NEW! North Wales in Summer

Anglesey, Bardsey, and Snowdonia National Park.

Destination
Focus
2021 Dates
  • 19 Jun - 26 Jun 2021
Duration8 Days
2021 Price
£1695 pp
£195 single supplement. Deposit £200
2022 Dates
  • 18 Jun - 25 Jun 2022
Duration8 Days
2022 Price
Price TBC
2023 Dates
  • 17 Jun - 24 Jun 2023
Duration8 Days
2023 Price
Price TBC
2024 Dates
  • 22 Jun - 29 Jun 2024
Duration8 Days
2024 Price
Price TBC
2025 Dates
  • 21 Jun - 28 Jun 2025
Duration8 Days
2025 Price
Price TBC
Max Group Size7 per guide

North Wales (Gogledd Cymru) is a wildlife rich region, which we explore by both land and sea on this exciting holiday, dividing our time between coastal locations and the famous Snowdonia National Park. Habitats are varied, and we visit estuarine hotspots, coastal bays, beaches, freshwater lakes and the spectacular bird-rich islands of Anglesey and Bardsey. Inland lakes, fast flowing rivers, forest and mixed woodland, open moors and the Snowdon Mountain itself offer different wildlife opportunities on this enjoyable trip.  

Anglesey is a large island offering great excitement for visiting birdwatchers. A morning at South Stack RSPB will get us off to a good start with Puffin, Black Guillemot and other seabirds to the fore. On the clifftop and in nearby scrub, songsters including Skylark, Rock and Meadow Pipit, Stonechat, Wheatear and Linnet are likely, as are Chough, Raven and Peregrine overhead. Later, we visit Cemlyn Bay and Lagoons, an internationally important site for breeding Sandwich, Common and Arctic Tern, plus rare but regular Roseate Tern.

Bardsey is a fascinating, bird rich island about a mile in length and half a mile wide, and noted for its 20,000 pairs of Manx Shearwater. We plan to land on this beautiful island which is largely low lying and easy to explore by foot. We enjoy the Puffins, listen out for Chough and search the scrub and bushes for passerines and any late migrants. We work closely with the Observatory team to make the most of our visit. A great day out to a very special island!

Conwy’s Great Orme has a growing reputation for good birdwatching with a number of migrant and scarce birds recorded in recent years. We enjoy a walk around the headland where Chough may be seen before checking the waders on the nearby estuary, and pools for scarcer species such as Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint.

We visit Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, and subject to weather we take the train to the summit for stunning views far and wide across the entire Snowdonia National Park. Walking back down on good tracks (a weather dependant option) we look out for Ring Ouzel, Wheatear, Raven and Peregrine. The mountain is also home to rare Alpine plants, including the aptly named Snowdon Lily. If we spend less time on the mountain, attractive wooded valleys with fast flowing streams hold Dipper, Ring Ouzel, Grey Wagtail, Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher, Tree Pipit, Common Sandpiper and more.

Picturesque Welsh Moors hold a substantial Black Grouse lek where we hope to see displaying birds. Breeding Red Grouse, Ring Ouzel, Wheatear, Whinchat, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Stonechat and a small population of Twite are also present. A day at RSPB Ynys Hir gives chances to see deciduous woodland specialists including Wood Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Cuckoo, Jay, Nuthatch, Marsh Tit and Lesser Redpoll.

The holiday begins and ends at Bangor, where rail transfers will be available.

Day 1: Sat 19 June - Arrival and local birding
We meet rail travellers at Bangor Station before driving to our comfortable hotel, where meet car drivers. Once organised we head out for some local birding, perhaps exploring coastal sites along the Menai Straight if tides are favourable or heading inland to the north-west perimeter of the Snowdonia National Park.

