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North Wales advice please

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Old Monday 3rd March 2014, 23:10   #1
nobby2013
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North Wales advice please

Hi me and my Dad are planning on a trip to North Wales this Wednesday coming. I've seen some reports of Black Grouse at World's End, a lifer for both of us, so thought we might start there. Is there a particular place to go here? What's the best tactic? We then were going to continue up to Pensarn for the Surf Scoter, again where is the best viewing? We have no plans beyond that but would love to see Dipper, Goshawk - any displaying yet? or Hawfinch if at all possible.

Asking a lot I know, but any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Tuesday 4th March 2014, 11:02   #2
JustinG
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Black Grouse - from the centre of Llangollen, head NW on the A542 towards the Horseshoe Pass. Around 2 miles out of Llangollen, there will be a turning off on the right signposted to 'Pentredwr'. Follow this road for a short distance and there will be a turning right that goes down and past a farm. Carry along this narrow road, passing a few houses/farms and you'll come out to a T-junction after a mile. Turn left at this T-junction and after a short distance, you will cross a stone bridge. Immediately after this stone bridge, turn right (signposted Worlds End), and continue along this road. You will drive through some forestry and when you come out of the forestry, you will be driving along the moor then. You can park just before you come out of the forestry on the right hand side (assuming the car park on the left is closed), or you can use the car as a mobile hide. When you leave the forest, drive forward around 200 yards and I have had a lot of success with lekking males on the left hand side of the road on the hillside. Good luck.

Surf Scoter - go past the train station in Pensarn and over the bridge. After the bridge, turn right and park just there somewhere and scan the sea with a telescope.

Dipper - difficult to say any specific locations. Any wooded area with a small river/stream that is relatively shallow and fast-flowing will more than likely have a Dipper on it.

Goshawk - I'm unable to give specific locations on this bird due to its status. Clocaenog Forest, which is due west of Ruthin and due south of Denbigh, is a large, predominantly coniferous forest so there is always a chance there in an area where there is some open space in the forest. A bright and breezy day (where the thermals are good) is ideal as the birds can soar and circle and display.

Hawfinch - there may be some in the Conwy valley, but I am unsure of locations. I know there's a decent sized flock in Dolgellau, but that is north-west Wales rather than north-east Wales where you're visiting.

Hope this helps and enjoy your trip.
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Old Tuesday 4th March 2014, 12:32   #3
JWN Andrewes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustinG View Post

Dipper - difficult to say any specific locations. Any wooded area with a small river/stream that is relatively shallow and fast-flowing will more than likely have a Dipper on it.

Hawfinch - there may be some in the Conwy valley, but I am unsure of locations. I know there's a decent sized flock in Dolgellau, but that is north-west Wales rather than north-east Wales where you're visiting.

Hope this helps and enjoy your trip.
I saw a couple of Dippers on the stream in the valley you drive up through to get to World's End on 24th Feb, so it's worth driving this section slowly, with occasional stops if the road allows. There's currently a Great Grey Shrike at World's End. Park where Offa's Dyke crosses the road and scan west. Often very distant and buggered up by heat haze, but worth a look anyway.

The churchyard at Caerhun and Llanbedr-y-cenin are the two well known Hawfinch spots in the Conway Valley, but I've never succeeded at Caerhun, and only once at Llanbedr, such a long time ago I'd struggle to give you clear directions, other than to say I found them just by pottering round the village checking tree tops.

Good luck

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Old Tuesday 4th March 2014, 19:06   #4
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I've had dippers on the stream at worlds end too. Also further downstream by eglyseg farm (apologies for spelling).
Also on the r alyn between loggerheads + llanferres, several access points, at loggerheads itself and by druid pub in llanferres. Cascade wood near maeshafn worth a look too. Maybe take an os map to help find suitable footpaths? Good luck.
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Old Tuesday 4th March 2014, 21:04   #5
andm
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hi all, wondering if you could help me too, i have read some old posts stating that flocks of twite are seen around flint castle, are they still seen here?
and are there any purple sands at rhos- on- sea
thanks in advance
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Old Thursday 6th March 2014, 21:26   #6
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Thanks for the advice everyone. We had a successful trip yesterday.

Starting at World's End, we saw at least 40+ Black Grouse on the moor, the best sighting was 6 birds no more than 20m from our car which we watched for some time.

On to Pensarn we almost immediately connected with a drake Surf Scoter but viewing was distant so we soon moved on to look for Hawfinch.

No luck at Caerhun churchyard as some farmers were cutting trees opposite, plus the church itself was busy with choir practice. We moved on to Llas-y-crennin, again no luck with Hawfinch, but heading back to the car we had a Goshawk(!) circling high above the village.

By then it was only midday but we started to head home stopping at some likely looking bridges on the way for Dipper, which we eventually found just outside Betws-y-coed.

So, 3 lifers and 4 of our 5 targets!
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Old Friday 7th March 2014, 18:23   #7
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Originally Posted by nobby2013 View Post
Thanks for the advice everyone. We had a successful trip yesterday.

Starting at World's End, we saw at least 40+ Black Grouse on the moor, the best sighting was 6 birds no more than 20m from our car which we watched for some time.

On to Pensarn we almost immediately connected with a drake Surf Scoter but viewing was distant so we soon moved on to look for Hawfinch.

No luck at Caerhun churchyard as some farmers were cutting trees opposite, plus the church itself was busy with choir practice. We moved on to Llas-y-crennin, again no luck with Hawfinch, but heading back to the car we had a Goshawk(!) circling high above the village.

By then it was only midday but we started to head home stopping at some likely looking bridges on the way for Dipper, which we eventually found just outside Betws-y-coed.

So, 3 lifers and 4 of our 5 targets!
Sounds like you had an excellent trip - well done. Hawfinch are very difficult to see in North Wales (they were the hardest bird to see out of your targets) as they move around a fair bit surprisingly, and it sounds like the disturbance did you no favours at all.
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