September A Wonderful Month To Be Out Enjoying Birds In North Wales



Dotterel Sept Gt Orme 6

This stunning juvenile Dotterel photographed on the Great Orme in September.



We are often asked “which is your favourite time of year for birdwatching in the UK?” and the answer is not easy, we have great birds all year round! Three months come to mind immediately – May, September and October – and many readers will quickly see a pattern, bird migration. Bird migration is just amazing, pulse quickening, the reason to jump out of bed and race outside, the anticipation, the unexpected it is just wonderful. All three months are great for seeing migration here in the UK but as September is almost upon us let’s look at why this month is right up there as a favourite.

September for us is the real start of Autumn, of course migration is already under way but it is September when huge numbers of birds are on the move, mostly heading south from breeding grounds to wintering grounds, a mass movement of millions of birds. Just that thought alone is enough to quicken the heart beat and each day new birds are arriving and we never know what might pop up next!

Buff breasted Sandpipers 5

We photographed this juvenile Buff-breasted Sandpiper in September.



It was in September that Alan went on his very first proper “twitch” a trip to see one individual bird rather than going to look for a species of bird. Way back then, Alan was sixteen, working on Anglesey on a nature reserve, and had one day off a week. This day off was reserved for a bath! Living on the beautiful Llanddwyn Island off Newbrough Beach the water supply was from a small well hauled to the cottage by bucket so no baths or showers. On this particular September day news had somehow reached the island that a very rare Buff-breasted Sandpiper had been seen at Cemlyn Lagoon on the north coast of Anglesey. So no bath that week, and Alan persuaded his parents to take him to Cemlyn instead of home for a wash. Arriving at Cemlyn no birdwatchers in sight and not really sure where to look for the rare bird. Luckily a walk along the shingle ridge was thought worth a try, walking west the family had almost reached the far end of the spit when a movement on a grassy area caught Alan’s eye, a wader, small, with yellow legs, bit like a Ruff, Buff-breasted Sandpiper! This delightful confiding rarity showed off and so much better than a bath. September was burned into a young birdwatchers mind as a good month.

Since then many good birds have been enjoyed in September and the variety of birds that is possible during a September day is a real joy to experience. Summer birds are still here so we might watch a lovely Common Redstart flicking along a hedgerow where a newly arrived winter Redwing could be feeding on berries as Swallows hawk overhead. Looking out to sea can also prove very productive, again a real mix of birds, summering Terns are still with us and these attract marauding Skuas to rob them always a thrill for us to watch. Arctic Skuas are pretty regular in September but Great, Pomarine and Long-tailed Skuas all do turn up at this amazing time of year. Manx Shearwaters will be passing our headlands and amongst them a good chance of Balearic Shearwater and with strong North-West winds great chances of seeing a Leach’s Petrel battling the storm. Wader passage is at its peak and most Septembers see wonderful Curlew Sandpipers and Little Stints arrive from Siberia. It is also a great time to search for beautiful Dotterel and we are lucky where we live in Llandudno to have a Dotterel hot spot the Great Orme. The limestone pavement areas of this headland attract Dotterel most years and sometimes they linger allowing wonderful close up views.

Wryneck ours 2

The Wryneck we found at Cemlyn, Anglesey in September an amazing bird.



Getting out as much as possible in September always pays dividends with so many birds on the move the chances of finding something special are so much higher. On a trip to Cemlyn, of Buff-breasted Sandpiper fame, we were still in the car park when Alan spotted a bird on a rock in the field behind the parking area – Wryneck! This rare member of the woodpecker family is a wonderful bird and always a thrill to see and even more so to find! Luckily this Wryneck was in the mood to stay and many birdwatchers caught up with this cryptically plumaged rarity. It was also September that produced a real rarity on the Great Orme a Booted Warbler from eastern Europe and luckily this tiny rare migrant stayed a week. The bird favoured a small patch of gorse on the limestone pavement and hundreds of birdwatchers came to see it. We were watching the Booted Warbler one evening when a starnge noise reached our ears, a rumbling, what on earth? Then we saw a man hurrying up the concrete road towards us pulling a wheelie-bag behind him! He was dressed in a suit and looking stressed, he shouted across to us "is it still here?" thumbs up from us and the releif on his face was great to see. Having come straight from his London office, via a train to Llandudno Junction then taxi to the Great Orme he had made it before dusk and seen his first ever Booted Warbler! That's September for you!

Booted Warbler Great Orme 1

The very lost Booted Warbler on the Great Orme, Llandudno in September.



Of course all our wonderful resident birds are still here in September and it is great to enjoy them alongside all the migrant birds and the winter visitors arriving. This mix of birds really makes September an exciting time to be out enjoying birds with that extra thrill of the unexpected.

We would love you to join us for a wonderful five day Best of North Wales Birdwatching Trip from 9th – 13th September 2019. We will visit a wide range of habitats and hope to enjoy around 120 species of birds including some unexpected ones! We stay in a lovely country hotel with birds from the windows and enjoy lovely food and lots of fun. If you would like more information about this thrilling Autumn tour or book your place please email us here…

info@birdwatchingtrips.co.uk

We look forward to enjoying lots of wonderful birds with you soon!



Chough June 2015 1

North Wales has a wonderful selection of resident birds here all year round - Chough.





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