Yesterday (Saturday June 16th) my dad and I took the plane of 9:10 in the morning at Schiphol and arrived at 9:30 (minus one hourJ) in Liverpool to visit our friend Stephen Menzie for a week. Menzie picked up us at the airport and we went to his home. At home we made some plans and once the plans were fully made we left to North Wales (Anglesey to be more precise) for some birding. In the night we would maybe participate in storm petrel ringing but later it turned out weather was not good for the ringing: too strong winds and rain.
On our way to Holy Head we stopped by at the village with the longest name in the world: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch.
What a name!
We arrived at Holy Head in the afternoon and the weather was OK, no rain. There we went to South Stack where a large seabird colony is situated. We got out of the car and walked to the colonies. We saw thousands of Guillemots and Razorbills on the rocks and in the sea. It didn’t take long for us to see our first looong awaited lifer: a few Manx Shearwaters were flying by on the sea. Distant, but clearly visible! Then we walked along the cliffs, seeing Fulmars, a Puffin, several Choughs, quite a few Shags and Kittiwakes. In the harbor of Holy Head we saw a beautiful adult summer Black Guillemot.
South Stack, Holy Head
Guillemots (Uria aalge)
Razorbill (Alca torda), a pair
Puffin (Fratercula arctica)
Guillemot in flight
Razorbill in flight
Chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), colourringed
Black Guillemot (Cepphus grylle)
After the successful visit to the seabird colony we headed for a tern colony on the northern part of Anglesey called Cemlyn Bay. Just when we arrived there and had walked to the colony, seeing lots of Sandwich Terns but also good numbers of Common Terns and Arctic Terns, it started to rain heavily. We headed back to the car and drove on to Amlwch. In Amlwch we got some delicious Fish & Chips. Always great to eat! Then we headed to some other village along the sea where we had great views of quite a few Manx Shearwaters foraging close by on the water. At one moment there was a group of 25 Manxies foraging close by. The light was really bad so I didn’t take any photos.
As we weren’t going to ring any petrels we headed back to Liverpool. We arrived at Liverpool around 23:00 and went to bed quickly.
Today (Sunday June 17th) we got up at 7:00 and left Liverpool around 8:00, heading to North Wales again to try and see the reported Rose-coloured Starling that had been found yesterday. We arrived around 9:00 and the bird was already present in the garden. It was an adult male showing really well from up close, foraging on the bird feeders. It was a very aggressive bird, chasing away other Starlings, House Sparrows and Dunnocks. Here we also met up with Stephen’s friend Alex.
Rose-coloured Starling (Sturnus roseus), adult male
After this nice observation we went to Llandudno where we did some sea-watching. Not much flying by, just Gannets, Kittiwakes, Fulmars and that kind of species. We did see nice Fulmars nesting on the cliffs.
Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis)
From there we drove to Conwy where there is a RSPB reserve located. There were some nice hides. We saw a colony of Little Egrets, some Dunlins, a Black-tailed Godwit, Little Ringed Plovers, a Snipe and that was about it.
Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)
Alex, Menzie and me.
The moors of Denbigh
Next stop would be the moors of Denbigh to look for Red Grouse. We drove around the moors and stopped several times but we failed to see any Red Grouses. We did see a nice Cuckoo.
Early evening we checked Menzie’s local patch, Frodsham Marsh. There were some Avocets, 6 Dunlins, Teals, Redshanks and there should also be a Ring-necked Duck present but we didn’t find it.
In the mean time the weather had improved even more and there were some nice clearings in the sky.
All in all two excellent days already in the o so rainy UK!