Marine Mammals Steal The Show Today On Anglesey 1 September 2020

This lovely juvenile Northern Wheatear showed off at Cemlyn today.

With the August Bank Holiday gone and it being the first of September, autumn, we decided to have a change of scene and head for Anglesey and hoped the recent crowds of tourists seen recently might have thinned. Heading west along the North Wales coast early there was lots of traffic so we wondered if our theory was flawed?

Arriving at Cemlyn, on the north coast of Anglesey we stopped to scan the lagoon and it was strange seeing the islands devoid of terns on our last visit thousands of birds had been here. Our friend Mark Sutton joined us; Mark was on his way to work having had a quick look around and reported few migrants but he was still buzzing from finding an Isabelline Wheatear at nearby Carmel Head on Saturday. We did see Red-breasted Mergansers, Little Egrets, Common Redshank and Curlew here.

Moving on to the car park at the west side of the lagoon we were very pleased to see it empty, great. As we sorted out our kit a Peregrine Falcon swept over the field alongside the parking area and luckily landed on a fence post in the glorious sunshine. The scope was straight on this beautiful raptor and we enjoyed wonderful views. A Common Whitethroat moved along the thin hedge at the edge of the car park and joined a male Stonechat in a bramble bush great to see the two species in the same scope view.

Walking out towards the beach a juvenile Northern Wheatear landed on the fence by the track and really showed off allowing some decent photos even with our modest bridge camera. The gorgeous little bird moved ahead of us all the way to the beach and was very confiding. In the bay an immature drake Common Eider was loafing about but no waders at all, unusual not to see any here. Reaching the viewpoint looking out over the open sea the offshore breeze was not good for sea-watching and no seabirds were in view. A single Common Ringed Plover flew in and landed on the rocks looking very smart in the sunshine. On an offshore island a gang of Curlew and Oystercatchers were roosting along with three Shags and two Great black backed Gull.

Blue sky and blue sea along the Anglesey Coast Path today.

We took the Anglesey Coast Path west and at the next lovely bay we heard deep breathing behind the hedge between us and the beach! At first we thought a person must be the other side of the bushes but as we reached the beach a huge bull Atlantic grey seal was just offshore and the origin of the deep breathing! An area of reeds sheltered from the wind held at least eight Reed Buntings and as we enjoyed watching them a Common Snipe flew over and we swung around to watch it, so did the snipe circling back and dropped down onto the grass just three yards away! Amazing view of this wader though of course it didn’t stay long and as soon as camera was thought the Snipe was off and away!

The white Rissos's Dolphin seen today way to far for the camera but wonderful views through the telescopes.

As we walked west taking in the beautiful coastal scenery we noticed two Gannets flying west fairly close inshore and looking great in the sunshine against the deep blue sea. Then we noticed a disturbance in the water further out, dolphins! Through the binoculars we could see these were big mammals and had hooked back dorsal fins and were pale coloured these were Risso’s Dolphins a species we don’t often see here off the North Wales coast. The dolphins were making huge splashes in the water, slapping their tails on the surface as they moved slowly west. Often their large heads were visible breaking the surface and we were really thrilled when one of the Risso’s leapt clear of the water! There were we think sixteen of these wonderful marine mammals in the pod but tricky to count of course as the appeared and then slid under the surface again. One animal was almost completely white and was clearly visible to the naked eye and a second dolphin was about three-quarters white the rest were grey and many showed “scars” on the bodies. A really amazing sight to see so many Risso’s Dolphins and we were so lucky to be able to watch them for so long.

One of four Mediterranean Gulls we enjoyed in the warm sunshine this afternoon.

We then took a path inland towards the minor road that would take us back to Cemlyn Lagoon through farmland with scattered clumps of scrub and trees which can hold migrants, but not today. However we did enjoy great views of four Mediterranean Gulls feeding over a field next to the footpath between the coast and the road. Plenty of Stonechats were enjoyed along the lane and a close view of a Common Buzzard was great to enjoy.

Back at that the car park we met friends Jayne and Sue and they told us of a Golden Plover out on the headland nearby so we headed off for a look. At the beach we soon found a gang of Ruddy Turnstones and with them three Ringed Plover and a juvenile Dunlin, so more waders than we had seen here earlier. We walked a little further to the point and a photographer helpfully pointed out the Golden Plover resting amongst rocks and we enjoyed super views through the Leica telescope. Offshore two harbour porpoises broke the surface several times, they looked so small after watching the Risso’s Dolphins earlier.

On the way home we called in at Traeth Dulas, a shallow bay on the east coast of Anglesey, here we enjoyed great views of a Kingfisher on the pool behind the beach. There were also four Greenshank feeding in the pool here and they looked so pale in the afternoon sun always such lovely birds to watch. A flock of eighteen Shelduck flew in and headed east down the bay, all these birds were juveniles, most adults leave to moult in late summer.

A lovely sunny day and not too many people about, not so many migrants either but the marine mammals made it a very memorable day indeed!

We are so lucky to have so many species and habitats within easy reach here in North Wales, and once the world returns to normal, 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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