Wonderful Day On Anglesey With Mark And Even An Elephant Included 4 September 2020

Osprey juv Sept 1

Hard to pick "bird of the day" so many great sightings but the Osprey was special.

Alan met Mark at Llandudno west shore just before 8am for a day’s guiding on Anglesey, luckily the weather was fine and lots of birds to look forward too. First stop was a Cemlyn Lagoon on the north coast of Anglesey, often good to drive to the furthest point and then work our way back to Llandudno. Just before reaching lagoon a movement in a field left of the road caught the eye, it was three Common Buzzards feeding on the carcass of a dead sheep. There was not much left of the sheep and bare rip bones pointed to the sky. Two huge Ravens and a Magpie were also feeding on what little was left of the dead sheep – looked more like a scene from the African plains!

Mediterranean Gull Sept 2016 1

We enjoyed a lot of Mediterranean Gulls on this Best of Anglesey tour.

At first glance the lagoon looked empty, but with some scanning birds were seen Little Egrets were feeding in the shallow edges of the pool, two Red-breasted Mergansers were diving in the deeper water and a flock of Curlew were probing about on a grass bank on the south side. Amongst the Curlew were two juvenile Bar-tailed Godwits – amazing to think these birds had arrived from their Arctic Canada breeding grounds to reach North Wales! Then a flock of gulls landed in a cow field near the Curlew flock and it was a real surprise to see the majority of them were Mediterranean Gulls. There were 24 Mediterranean Gulls along with about ten Black-headed Gulls. The majority of the Med Gulls were juveniles moulting into their first-winter plumage with a couple of second-winter birds and one adult. Great to see so many Med Gulls and good to be able to compare the variation in their plumages and to compare them right alongside the Black-headed Gulls. Good to bump into Mark Sutton at the lagoon, he was just heading of for work.

Parking on the west side of the lagoon Alan and Mark walked out to look over Cemlyn Bay, a young drake Eider was having a good wash and brush-up on the calm water. Moving to the beach, where the open sea is visible time for a sea-watch though the wind was offshore but unless you try you never know! A Gannets were moving west some of them passing close to the beach allowing super views. Manx Shearwaters were also moving west but mostly far out though through the telescopes the views were ok. Four Common Scoter whizzed west low over the waves along with a steady passage of Kittiwakes and two Fulmars. On the beach right in front of them were Turnstones, a Ringed Plover and a very showy Whimbrel that fed from the cracks in the rocks twisting its head to reach items and allowing wonderful views. Also here were three Northern Wheatears and two Rock Pipits moving west along the shingle while on an off-shore island eight Atlantic grey seals were hauled out on the rocks.

Next stop was at Beddmanarch Bay where the tide was very high indeed. Scanning the huge bay produced a flock of some forty newly arrived Wigeon loafing on the calm sea. A Shag flew around the bay and at least six Great Crested Grebes were on the sea. A small flock of gulls were roosting on the beach to the right of the car park, mostly Black-headed Gulls but four more Mediterranean Gulls with them, another great chance to compare these similar species.

Short drive to Holyhead Harbour but sadly no sign of the hoped for Black Guillemots there despite a good search of the whole area. Some super close up views of Razorbills were enjoyed and more Shags this time right alongside Cormorants for comparison. Lunch was taken at a café overlooking the west end of the harbour, we won’t be rushing back there but the views were great.

Then down the west coast of Anglesey to Malltraeth and the Cefni Estuary. Looking out over the large estuary, where the tide was just dropping, very few birds were to be seen – two Common Redshank, two Little Grebes and a distant flock of Little Egrets sheltered from the wind below a bank. Walking out onto the nearby Cob Embankment gives great views of the estuary and the Cob Pool on the inland side of the barrier. A large bird appeared above the pool and wow an Osprey! This amazing bird of prey hung in the stiff wind above the pool and twice dived down towards the pool but pulled up before hitting the water. The Osprey then moved out over the adjacent estuary and flew slowly into the head wind always looking down at the choppy water. Suddenly the bird of prey plunged towards the water and with a huge splash hit the surface. A moment of hesitation and then the Osprey lifted up out of the seawater and carrying a big fish just wow! So lucky to see an Osprey catch a fish like that especially here on Anglesey, the raptor flew off low over the estuary towards Newbrough Forest. Walking back to the car an object was moving across the tarmac path! A huge caterpillar which we later identified as an Elephant Hawk Moth and what an amazing creature it was!

A short drive and RSPB Cors Ddyga was the next stop and a walk from the car park to the Cefni River proved very productive indeed. The flooded fields on the right of the track held lots of wildfowl including Wigeon and Shoveler and one small island held six Black-tailed Godwits and a lovely juvenile Ruff. At the river the bridge gives an elevated view over the reserve and always worth a good scan around. Two Barnacle Geese were amongst a flock of Greylag Geese on the north side of the river. A wonderful Great White Egret stood in a wet field with a Grey Heron, ideal for size comparison. Then a stunning adult male Marsh Harrier floated into view and quartered the marsh on both sides of the river allowing fantastic views of this oh so rare breeding bird here in Wales. A flock of Common Snipe dropped out of sight into one of the wet-fields by the track. Yet another Mediterranean Gull over the flooded fields here, a first-winter bird, and a new bird for the resreve for us, can't recall anyone else seeing one here either?

Time for one last stop on the way back to Llandudno, at Aber Ogwen where the tide was just dropping and so many birds to enjoy. The summering Whooper Swan was still present with a large flock of Mute Swans, lots of Wgieon, both Goosanders and Red-breasted Mergansers were in the river channel. At least eight Greenshank were lovely to see as always. Masses of Curlew and Oystercatchers were out on the mudflats and lots of Great Crested Grebes and Eider were in the channel of the Menai Straits. Gangs of Sandwich Terns were moving west up the Menai Straits and we were lucky to see two Arctic Terns resting on rocks, an adult and a juvenile, a species rarely seen at this site.

Greenshank feeding

Lovely to share the sightings of Greenshank with others at Aber Ogwen.

A family came along and we shared some of the birds with them in the Leica telescope and they were thrilled to see the Greenshank. Always so lovely to share sightings with others. A really great day with wonderful birds and super company. Do hope Mark can join us again for another Birdwatching Trips day out.

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!

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.