What An Amazing Day On The Isle Of Anglesey 1 October 2023

Having got back from our Yorkshire Tour for Two on Saturday night we had one day before our next tour with Iolo Williams here in North Wales. We should have got down to admin but the lure of not one but two species of phalaropes being seen not far away on Anglesey had us driving west instead of logging on to laptops.

We heard news that the Grey Phalarope was still at Valley flood in north-west Anglesey, thank you Marc, Rob, Norman, and Martin, so headed straight there. No other birdwatchers on site when we arrived and no sign of the phalarope on the small flood, it seemed we had missed it. Just as we were about to leave Ruth noticed something tucked in below some overhanging brambles on the left of the pool. The colour scheme was right – grey and white – and we were sure it was the Grey Phalarope, but it wasn’t moving, maybe we were still too late? Then the tiny wader moved, it was alive, but perhaps not so well. Then Norman arrived with his scope, and we had much better views and the bird was moving its head and preening.

As we got back to the car, we heard news that a Wryneck had been found at nearby Rhoscolyn – wow! We didn’t have great directions but went anyway on the offchance. Luckily as we pulled into the car park we met Andy Spottiswood who it turned out had found the bird, handy. Armed with Andy’s directions we set off on a pretty long walk and found the spot but sadly no sign of the bird. We scanned and scanned but no, no sign. We had just decided to leave when Martin arrived, so we gave it a little longer. A Magpie flew into some bushes and disturbed some birds and Ruth shouted, “there, a brown bird!” Luckily Alan got straight on it and had it in the scope – Wryneck! So lucky. The bird was mobile, and we all had just a few brief looks before it flew off and over a thicket out of sight. Amazingly Martin and Ruth both managed to fire off a few record shots. Given the area to which the bird had flown wasn’t visible we decided to leave and try for phalarope number two.

A rather frantic digiscoped record shot of the Wryneck before it flew off!

We reached RSPB Cors Ddyga and saw a good number of birders along the path but by the time we joined them no one was on the Red-necked Phalarope. We walked and scanned, walked and scanned. Reaching the bridge over the Cefni River we had a little more height and yes we spotted the bird in flight and luckily it landed in view. Red-necked Phalarope and Grey Phalarope on the same day on Anglesey, how fantastic. We were able to share the bird with the other birders, all of whom were very grateful to us for relocating it.

There was so much to see from this one spot that we really didn’t know where to look next! A Garganey was on the same flood as the phalarope, Ruth spotted a Wood Sandpiper, a Cattle Egret was with cows on the north side of the river, seven Curlew Sandpipers fed with three Ruff and Lapwings, a flock of Golden Plover circled overhead, and a Marsh Harrier cruised by – this is Anglesey in October! Amazing birding.

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