Gale Force Winds But Still So Many Great Birds To Enjoy 24 November 2020

Snow Bunting 1

Tricky to pick "bird of the day" when you see so many but maybe Snow Bunting - libary photo.

First stop on a very windy day was Llanfairfechan where we picked up our great friend Jayne for a day out. Down at the sea-front it soon became obvious there were a lot of birds being blown about in the bay. Lots of Gannets were powering west parallel to the shore giving wonderful views in the good light. Kittiwakes were also heading west across the choppy sea along with Razorbills and plenty of gulls. On the water we managed to pick out a Red-throated Diver, Shags and Great Crested Grebes. Turning our attention to the shoreline a large flock of Oystercatchers were roosting on the small beach at high tide. Amongst the Oystercatchers were lots of Turnstones, two Dunlin and a three Curlew.

We then headed for the island of Anglesey and as we crossed the bridge of the Menai Straits, which separate the isle from the mainland a Peregrine Falcon flew almost alongside us, wow! First stop on the island was a flooded field near the village of Valley but sadly no sign of the recent Green Sandpiper here but a Redwing posed nicely. At nearby Beddmanarch Bay we were treated to a real bird spectacle as the tide was just dropping and hundreds of Pale-bellied Brent Geese were feeding close to our viewpoint. Also masses of waders here including Bar-tailed Godwits, Knot and Dunlin but the sea in the bay was too rough to pick out any divers or grebes.

At Holyhead Harbour the wind was even stronger and it was tricky staying up right as we battled down towards the breakwater. But luckily we soon found the hoped for Snow Buntings feeding on a gravel area. Three of these delightful Arctic waifs were finding food amongst the stones and allowed us super views. It was great to see our friend and local birder Ken Croft here too.

A short drive took us to Four Mile Bridge where we quickly saw the Great Northern Diver and female Long-tailed Duck that we hoped would be here. Both these birds allowed super views and it was fairly sheltered on the beach where we watched from. So many birds here hard to know where to look, seven Scaup bobbed about in the choppy waters further out and eleven Mediterranean Gulls dropped in, a young female Peregrine tore about scattering flocks of waders, ducks and lots more Brent Geese!

The Great Northern Diver at Four Mile Bridge with a deformed bill, but feeding well - photo by Jayne.

All that excitement had given us an appetite so a nearby pub for a lovely lunch was just the thing! Full of great food it was time for more birds and we looked in again at the flooded field near Valley and this time immediately saw a Green Sandpiper nice and close – a wonderful bird for November on Anglesey. On again and this time to Aberffraw where the wind was still gale force but was managed to see a Stonechat clinging to a fence wire and then marvelled at a huge flock of Golden Plover just stunning.

At Malltraeth the wind seemed even stronger but a quick look gave us a lovely flock of some 200 Pintail with similar numbers of Wigeon and two Greenshank. In the nearby woodland we at least had shelter from the trees and added a good few new birds including Nuthatch and Coal Tit and brief view of a red squirrel. Just time for one last stop in the fading light at RSPB Cors Ddyga but again the wind so strong it was almost impossible to hold the binoculars steady. A lovely of Fieldfare and amazingly our first Pied Wagtails of the day brought the day list up to a very impressive 79 species of birds enjoyed on a day when it was often hard to stand up in that wind! Dropping Jayne back at Llanfairfechan a Sparrowhawk shot low over her garden, 80 species!

A great day with lots of wonderful birds enjoyed just goes to show birds are out there whatever the weather.

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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