One Million Birds In One Day Right Here In North Wales 29 November 2020

Starlings on mass are just amazing to see but sometimes mind-blowing - libary photo.

After a stunning sun rise here in Llandudno with the sky on fire with orange clouds the day was grey and calm but the birds were on fire all day long. We met our friend Alex at the Menai Bridge that crosses the strait over to Anglesey and decided to continue in two cars to avoid the small risk of COVID-19. Crossing the bridge onto Anglesey we headed over to Holyhead first and were soon enjoying super views of four Snow Buntings. These beautiful birds never fail to bring a smile to everyone’s faces and as so often they were confiding and we had frame filling views through the scope – wonderful start to the day. It was good to see local birder, and great friend, Ken Croft who spotted a Red-throated Diver on the sea just off the breakwater so great views were enjoyed. Two Great Crested Grebes were in the harbour and the Sir David Attenborough research ship was also showing well.

Two of the four Snow Buntings at Holyhead 29 November 2020 - photo Marc Hughes.

A male Snow Bunting one of the four we enjoyed today - photo Marc Hughes.

A short drive took us to RSPB South Stack where the coastal scenery was as stunning as ever but few birds were on show. A flock of Meadow Pipits showed off and a pair of Raven flapped slowly past as a pair of Great black back Gulls sat on the flat calm sea. Just as we were leaving we saw a wonderful pair of Chough on the roof a house! Not the place we expected to these great red-billed crows but we enjoyed the views all the same.

At the Inland Sea we immediately saw the hoped for Great Northern Diver and Long-tailed Duck in the small bay very close to the beach. We even had both these wonderful birds in the same scope view at times with every feather detail to enjoy just brilliant. A Kingfisher plopped into the calm water and flew up into a bush above the beach and posed nicely. Further out there were a lot of birds to enjoy including a second Great Northern Diver and nice to see the Scaup flock had increased from seven to eight birds. Great to see our friends Marc and Ian here who were also enjoying the wonderful birds on this lovely calm day.

One family of Pale-bellied Brent Geese on the flat calm sea.

Next Beddmanarch Bay where we had timed our arrival perfectly for the dropping tide and as the mudflats were exposed hundreds of Pale-bellied Brent Geese flew in. These wonderful geese had come to Anglesey all the way from Arctic Canada to winter here. The sea was like a mirror and it was beautiful watching the geese fly in and lower their feet to water-ski in and land on the water. Out in the bay Goldeneye, Great Crested Grebes and Wigeon “floated” on the flat grey sea as if in mid-air.

We then drove south to Malltraeth and enjoyed our picnic lunch overlooking the Cefni Estuary and watched thousands of birds. A huge flock of Golden Plover were resting on the mudflats and amongst them hundreds of Lapwings a wonderful sight. Add to these waders Common Redshank, Oystercatchers, Curlews, Dunlin, Knot, Ringed Plover and a single Greenshank. Nine Little Grebes were diving in the river channel just below us and a Rock Pipit pottered about on the exposed mud, what a great place for lunch. On the nearby Cob Pool there were lots of beautiful Pintail.

A few minutes’ drive took us to RSPB Cors Ddyga where we spent the rest of the day, so much to see here. Walking along the track we enjoyed super views of Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon and Common Snipe having the telescopes makes such a difference we can really see the beautiful detail of all these amazing birds. Two Common Buzzards landed in a dead tree and a few minutes later a stunning adult male Marsh Harrier drifted over the marsh looking superb a real wow moment. A pair of Stonechat showed off feeding alongside one of the drainage ditches where a Kingfisher shot past in a flash of blue. Seventeen Greenland White-fronted Geese circled over the marsh allowing us good views and even enough time to get them in the scope but they dropped down out of sight. Then a stunning male Hen Harrier, a grey ghost of a bird, floated over the marsh and thrilled us, a real favourite bird of ours and never fails to thrill. This male was soon followed by a female Hen Harrier – much bigger than the male – and this bird showed several times skimming over the reeds and wet grassland just so graceful. Add to these at least two Marsh Harriers backwards and forwards over the area it was superb birdwatching.

But there was something else we wanted to see and a few other binocular totting folks had turned up also hoping to see something amazing. We scanned the skyline but no sign at all and we began to wonder if we were to be unlucky at the end of our wonderful day. The light was starting to fade when there was a flock of Starlings whizzing over the marsh. It was a fairly small flock but it was a start and we hoped many more would follow. And they did! The next flock to appear was huge many thousands of Starlings moving as one creature swirled against the grey sky and we all marvelled at the spectacle. But there was so much more to come – wave after wave of Starlings swept low towards the marsh from all directions. How many birds were we seeing? It was madness so many birds pouring through the sky like black rivers. At one point a Peregrine Falcon ambushed one of the in-coming flocks and they reacted by forming a tight “bait-ball” like small fish in the sea but in the sky as the falcon failed to find a target in the mass of bodies’ breath-taking stuff! And the Starlings just kept coming and coming, there was much discussion about just how many birds we were seeing with most folks agreeing it must be over one million birds! Yes you did read that correctly over one million birds in one place here in North Wales just mind-blowing.

We walked back to the cars in the dusk thrilled with our wonderful day and in particular that amazing finale!

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!

Contact us

* * *



Our Tweets

This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. See our Cookie Policy for further details on how to block cookies.
I am happy with this


What is a Cookie

A cookie, also known as an HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie, is a piece of data stored by a website within a browser, and then subsequently sent back to the same website by the browser. Cookies were designed to be a reliable mechanism for websites to remember things that a browser had done there in the past, which can include having clicked particular buttons, logging in, or having read pages on that site months or years ago.

NOTE : It does not know who you are or look at any of your personal files on your computer.

Why we use them

When we provide services, we want to make them easy, useful and reliable. Where services are delivered on the internet, this sometimes involves placing small amounts of information on your device, for example, your computer or mobile phone. These include small files known as cookies. They cannot be used to identify you personally.

These pieces of information are used to improve services for you through, for example:

  • recognising that you may already have given a username and password so you don’t need to do it for every web page requested
  • measuring how many people are using services, so they can be made easier to use and there’s enough capacity to ensure they are fast
  • analysing anonymised data to help us understand how people interact with our website so we can make them better

You can manage these small files and learn more about them from the article, Internet Browser cookies- what they are and how to manage them

Learn how to remove cookies set on your device

There are two types of cookie you may encounter when using our site :

First party cookies

These are our own cookies, controlled by us and used to provide information about usage of our site.

We use cookies in several places – we’ve listed each of them below with more details about why we use them and how long they will last.

Third party cookies

These are cookies found in other companies’ internet tools which we are using to enhance our site, for example Facebook or Twitter have their own cookies, which are controlled by them.

We do not control the dissemination of these cookies. You should check the third party websites for more information about these.

Log files

Log files allow us to record visitors’ use of the site. The CMS puts together log file information from all our visitors, which we use to make improvements to the layout of the site and to the information in it, based on the way that visitors move around it. Log files do not contain any personal information about you. If you receive the HTML-formatted version of a newsletter, your opening of the newsletter email is notified to us and saved. Your clicks on links in the newsletter are also saved. These and the open statistics are used in aggregate form to give us an indication of the popularity of the content and to help us make decisions about future content and formatting.