Record shot of a male Black Grouse, Denbighshire, North Wales. 03/03/13.
Post lek we headed along the moorland road and parked up and watched a flock of Siskins feeding in larches. We bumped into a group of birders who asked us "have you seen the Shrike?", we replied "no, we're going for that later on", the answer to that was; "oh, there's one over on the hillside" Bonus! We enjoyed scope views of a fantastic, if distant, Great Grey Shrike and also saw another 18 Black Grouse. After the Shrike we headed off into Llangollen for breakfast, checking the the River Dee and seeing Dipper and a drake Mandarin before gladly filling our faces at the Cottage Cafe (highly recommended).
Dipper on the River Dee, Llangollen, North Wales. 03/03/13
Clocaenog forest called us and we met up with a host of birders who'd just seen Goshawks and despite a damn good try we failed to see any and low cloud moved in. The Great Grey Shrike that's been there for months decided to have a lie in so we decided to have a look at the Hawfinches up the road. Driving throught the forest we were amazed at the number of Ravens and watched Buzzards lazily flapping about, Fieldfares were in abundance and a lone Red Kite provided some excitement.
The drive to Llanbedr-y-cennin was brightened by several Goosanders on the Dee near Corwen and a heard of Bison in a field next to the A5. At Llanbedr-y-cennin we enjoyed banter with other birders and eventually saw five Hawfinches; ace big-billed rascals. For the last stop we decided on some duck action and made our way along the A55 to Llandulas. On Saturday a remarkable four Surf Scoters and 12 Velvet Scoters were recorded off there. Steve and I headed to the highest point on Station Road and began to scope the long black ribbon of scoters about 3/4 of a mile offshore. Steve did well and quickly picked up two drake Velvet Scoters and I quickly replied with a drake Surf Scoter, three more Velvets (two drakes and a duck) and a drake Long-tailed Duck amongst an estimated 15,800 Common Scoters. 190 Great Crested Grebes were also out in the bay, some displaying in the sunshine. Another decent day in the field, I'm grateful to Steve for his company and for picking me up; cheers!