A Cold But Very Rewarding Day On Anglesey 5 December 2020

A wonderful end to a cold windy day - gorgeous Snow Buntings in winter sun.

A cold and windy winter day and we headed for Anglesey and first stop was Benllech on the east coast but the on-shore strong wind made birdwatching almost impossible! A small flock of Common Scoter were bouncing in the waves offshore and a Red-throated Diver battled through the wind heading west over the rough sea. Time to move on. Just north along the east coast of the island we stopped at Moelfre and walked along the coast path from the old lifeboat station, past the new lifeboat station out to the headland. Again the wind was strong and making birding very tough. We did enjoy super views of two Great Northern Divers really close to the shore and these lovely birds kept close together as the moved slowly north. Five Common Eider were a little further out on the choppy sea along with Great Crested Grebes and Shags. Small birds were in short supply though we did see Stonechat, Meadow and Rock Pipits before moving on.

A short drive took us to Traeth Dulas a small estuary that was fairly sheltered but still cold and grey. A pale Greenshank waded through a small pool by the road accompanied by a lone Common Redshank. Out on the estuary we watched a nice flock of sixty Wigeon, two drake Red-breasted Mergansers, Curlew and Oystercatchers along with two Little Egrets feeding in the shallows. A real surprise here was a lovely red squirrel bouncing along the shoreline – not a place we expected to see one of these beautiful animals. As we left a stunning Kingfisher flashed low in front of us, wow, and even better the bird two more passes in front of us before flying off up the main river channel.

We called in at a little visited site, Llyn Llygerian, inland from Cemlyn, a small lake that famously once held a Lesser Scaup. No rare ducks today but we did watch Wigeon, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Little Grebes and a Common Snipe flew up from the side of the path.

A lovely lunch at Catch 22 restaurant in the village of Valley was very welcome it was good to warm up. Just up the road from Catch 22 is Beddmanarch Bay and here the tide was just starting to drop so the bay was pretty much full of water. Two Great Northern Divers were out in the bay and a piebald winter plumaged Black Guillemot. More scanning produced good looks at a Slavonian Grebe as a big flock of Pale-bellied Brent Geese flew in from the nearby Inland Sea. These wonderful geese landed close to our viewpoint and we soaked up the views as a weak winter sun broke through the grey clouds. In the distance we could new see the mountains of Snowdonia and they were plastered in snow well down their slopes, no wonder we felt the cold today. A count of the Brent Geese was impressive – 252 – but sad to see hardly any juvenile birds with this flock.

A few minutes later we were at Holyhead Harbour and walked out on to the breakwater. We met a lady just leaving and sadly she had not seen the Snow Buntings we had hoped to see again. We walked on and luckily soon found the four beautiful Snow Buntings on the stony area where they can be very tricky to spot. The winter sun was already sinking fast but the low sun lit up the birds so beautifully and we spent a long time watching and photographing them until numb hands told us it was time to head for the car and thaw out. It had been a really encounter with these Arctic visitors that can be so confiding if you are patient and wait for them to move towards you. A Red-throated Diver was the only bird of note in the harbour.

You can never tire of watching such beautiful birds as Snow Buntings.

Come and join us for a “Tour for Two” – very small group just two guests with two guides, tailor made itinerary, low risk in these COVID-19 times and of course lots of birds and an excellent chance of enjoying them all. Do drop us a line and we can make all the arrangements be it a day trip, two days, three day or as long a tour as you wish. Our recent Tours for Two have visited the Highlands of Scotland, North Wales, Norfolk and the Yorkshire coast and we are planning many more! Let us know where you would like to go and we can put together a proposal perfect for you.

We are so lucky to have so many species and habitats within easy reach here in North Wales we would love you to join us for one of our Best of North Wales Birdwatching Trips days out. We expect to enjoy a lot of birds during these relaxed pace tours and we can tailor make the day to suit you.

We would love you to join us on our Birdwatching Trips in the future just drop us a line to arrange a custom tour and please see our tours pages for set departure trips. If you have any questions at all please fire away here….


We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds in beautiful places with you soon!

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