Thursday, 3 April 2008

World tour of Wales, part I (North Coast and Anglesey)

Saturday 29th March.

It wouldn't be a holiday without a cock-up would it? I woke up too late to make the RSPB's Black Grouse watch at Llandegla. Perhaps I should've had a night in Wrexham or Llangollen for this. When I realised I wouldn't make it in time I went back to bed for a while.

A few hours later, I headed off to Conwy RSPB reserve. Not long after arriving the rain absolutely threw down, but bird highlights in a total of 45 species included:

1 Swallow
4 Sand Martin
1 Chiffchaff
1 Goldeneye
1 calling Water Rail
1 Little Egret

No point taking any photos today. Which is a shame because you get a very picturesque view from Conwy. Of the estuary, Conwy Castle and the edge of Snowdonia in the background.

After some lunch, the promenade at Llanfairfechan was the next port of call. I have been here before a couple of years ago, to see the Black Scoter. I don't think it's been seen this winter just gone. But while using an information board to shelter from the rain, I did manage:

1 Sandwich Tern
3 Red-Throated Diver
1 Razorbill
3 Guillemot

With the rain still pouring down, I was just after anywhere with a hide! Towards Bangor is The Spinnies at Aber Ogwen. Not a lot here really, nice close views of a Snipe and a pair of Teal.

When I decided to cross the Britannia Bridge onto Anglesey, the rain started clearing. So I decided before I check into my hotel, to get over to Penrhos Coastal Park to see the Ring-Billed Gull from the car park. It showed really well, and with an immature Common Gull for a good comparison. As well as a more conspicous dark patch on the bill, Ring-Billed has a much thicker bill, and a squarer shaped head.

Sunday 30th March.

A lovely sunny day today for a tour of some birding sites on Anglesey. Firstly to South Stack RSPB.

From Ellins Tower were:

pair of Peregrine
3 Chough
many Raven, including a group of 5 together. Real Ravens at the tower!

Next on the agenda was a search of the Black Guillemots in Holyhead harbour. These took a bit of finding. I eventually found eight Black Guillemots from the Celtic Gateway footbridge between the main street and the railway station. Quite surprising that they were so close in the harbour. I would have thought they would be out towards the breakwater.

Another scan of Penrhos Coastal Park next. The Ring-Billed Gull was still there, as well as:

1 Slavonian Grebe
113 Pale-Bellied Brent Geese
1 Little Egret

Over to Cemlyn Bay and Lagoon next:

Despite the nuclear power station, it's a lovely spot:

1 Black-Tailed Godwit
64 Golden Plover
1 Little Egret
8 Goldeneye

Then to Valley Wetlands RSPB. 10 Pochard for the purpose of adding to a trip list. As it was my first visit to Anglesey, there was one touristy thing I had to do. Now then, what was the place called again............

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