Alan Davies and Ruth Miller have been guiding clients around North Wales and the Dee Estuary this autumn and shared some of the best moments with us.

“Our latest Birdwatching Magazine Birdwatching Trip was a huge success! Not only did we enjoy amazing birds in stunning scenery but we had a lovely group of people to enjoy them with. Even the weather was mostly kind to us and we enjoyed amazing hospitality and superb food at the Princes Arms Hotel in Trefriw. A huge thank you to Jon and Sue, Keith and Sue, Sherry and Sary for making the trip so much fun! 

The bird highlights just kept coming! As we met at the hotel, a Kingfisher posed on the riverbank below us and the Leica APO-Televid Spotting Scopes allowed great views – what a start. After a welcome lunch, we visited the Great Orme to see a lovely Firecrest and a Yellow-Browed Warbler in the same clump of bushes!

Day two began with two otters in the Conwy River and continued with super views of Dipper, before we spent most of the day on Anglesey. We had brilliant views of Chough, while Black Guillemots showed off, Pale-bellied Brent Geese were recently returned from Arctic Canada and an adult Mediterranean Gull posed for us. We were also amazed to see a Peregrine Falcon chasing a Magpie over the sea! The raptor hit the crow and knocked it in to the water, but we could see the Magpie was still alive and the Peregrine repeatedly dived at it. Then, a Great Black-Backed Gull intervened and killed and ate the unlucky Magpie! What an amazing sight.

We spent day three on the Dee Estuary and again enjoyed great raptor moments, with at least four Peregrines, Hen Harrier and Marsh Harrier. The masses of wildfowl present included many new-in Pink-footed Geese and Pintail. Waders included four Little Stints and a Curlew Sandpiper, but it was a very showy Jack Snipe that stole the show, out in the open bobbing away – magical. 

Day four, after spotting another otter, was spent on the coast near Llandudno, and we were extremely lucky in seeing a very rare Alpine Swift! This monster swift zoomed over the tree tops at Penrhyn Bay. We then watched lots of Common Scoter offshore and picked out a drake Surf Scoter amongst them. Leica’s Televid spotting scopes really showing their worth here. We were able to pick out the white markings on the Surf Scoters head; many telescopes could not provide this level of viewing. We had great views of Red-Throated Divers here too. More Chough and amazing views of Peregrines, again, added to the day.

Our last morning was spent exploring the areas near the hotel and what a morning it was! We watched a Goshawk overhead sending the local crow population into a panic – breath-taking stuff. Gangs of Redwings were on the move here and we also saw a flock of Swallows feeding above us; October is a super month for birding! Next we had wonderful views of at least four Hawfinch. One of these monster finches perched in the top of a tree and just showed off for us all. We had a great experience looking through the APO-Televid Spotting Scopes as this hard-to-find bird just sat there for ages.

There were lots and lots more great moments and memories from this super five day trip.“

Ruth and Alan would love you to join them for great birds and great fun. Email them for details:

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