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Hawfinch Hunt - back of the net!

Hawfinch Roy de Hass

Magnificent Hawfinch - photo courtesy of our great friend and photographer Roy de Haas of

We headed south into the heart of the Snowdonia National Park. The weather was looking a bit grim but on we went. We reached the site and were soon watching Nuthatches right overhead and a noisy flock of Siskin. A Redwing flew in and provided good views of a lifer for our Canadian client, Judith, and lovely for the rest of us to admire.

Then Ruth had one, a Hawfinch! Success! She quickly set up the scope on the bird and frame-filling views were enjoyed by all. Luckily this massive-billed finch was in the mood to show off and everyone soaked up prolonged views.

Then things got even better when a really handsome male Hawfinch popped up in a holly tree and just sat there showing off and seeming to look straight back at us! Again the views through the 82mm Leica APO scope were just stunning! The light-gathering capability of this scope just has to be seen to be believed. We had plenty of time to look, and look, and look again at this beautiful and rare finch as it picked at the berries on the bush.

After our early start, a bacon butty and a steaming mug of hot chocolate to toast our amazing morning made the perfect reward.

Next we visited a nearby reservoir and enjoyed great views of a pair of Scaup amongst plenty of Tufted Duck and Goldeneye. A Red Kite passed almost right overhead.

At Black Rock we marvelled at clock-work Sanderling charging up and down the beach. Offshore, masses of Common Scoter rode the waves and we picked out six Long-tailed Duck amongst them.

We birded our way back home via Foryd Bay where we enjoyed close views of a flock of Pale-bellied Brent Geese, with one Dark-bellied amongst them, Greenshank and both species of Godwit, and then rounded off our day at Aber Ogwen, where we watched a Peregrine as it tore along low over the shore, looking for prey and flushing the wader flocks - a great end to a very satisfying day.

Our thanks go to Judith and Tel for making this such an enjoyable outing. If you'd like to join us on our next Hawfinch Hunt on Tuesday, 28th February 2012, drop us an email on to reserve your place. We look forward to sharing great birds with you!


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