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Hawfinch Hunt scores

We met at RSPB Conwy at 8am, this proved a good meeting place as we found a Whooper Swan! A scarce visitor to the reserve this lovely swan was swimming around on the lagoons showing very well, great start!

Heading south we soon reached our first site to look for Hawfinch, not good news though, we met another birdwatcher but he had not seen any birds in the hour he had been there. But we know just where to look and a few minutes later we had an amazing fifteen Hawfinch! Not just a quick look either, over the next hour we enjoyed wonderful views of these bull-necked, huge billed finches. It was lovely to see male and females perched next to each other, crystal clear views through the Leica APO 82mm telescope. A Red Kite soared overhead and wowed us, surely one of the best raptors in the world?


Just a short drive took us to another site, a stunning view across the Conwy Valley here and plenty of birds. We enjoyed great looks at a mixed flock of thrushes, Fieldfare, Redwing and Mistle Thrush all hopped about right in front of us. A Common Buzzard gave wonderful views sitting in a nearby dead tree. We were just about to move on, when we saw a bird sat on top of a beech tree, a Hawfinch! This one just sat there and sat there, we soaked up the views as four more of these stunning finches flew over! The Hawfinch Hunt had scored, big time, keeping our 100 per cent record of finding this tricky species.

Back to RSPB Conwy for a very welcome hot drink and the Whooper Swan was waiting for us outside the Coffee Shop, nice. Refreshed and warmed up we headed down to the coast.

At Rhos Point the tide was just dropping and waders were dropping in to feed on the tideline. Plenty of Oystercatchers, Curlew and Redshank, with some careful scanning we added Ringed Plover, Dunlin and lots of lovely Turnstones. Offshore both Great crested Grebes and Shag dived for fish.

Turnestone Beddmanarch

Nearby we stopped to feed the gulls and, as we hoped, a stunning adult Mediterreanan Gull game straight in at the first sign of the bread. This pale ghostly gull showed off flying around us and landing at our feet! What amazing amazing views of this scarce bird. It was very interesting to compare the Mediterranean Gull with the similar Black headed Gulls. We also had a good look at Herring Gulls and all there various plumages! Lesser black backed Gulls were also on the beach here, migrants back from Africa already, Spring is coming!

Med Gull standing 1

Further along the coast we walked along a shingle beach, by now the tide was low enough to expose the sand below the shingle and Sanderling scurried along the water edge like clockwork toys. Offshore were huge numbers of Common Scoter out in the bay, a single Red throated Diver too.

We scanned the beach ahead and found our target birds, a gorgous flock of Snow Buntings! These Arctic visitors were feeding amongst the pebbles where they blended in very well. The sun came out and the buntings seemed to do some sun bathing! The whole flock of twelve birds sat still and looked as though they were soaking up the rays. Snow Buntings are such beautiful birds we soaked up the views through the Leica telescope.

Snow Bunt 4 KB

A gang of four Goosanders flew in landed on there sea very close in, and a fifth bird flew up river. We enjoyed a picnic lunch looking out to sea enjoying the huge numbers of Common Scoter and more Great crested Grebes.

After lunch another change of habitat and we visited a lovely area of woodland. Lots of birds here and we enjoyed great looks at Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Long tailed Tits and a Goldcrest. But the star of the show here was a Marsh Tit, luckily this black capped tit was calling loudly - giving his presence away.

After our woodland walk we headed back to RSPB Conwy where we boosted our list nicely by walking down as far as the Carneddau hide. Goldeneye, Tufted Duck and Pochard were all diving in the lagoon as Gadwall swam with Teal and Wigeon. Lesley and Jayne both fed a Robin on their hands, always a thrill to have a wild bird display this level of trust. A Lesser Redpoll was coming to the feeders in the wildlife garden and gave brilliant close views.

The day had flown by, as it always does when you are seeing great birds, and we headed back to the visitor centre to conclude our Hawfinch Hunt. What a super day with top quality birds, great company and stunning scenery. Come and join us soon.

For details of all our day trips, weekends and holidays drop us a line at

We look forward to sharing wonderful birds with you!


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