It was my parents idea to spend our summer holidays in Wales, and although my brother protested against the idea, we ended up having no option but to go along with the plan. We had hoped for a more exotic birding location but it seemed we had to content ourselves with woodland species.
In all honesty, I can't complain as I was looking forward to studying some of the commoner species such as Pied Flys, Wood Warblers and Redstarts. However, there was an added complication. The Reno we had originally planned on taking had broken down so my brother and I had to make the long journey by train whilst my parents and Theo had the luxury of cramming themselves in the Mini.
Cut a long story short, we arrived in Birmingham, changed, and continued westwards, passing the Dovey estuary. Thanks to the slow speed of the train and a well positioned station, we pulled up right next to the nest of an Osprey! More specifically, the ones they'd been following on Springwatch this year! We suspect it was Monty, the female they had been giving updates on as part of the Dyfi Osprey Project as it was hunkered do with only the head protruding above the rim of the nest (I expect she was still incubating or brooding).
Once we arrived in Barmouth, we still had a long bike ride ahead of us to reach our accommodation. A half way stop at Dolgellau with the hope of Hawfinches was certainly exhausting as we both wondered around the church yards tired and sweating carrying bags of equipment with no luck. We met up with Dad here and sat ourselves down next to the river in the shade and enjoyed a Dipper feeding in the stream and a couple Grey Wagtails. A loud "tskk tskk" flight call soon had me spin around and sure enough 2 HAWFINCHES flew directly overhead, just bellow tree height!!! This was certainly a treat to have self-found Hawfinches, particularly after all the days of prior research I'd gone through.
I managed the last section of the route by myself on the bike, passing a singing Garden Warbler and my first male REDSTART of the year. Once at the house, my brother had already located a Redstart nest which we enjoyed watching for the rest of the afternoon.