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Around Anglesey with The Biggest Twitch

We met Brian and Dave at RSPB Conwy then headed for Anglesey.

First stop was Penmon Point where there were masses of seabirds and we scanned the narrow strait between the point and Puffin Island. Dozens of juvenile Shag were lined up on the low tide rocks and fishing in the waters around the point, looks like they had a great breeding season. Guillemots and Razorbills hurtled low across the sea back and forth to the cliffs on the island. A Rock Pipit popped up on the wall right next to us giving close views. A short walk west from the point gave wonderful views of three Red-breasted Mergansers close in-shore and Sandwich Terns fishing in the bays. High pitched calls drew our attention and we were soon enjoying scope filling views of a juvenile female Peregrine! She was demanding breakfast and it was soon delivered, the adult female falcon flew in with prey. The juvenile grabbed the meal and began to tear away with gusto! The views through the Leica scope were just brilliant, pin sharp and so bright!

Then up the east coast of the island and a quick stop at Traeth Dulas where a big flock of Curlew were on the mudflats, a Little Egret waded in the river channel where a Common Sandpiper bobbed along.

Cemlyn Lagoon on the north coast was next and what a spectacle! The air was full of screaming Sandwich Terns; many were newly fledged juveniles trying out their flying skills and demanding more food! Red-breasted Mergansers, Shelduck and Grey-lag Geese were all on the lagoon. But it was the terns that stole the show. Common and Arctic Terns were also here and busy feeding their own families.

We walked out to the headland and a short sea-watch soon produced Manx Shearwaters and Gannets passing along the coast. A Whimbrel was picked out roosting with Curlew on a seaweed covered rock where eight Atlantic Grey Seals were hauled out in the sun. Linnets and Meadow Pipits were feeding on the tide line.

Returning to the lagoon we walked out on to the shingle ridge and enjoyed amazing close up views of Sandwich, Common and Arctic Terns all feeding their young. Through the scope we were able to enjoy brilliant looks at Common Tern right next to Arctic Tern – ideal to compare these very similar species. The air was full of birds carrying fish back to their hungry young, passing just feet from our heads, wonderful birding!

Over to Beddmanarch Bay for our picnic lunch and we could scarcely believe our eyes as we pulled in to the car park. A Mediterranean Gull was sitting on the grass just feet from the car! Stunning views of these beautiful second-summer bird complete with jet black hood and chequered primaries, a real stunner. Cameras clicked as this lovely bird posed for us.

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What a cracking bird! Second summer Mediterranean Gull

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Same bird, here with a Black-headed Gull for comparison

At Holyhead Harbour we immediately saw our target bird, Black Guillemot, and we quickly saw at least seven of these handsome auks. The views were great in the sunshine as they too ferried fish back to their young in nearby nest holes. We also enjoyed views of Cormorants perched along Shags again ideal to compare and contrast.

Up to South Stack RSPB reserve and yet again we were very lucky; a family of Chough were feeding right by the road in the sunshine. The views were just amazing as these charismatic corvids sunned themselves and fed their young just yards away, always a real highlight of any birding bird!

At the magnificent sea cliffs we just stared at the seabird city below us, as always an incredible experience to see so many birds packed into a small area! Fulmars and Kittiwakes added to the auk overload and more Chough swept past calling wildly. Puffins proved a little tough to find and the first views were brief and often in flight. Then we found a more helpful Puffin which sat on the sea and again the scope gave brilliant clear views. A Stonechat fed on the heath land on the way back to the car park and again more Chough and Raven over us.

We then headed for a change of habitat and visited a large reed fringed lake which was busy with plenty of wildfowl. The majority of the duck were Gadwall with smaller numbers of Pochard and Tufted Duck, both Great crested and Little Grebes were diving at the reed edge. A pair of Ruddy Duck was a real surprise, rare birds these days, the drake a real looker with his blue bill and white face. A male Linnet sat up and gave super views as did three Sedge Warbler but a Reed Warbler was elusive and darted out of sight.

Back at RSPB Conwy there was just time for a quick look at the lagoons and we added some great birds for our impressive day list. Three Black-tailed Godwits were feeding with a gang of Redshank as Little ringed Plover ran around on the dry mud. Lapwings were flying over the grasslands as Sand Martins skimmed the surface of the water. Teal were feeding at the base of the reeds and we watched another Great crested Grebe on a nest, a great end to a wonderful days birding!

Join us on our regular birding trips for great birds and great fun!

A few of our up coming tours below and of course we can arrange a date and day birding when ever is good for you!

21 July – RSPB Conwy half day - introduction to birding with The Biggest Twitch come along and see how you like birding with us!

22 July – Gronant and the Dee Estuary – Little Terns and waders will be the main focus of this day trip, 8am – 5pm.

23 July – Uplands and valleys – we seek out the very best birds in the wilds of North Wales, 8am – 5pm.

For more details or to book your place on any of our trips, or to book a custom day to suit you – Email –

Or call Alan on 07778 677141

We look forward to sharing great birds and great places with you!


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