A Fantastic Day Out With Mike And Tony In North Wales 3 September 2021

Cemlyn Lagoon

Cemlyn a wonderful place to start any Birdwatching Trips custom day out.

Mike and Tony had arranged a custom “Tour for Two” and after exchanging a few emails to plan the day trip it was agreed a very early start would work best as the guys were keen to do some sea watching.

Alan picked up Mike and Tony from their Llandudno hotel at 5.30am and the three headed for Anglesey. First stop was Cemlyn Lagoon and they walked out to the beach and set up the telescopes to scan the sea. It was pretty clam so not many birds passing but they kept scanning picking out a few Manx Shearwaters, Gannets and Kittiwakes passing then Mike picked up a skua! Luckily the bird was off to the right but coming left so plenty of time for all three to get on it. It proved to be a Great Skua a wonderful bird to see passing the beach. Then more excitement as they spotted large dorsal fins in the water – Risso’s Dolphins! These big mammals were slowing moving west past Cemlyn and surfacing regularly showing those tall fins – wow!

Gannets in a row over sea 1

Sea-watching is always fun and you never know what might fly past next - here Northern Gannets.

Next at look at Cemlyn Lagoon and a Great Egret was showing very well indeed by the bridge on the west side of the lagoon. Then a Grey Heron appeared and chased the Great Egret away allowing great comparison of these two huge birds. Out on the water two Red-breasted Mergansers loafed about.

Red-billed Chough were one of the birds Mike and Tony hoped to see.

Then onto RSPB South Stack where Mike and Tony hoped to see Red-billed Chough, parking in the first car park the three set off for the cliffs. One of the first birds encountered were Stonechats quickly followed by three Northern Wheatears. At the cliffs a Hooded Crow, a rare bird in these parts, showed well on the rocks below the path almost constantly calling. While the Hooded Crow was still in view Alan spotted four Chough on a roof top, not the place you expect to these corvids that inhabit wild rugged coastlines! Luckily the Chough stayed put and great looks were enjoyed in the scopes.

At South Stack lighthouse the sea was flat calm so not a lot going on so it was a real surprise to see a Red-throated Diver flying east and that was followed by a flock of Common Scoter going west. Then a pod of bottle-nosed dolphins surfaced on the mill-pond like sea – wow – second species of dolphin in the morning!

An experiment next, trying a new café in Holyhead and all three were soon tucking into huge plates full of great food, the café was voted a success! Nearby at least five Black Guillemots were seen in Holyhead Bay these were now grey and white guillemots rather than black as they moulted into non-breeding plumage. Just around the corner, at Beddmanarch Bay, great close up views of two adult Mediterranean Gulls and a good selection of waders including Red Knot and Bar-tailed Godwits. Also an unexpected sight of five Goosanders flying over the bay here – don’t remember seeing them here before.

A short drive to RSPB Valley lakes where it was great to see three Greenshank roosting on a rock by the water it is strange how these waders are here as there is no edge for them to feed. Pochard dived out on the main lake along with Tufted Duck and Great crested Grebes but the numbers of birds here were very low.

On again and the next stop was at Malltraeth and the Cefni Estuary here you can scan the estuary from the bridge on one side and look up the Cefni River from the opposite of the bridge. Mike did really well spotting a Grey Plover, a species Tony really wanted to see, it was very well camouflaged against the grey mud. A Kingfisher on the other hand was a fantastic splash of colour perched above the river channel.

Little Stint juv Sept 2

Little Stint are always a thrill to see and live up to their name - little.

A walk along the Cob Embankment south from Malltraeth proved very worthwhile indeed, the water level on the pool was low making it ideal for waders to feed. Three beautiful juvenile Little Stints were feeding with a flock of Dunlin and was fantastic to compare these wader species at pretty close range. Also on the pool were juvenile Black-tailed Godwits, Common Redshank, Lapwings and some gorgeous Common Snipe. Walking back to the car and a real surprise a white Barn Swallow – totally amazing! This beautiful bird was flying with regular Barn Swallows between the pool and the bridge, none of the three shocked birders had seen such a bird before. A quick look in the woods at the end of the embankment produced Coal Tit and the first Robin and Chaffinch of the day.

Then back to the mainland in the hope of picking up some more new species for the already very impressive day list. First stop was at Aber Ogwen but what an insane sight here – car park jam packed with lorries, vans, minibuses and cars with a horde of cockle pickers out on the mudflats! If they need huge trucks to transport the shellfish away how much are they taking out at one go? How on earth can such industrial removal of a natural organism be sustainable? Well of course it can’t possibly be!

So a change of plan and the day ended in great style at RSPB Conwy where a Garganey and a Spotted Redshank were the star additions to the day list along with Common Sandpiper and Pintail making a very pleasing 90 species of bird enjoyed on the day!

A really brilliant day’s birding and a huge thank you to Mike and Tony for their superb company – oh and for the massive breakfast – looking forward to more birding adventures with them both.

Of course a wonderful way to see more birds is to join one of our Birdwatching Trips and learn a lot about the birds you are enjoying too. We have tours suitable for all from beginners to experienced birders that are seeking particular species. Just drop us a line here and we can arrange a perfect custom tour for you!


We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds 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.