes and Red-breasted Mergansers loafed on the flooding waters and a fine adult Mediterranean Gull posed with Black-headed Gulls just below us.

Just time for one last site and we visited a nearby lake where we enjoyed more Great crested Grebes including a late youngster still small enough to ride on an adults back. Little Grebe, Coot and Tufted Duck were our last new birds of the day.

A huge thank you to Josep for his lovely company and enthusiasm throughout a wonderful day of brilliant birdwatching in lovely weather and stunning scenery.

We have space on the following Best of North Wales trips and we would love you join us to enjoy the best birdwatching.

22nd September 2014

23rd September 2014

24th September 2014

To book your place or for more details please email us at...

Or please call us on....

O1492 872407


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