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Biggest Twitch
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Best of North Wales February

We picked up Alan and Anne from their home before dawn and headed for the moors. Alan and Anne have been out with us many times and have that very nice habit of being lucky so we hoped the run would continue.

As the first fingers of dawn spread light across the heather we could see dark shapes not far away, these shapes then became black and white as the shapes began to move. Black Grouse were begining their lek just yards away, and the sounds were amazing.

Black Grouse April 2013 2

Ten of these amazing birds were strutting and fighting in the morning light and we were thrilled to see these gorgous birds so close. The bubbling and cooing sounds added to atmosphere of one of the most amazing bird spectacles anywhere in the world.

We headed further across the huge moorland keeping our eyes peeled for more birds. Ravens soared over but little else was moving. Suddenly a grey, black and white bird shot low over the heather. We knew at once it was a Great grey Shrike! Luckily the shrike landed in a small tree quite close and we had a good view. But it was soon off again, again it landed in a small tree but this time on the sky line against the rising sun, so very back lit, not ideal for photos. A very exciting bird to find!

GG Shrike moors poor

We watched more lekking Black Grouse and again marvelled at the spectacle of these red, black and white birds. At a viewpoint we stopped for a very welcome hot drink and a bite to eat as we enjoyed the vista.

Moors view

Two Peregrines drifted over and more Ravens cronked overhead. Amazingly we saw more Black Grouse including a flock of sixteen birds powering over the moors, perhaps flushed by one of the Peregrines. Warmed from our mini breakfast we headed down off the moors and soon we were watching a lovely Dipper and a pair of Stock Doves as a Sparrowhawk soared over head.

We then visited Llangollen on the River Dee, and the Dee was certainly in full flow after all the recent rains! Again we watched more Dippers here buzzing over the torrent, amazing how they can find food here.

Dee Llangollen

Now it was time for a proper breakfast and we tucked into a large and very welocome fry-up! The birdwatching didn't stop here and we added several species to our growing list at the feeders outside the cafe window. Back out and we were soon enjoying a lovely Red Kite soaring over a hillside and we went on to see three more of these wonderful birds during the day.

Alan Alan Anne Caerhun

In the Conwy Valley we again saw evidence of the very wet start to 2014 with flooding along the valley floor. But signs of Spring were in evidence here and plenty of birds including a Peregrine passing right over us.

Conwy Valley flood

Church bell Caerhun

Snowdrops Caerhun

At RSPB Conwy we again gave our list a big boost with lovely views of wildfowl and waders. We were able to compare Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwits roosting amongst Curlew and Scaup with Tufted Duck.

Up on the North Wales coast we marvelled at a vast flock of Common Scoters offshore. As Alan and Anne enjoyed great looks at these seaducks through the Leica telescopes Alan pick out three drake Surf Scoters through his binoculars! Very unusual to be able to see Surf Scoters from the beach without the aid of a high-powered telescope, but the sunshine and the realative closeness of the flock made it possible. Through the scopes we could see the black and white head patterns of these rare visitors from America. We could even see the orange and red on the bills of the Surf Scoters, amazing stuff!

All the excitment had given us a thirst so we headed for a nearby cafe and enjoyed some very good cakes and tea. We were soon back to the birding a walk in a nearby lovely woodland gave a new set of birds to enjoy. Nuthatch and Treecreeper showed off as Long tailed Tits moved through the bare branches and a Jay posed for us. But the highlight here was great views of two Marsh Tits that really showed off often calling. A Goldcrest popped up above the Marsh Tits, our last new bird of the day.

Well, Alan and Anne had certainly maintaned their "lucky" tag and some! What a fantastic day of wonderful birds, stunning scenery and great company! North Wales has so much to offer and all within a small area, so little driving between the sites. Not many places can you start the day on high moors watching Black Grouse, drop down to watch Dippers and raptors, visit coastal lagoons, open coast and woodlands all in one day with lots of time to enjoy them all. Oh, and have time for some lovely food and drink!

Come and join us soon for the very best in birdwatching and great fun! We run our tours throughout the year and can tailor make a perfect day for you. Simply drop us a line and we can do the rest...

We look forward to enjoying great birds with you soon.


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