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Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
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Biggest Twitch
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Biggest Twitch
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Biggest Twitch

Our friend Jackie McClellan is staying with us for a few days. Jackie is from the USA though we first in Ecuador at the American Birding Conference in 2007. We met up again last year during The Biggest Twitch in Australia. We were all on the Tropical Birding tour and had a great time. When we heard Jackie would be over in Paris this June we invited her to take the short flight over for a visit.
Arriving mid-afternoon we did not have much time on day one so settled for a look around the Great Orme just behind our home. It was a lovely evening and views were stunning, we could even see the Isle of Man it was so clear. Birds were few but we did enjoy close-up views of Fulmars coming and going from the cliffs just above the road.
Day two and we headed for Anglesey. First stop was Holyhead Harbour and we immediately had our target bird, Black Guillemot. At least five of these dapper piebald auks showed well. One bird was carrying fish into the harbour from Holyhead Bay, so looks like they are feeding young. We also added Shag for Jackie’s UK bird list.
South Stack RSPB next and we had not even reached the reserve when Alan called “stop!” He had seen the Hooded Crow so everyone jumped out but where was the bird? Vanished. A female Peregrine flashed over and attacked a Common Buzzard over the adjacent fields. It was breathtaking to watch the falcon twist and turn in the air and time and again attack the larger raptor. As the Peregrine closed in the Buzzard rolled onto its back and presented its large yellow talons in defence. The Buzzard sought refuge by loosing height and landing on a fence post. The falcon lost interest and a moment of peace ensued. Suddenly a high pitch called drew our attention back to the fence. The poor Buzzard was now under attack by a female Kestrel which repeatedly dived at the unpopular bird. As we turned and headed for the car Ruth spotted the Hooded Crow sat on a TV aerial on a farm house next to the road and we had a great view.
We moved up the road and parked at the RSPB car-park and took the cliff top path towards South Stack. A male Stonechat sat up and showed as a Skylark filled the air with his beautiful song. At the cliff edge we watched Ravens and Razorbills. Ringing calls drew our attention to another black bird flying along the rock face, Chough! Luckily this most wanted bird landed and through the scope we had good views.
Arriving at the RSPB information centre we met up with our friend Dave Bateson, RSPB warden for the reserve. We chat with Dave and gazed at the ranks of Common Guillemots on the cliff faces, an amazing spectacle. The cliffs also held smaller numbers of Fulmars, Kittiwakes and Razorbills. On the sea we scanned the flocks of Guillemots and Razorbills and soon found what we wanted, Puffins! Atlantic Puffin was a new bird for Jackie and we had great views, white face, colourful bill and bright orange legs, always a great bird. Looking further offshore we found small numbers of Manx Shearwaters passing over the tide race, two Gannets also moved east past the lighthouse. Turning away from the cliff edge we enjoyed more great views of Chough.
We then headed up to Cemlyn Lagoon on the north coast of Anglesey and parked on the west side by the bridge. Here we had our lunch overlooking the busy tern colony. Over one thousand pairs of Sandwich Terns are nesting on the islands along with ninety pairs of Common Terns and seventy pairs of Arctic Terns, marvellous sight. A pair of Ringed Plover and a single Dunlin was feeding on the edge of the islands. Then Alan’s mobile phone rang, it was Ken Croft our birding friend from Holyhead. Ken had just seen a Cattle Egret! Ian Simms RSPB warden over at Valley Wetlands Reserve had seen an egret in flight near Llyn Traffwll and suspected it could be a Cattle Egret. Ken was soon on the scene and saw the bird in flight and confirmed it as a Cattle Egret, first one seen on Anglesey since 1981! Of course we headed off to find Ken and hopefully the bird. We were a little bit unsure of exactly where the bird had been seen and were driving around the narrow lanes when Ken phoned again; he had found the bird again, in a horse field. With better information we soon joined Ken on a lane over-looking a huge iris bed with horses grazing amongst the flowers. The Cattle Egret was stood in the vegetation, just his head visible. Luckily Ken had seen it fly across the field and drop into the irises; it would have been hard to spot with just its head sticking up. We moved further along the lane and luckily the egret flew towards us and we enjoyed some lovely views. Then it flying away from us, oh no, but as we watched it slowed and dropped down some half a mile away and landed out of sight. As we lowered our bins we saw a car pull up, two more birders hoping to see the bird, what bad timing!
Very happy with our good fortune we headed for home leaving Ken and the others to try and see the bird again.Would you like to come birding with The Biggest Twitch? Well now you can!
We are putting together a package of birding tours here in the UK, Europe and further a field using our huge experience to share our enthusiasm for birds, wildlife and wild places with you. We offer custom tours throughout the year in North Wales, day trips or longer to see all the special birds, dates to suit you. Who better to guide you than the author of “The Best Birdwatching Sites in North Wales”?
Highlights could include Red-billed Chough, Black and Red Grouse, Dipper, Red Kite, Hen Harrier, Goshawk, Atlantic Puffin, Ring Ouzel, Hawfinch.  Expect to see a lot of birds! or call Alan on 07778 677141


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