Strong Winds Blow Seabirds Close To Shore And Terns Galore 28 July 2020

Tern flock Cemlyn

We headed over to the Isle of Anglesey, about an hour’s drive from Llandudno and to Cemlyn Lagoon one of our favourite birdwatching locations. Parking overlooking the lagoon we set up the telescopes and scanned the islands, lots of birds here, terns huge numbers of them. There were three species of tern here Sandwich, Common and Arctic and great watch them coming and going with fish for their youngsters. Many of the young had already fledged and were flying over the islands and landing on the adjacent shingle ridge. A Red-breasted Merganser dived for fish in the lagoon close to the islands and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull landed on the water, a lovely bird in this fresh plumage. Three Little Egrets were fishing around the shallow edges of the lagoon trying to find the most sheltered spots in a near gale force westerly wind.

Gannets in a row over sea 1

We continued to the car park on the west side of the lagoon and pulled our Country Innovation jackets, not often we need these superb out door coats in July but the wind was strong! Walking out to the beach we set up the telescopes again, this time looking out to sea. The water was rough and it was hard to keep the scopes steady in the gale but the sun was out giving us wonderful light on the sea. Within moments we saw Manx Shearwaters flying low of the water shearing from side to side, wing tips almost cutting the surface of the rough sea. These wonderful seabirds that breed not so far away on Bardsey Island off the west coast of North Wales were passing at a rate of several a minute so we could really enjoy their wonderful flying skills in the gale. Lots of terns were passing our watch point too mostly Arctic Terns with some Common Terns and a few Sandwich Terns all ferrying fish back to the nearby colony or heading to find more food these and the Manx Shearwaters meant that there was a constant movement of birds over the rough sea. Small numbers of Gannets were also moving west and a few Kittiwakes and a flock of nine Common Scoter also whizzed past. On a rocky island just offshore 28 Atlantic grey seals were hauled out on the rocks, here they were out of the wind and in the sun, not a bad life.

Arctic Tern family Cemlyn

Heading back towards the lagoon we found shelter from the wind behind rocks overlooking Cemlyn Bay and here were more terns. With the tide out a large area of shingle, seaweed and muddy areas was exposed and birds were taking advantage of the shelter here. A flock of some 150 Arctic Terns were resting on the shingle with a few Common and Sandwich Terns amongst them and surprisingly an adult Kittiwake in the flock. Just behind this flock four breeding plumaged Dunlin were resting by the tideline. Nearer to us we watched eight Ringed Plover feeding on a muddy area where they were joined by five Turnstone. Three of the Turnstones were in their beautiful breeding plumage – orange, black and white such amazing birds. It was great to watch them “bulldozing” the seaweed out of the way to find insects below it. Further out in the bay we had a brief view of a Black Guillemot flying low over the water below splash landing and then being lost to view in the waves.

We headed back to the car and paused to watch an adult and a juvenile Ringed Plover feeding on a muddy island next to the car park. As always Cemlyn had produced lots to enjoy, we will be back soon!

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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