Rare Ducks Again This Time On Anglesey And More 10 February 2023

Slavonian Grebe Cemlyn Martin

Two Slavonian Grebe showed well in Beddmanarch Bay - good telescopes make a huge difference.

We met Jim and Naomi on Anglesey at 8.30am and headed north towards Valley. At a flooded field we stopped to enjoy great views of Black-tailed Godwits feeding close to our position overlooking the pool. Also here were Common Redshank, Eurasian Oystercatchers, Northern Shoveler and Eurasian Wigeon, good start.

A very short drive saw us at Beddmanarch Bay we immediately saw Pale-bellied Brent Geese feeding on the mudflats – such lovely birds. Scanning the low-water channel we picked out Red-breasted Mergansers, Great Crested Grebes and then two Slavonian Grebes and luckily these scarce winter visitors gave good views through the telescopes. Lots of waders here too including Bar-tailed Godwits, Dunlin, Eurasian Curlew, and some fly over Greylag Geese.

Red breasted Merganser drake

We had great views of Red-breasted Mergansers in Holyhead Harbour.

On to Holyhead Harbour where it was pretty cold, so we opted for a very welcome hot drink. Out in the harbour we spotted five Black Guillemots, more Red-breasted Mergansers and Shags.

A short drive took us to RSPB South Stack where it was really windy and cold, and hardly a bird to be seen! A few Common Guillemots whizzed past the lighthouse and a Meadow Pipit showed off by the car-park. We then headed towards Treaddur Bay and on the way stopped to watch nine Red-billed Chough in a field near The Range, but sadly a bit distant. At Treaddur Bay we almost immediately found the hoped for bird – Purple Sandpiper. Just a lone sandpiper was roosting with a Common Redshank on a wave splashed rock and we enjoyed great views of this rather inactive wader. Just as we were leaving, we spotted another sixteen Purple Sandpipers! This flock was sheltering on the other side of the rocks to the first bird we spotted.

Another stop, this time at the Inland Sea produced more great birds including a group of four Greater Scaup diving in the shallow sea-water. Also, Goldeneye, our first Coots of the day, a smart adult Mediterranean Gull and plenty of Shelduck. We tried the north end of the Inland Sea, seeing three Bullfinches on walk down to the beach. It was rather choppy here so not so many birds on view sadly – Little Egrets, Goldeneye, two Shoveler and Wigeon – we decided it was time for lunch and to warm up. A really lovely meal was enjoyed at nearby Catch 22, in Valley, many thanks to Jim and Naomi for treating us.

Full of great food we then headed for the Cefni Reservoir and walked through the forest to view the water. Lots of ducks here and Little Grebes too. It didn’t take to long to pick out the duck we had come to see, female Ring-necked Duck a rare visitor from North America. We all enjoyed great views of this subtle duck in the scopes along with Tufted Duck, Pochard, Wigeon, Teal and Shoveler.

We then headed to the east coast of Anglesey in search of another rare duck, the Surf Scoter that was being seen at Benllech. Parking on the seafront there was no sign of the Surf Scoter amongst a scatter of Common Scoter across the bay. We then spotted a café at the north end of the beach with a raised terrace over looking the bay. Coffee and birding is always popular on a cold day! The view from the terrace was better, being a bit higher and the drinks were hot. Soon after the drinks arrived Alan spotted the Surf Scoter! That was the good news, the bad news was the bird was distant in choppy water, tricky to see. Then the Surf Scoter was flying, and Alan relayed a running commentary as the bird circled the bay. Then it was splash down in amongst a flock of Great Crested Grebes, bit odd? Here the bird was much closer, in better light and calmer water – so much better! We all enjoyed super views of this crazy looking duck with its white head gear and orange bulbous beak – fantastic and another rare duck in North Wales. We also picked out two Long-tailed Duck, another new bird for Jim and Naomi and several Red-throated Divers and Razorbills. A lovely Grey Wagtail fed below the café terrace as we turned to head back to Holland Arms and say farewell to Jim and Naomi, a lovely day with so many great birds and a lovely lunch.

We look forward to more adventures with Jim and Naomi in the future.

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