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The Birding Bikers

One of the many wonderful things about birding is that you get to meet a huge variety of people who share a passion for birds. Grahame and Nigel are keen bikers, even building their own machines! They look like keen bikers too, not perhaps everyone's idea of what birdwatchers would look like? We all got on brilliantly from the very first minute and had a great laugh all day.

Nant Ffrancon early
Not a bad landscape to see birds in!

We headed into the stunning Snowdonia National Park on a perfect day, sunny, calm and warm. After a little scanning of the hillsides we were soon watching three Ring Ouzels! These striking mountain thrushes are new in from their African winter quarters and we enjoyed good views through the Leica APO 82mm scope in the early sun. Wheatears flashed from rock to rock as a pair of Raven peered down at us. Fieldfares and Redwing were still here, soon to be heading north.

Bridge Clocaenog
Moving futher into the hills we reached a lovely spot overlooking this beautiful stream.

This narrow valley with hanging woodland was alive with birds and bird song. Chiffchaffs sang out their names, Nuthatches were making a right racket, even a Tawny Owl called! A pair of gorgeous Grey Wagtails skipped along the stream and posed on mid-stream stones in the sunshine.

Next a Dipper shot along the stream and luckily landed in full view.

This dapper bird really showed off, preening, feeding and of course dipping as we all watched. It was hard to leave this tranquil place but we had more birds to see.
We walked to the top of a heather-clad hill and gazed at the huge vista laid out below, a stunning viewpoint. As we enjoyed a welcome drink and chocolate bicuits we were thrown into panic by a shout of Goshawk! Luckily this awesome raptor was in no hurry and soared over the forest for ages allowing all plenty of prolonged scope views, brilliant. Many Buzzards, Ravens and a Sparrowhawk were all on the wing. Then Ruth picked out the hoped-for Great Grey Shrike sitting on a dead tree off in the distance.

We found a lovely spot to have our picnic lunch and enjoyed more birds as we ate. Lesser Redpolls and Siskins were feeding in the larches. A Chiffchaff sang from a willow tree in the warm sun.

Lunch Grahme Nigel
Grahame and Nigel soak up the rays in the forest.

But our lunch was also interrupted by the same shout - Goshawk! A female bird soared over the trees and again we had time to have wonderful scope views of the impressive beast!
We toured the area adding Crossbills and lots more Siskins and Lesser Redpolls, lots more Buzzards, a pair of Stonechats, Goldeneye, Tufted Duck and Great crested Grebe before heading down to the coast.

Conditions along the coast were very hazy making looking at the vast flocks of Common Scoter difficult. We did add a Sandwich Tern and a Red-throated Diver with tens of thousands of the scoter, an impressive sight even if hazy!

Grahme scope
Scanning the vast flocks of scoter.

We finished the day with a quick look at RSPB Conwy where lots of birds were additions for our day list including Wigeon, Teal, Lapwing, Curlew, Oystercatcher and Little Egret. Our last bird was a beautiful Red Kite which soared over the reserve in the late afternoon sun, breathtaking!

It had been a brilliant day with the Birding Bikers and we look forward to more of the same. Come and join us soon for wonderful birds in stunning places.

For details of all our tours or to arrange a custom tour ideal for you!


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