Day Four Anglesey And Reds With Iolo Williams Best Of North Wales 22 February 2023

We did cute today - red squirrels at our feet - such a wonderful experience.

What a difference a day makes! The previous day had been glorious, this day started off grim – windy, cold and drizzle. After another superb breakfast we headed for the north-west corner of Anglesey. Thankfully the rain had stopped by the time we reached our first stop, a flooded field. This small wetland held lots of birds including close Black-tailed Godwits along with Oystercatchers, Curlew and Redshank.

Mediterranean Gull

Adult Mediterranean Gulls are very smart looking birds - though Iolo takes some convincing!

Just up the road we stopped again over looking Beddmanarch Bay, it was cold and windy but there were still birds to see. The highlight was a group of three Slavonian Grebes – decent views through the top of the range telescopes. We also saw Great Crested Grebes, Goldeneye and a flock of Pale-bellied Brent Geese flew over the bay. A smart adult Mediterranean Gull landed very close to where we were scanning the bay – what a wonderful looking gull, even Iolo agreed!

South Stack Nov 2013

A very windy and wild RSPB South Stack but always impressive.

On again a few miles to Holyhead Harbour where hot drinks were very welcome indeed. We saw some Black Guillemots but only distant views, sadly, we were very glad we had enjoyed such fantastic looks the day before. Up at nearby RSPB South Stack it was wild, really strong winds – not good. Luckily we spotted a pair of Red-billed Chough along the approach road to the reserve where it was sheltered from the gale. Surprisingly there were good numbers of Common Guillemots on the cliffs for those that braved the elements to reach the viewpoint. The scenery was as dramatic as the weather, and we even saw harbour porpoise just off the lighthouse.

Just time for one more stop before lunch, a rocky bay where luckily Iolo immediately spotted our hoped-for bird – Purple Sandpipers! These birds can be very tricky to spot in the seaweed and we were pushed for time. The telescopes allowed great views of these winter visitors and nice to see them along side a Ruddy Turnstone and a gang of Oystercatchers. With time ticking towards lunch and an import meeting to keep after lunch we headed off. Catch 22 provided a superb lunch, as always, one of the best places to eat on Anglesey in our opinion.

After a delicious lunch we headed for a special meeting with a great friend of ours, Hugh. Hugh is known by some as “the red squirrel whisperer” and he certainly knows everything about these most beautiful native animals. We walked up a valley and meet Hugh and instantly saw our first red squirrel, wow! These enchanting creatures were just feet away, true wild animals, that know and trust Hugh. A spell-binding encounter as the red squirrels came and went picking up hazel and walnuts and carrying them off to bury in the wood. Lots of woodland birds here too, attracted by the food Hugh puts out. Treecreeper, Nuthatch and Great Spotted Woodpecker all showed off so close, cameras were very busy indeed! The time flew by and we reluctantly headed off thanking Hugh for another amazing experience. A heart-warming time and everyone agreed the highlight of the trip! Well so far!

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