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One good tern deserves another!

Great Orme

Pre-breakfast birding on the Great Orme

We love to run custom tours for our clients as this allows us to make the tour perfect for the participants. The pace and the species we look for are just the way our clients want. We began this tour with some per-breakfast bird watching in our "back garden" aka the Great Orme. Within minutes of leaving the house we were enjoying scope filling views of Fulmars on the cliffs. Common Whitethroat, Rock and Meadow Pipits show off for us. Further around the headland we watched masses of breeding seabirds in the morning sun above a mill-pond like sea. Guillemots, Razorbills, Cormorants, Shags and Kittiwakes were all busy with their nests. Off-shore Gannets cruised by and on the sea we were thrilled to see three Black Guillemots, rare birds here. On the cliffs above us we enjoyed wonderful views of a pair of Chough. Stonechats showed off on the limestone pavement area and we had another stunning view of a Chough posing on a stonewall. Back to the B&B for a lovely breakfast before we headed off for Anglesey.

White winged Black Tern flying 2

One very good tern: White-winged Black Tern!

News had reached us from our friend, David Wright, that a White winged black Tern was at Cemlyn Lagoon on Anglesey so we changed our plans a little and headed that way. This is a very rare bird in North Wales, not only rare but a real looker too!

White winged Black Tern best

White-winged Black Tern cruises over the pool

We had not even got out of the car at Cemlyn when we saw this stunning bird flying over the west end of the lagoon! Jumping out we were on to the bird and what a bird! The White winged black Tern was picking insects off the surface of the water and also catching them quite high in the air. What a thrill to see this rarity so close in warm sunshine.

White winged Black Tern landed

Hanging out with the other terns

At times the White winged black Tern would join the other terns on the islands in the lagoon. It would roost for a while on the rocks around the island before heading back to the west end to feed once again. We spent a long time watching this amazing rarity, just soaking up the views in the sun.

Roseate Tern Cemlyn 3

Definitely a case of one good tern deserves another!

We walked out on to the shingle ridge for a closer look at the breeding colony of terns. Our timing was excellent as two Roseate Terns were roosting on the main island allowing us amazing views in the Leica telescopes. In world terms a rarer species than the White winged black. The Roseate Terns really showed very well indeed and it was great to see them standing with Common, Arctic and Sandwich Terns for comparison. Of course there were lots of other birds here and we had great looks at Mediterranean Gulls, Grey Plover, Ringed Plover and even a gang of Atlantic grey seals.

Sandwich Tern with fish

Tern again...

Wildflowers Cemlyn

Wonderful wildflowers wherever you look

South Stack no lighthouse

Who's stolen the lighthouse?

After a lovely lunch we visited RSPB South Stack RSPB Reserve, though it seemed as though part of the reserve had gone missing! Luckily the main seabird colony was still visible and we were soon watching masses of Guillemots and Razorbills. We soon picked out some Puffins on the calm sea below the cliffs.

Peregrine Juvenile 1

Peregrine Juvenile has almost outgrown its ledge

A pair of Peregrines are nesting on the cliffs and the views of these top raptors were just brilliant! Through the Leica telescopes every detail could be seen both of the juvenile on the nest ledge and the adult male perched nearby.

Spatulate Fleawort close up

Endemic Spatulate Fleawort

This flower can only be seen here at RSPB South Stack and nowhere else in the world! Amazing that a flower can have such a small world distribution.

South Stack film crew

Film crew set up at RSPB South Stack

For once we were a little distracted from the birds. A film crew were shooting a new action thriller film here on the cliff tops. Strange to see men with machine-guns on the nature reserve! Chough and Stonechat didn't seem to mind all the fuss and showed off nicely.

Jeremy Sumpter

Jeremy Sumpter and a few admirers!

Ellins Tower Gunman

Ellins Tower under armed guard!

White orchids

Orchids scattered amongst the grasses

Next we visted some shallow lakes with carpets of wildflowers in the surrounding grasslands, lovely to see. Plenty of birds too, displaying Great crested Grebes were a surprise, rather late, perhaps a pair trying for a second time? We enjoyed both Reed and Sedge Warblers, Reed Buntings, singing Skylark and lots of wildfowl.

Hawkmoth caterpillar

Nice to look but don't touch!

Great Crested Grebe displaying

Great Crested Grebes still displaying

On day two of our custom tour we had a change of scenery. Pre-breakfast birding was a visit to RSPB Conwy where we quickly saw lots of birds! Reed Warblers posed for us as did a lovely male Reed Bunting. On the lagoon a good selection of wildfowl for June, including Teal, Wigeon and Gadwall. Over forty species enjoyed before a lovely breakfast.

Conwy uplands

Change of scene for Day 2 with a focus on uplands and woodlands

Next we headed into the mountains and it was not long before we were watching a singing male Ring Ouzel. Always a thrill to see this rare mountain thrush. In the upland woods we watched Pied Flycatchers, Redstarts and a stunning little Wood Warbler.

Stonechat and sign

Now where does the footpath go?

Stonechat and flies

No flies on him!

Common Sandpiper singing

Common Sandpiper singing on one leg

Great to find a pair of Common Sandpipers alongside a fast flowing stream, these waders posed for us on a bridge, some of the best views we have ever had. The same stream also gave us Dipper and Grey Wagtail. And still the sun shone!

Alan and Trevor

It's over there!!

Higher into the hills we watched singing Tree Pipits, Skylarks and Stonechats. A pair of beautiful Whinchats showed really well, what cracking little birds. A Red Kite drifted slowly overhead, just stunning in the sunshine against the blue sky. But the highlight of the day was surely a superb male Hen Harrier! We watched this amazing raptor hunting over the mountain side and even landing for a while, just brilliant!

We would love to put together a custom tour that is perfect for you. A custom tour can be anything from one day to as long as you like and can be at anytime of year to suit you. Simply drop us a line and we will do the rest...

In case you fancy some great birding in Norfolk we have space on our mid-summer tour, 11th - 14th July, we know you will love it. We will be looking for lots of wonderful birds including - Stone Curlew, Bittern, Marsh Harrier, Bearded Tit, Spoonbill, migrant waders, Nightjar, Avocet, Barn Owl and Dartford Warbler amongst many others!

We look forward to enjoying great birds with you soon!


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