Anglesey For New Birdwatchers On A Blustery Day 1 September 2019

Ken, Alan and Hazel in the sunshine at RSPB South Stack.

We met Ken and Hazel by the Menai Bridge, the gateway to Anglesey, and fair to say we hit it off straight away with lots of laughs from the word go. Driving across Anglesey it was sunny but windy and we soon reached Beddmanarch Bay where the tide was flooding in, perfect, and what is more there are loos here! The rising tide was pushing birds towards us and it really was a case of where to look first. Five Pintail were feeding on the sheltered water here, lovely to see these first of the Autumn’s returning birds. We love September for this very reason, a wonderful time full of birds on the move. Ken and Hazel are fairly new to birdwatching, this was their very first ever full day's birdwatching so we tried to take our time and look at each species carefully, not easy when so many birds were moving fast with the rising water. Waders were feeding along the tide edge: lots of Curlew, Oystercatchers, Bar-tailed Godwits, Knot and Dunlin, a lot to take in on your first birdwatching trip! A fine adult Mediterranean Gull posed on the beach just below us amongst Black-headed Gulls, always great to see. We chatted about the miracle of bird migration and as always this was met with dropped jaws, aren’t birds brilliant!

A short drive took us towards RSPB South Stack and we began to scan the fields very hard. Our guests today had asked if we could show them one bird in particular, the Chough. We love Chough and have an excellent track record for finding them on our tours but when it is THE bird our guests want to see, there is more than a little pressure, which is good. The first areas we checked, no Chough, and it is impossible not to have that thought, is today going to be one of those unlucky days! Next field and two “crows” were feeding on the short grass, yes, Chough! Phew! Luckily the two Chough were happy feeding in the sunshine showing off their red legs and bills, such wonderful birds and two happy guests.

Chough June 2015 1

Phew! Chough and this is a photo of one of THE birds we saw today, but photographed years ago!

Reaching RSPB South Stack, still early morning, we were pleased to see just two cars in the car park, it's often busy here on a Sunday. The wind was strong but the sun was warm as we walked down the slope towards the cliff top. Two Stonechats were feeding on the heather here and as we reached the cliff a wonderful view opened up of the lighthouse and cliffs. Breath-taking and plenty of birds over the rough sea: hundreds of Kittiwakes were passing west, amongst them Gannets and small numbers of Manx Shearwaters. More scanning added Fulmar, Shag and Razorbill and a Chough swooped over us and dived down against the cliff face - we are sure these corvids fly for fun!

Back near the car park we scanned an area of rough ground with gorse, willow scrub and grass. At first glance there were no birds but we waited and scanned. A Stonechat popped up into view, then a lovely flock of Goldfinch dropped in, Common Whitethroats skipped through the scrub and eventually showed well. Swallows whizzed low over the fields, migration happening in front of our eyes, a bright juvenile Willow Warbler showed briefly too.

A short drive took us to The Range, the headland south of South Stack, and we walked out onto the heathland. It was beautiful, with the heather and gorse in flower in the sunshine. It was windy here so few birds were showing but we did see Skylarks and a gang of Rock Pipits showed well. As we turned back towards the car park three more Chough were seen on the heath, and once more we enjoyed lovely views of these special birds in the sunshine.

Curlew Norfolk 2016 1

Lovely to see so many waders on this fun trip including lots of Curlew.

We enjoyed a really lovely lunch and enjoyed great conversation and lots of laughs. Next we headed south down the west side of Anglesey. At Malltraeth we walked along the cob embankment, with the Cefni Estuary on one side and Cob Pool on the other. The tide was just dropping so there was plenty to see. Hazel quickly spotted a wader on the small stony spit near the bridge, a Whimbrel, another migrant wader. As we watched this lovely bird we noticed more and more birds among the rocks here! Curlews were feeding here and it was so good to have the chance to compare them with their smaller cousin the Whimbrel. Four Dunlin were here, four Ringed Plover and two Oystercatchers, amazing for one tiny spot. Common Redshank were roosting on the edge of the river channel and lots more Curlew were in the damp fields beyond the pool and amongst them a Black-tailed Godwit. A Kingfisher whizzed around the estuary but only perched briefly and a Little Grebe played hide-and-seek in a creek. It was lovely just taking our time and soaking up the birds and the spectacular scenery, views of the estuary and Snowdonia beyond, such a beautiful place.

It had been a really lovely day with wonderful company and we really hope we can enjoy more birds with Ken and Hazel in the future.

We would love you to join us on our Birdwatching Trips, please see our tours pages and 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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