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Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch

Red is the colour in the uplands

Our second day of guided birdwatching with Claire, Chris and Emily and we headed into the uplands. The scenery driving south from Llandudno was simply stunning: snow-capped mountains set off by a clear blue sky.

At our first stop Alan was just saying 'we sometimes see Dip..' when Chris interrupted with 'There's a Dipper now!' Sure enough, one of these dapper little waterbirds whizzed up the stream and landed on a rock. dipping away as they do. The Dipper flew further upstream and was lost to view. We were just about to turn away when not one, not two, but three Dippers came hurtling back downstream towards us. They shot past at close range, calling excitedly. We were just about to turn away when all three shot back upstream past us again. A real Dipper flypast!

As we entered a huge area of conifer plantations, Alan was just saying 'recently we have seen a huge female Gos..' when he rapidly changed his words to 'There, Oh my God, it's a Goshawk!' A huge female Goshawk was slowly flapping through the open woodland towards the road. This magnificent raptor crossed right in front of us and even landed in a large tree to our left. Of course she didn't stay long and soon melted away into the forest leaving us stunned by our good fortune.

Goshawk Clocaenog Forest
Goshawk in North Wales on a Biggest Twitch tour, Eitenne Littlefair.

We walked up to a high point overlooking the vast dark plantations and scanned an area of open moorland. We had hoped to see a Great Grey Shrike but sadly the bird was not at home. A bitingly cold wind had sprung up turning hands and feet and other places numb so we decided not to linger too long and returned downhill out of the wind.

We headed off for a much-needed hot drink but we hadn't gone far when Emily shouted that she'd spotted a raptor. A Red Kite was soaring over a distant field and we soon saw that a Raven and a Buzzard were sharing the same thermal. Three great birds in one view, good spotting Emily!

A mug of hot chocolate was very welcome indeed before we headed off to a nearby area of heather moorland. Here we hoped to find another one of their requested special birds on this trip: the Red Grouse. We have an excellent track record of finding this scarce resident but today the grouse were conspicuous by their absence. We tried our favourite spot: nothing. We tried our second favourite spot: nothing. We tried two more spots: still nothing. Back to the first spot: still nothing. We're nothing if not tenacious but this stomachs rumbling and with lunchtime fast approaching, the pressure was on. One more place to try: boom! A beautiful male Red Grouse stood up in the heather catching the full early afternoon sunshine, his red comb gleaming scarlet against the dark heather. As we watched, this wonderful game bird flew a short distance rising up calling loudly and then gliding back into the heather, bouncing up to look at us over his shoulder. Wow! What a wonderful moment. Glass of whisky anyone?

Red Grouse
Red Grouse, North Wales, taken on Biggest Twitch tour by Eitenne Littlefair.

Right, lunch was called for but we didn't get very far before we stopped again to admire two Red Kites soaring right overhead. The glass roof of the Birdmobile really proved its worth today for seeing raptors. We tried our favourite cafe: shut. We tried our second favourite cafe: also shut. This was feeling familiar! However in this case it was third time lucky and we enjoyed a lovely lunch - many thanks Claire and Chris, it was very tasty!

A few miles away we visited our favourite spot for Hawfinches, and this time we were lucky right away. Three Hawfinches were seen within minutes, Emily being particularly lucky as she was the closest to these bull-necked finches. We had at least five Hawfinches in total in the lovely afternoon sunshine.

Keeping the red theme going, we then enjoyed three more Red Kites nearby before heading back to Llandudno to finish our day with a scenic tour around the Great Orme headland. The scenery was just breath-taking with the sinking sun illuminating the snow-capped peaks of the Carneddau, Anglesey and the Conwy Estuary. We also boosted our day list with roosting Turnstones and Oystercatchers near the pier. At the lighthouse Shag, Cormorant and Fulmar were added, over the west side Clare spotted a Peregrine right overhead, that glass roof again!

What a great bird to end the day and the trip on! Huge thank you to Chris, Clare and Emily for a wonderful two days of birdwatching. We hope to see them back in North Wales soon!

For details of all our trips do drop us a line at

We look forward to hearing from you.


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