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Great North Wales birds

The morning was spent birding along the coast near Rhyl, here in North Wales. Now, if you know Rhyl you might think it would be the last place to look for birds! Though rumour has it that the town is in for a make over soon, who said "about time!"?

Anyway, there are some great birdwatching sites very close to Rhyl, just make sure you lock your car and don't leave valuables on view inside! The River Clwyd runs out to the sea just west of Rhyl and a Black throated Diver had been seen here recently, it had flown off the previous day, but you never know. So, we went for a look.

No sign of the diver on the river but this initial dissapointment was quickly forgotten as we heard a Waxwing trilling close-by! Spinning around there was a stunning male Waxwing sat in a bare tree not far away. This most beautiful bird soon dropped down to feed in a berry bush not far from where we were stood.

Waxwing MG
What a cracker! This picture of the bird was taken by our great friend Martin Garner of Birding Frontiers, thanks Martin!

Walking south alongside the river produced a great selection of birds. A pair of Red breasted Mergansers were fishing in the main channel, as Wigeon, Teal and Goldeneye all floated around them. Bar tailed Godwits thrust their bills deep into the soft mud in search of a meal, along with Oystercatchers, Curlew, Redshank, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Lapwing and two Turnstone, quite a collection!

Then we picked another small wader skimming across the water on bowed wings, a Common Sandpiper! Far from common in the UK in January, the vast majority winter way to the south in Africa so a lovely addition to our year list.

Out on the saltmarsh a large mixed flock of Canada and Grey-lag Geese were feeding, a careful scan of the flock with the Leica APO 82mm scope revealed a real surprise, two European White fronted Geese! These are very scarce birds in North Wales so a real thrill to see them here on the River Clwyd.

Not far away we walked along the shingle beach in search of Snow Buntings. Gangs of Sanderling played chicken with the waves and two Great crested Grebes were just offshore. While watching the grebes, coming into breeding plumage already, we picked up a female Long tailed Duck flying east over the calm sea. Another scarce bird! The Long tailed Duck was flying with a single drake Common Scoter and neither showed any signs of stopping.

Snow Bunt 1 KB
Can you see a bird?

A movement on the shingle ahead gave away our target, a Snow Bunting was creeping along in front of us. As we looked hard we saw more of these delightful visitors from the Arctic.

Snow Bunt 4 KB
Three lovely males amongst the group

Snow Bunt 3 KB
The females are pretty good too!

Snow Bunt 2 KB
Like Waxwings, you can never see enough Snow Buntings!

A wonderful morning of great birds and all close to home. Come and join us soon for great birds and great fun.

For details of all our trips please email us on

We look forward to enjoy more great birds with you soon.


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