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Subalpine Warbler Steals the Show!

With news that the Subalpine Warbler was still around, we loaded the car and headed off to the Lleyn Peninsula. Sarah-Jane and Rachel were here for four days' guided birding in North Wales and we wanted to start off on a high note. About 60 miles away, and feeling like about 60 years back in time, Aberdaron is a beautiful place when you finally get there!


The view over Aberdaron

Just a little further at Uwchmynydd we saw Andy Clark watching something. A minute later, so were we. A gorgeous male Subalpine Warbler, obligingly perching up in the sunshine. Mega bird!

Subalpine Warbler 1

Subalpine Warbler - this one's our photo!

Subalpine Warbler 2

And so's this one; the bird just didn't stay put for a second

Subalpine Warbler Steve Culley

Subalpine Warbler - this much better photo was taken at another time by Steve Culley, thanks Steve!

Subalpine Warbler Watchers

Some very happy Subalpine Warbler Watchers, thanks Andy!

Bardsey Island

Not a bad place to do your warbler watching

Chough Lleyn

The hillside all around us was dotted with Wheatears, and an entertaining pair of Chough

Next we walked down to Porth Meudwy. Apart from being a very picturesque spot, the narrow valley here can be a real migrant trap.

Porth Meudwy

Checking all the bushes for migrants as we go


This Chaffinch came in close to check us out, while a Lesser Whitethroat rattled away from deep in a nearby bush

Porth Meudwy 4

Down by the shore, the unused lobster pots were stacked up in the sunshine and their fishy smell attracted insects....


.... and the insects attracted this Chiffchaff!

By now it was time for lunch and a loo stop, so we started to head back towards Aberdaron.

Lleyn view

The views were spectacular; in the clear conditions we could see for miles!

Then Alan's phone buzzed with news that the Woodchat Shrike was showing nearby NOW! All thoughts of lunch and loos were postponed, this was a case of one shrike or you're out! We dashed back to where it had been seen and within seconds had picked it out sitting on a fencepost, that wonderful rufous colour a real giveaway.

Woodchat Shrike Steve Culley

Too far for our camera, here's one Steve Culley took earlier, thanks Steve!

Phew! Another top-drawer bird in the bag. Now we could think of lunch and loos again, so we turned back to Aberdaron and called in at Y Gegin Fawr cafe. The Big Kitchen was the traditional stopping off point for pilgrims making the journey to the island of Bardsey, so it seemed appropriate for our birding pilgrimage.

Y Gegin Fawr

Doing the checklist while we wait for our lunch; mega birding can give you a real appetite!

We drove home via Porthmadog so that we could check for birds in the area. We walked out onto the cob and set up the scope to scan.

Porthmadog birders

Porthmadog birder

Sarah-Jane scanning intently!

Steam Engine Porthmadog

Oh no, not another group of birders who are also secret trainspotters?! Didn't that also happen in Norfolk?

Luckily Alan broke the spell when he shouted suddenly, "Little Gulls, right!" and sure enough, seven Little Gulls flew in and circled over the marsh.

Little Gull and Black headed Gull 2

Hard to keep up with these diminutive gulls with the camera!

Porthmadog view

Wide views from the cob at Porthmadog

Then sadly it was time to go back to Llandudno after a brilliant day's birding, and all in glorious sunshine. It was a great first day's North Wales birding with Sarah-Jane and Rachel on their four-day custom trip. Three more days and plenty more target birds to come!

If you'd like to join us for some exciting North Wales birding, check out our forthcoming daytrips on Guided Birdwatching Trips in North Wales or email us on for more information.

We look forward to hearing from you.


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