Anglesey Produces Wonderful Birds On A Dry Day 6 February 2024




What a thrill to watch a Short-eared Owl floating over grassland in the sunshine! Pure joy.



It has to be said that our recent Tour For Two on the beautiful Isle of Anglesey suffered some really rotten weather. Days of torrential rain and gale force winds made it very tough to enjoy the birds we did find, though the cake was as wonderful as ever!

But the weather forecast for the 6th of February, the day before our last full day of the tour, was good so we made a plan to make the most of it. We ate breakfast before dawn and by 8am the light was coming up and Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming enthusiastically in the garden of the hotel, first bird of the day. We quickly added more as we headed out through the lovely, wooded grounds down to the coast.

At Beaumaris a quick roadside stop added a wonderful confiding flock of Turnstones roosting on the rocks and birds offshore included Eider and Goldeneye. Moving on quickly to take advantage of the dry, calm, and bright day, we stopped overlooking the two bridges that join Anglesey to the mainland, stunning views here. But just as good was a Peregrine Falcon surveying the scene from a high perch.

On again to our “first real stop” the RSPB reserve of Cors Ddyga and we walked across the marsh to the Cefni River and back taking in the vast array of birds and enjoying the beautiful morning. So many birds here, a few of the highlights included a Great Egret striding through the shallows, masses of ducks, including a Tufted Duck, unusual here on the shallow flood, gorgeous Snipe, and hundreds of oh so beautiful Lapwings.

We then took a short drive to Newbrough Forest and enjoyed watching Nuthatch, Coal Tits, a Jay – good bird on Anglesey – and perhaps the highlight two delightful red squirrels always such a thrill to see.

Just a mile away we stopped overlooking the Cefni Estuary and it was so lovely to set up the scope and scan the area without being battered by wind and rain. Birds came fast, two graceful Greenshank fed in the river channel along with a Black-tailed Godwit and two Goosander. Then we spotted a splash of colour on the riverbank – Kingfisher! Luckily this little gem of a bird posed for us and we enjoyed wonderful views through the telescopes.

We took a back road across open fields and were thrilled to see thousands of Golden Plover! What a fantastic spectacle as these most beautiful waders swirled through the sky like a murmuration making amazing patterns then back to earth to form a golden carpet on the ground. Nearby a super Little Owl was also enjoying the break in the weather sitting out in the open and posing. A little further along the lane we scanned the rough grassland, watching Stonechats on top of bushes where they would have been blown off the previous day. Then another wow moment, Short-eared Owl floating over the grass in beautiful light and such a gorgeous bird. Back and forth the owl worked the area, occasionally diving into the vegetation only to come up again and continue hunting. Birds are amazing in the one moment we didn’t have a care in the world just the sheer beauty of that bird. Magical.

We headed to Valley and grabbed a takeaway lunch, something we rarely do on our tours, but the weather was good we wanted to maximise time watching birds. At Beddmanarch Bay we ate our lunch and watched masses of birds on the mudflats and in the channel here. We really boosted our day list and it was hard to keep up so many birds being called out. Grey Plover, Knot, Bar-tailed Godwits, two Slavonian Grebes, Brent Geese and many more!

Lunch done and a lots of birds enjoyed a short drive took us to the Inland Sea where a beautiful adult Mediterranean Gull showed off. Just up the road we were very lucky to find Purple Sandpipers at low tide, we usually look for them at their high tide roost. On again to The Range, sadly no Hooded Crow today, but two Chough were new for the day.

RSPB South Stack next where the sea was calm and no wind – very usual! More Chough here and we added Common Guillemot and Lesser black back Gull on the bird front. But mammals were the real excitement here – common dolphins not common at all! At least nine of these rare visitors we offshore and we enjoyed prolonged views as they moved slowly north past the headland – wow! With the winter afternoon slipping by we were off again to nearby Holyhead and luck was with us at first, a wonderful Great Northern Diver showing well in the harbour! Now where are the Black Guillemots? Sadly, none to be seen. We whizzed around to the other end of the harbour and yes one Black Guillemot seen immediately – whew. At nearby Holyhead Bay we picked out a Red-throated Diver bird species 100 for the day! Fantastic!

But we weren’t done yet. We just had time to visit a freshwater lake, we stood in the calm still fading light and … oooommmmph – a booming Bittern! Three times the Bittern boomed as a Water Rail squealed in reply – another magical moment. Nine handsome Pochard on the lake were the last birds of the day, at 4pm, we had enjoyed 103 species in just eight hours only driving some 60 miles in total, what a difference good weather and determination can make!

A really memorable day with so many special moments to take home.

We run our Birdwatching Trips throughout the year a mix of set departure tours and custom-made trips perfect for you! To book your custom tour or any of our set departure trips please email us here….

info@birdwatchingtrips.co.uk

We have some fantastic tours coming up including new exciting destinations please check our tours page here, just click the word "Tours"

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We can then make all the arrangements for your perfect Birdwatching Trips tour.





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