A day on Bird Island - exploring the Isle of Anglesey
Our first birding stop was at Llanfairfechan where we were soon watching a Red-throated Diver, a great start to our birdwatching day. Bar-tailed Godwits were feeding amongst Oystercatchers at the tide edge.
Onto Anglesey and we were soon overlooking Beddmanarch Bay, bathed in Autumn sun.
Beddmanarch Bay in the morning sunshine
Birds were on the move here, flocks of finches passed over, heading west. Some of these migrants dropped into the trees behind us, lots of Chaffinches and Goldfinches and amongst them we picked out Lesser Redpoll and Brambling. These birds were arriving from Scandinavia to escape the winter. Then a real surprise, a Swallow! This late bird hawked for insects right above us, how amazing, a November Swallow.
On the beach we enjoyed wonderful close views of waders. Gangs of Turnstones pushed through the seaweed shoving stones out of the way to find food. Ringed Plovers, Dunlin, Knot, Redshank, Oystercatchers and Curlew added to the scene.
Turnstone on the look out for breakfast
Out in the bay we picked out a Common Scoter loafing on the flat calm water, unusual here. Red-breasted Mergansers, Great Crested Grebes and Cormorants fished the bay.
Pale-bellied Brent Geese newly arrived from Arctic Canada
A small group of these lovely geese flew in and landed very close. Amazing to think of the journey these birds have just completed.
Gull Beauty Parade
We headed next for Holyhead and were soon enjoying brilliant views of Black Guillemots in the sunshine. With the Leica scopes we could enjoy every detail of their black, grey and white plumage. Six of these beautiful auks gave us long views and we even got to see the scarlet legs and feet. It was nice to watch Shag and Cormorants sitting next to each other on the navigation buoy.
At nearby RSPB South Stack we were soon enjoying lovely views of Chough, one of our favourite birds that we never tire of watching. Two Peregrines swept over allowing wonderful looks at these most awesome falcons, breathtaking stuff! A male Stonechat added a splash of colour.
Purple Sandpipers, more newly arrived winter visitors
Five Purple Sandpipers roosting at high tide gave us a real treat as they jumped about trying to avoid the rising spray.
Nick, Ruth and Alan scanning
A breeding-plumaged Great Northern Diver was a spectacular addition to the day's rapidly growing list. Goldeneye had also arrivied from their northern breeding areas to join more Red-breasted Mergansers and Great Crested Grebes.
Great Crested Grebe
Shallow lakes gave a another boost to the list where we enjoyed Tufted Duck, Pochard, Shoveler, Little Grebe and Reed Bunting.
On to the Estuary next and two Spotted Redshanks were quickly in the scopes. It was nice to see them close to Redshank for comparison. Hundreds of Golden Plover filled the sky along with big flocks of Lapwings. Pintail showed off in the afternoon sun, what beauties! Linnets danced above the path as Snipe dived for cover.
Another change of habitat and more new birds, this time pine woodland wit Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Goldcrests and Coal Tits all new for the day. A gorgeous Red Squirrel scampered around the trees feeding on pine cones, a strong candidate for bird of the day!
Time for one last stop and we still managed more new birds. A Greenshank fed in the low water channels with Goosanders in the same scope view. A gang of Long-tailed Tits moved through the bushes next to us, our last new bird of the day. This brought the total for the day to a very impressive 90 species. But more importantly we had enjoyed wonderful views of very special birds amongst stunning scenery, North Wales at its best!
Sunset over Penrhyn Castle
Come and join us soon for great birds, great fun and great scenery!
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