NEW! North Wales in Summer

Anglesey, Bardsey, and Snowdonia National Park.

  • 19 Jun - 26 Jun 2021
Duration8 Days
Max Group Size7 per guide
2021 Price
£1695 pp
£165 single supplement. Deposit £200

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.  

Our visits to the alluring islands of Anglesey and Bardsey will be twin highlights. The latter is famed for its breeding Manx Shearwaters and we enjoy a boat trip to see these and other seabirds, as well as seals and perhaps cetaceans. We plan to land on the island, with time for a close Puffin encounter, to explore its other habitats and pay a visit to the famous Bird Observatory. Dramatic headlands on Anglesey and the Great Orme support more seabirds including Black Guillemot, while Chough, Raven and Peregrine cruise overhead. Scarce Roseate and Little Tern may be seen among busy colonies of commoner species, and migrant waders and gulls are likely at coastal sites and tidal estuaries.

In the Snowdonia National Park we visit RSPB Ynys Hir reserve, where attractive woodlands support strong populations of Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and Wood Warbler. We also visit the Welsh Moors, where desirable birds include Black Grouse, Osprey, Hen Harrier, Red Kite, Merlin, Cuckoo, Dipper and Twite. Another day we visit Snowdon Mountain, the highest in Wales, and choose the best weather, to maximise our chances of stunning  views from the summit. We seek wildlife which includes raptors, Ring Ouzel and rare alpine plants.

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 we plan to explore several other sites or 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. Targeting the best possible day weather wise, we may 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 is an 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, we spend the rest of the day exploring attractive wooded valleys and fast flowing streams for Dipper, 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

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, nothing over strenuous, usually on well marked paths without too much climbing but a reasonable level of health would be an advantage to be able to get off the beaten track and away from vehicular access.

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