IT was early when the group left Runcorn on May 9 and a cold, bright morning, so the roads to north Wales were reasonably quiet but the Welsh hills were looking very cloudy and soon a fine drizzle descended on us.

As they passed Penmaenmawr they could see that the tide was well out and although there was little to be seen on the exposed beaches, fulmars glided past on straight wings.

The group arrived at the car park at Coedydd Aber (Aber Valley) only to find it deserted but could hear chaffinch and nuthatch in the woods and also grey wagtail was spotted near the stone bridge.

A dipper was later seen flying up the stream, which was in full spate after the heavy overnight rain.

The valley, much of which is managed as a nature reserve by the Countryside Council for Wales, has extensive areas of mixed deciduous woodland in the lower section.

The group was rained on for at least 45 minutes and members thought they would not see much wildlife.

To their surprise and joy there were several good sighting of redstart near the path.

Chiffchaff, willow warbler and blackcap were heard singing in the dense scrubby vegetation and sparrowhawk, buzzard, peregrine, kestrel and raven were seen flying overhead.

A single whitethroat was observed and a pair of garden warblers.

Both song and mistlethrushes were seen feeding on the ground.

Closer to the falls a ring ouzel was heard calling.

After lunch some of the party, led by Chris Potts, went on to Gronant where they arrived in brilliant sunshine, and set off across the dunes towards the tern colony viewing platform.

Immediately they heard sedge warblers and reed buntings singing and saw four male reed buntings and at least three sedge warblers.

A pair of stonechat was also in view.