A Succesful Twitch Followed Swiftly By A Dull Dip 15 January 2022

The three Glossy Ibis on Anglesey - photo by Martin Jones follow Martin on Twitter @birdinginasuit

A beautiful sunny calm Sunday morning and we made plans to head east along the North Wales coast to look for two drake Surf Scoters seen the previous day. We didn’t leave to early as the light improves offshore there as the day progresses, we were just getting our kit together when a message from our friend Steve on Anglesey told that the three Glossy Ibis reported late yesterday were present at Llyn Maelog. Now what to do? Stick with plan “A” and go to look for the Surf Scoters in perfect conditions and gamble the Ibis stay or go to plan “B” dash over for the Glossy birds?

We figured the Surf Scoters would probably stay for a few more months, even if condition this day were just perfect for seeing them, the Glossy Ibis well who knows how long they might stay? So Anglesey it was and we soon left behind the glorious blue sky replaced with flat grey overcast. News came in the two Surf Scoters were showing as we drove in the opposite direction, of course. Anyway we stuck with plan “B” and took the minor road on the north side of Llyn Maelog and were pleased to see friends Ken and Jayne and Chris parked on the verge. We joined them but they had not seen the Glossy Ibis yet but as we chatted we saw arms waving from the bottom of the field below the road! We could see our friend Derek waving at us and pointing into the area in front of him. Surely he had the Ibis but we could not see the birds from where we were. We hurried to join Derek who was with Tony and Steve more local birders and even before we reached them we saw three dark birds in the grass not far away. Whew! The three Glossy Ibis were showing well and it had only been a few minutes since we arrived very lucky. Steve, Derek and Tony had trudged miles around the lake to find the birds where as we had walked about one hundred yards! Sometimes you get lucky with birds. We all enjoyed super views of the birds and it was great to catch up with friends after so long not seeing them. Two more friends arrived to enjoy the birds – Martin who took some super photos and Nigel so it was a real social event as well as great birding. We enjoyed watching the Glossy Ibis feeding in the damp field behaving just like Curlew probing in the ground with their long decurved beaks wonderful birds.

Two of the Glossy Ibis on Anglesey - photo by Martin Jones follow Martin on Twitter @birdinginasuit

We gave Tony, Derek and Steve a lift back to their cars, least we could do after they had relocated the birds for us and said our good-byes. Next we headed back east to try for the Surf Scoters but not without stopping for a lovely lunch at Aber Distillery at least we resisited the urge to buy more gin this time! On again to Old Colwyn and a bit of walk through a rather grim area to reach the low cliffs above the sea a great vantage point to scan from. Masses of Common Scoter were offshore thousands of birds strug out in flocks for literally miles an impressive and daunting sight, somewhere out there were two drake Surf Scoters. Sadly the morning sunshine had gone and it was very tricky to pick out detail amongst the ducks but we kept scanning and scanning just in case we got lucky but sadly we didn’t – a dip on Surf Scoter. We did pick out a femle Long-tailed Duck, numerous Great Crested Grebes, Red-throated Divers and a few Red-breasted Mergansers. Oh well you can’t win them all and hopefully we will have more chances to look for these rare American sea-ducks before the winter is out.

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We look forward to enjoying great birds and wildlife with you soon.

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