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Biggest Twitch
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Once more to the moors...

Worlds End view

We picked up John and then Eve in the dark and heavy rain, it did not look good. But we stuck to plan A and headed for the moors, as we climbed away from the lowlands the rain eased and then stopped, whew! As light crept from the east we could see dark shapes with white blobs attached, the Black Grouse were up and active already.

It was cool and windy but we were thankful that the rain had stopped and that we had good visability. The Black Grouse were going at it lekking like crazy, leaping into the air, posturing, lunging, strutting and making their amazing calls, a wonderful spectacle! Eve was firing away with her camera and the rest of us took some shots with our rather inadequate lenes! At least thirteen males were showing off on this lek and we spent a long time soaking up the amazing views.

Further out on the moors we enjoyed more Black Grouse, three more leks, a party of five females - greyhens - and six Red Grouse. We were feeling the cold so we decided to stop for a hot drink and some lovely home made cakes, thanks Jayne! As we tucked in the birding didn't stop - four Common Crossbills flew over, twice, calling loudly, a pair of Ravens cronked above us and a Mistle Thrush sang from a larch tree.

The weather had improved over over mini-breakfast and we could see blue sky! We went back over the moor and jammed in on a Great grey Shrike! Alan spotted this rarity on top of a small conifer and scrambled to set the scope up so everyone could enjoy a view. Luckily the shrike was in no hurry and posed on top of several small trees for us.


Dropping down off the moors we stopped to watch Grey Wagtail and at least four Dippers. One of the Dipper sat in the middle of a tumbling stream and sang, and sang, then a female flew in landed on a rock next to him, a lovely encounter. Two Goosander fished in the fast flowing river looking stunning in the morning sun.

Time for a proper breakfast, and we all tucked into and excellent fry-up, well more of a brunch now - time had flown by as it always does when enjoying great birds. A Siskin entertained us as we ate along with plenty of more expected garden birds on the feeders.


On again and we headed north, stopping to enjoy wonderful views of Red Kites and to admire the scenery, snow capped hills of Snowdonia and the beautiful Conwy Valley below us.

At our next stop we were very lucky, two other birders had a Hawfinch in their scope as we arrived and kindly shared this cracking bird. We saw several more Hawfinch but none posed like this first one. More views of Red Kites including an eye-level fly past, many Buzzards, a pair of Stock Dove and numerous Lesser black backed Gulls were all enjoyed.

At RSPB Conwy we boosted our list nicely. Two Scaup were diving in the shallow lagoon and we also added Goldeneye, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Wigeon, Teal and Red-breasted Merganser here. On the adjacent estuary we enjoyed enjoyed Great crested Grebes and unusually here two Shags. A hot drink at the cafe on the reserve rounded off a great day.

Conwy RSPB


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