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Best of North Wales January 2014

Our first, of many, Best of North Wales Tours was great fun. We met at RSPB Conwy at 8am and headed south down the Conwy Valley. We soon enjoyed lots of birds including two Red Kites and brief views of two Hawfinch.

We stopped to look over the RSPB Conwy reserve and quickly added a great selection of wildfowl including a drake Scaup and handsome drake Red-breasted Merganser.

Red breasted Merganser drake

Moving west along the North Wales coast we were thrilled to watch a pair of Dipper showing off in a fast flowing stream. Offshore a Great northern Diver was riding the incoming tide along with Red-throated Diver and Great-crested Grebes. Waders on the mudflats included Knot and Bar-tailed Godwits.

Onto Anglesey and the huge tide was already very high! Waders at Beddmanarch Bay were roosting right by the car-park, Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Turnstone were just yards away. Another Great northern Diver fished the bays choppys waters.

Turnestone Beddmanarch

At Holyhead Harbour we had some real luck, Black Guillemot was seen at once, and very close. We saw at least four more of these little chaps, some already coming into their smart breeding plumage. An adult Little Gull fluttering over the waves was a real bonus bird and luckily was feeding happily allowing everyone good looks at this dainty rarity. Three Kittiwakes were also un-expected in January, no doubt blown in by the storms. At least three more Great northern Divers were picked out and through the scope the views were just superb!

Up at RSPB South Stack we quickly found a pair of Chough and then another pair closer, sheltering by a stonewall. Ravens showed off, seemingly enjoying the strong winds.

Following the dramatic coastline, marvelling at the wind seas, we enjoyed great views of Rock Pipits and found four Purple Sandpipers sheltering on a huge rock as waves crashed against the other side.

Purple Sandpiper 1

On the Inland Sea a flock of Pale-bellied Brent Geese were feeding close in-shore at the sheltered end of this tidal water. Goldeneye and Red-breasted Mergansers were also enjoying the realatively sheltered waters.

At Valley Lakes the wind was so strong we could hardly stand up! Not many bird on view here! At Llyn Coron the wind was again keeping the wildfowl at the edge of the lake. The fields here produced Fieldfares, Redwings and Reed Buntings.

At Malltraeth the tide was still high and the Cob Pool was alive with birds. A flock of Black-tailed Godwits were amongst lots of Curlew. Stunning Pintail were showing off on the choppy waters amongst plenty of Wigeon and Teal. Masses of Lapwing were in the wet fields on the opposite side of the road.

In nearby Newbrough Forest we added some common woodland birds, including Great-spotted Woodpecker, lots more wildfowl on the pool here.

A quick stop overlooking Malltraeth Marsh and we were able to view seven Whooper Swans below the road, nice bonus bird for our large bird list!

Just time to squeeze in one more site as the light began to fade. At Aber Ogwen the tide was just falling and there were plenty of waders and wildfowl. The highlight here were four ghostly Greenshank feeding in the river channel.

Back to RSPB Conwy where our tour concluded at 5pm. We had enjoyed 85 species of bird in some lovely places and experienced some wild weather! It really shows that the birds are out there no matter the weather, get your water-proofs on and enjoy them.

We would love to enjoy great birds with you soon, just drop us a line and we can arrange a great day out for you. Many of our tours are custom designed to suit our clients so don't worry if you don't see a date that you can make, we are very flexible and are sure we can find a tour ideal for you!

We look forward to hearing from you!


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