Conwy County Borough
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.
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.
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Snowdonia National Park
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