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Conwy County Borough

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata ©Nigel Blake Website

Conwy is at something of a crossroads in North Wales, sitting roughly half way between the English border and the famous Chough and seabird haven of South Stack on the tip of Anglesey. From its eastern boundary at the river Clwyd near Rhyl, to the west where it meets Gwynedd, the county provides numerous opportunities to catch up with birds which are difficult, if not impossible to see elsewhere in the UK.

To the north is Conwy's Irish sea coast, the entire length of which is home to the very busy A55. Despite this there are places, Llanddulas and Rhos on Sea for example, where you can enjoy waders like Purple Sandpipers and Turnstones along with the commoner Redshank, Dunlin etc. This same coast is also home in winter to large Scoter flocks; mostly Common, but Surf and Velvet Scoters are occasionally seen too. Seen also on the coast are various species of wintering Divers and Grebes.

Probably the best known birding spot is RSPB Conwy which offers tremendous, year-round birding. There are a mass of various ducks here in winter, for instance in early 2014 there were up to 3 Scaup. Every winter there are Pochard, Goldeneye,Teal, Gadwall and more. The reserve is alive with warblers in spring and summer, in it's woodland & scrubby areas and reedbeds. A feeding station in the Wildlife Garden often has Bullfinch among the commoner finches and tits, the odd Great Spotted Woodpecker with the winter additions of Long-Tailed Tits, Siskin and Lesser Redpoll. The views from the Coffee Shop here are absolutely stunning, both of the magnificent 13th century Conwy Castle plus the Carneddau and Tal-y-Fan mountains, after which hides on the reserve have been named.

Further up Conwy Valley is another must - Caerhun Church. It is an excellent site for the elusive but beautiful Hawfinch that shows here or in the surrounding area quite often. Carrying on south from here will take you to the southern edge of Conwy County and deep into Snowdonia. Buzzard and Raven are very common in the area, Red Kite are encountered more and more as they venture away from their traditional haunts further south. Pied Flycatcher and Redstart breed in good numbers in the woodlands.

Conwy is a county perhaps little known outside of North Wales, but time spent here will pay the visitor back richly, both in quality and quantity of birds seen, in some of the most breathtaking scenery anywhere in Britain.

Good views of waders and wildfowl can also be had at Lafan Sands further west.

The mountain areas have good numbers of Peregrine, with smaller numbers of Chough, while in May Dotterel on passage are regular on the Carneddau range.

Top Sites

Alwen Reservoir

Satellite View

This reservoir is surrounded by conifer plantations and moor land. Bird species include Great-crested Grebe, Common Sandpiper and many over-wintering duck. The plantations attract Goldcrests plus many other resident woodland birds, irruptions of Crossbill occur from time to time.

Conwy RSPB Reserve

Website

Satellite View

Wildfowl, waders and rarities.

Contributor

County Recorder

Ian Spence

43 Blackbrook, Sychdyn, Mold, Flintshire CH7 6LT

01352 750118

ianspence.cr1@btinternet.com

Checklist

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Useful Reading

Best Birdwatching Sites in North Wales

by Alan Davies & Owen Roberts Nov 2007 Buckingham Press £15.95p
See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 9780955033940

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Trip Reports

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Plas Maenan Hotel - Llanrwst

Accommodation

Approached by an avenue of plane trees, Plas Maenan sits high on a bluff on the sunny side of the Conwy Valley with spectacular views of the river and mountains from the fountain terrace…

The Wellington Hotel - Llandudno

Accommodation

The Wellington is a warm, friendly, family run hotel which retains many hints of its Victorian history whilst offering all of your contemporary needs and a lovely sea view. Built in 1851, this charming Victorian town house in Llandudno is in a prime posisition on the seafront. Opposite Llandudno's pier the hotel is perfectly situated to explore the Great Orme Nature Reserve…

Organisations

Welsh Ornithological Society

Website

Reserves

Eryri [Snowdonia] National Park

Website

Satellite View

Choice or Welsh or English - Eryri or the Snowdonia National Park was designated a National park in 1951, the third National Park to be created in England and Wales under the 1949 National Parks and Access to the countryside Act. It is the second largest National park in England and Wales, covering some 2,171 square kilometres (838 square miles) of north west Wales, and including the Carneddau, and Glyderau mountain ranges as well as the Highest mountain in England and Wales (1085m/3560ft)- Yr Wyddfa (the Tomb in welsh), or Snowdon from which the Park takes its (english) name. The welsh name Eryri means 'place of the eagles'.

Forestry Commission - Gwydyr

Website

Satellite View

You may see Black Grouse in the Gwydyr south and Tyn y Cwm woodlands. These areas are the younger parts of the forest where moorland meet trees and are the habitats favoured by the grouse. The forest is also rich in raptors and Buzzards Goshawks, Peregrines and Merlin have all been sighted here…

RSPB - Conwy Reserve

Website

Satellite View

Situated on the banks of the Conwy estuary, with magnificent views of Snowdonia and Conwy Castle, this reserve is delightful at any time of year. Birds can always be seen from the visitor centre, and our friendly experts can help you spot godwits and shelducks, or any of the more than 200 different species that have been seen at this reserve…

Snowdonia National Park

Website

Satellite View

Golden Eagles vanished some 300 years ago but you may very well see buzzards and peregrines. You'll almost definitely spot ravens (listen out for their Cronk Cronk and wheatears (spotted by their skimming flight and white rumps) and perhaps choughs and ring ouzles …

Blogs

Conwy

Blog

Julian Hughes is the new site manager at the RSPB's Conwy nature reserve. At work, he's more used to wearing a suit and tie than wellies and a fleece, as his previous job title was Head of Species Conservation. How will he get on?

Great and Little Orme Birding

Blog

Birds and Wildlife blog of the Great Orme Country Park and Little Orme LNR, Conwy…

Other Links

Clwyd Birds Web

Website

Clwyd offers the birdwatcher a wide and diverse range of habitats. Sand and shingle beaches on the North Wales Coast between Conwy and Talacre join the tidal estuaries of the Rivers Conwy, Clywd and the Dee.

North Wales Birding

Website

Forum, photos, trip reports, and a great deal more…