Day 2: Sun 20 June – Anglesey
Anglesey is a large island offering great excitement for visiting birdwatchers. A morning at South Stack RSPB will get us off to a good start with Puffin, Black Guillemot and other seabirds to the fore. On the clifftop and in nearby scrub, songsters including Skylark, Rock and Meadow Pipit, Stonechat, Wheatear and Linnet are likely, as are Chough, Raven and Peregrine overhead. Scanning offshore for cetaceans and seals, we should see passing Gannet and Fulmar perhaps drawing the attention of a marauding Great Skua. Later, we visit Cemlyn Bay and Lagoons, an internationally important site for breeding terns. We will probably hear the birds before we see them, the cacophony from so many nesting pairs being audible at long range. Sandwich, Common and Arctic Tern all nest in high number and we scan through the masses for rare but regular Roseate Tern. Passage waders also stop to feed on the lagoons, and at Llyn Alaw we may see freshwater wildfowl, Kingfisher and even an Osprey. We finish the day (or start it depending on the tide) birding some of the many wader, tern and gull hotspots along the Menai Straight between Anglesey and the Mainland.

Day 3: Mon 21 June - Bardsey Island
Less than two miles off the Llŷn Peninsula lies Bardsey, a fascinating, bird rich island about a mile in length and half a mile wide. A birding gem, the island supports many breeding seabirds and is noted for its 20,000 pairs of Manx Shearwater. Pelagic by day, these birds only return to the island at night and we are most likely to see them, along with other seabirds, seals and perhaps cetaceans during our boat trip. We plan to land on this beautiful island which, with the exception of Myndd Enlli rising to 167m above sea level is largely low lying and easy to explore on foot. With several hours ashore, we can enjoy the Puffins at leisure, listen out for Chough on coastal strolls and search the scrub and bushes for passerines and any late migrants. Since its establishment in 1953, Bardsey Bird Observatory has famously recorded the wildlife here, with over 300 bird species logged including rarities. Little Owl are an irregular resident, Grey Seal breed and we intend to work closely with the Observatory team to make the most of our visit. A great day out to a very special island!

Day 4: Tue 22 June – Conwy and the north coast
Conwy’s Great Orme has a growing reputation for good birdwatching with a number of migrant and scarce birds recorded in recent years. We enjoy a walk around the headland where Chough may be seen before checking the waders on the nearby estuary, and pools for scarcer species such as Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint. Gull flocks here, and at nearby Rhyl may contain Mediterranean or increasing numbers of Yellow-legged Gull, and we will be on the lookout for Common Scoter offshore. Little Tern is another possibility on the north coast and other great sites to explore along this stretch include Little Orme, Rhos-on-Sea, Colwyn Bay or Llanfairfechanor. Alternatively, this would be a good day to search for any rarities within reach.

Day 5: Wed 23 June – Snowdonia National Park
Today we visit Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales standing at 1085m above sea level. We have options on this day, and targeting the best possible weather we could choose to take the train to the summit for stunning views far and wide across the entire Snowdonia National Park. Walking back down on good tracks (which can be busy on a fine day) is a weather dependant option, looking out for Ring Ouzel, Wheatear, Raven and Peregrine as we go. The mountain is also home to rare Alpine plants, including the aptly named Snowdon Lily at its only UK site (though it does also occur in the Alps and North America). Once descended, or if we chose to spend less time on the mountain, we explore attractive wooded valleys with fast flowing streams for Dipper, Ring Ouzel, Grey Wagtail, Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher, Tree Pipit, Common Sandpiper and more.

Day 6: Thu 24 June – The Welsh Moors
A full day on the picturesque Welsh Moors in the eastern reaches of the National Park. An early start is likely, positioning ourselves at a substantial Black Grouse lek which supports a dense population, and we hope to see displaying birds. Breeding Red Grouse, Ring Ouzel, Wheatear, Whinchat, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Stonechat and a small population of Twite are also present. Raptors hunt the open ground and we watch for Hen Harrier and Merlin, with Buzzard, Red Kite, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel present too.

Day 7: Fri 25 June – Ynys Hir
Driving to the southern border of the Snowdonia National Park, walks around the RSPB’s Ynys Hir reserve give us chances to see deciduous woodland specialists which spend the summer months here. Wood Warbler, Pied Flycatcher and Redstart are all present in healthy numbers and we are also likely to see (or hear) Cuckoo, Jay, Nuthatch, Marsh Tit and Lesser Redpoll. Little Egret, passage and breeding waders utilise the Dyfi Estuary and we keep an eye on the skies for Red Kite, Osprey and Peregrine overhead.     

