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The colour purple - guided birdwatching in North Wales

There was only place to begin our day of guided birding, the hamlet of Dwyran on Anglesey. Few people had even heard of it before but the previous day the village had hit the bird headlines when a beautiful adult Purple Heron was discovered in a marshy field.

After a little confusion we found the right footpath and carefully walked in to the field over looking the marsh and small pool. There it was, a gorgeous adult Purple Heron standing statue-like at the water edge, what a stunner. The Purple Heron is a very rare visitor to Wales and it was a real treat to have a spring adult showing off so well. This rarity moved slowly along the edge of the pool and at one point its snake like neck, with dagger-bill, flashed forward and came up with a small eel which was quickly swallowed. We eventually dragged ourselves from this lovely bird having soaked up the views.

Purple Heron

Not a great shot of this special bird, poor light and very windy is our excuse!

Back on the mainland we headed in to the mountains of Snowdonia but a strong wind was keeping birds out of sight. We did find a good few Wheatears including some cracking males, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaff but our usual Ring Ouzel sites let us down.

Down to Porthmadog and we were amazed at the extensive flooding on the low lying fields east of the town. Luckily we could still reach the RSPB Osprey project by the River Glaslyn, though the river was very high and looked about to flood the car park at any minute! The pair of Osprey seemed not to mind as both birds were at the nest looking after their two eggs. A pair of Mandarin were a real bonus here. They were feeding in a flooded woodland on the opposite bank and provided a riot of colour, well at least the drake did. In a nearby field nine Whooper Swans were still feeding up before heading north for Icelandic breeding grounds.

At nearby Morfa Bychan beach the sea was pretty choppy but we still managed to pick out plenty of Common Scoter along with Red-throated Diver and Great Crested Grebes. There were plenty of Sandwich Terns offshore and a flock of 25 were seen resting on the sands. From Criccieth beach we watched a group of five Red-throated Divers, one in winter plumage, one in full breeding plumage and the other somewhere between.

Black Rock birding
You can drive along the wonderful beach and bird all the way!

On the north coast of the Llyn Peninsula we quickly found our target bird, Great Northern Diver, at least six of these huge divers bobbed offshore. It was good to compare these Great Northerns with two Red-throated Divers on the sea here. Kittiwakes were dip feeding over the waves and both Red-breasted Merganser and Shag dived for fish.

At Dinas Dinlle we watched Lapwings displaying over the damp fields and the RSPB warden told us he had counted 27 pairs of these wonderful waders, let's hope they can produce plenty of young. A flock of spectacular Golden Plover stood in one field looking a bit fed up with the gale force wind but still wonderful to see. Two White Wagtails also fed in the fields here.

At Foryd Bay we watched a flock of 150 Pale-bellied Brent Geese in the late afternoon sun, amazing to think these birds will soon be breeding in Arctic Canada! Back at RSPB Conwy there was just time for a quick look from two of the hides and we had a good boost to our day list with plenty of wildfowl still here. We also enjoyed great views of Siskin on the feeders and a Peregrine flew the length of the lagoons.

All in all, it was a really great fun day's birding! You really should join us for the best in birding. Lots of trips coming up and if you have a date you are free, we hope we can take you birding.

Why not join us for a great day out?

Email or Call Alan on 07778 677141 to reserve your place.

We run trips throughout the year just email us for details on We look forward to enjoying brilliant birds with you!

Set departure tours and custom tours are available throughout the year to suit you. Here are some ideas to whet your appetite. If the dates do not suit you, just let us know and we will put together a great trip just for you!

Black Grouse lekking

13 April 2011 – only two spaces left on this date
20 April 2011
27 April 2011 – fully booked
A very early start to visit a wonderful upland area and witness the spectacular dawn lek of Black Grouse, a truly amazing sight. The area also holds raptors, Crossbill, Dipper and migrants. This scenic place never fails to amaze.
£55 per person, including cooked breakfast!

Warblers Galore!

2 May 2011
Learn more about the 11 species of warbler found in North Wales. We look at how to identify this wonderful family of birds, learn more about their songs and habitat preferences. We will of course see many other wonderful species.
£40 per person

North Wales Spring Special

8 May 2011
11 May 2011
18 May 2011
Our principal target species will be the wonderful birds found in North Wales at this time of year. We will be searching for Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Wood Warbler, Hawfinch, Hen Harrier and Red Kite as well as any other species available at this wonderful time of year. Expect to see over 80 species!
£40 per person

Northumberland’s bird islands

9 – 12 June 2011
A chance to visit the bird-rich, wild coast of Northumberland with seabird cities and some late migrants. The highlight of the trip will be a day out on the magical Farne Islands where we walk amongst Puffins and thousands of other seabirds allowing fantastic photo opportunities. We also visit the beautiful island of Lindisfarne or Holy Island, where we look for migrants and waders in picturesque surroundings. We will also call in at the RSPB Saltholme reserve which is proving a real draw for amazing birds!
£495 per person based on six participants, including boat trip and landing fees

Norfolk – the best of birding!

17 – 19 June 2011
Norfolk has an amazing list of birds and we will see as many as possible! Breeding birds will be the main focus and we hope to find Montagu’s Harrier, Stone Curlew, Golden Oriole and Wood Lark. We will also search out any rarities in the area.
£295 per person, based on six participants.
We can also arrange weekend, mid-week, week long or a tour of any length to suit you. Simply let us know the dates you have in mind and we can put together a custom tour and quote just for you!

All day tours include 8 hours guided birdwatching, transport in the ‘Birdmobile’, use of optics and field guide, day checklist, attentive customer care throughout. Prices exclude food and refreshment, please bring packed lunch, snacks and drinks and any items of a personal nature. If you have any special requirements or requests, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our aim is to make your birdwatching day special for you.

For more details, or to book your place on any of the above set departure tours or to arrange a custom tour, available throughout the year to suit you:

Email or call Alan on 07778 677141

We look forward to enjoying great birds with you!
Best wishes
Alan and Ruth


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