Day One Of Three Day North Wales Tour Anglesey Mostly



Fulmar Great Orme

First bird of the day, Fulmar, and wonderful views too!



We met Tony and Eva at their Llandudno Hotel at 8am, we already had our Leica telescopes set up in the car park! We did get some odd looks from other guests but when Tony and Eva came out they could immediately enjoy wonderful views of Fulmars on the cliffs, great start. Things got a whole lot better as four Chough flew overhead as we all watched the Fulmars.

Literally five minutes later we were in the back streets of Llandudno watching a Rose-coloured Starling! So lucky to see this bird almost at once, it had proved pretty elusive recently. This rare visitor showed off on the rooftops often with Common Starlings for comparison, a new bird for Tony and Eva always great to get a lifer!


The Llandudno Rose-coloured Starling showed off nicely for us.



Further west along the North Wales coast we stopped to watch some waders. A beautiful Greenshank fed in a shallow tidal pool right next to a Little Egret, good start. Black-tailed Godwits fed at the tide edge along with Dunlin, Redshank, Curlew and Oystercatchers. A flock of twenty Knot was good to see, these dumpy grey waders were resting on the mud next to a gang of Wigeon. On the water three Common Eider dived for shellfish, Red-breasted Mergansers and Goldeneye also fed here along with a breeding plumaged Shag. Our day list was coming along nicely.

Mediterranean Gull

Super close views of adult Mediterranean Gulls, this one not taken today.



Onto Anglesey and our first stop on the island gave good telescope views of three Slavonian Grebes in the lovely winter sunshine, Great crested Grebes here too, nice to compare the species. We had great views of Pale-bellied Brent Geese, feeding on the mudflats just in front of us looking wonderful in the perfect light. A small flock of Black-headed Gulls were accompanied by three smart adult Mediterranean Gulls and we were able to talk Tony and Eva through the ID features of these similar gulls. Ruth spotted a lovely mixed flock of Ringed Plover and Turnstone amongst the pebbles really close; we had all missed them they were so well hidden!

On again and as we got out at our next stop Tony immediately saw our target bird, Black Guillemot. We watched three of these very handsome auks, already in their smart black and white breeding plumage, diving for fish. We also one Common Guillemot still in winter plumage here.

As we pulled into the car-park at our next location we were again very lucky, there on a lampstand was our bird, Hooded Crow! Luckily there was a parking space right below this rare corvid and we could watch the bird through the glass roof of the 4x4 perfect. We noticed a second Hooded Crow in a tree just a little distance way, all without getting out of the warm car.

High on our run of good luck we continued to a rocky bay and again immediately hit our target birds – Purple Sandpipers and Turnstones! A mixed flock of these two wader species were feeding on a rocky island in the bay. With the Leica telescopes we enjoyed super views. Just along the coast we stopped to watch Rock Pipits and a smart male Stonechat. Four Chough flew over and in the sunshine their red bills really stood out, wonderful.

At RSPB South Stack were marvelled at the spectacular scenery and were very glad of the calm sunny day, it can be bleak up there! Lots of Common Guillemots were on the cliffs, in breeding plumage, also enjoying the weather presumably. We picked out two Razorbills on the sea amongst lots more Common Guillemots.

After so many wonderful birds we had worked up an appetite, we enjoyed a really lovely lunch before heading out again for more birds!

First stop and we bumped into friends Tony and Karin who were already watching a Great northern Diver, handy! We all had good views of the diver and another flock of Brent Geese. More friends arrived, first Rose and Roy and the Iain! It was quite a social occasion. The others all moved on but we checked the other side of the bridge and were rewarded with lots of birds. Over one hundred Pintail were showing off in the sun, plenty of Goldeneye here, Wigeon, Teal, Coots our first of the day, masses of Lapwings and best of all a lovely female Long-tailed Duck, great bird to catch up with. We drove for about half an hour towards a freshwater lake, stopping on the way to admire Fieldfares and Redwings feeding with a big flock of Lapwings. A pair of Kestrels here was a nice bonus. At the lake we added a lot of new birds, twenty Pink-footed Geese being the pick of them, scarce birds on Anglesey. We also enjoyed lovely looks at Goosander the drakes looking particularly handsome in the afternoon sun.

Next we were glad we had a robust 4x4 as we negotiated some pretty thick mud along tracks but it was well worth it! We were soon watching at least two beautiful Short-eared Owls! Oh wow! What gorgeous birds and so close, breath-taking stuff. These so gorgeous birds hunted back and forth in front of us and landed on posts so that we could zoom in with the scopes for frame filling views, breath-taking stuff. We eventually dragged ourselves away to enjoy huge swirling flocks of Golden Plover, lots of Skylarks and a gang of Linnets – all new for our very impressive day list!

For us the perfect way to end a winters birding day is to stand over-looking a marsh and watch a Hen Harrier so that is just what we did. We had only been in position a few minutes when this most gorgeous, graceful raptor somehow just appeared right in front of us. Another breath-taking moment the raptor was so close we barely dared breathe! We were treated to a magical display and again enjoyed perched views on a post, what a privilege and what a perfect end to a day full of superb birds in stunning scenery!

Come and join us soon for the very best Birdwatching Trips, please email us here to arrange your day out or to join one of our longer tours…

info@birdwatchingtrips.co.uk

We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds and wildlife with you soon!





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