Welsh day trip
A bright start to Saturday 16th February in Cheshire. Time to head over to North Wales to meet Alan Davies & Ruth Miller for a day birding.
The day started off meeting up with a couple of Alan & Ruth’s friends Steven & Julie Houston, lovely to meet them.
We were in Llandudno, heading to see the Rose coloured Starling in ‘Mick’s back passage’ this arrived shortly after we got there, posing quite nicely on the roof tops, a first for myself, Julie & Steven. Fantastic start to the day. Back to the car to head to Anglesey.
Not the best of days for a visit to Anglesey, it was very blustery making it difficult with the Swarovski STX 95 scope & definitely no good for phonescoping. Still birds a plenty at our first stop, Pale-bellied Brent Geese, lots of waders too, merrily feeding away, keeping their heads down out of the wind, Redshank, Curlew, Dunlin & Grey Plover. A small flock of Black-headed Gulls close to the car park, in amongst them were 2 Mediterranean Gulls.
A short drive to Holyhead harbour we jumped out of the car to see 3 stunning Red-breasted Mergansers, very close, I set the scope up to try and PhoneSkope them, but due the gusty wind and the damn things diving frequently it wasn’t to be! Note to self must be quicker. Also 2 Black Guillemot showing well.
Time to press on & we pulled into McDonalds car park, nope not for a burger but for Hooded Crow, 2 showing really well at the top of the street light.
Next stop was a rocky bay where Alan was hoping we’d see Purple sandpiper, but no such luck. Moving on to another favoured spot and hoping to see Rock Pipit and Stonechat, but again too blustery, a few Oystercatchers braving the elements.
Moving on, this time to RSPB South Stack, beautiful views of the lighthouse with the waves crashing against the rocks. Alan assured us we would see Chough here, but after checking the area, driving slowly checking fields as we headed away, it appeared they’d all Chough-ed off. Time to move on again.
Time for a spot of lunch at a lovely little cafe, really good food, leaving us ready for the afternoon & hopefully more good birds.
We stopped at a shallow bay, still very blustery, eyes watering, but still found Long-tailed Duck & 3 Goldeneye, great start to the afternoon. Next stop a freshwater lake, still blowing a hoolie, the water was really choppy, didn’t expect much but still set up the scope. Scanning across the lake and fields there were lots of Lapwings & with even more scanning and at the very far side of the lake we spotted Goosander, Teal, Goldeneye and Gadwall, with Greylag and Canada Geese in a nearby field. We moved on again, heading to a site Alan and Ruth had fantastic views of Short-eared Owl, which I was really looking forward to, but no such luck it was far too windy. However Alan suddenly got excited calling 5 Chough! we thought he was joking, but no definitely 5 Chough, shortly followed by 2 more, I think Alan was relieved. As we continued to scan a Peregrine flew very close to the car giving excellent views, shortly followed by a Kestrel landing in a fir tree close by, just brilliant!
As we started to head back to Llandudno we made a brief stop to the Forrest to see if we could see Red squirrel, no such luck, but lots of Coal Tit, Blue tit, Chaffinch and other common woodland birds,after they’d all been scared off by a dog bounding through a beautiful Jay came and perched on a log.
All in all a fantastic day although very very blustery. A massive thank you to Alan and Ruth.
For further details of their amazing birding trips take a look at their website www.birdwatchingtrips.co.uk
Thank you again.