A First Day Birdwatching For Two Lovely People Anglesey 17 December 2020

Wonderful views of three Snow Buntings were just one of many highlights on this day.

We had taken a lovely couple, Dan and Becky, out recently and they really enjoyed the experience and all the birds we saw. Dan thought it would be a great idea for his father, Mike and his wife Jacqui, to enjoy a similar day so Dan arranged a day out for them.

Alan picked up Mike and Jacqui from their Llandudno home and they set off for day out enjoying birds on Anglesey. This was the very first time they had done a day’s birdwatching and were a little apprehensive as you would expect. But conversation flowed during the drive west and it was obvious that both like birds very much but just hadn’t taken that step into becoming birdwatchers.

At the first stop, a flooded field near Valley, the hoped for Green Sandpiper was on show, whew, would not have been good to start their birdwatching with a dip! Alan explained that the black and white wading bird bobbing about in the pool was in fact the “green” sandpiper even though no green was visible, that is birdwatching for you – can be confusing. The same wet field also held a pair of Mallard, a Pied Wagtail and a Curlew the later Jacqui was very impressed with.

Curlew May 2015

A good number of Curlew were enjoyed and voted bird of the day by Jacqui.

At Holyhead Harbour the three Snow Buntings were found almost at once shuffling about on the stony ground just a few yards in front of the three very pleased observers. These wonderful visitors from the Arctic can be tricky to find sometimes but on this occasion were in the mood to really show off. The buntings were joined by two Rock Pipits which also gave really great views always nice to have prolonged close views of birds when you are just getting into birdwatching. The view of the next bird, a Black Guillemot, was not so close it was out in Holyhead Harbour but through the Leica telescope it was a decent view. Of course Alan had to explain that the “black” guillemot in winter was not black more grey and white, just what you don’t need as a beginner! We also saw Shag, Kittiwake, Grey Heron and Little Grebe at Holyhead Harbour so a really great stop.

Red-billed Chough are always a thrill to see, two showed at RSPB South Stack.

Time for a stretch of the legs so parking at the first car park at RSPB South Stack it was a windy walk up to the viewpoint overlooking the lighthouse it is a stunning view in any weather. A pair of Chough showed briefly and a lone Gannet flew west offshore before rain showers called for a move back to the car. Sadly the weather went downhill even more a really strong wind and heavy showers rattling through but more birds to see. At Treaddur Bay, braving the wind, rain and sea spray it was possible to see waders hunkered down on a rock just off the beach. Alan managed expectations by saying these birds were grey before letting the name Purple Sandpiper out! These tough Arctic breeding birds were for the winter and were now roosting on a rain and wave lashed rock looking for all the world like grey pebbles! But everyone enjoyed seeing them and really admired their wonderful camouflage and hardiness. Back in the car quick as waves splashed over the seawall and a Shag almost collided with the three birders as it was blown into the bay!

A very wet field just south of Treaddur Bay held three Little Egrets and a flock of Chaffinches both new species for the day. A little further down the road at Four Mile Bridge the wind was really strong and appropriately a wind-surfer had scared all the birds away! Luckily some birds were on the south side of the bridge, usually very few there, and Pale-bellied Brent Geese, Red-breasted Mergansers, Shelduck and Lapwings were all seen before the rain came again. Jacqui spotted a group of Curlew in a nearby field and declared these were her bird of the day so far, good choice. Good time for lunch and a lovely meal enjoyed at Catch 22 bistro in Valley village and great service too. Many thanks to Mike and Jacqui for treating Alan to such a great lunch everyone enjoyed delicious fishcakes, salad and chips very kind of them.

After lunch the three headed south down the west coast of Anglesey and a lovely male Stonechat got the afternoon off to a wonderful start at Aberffraw. Nearby a fantastic flock of Golden Plover were watched in a roadside field and with them lots of Lapwings and a few Curlew. The plovers made a superb sight and their soft calls added to the experience of watching these delightful waders.

At nearby Malltraeth the strong wind again made watching birds tough but the wet fields here were alive with more Golden Plovers and Lapwings such a wonderful sight, how many birds had been seen already? A Common Buzzard flew in and landed on a fence post allowing great views through the scope. Lots of beautiful Pintail were on the Cob Pool here but the strong wind made enjoying them tough. Luckily the nearby forest was more sheltered but not many birds as the feeders were all empty.

Last stop of this bird filled day was at RSPB Cors Ddyga where again it was very windy and the light was going. But despite the far from perfect conditions some great birds were enjoyed including a superb male Marsh Harrier – rare birds in Wales. Some huge flocks of Starlings came in to roost in the reed-beds as the last of the light faded a wonderful end to a really fun day with lovely company and a lot of quality birds.

We really hope we can enjoy more wonderful days out with Mike and Jacqui as they continue to grow their interest in birds.

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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