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Big Day in North Wales 3 March

A very early start, 5.30am, and we were off on a custom day for Patrick with a long list of target birds to find. First we headed for the moors and at first light we were watching the breath taking display of Black Grouse, no better way to start a birding day!

Black Grouse 3

A male Red Grouse called from the heather and after a little scanning we spotted him peering back at us. A few minutes later we were enjoying a Great grey Shrike in the first of the morning sun, the day was going very well.

Red Grouse trio

Time for a mug of hot chocolate and a first breakfast, lots more Black Grouse including eight greyhens, the females, good to see so many. We heard a flock of Crossbills in the nearby larch trees but could not see them. The scenery in the clear air and sunshine were amazing.

Dropping down into a valley we soon found another target bird, Dipper and had great views of four of these dapper birds. A pair were building a nest so we should be ok for lots of Dipper sightings this Spring. A drake Goosander looked great in the sun.


A full breakfast was very welcome and we added a few more birds at the cafe feeders. Moving north we soon found three stunning Red Kites and lots of Common Buzzards enjoying the lovely weather. The snow capped mountains of Snowdonia were amazing laid out in front of us.

In the Conwy Valley we were very lucky and quickly had Hawfinch in the scope AND a great view of a Goshawk! More Red Kites here and still the sun shone. At RSPB Conwy we really boosted our day list and collected yet another target bird, Scaup. Lots of birds on the lagoons as it was high tide, waders included Black-tailed Godwits and other wildfowl included Pochard, Shoveler and Goldeneye.

Conwy RSPB

Along the coast at Pensarn we hoped to see Surf Scoter, rare visitor from America. There were thousands of Common Scoter offshore here and the light was brilliant but sadly a breeze was making the water choppy - hard to see the scoters well enough to pick out a rarity. Red-throated Divers and two Great northern Divers were two more of the target birds in the bag but we really wanted the Surfs. Alan picked out a drake Surf Scoter but no sooner seen it was lost again in the swell, frustrating! Then we had some help, a call from our friend Mike. He was watching two Surfs from a high point just along the coast, we hurried off to join him! With more height it was easier to see the flocks of Common Scoter in the swell and we were soon enjoying two drake Surf Scoters in the sunshine. Two drake Velvet Scoters here and Fulmars on the nearby cliffs made for great birding.

Very pleased we headed off west to Aber Ogwen and quickly located our wanted bird, Slavonian Grebe in the low water channel, showing well in the sun. A Greenshank was feeding in the river channel.

Black Guillemot

At nearby Bangor and another target bird was soon being enjoyed, Black Guillemot. We also watched two more Great northern Divers and our first Turnstone of the day.

We then headed back east to Llandudno but could not find a Snow Bunting on the west shore, reported the previous day. A pair of Ringed Plover here were the last new birds of the day.

A brilliant day full of great birds in stunning scenery and in sunshine! If you would like to arrange a custom day just right for you just drop us a line

We can put together a perfect birdwatching day for you, looking for the species you would like to see at a pace ideal for you. Be it rarities or help with bird identification we are here to make the day perfect for you!

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