Day 8: Sat 26 June – final birding and departure
Some local birding in the Snowdon area or at coastal sites before our holiday concludes, with rail passengers being returned to Bangor station.

Please note: all itineraries are given as a guide only. Actual holiday content may vary according to the judgement of your guide, and elements beyond our control (eg weather).

What's included in your holiday price

  • Seven nights comfortable en-suite hotel accommodation. We choose from our personally inspected shortlist, where birders are welcome and the hospitality is special. Guests are never expected to share. All rooms are en-suite. Full details with your joining pack.
  • Full English breakfast and dinner from Saturday evening till Saturday morning, packed lunch each day from Sunday to Friday.
  • Boat trip to Bardsey Island.
  • All entrance fees for reserves and for the Snowdon Mountain railway.
  • All transport by comfortable minibus.
  • Guidance from a professional Group Leader.

What's not included in your holiday price

  • Travel to Bangor rail station or other agreed meeting point.
  • Insurance, drinks and other items of a personal nature

YOUR LEADER

ALEX RHODES

We welcome Alex as a new recruit to Heatherlea in 2020, a red-hot birder with sharp eyes and ears! Alex has a BSc in Zoology from the University of Bristol, and was a licenced ringer for five years. He has worked on Fair Isle as a volunteer, and also at Falsterbo fågelstation in Sweden.

Alex is passionate about the accessibility of birding, becoming involved in promoting birdwatching to the younger generation and challenging the likes of the BTO and British Birds to do more to accommodate the next generation of naturalists. This conversation has, in part, led to the availability of grants and financial assistance for youngsters to stay at accredited Bird Observatories, purchase ringing equipment and to make birding more attractive to younger people.

When not birding himself, Alex is a qualified Mountain Leader and Climbing Instructor leading groups in the mountains and moorlands of Scotland, Snowdonia and Northern England. Some of his most memorable days outdoors involve close encounters with courting Ring Ouzel in remote corries or being tracked by Golden Eagle while climbing on the North Face of Ben Nevis.

Field Notes

Expect a wide variation in weather conditions, which can be wild and unpredictable, with temperatures in Wales perhaps averaging around 16 degrees Celsius. Sunshine, rain and strong winds are all possible, and you will probably experience a bit of everything. Biting insects are not expected. Please bring waterproof walking boots or shoes, weatherproof clothing and a small rucksack. Boat trips and exposed coastal locations can be cold at any time of year if the wind picks up, please pack accordingly. The holiday will be run at a relaxed pace, with time for photography, general wildlife and botany as well as fabulous birdwatching in a spectacular setting! There will be short to moderate (1 to 3 mile) walks most days mainly on well walked tracks and paths. Walking around the Snowdonia, and particularly around Snowdon mountain can be more strenuous, but this too will be on well marked paths. A reasonable level of health would be an advantage on this tour to be able to get off the beaten track at times.

Why choose Heatherlea for your birding and wildlife holiday?

Heatherlea is one of Britain's leading wildlife holiday operators. In 2019 we celebrate our 29th Anniversary with more choice than ever, both in Scotland and overseas. Relax and enjoy yourself, as we do all the planning! Above all, we make it our business to show key wildlife to you. Our fully inclusive guided holidays concentrate on the real experience, and we take time to ensure that each of our guests enjoys everything we do.

  • We have been organising birding and wildlife holidays for 30 seasons, and have a highly experienced and capable office team. We also offer a telephone and email service outside normal office hours.
  • We are a small company, run BY birders FOR birders. Come and see!
  • Heatherlea are Mainland Scotland’s FIRST ‘5-Star Wildlife Experience!’ This is the highest available grading, classified as ‘exceptional’ by visitScotland.
  • Heatherlea hold full Tour Operator Insurance for your added protection.
  • Heatherlea is a limited company, registered in Scotland. We are also registered to pay VAT, which is included in your holiday price as quoted on this page.
  • Once your holiday is confirmed in writing by us, we promise not to surcharge the price for any reason.

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About Heatherlea Holidays

Contact Information

The Mountview Hotel, Nethybridge,
PH25 3EB Scotland

T: 01479 821248

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