First stop was RSPB Conwy and a bite to eat and a coffee! Viewed from the cafe were House Sparrows on the feeders with a selection of Feral Pigeon hoovering up the dropped seed on the ground, a good sized flock of Oystercatchers and Canada Geese were on the far side of the water and a small flock of Starlings were seen in the grassed area. The reported Curlew Sandpiper was next on the agenda and what a beauty it looked in breeding plumage! This was the best views I have ever had of this wader. It was a dull day so I struggled for a decent photo however it was great to see the Curlew Sandpiper foraging for food with a Dunlin also in breeding plumage following it's every move! The birds looked so small compared to the Canada Geese that had joined them in the water.The usual waterbirds were seen with highlight birds being Little Egret, a lone Golden Eye, Sedge warbler, Reed Bunting and Hirundines. Next stop was Menai Bridge Town where we would be based for the weekend.
RSPB South Stack Cliffs on a sunny warm/hot day...wonderful! There were plenty of seabirds on the water and even more on the cliffs! The sight and sounds of the birds were a joy, being landlocked a trip to the coast is always a pleasure whatever the weather though sunshine is an added bonus! Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwakes and Fulmars were nesting on the cliffs (well they wouldn't be in a tree I supppose would they.lol)and what a sight to see, especially so the Guillemots which were in huge numbers! A Puffin was viewed on the cliffs through one of the RSPB scopes and one found on the sea! The habitat isn't suitable for Puffins to breed so hopefully the few pairs that do attempt to breed are successful. The heathlands were a delight to walk through. Common Whitethroat were seen several times along with Meadow Pipits, surprisingly a Stonechat was not seen. After refreshments from the spanking new cafe (highly recommended) walking back to the car along the road I spotted a Brown Hare in a field, a lucky find as looking into the adjacent I found a pair of Choughs probing in a muddy area! Several times whilst at South Stack I had spotted small brownish looking butterflies and fortunately managed to find one settled. It has kindly been ID'd for me as being a Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary!
On next to Cemlyn Nature Reserve and the sights and sounds of the Terns! A few pairs of Common and Arctic Terns were well outnumbered by the Sandwich Terns! Relentlessly the Terns flew over the shingle ridge to the sea to return to their hungry chicks with freshly caught fish. An amazing sight to see! A few Oystercatchers were seen on the shingle and a couple of sleepy Bar-tailed Godwits woke to have a bathe in the water, a Mediterranean Gull was pointed out to us on one of the islands in the lagoon and good scope views were had of a Black Guillemot on the sea! A great day with some super birds seen and the sun shone all day!
Today was to be a chill out day! A boat trip around Puffin Island was booked in Beaumaris for a relaxing hour. Though the sun was shining a warm jacket was needed on the boat. The sea was calm....that is until the boat had to turn on the return trip around the island, the two tides meeting gave for a rocky ride for a couple of minutes.lol! Guillemot, Razorbill, Kittiwake, Shag and a large colony of Cormorant nest on the Island. A couple of Puffins did a flypast and the head of a Grey Seal was spotted in the sea. It would have been good if the boat had anchored for a few minutes so as to have had better views of the birds on the Island. Cormorants were numerous but I could not distinguish if I had seen any Shag as we were too far away and moving! Nevertheless it was an enjoyable trip. On terra firma I received a couple of texts informing me that a Common Rosefinch had been reported at Cerrig-man.....what to do? Have a relaxing walk around a Nature Reserve or go for the Finch? Decisions, decisions! It seemed a shame to be on the Island and not 'twitch' the bird! After lunch we set off for Cerrig-man which fortunately was only a twenty minute drive away. It was easy to spot where the area the bird was in as a small group of birdwatchers (sounds better than twitchers.lol)were plain to see lined up along a short service road off the A5025. After waiting in the hot sunshine for around 30 minutes the Rosefinch was heard singing a couple of times and then briefly showing as it perched and sang in a couple of conifers. Not long afterwards it flew to a telegraph wire...brill! Such a striking bird and with a very distinctive and loud song! After having bins and scope views I tried for a photo and managed a ropey photo as the sun was in the wrong place but a record one so I was more than happy with that and happier still to have seen such a stunning Common Rosefinch. Green and Goldfinch were also seen and heard in the area.
Another great day in hot sunshine!
I was informed at the 'twitch' that a Red-backed Shrike had been reported (4th) at RSPB Conwy so a visit was made enroute to home. We were told that the bird had not been seen today but it was still worth looking'just in case'! It was an enjoyable walk despite no sign of the Shrike. A Grey Wagtail and Raven were nice additions to my weekend sightings.
After a coffee and cake at the cafe it was time to head for home after a busy and enjoyable long weekend.
Several Buzzards and Kestrels were seen over the weekend.
Anglesey is a lovely Island with still many areas to be visited and explored..it is on my 'to do again' list for 2012!
RSPB Conwy. Curlew Sandpiper & Dunlin.
RSPB South Stack.
RSPB South Stack.
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary.
Sea Kale and Sea Campion.
Finances and material ran out when King Edward turned his attentions towards Scotland, and the castle was not completed.
Penmon Quarry, Limestone & Marble. Quarries in Penmon have provided stone for many important buildings and structures, including Birmingham Town hall and the two bridges that cross the Menai Strait.
Menai Bridge Sunset.