Trip reports


Male snipe singing in the rain

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Our hardy group survived the challenge of Storm Diana and enjoyed some great birding with 88 different species seen, 2 heard, plus 4 mammals - hare, rabbit,porpoise and stoat.
We started our birding on the outward journey stopping at 5 sites on the Dee Estuary from Flint to Point of Ayr. There were large numbers of the typical shore birds - curlew, redshank, dunlin etc plus 100 pintail. Behind the dunes at Point of Ayr was a very flighty flock of linnets which contained at least one redpoll, and a merlin was also seen.
Day two started at RSPB Valley where we saw typical freshwater ducks and grebes, but also a distant goldeneye and a goldcrest in the bushes. A cetti's and a water rail were heard here. On the neighbouring reservoir there were 5 or 6 gooseander fishing. Further down the coast on a beautiful beach we had ringed plover and rock pipit and in a nearby field 5 golden plover among the lapwings and oystercatchers. A final stop at Maltreath Sands gave wonderful views across the bay and on the landward side, snipe, linnet and greenfinch.
We started day 3 at the 4 mile bridge with a flash of turquoise and a kingfisher followed by a dozen red-breasted mergansers, 3 pale bellied Brent geese and distant views of a long-tailed duck. At Treadur Bay a hardy swimmer, a diving shag and the local coffee house competed for our attention. At Gors Goch we saw our first chough, but at South Stack it was eerily quiet with little to see apart from rock and meadow pipits and another chough. The next stop was Holyhead Harbour where we had distant views of a black guillemot and a kestrel. The final stop of the day was Beddmanarch Bay. In the late afternoon sun it was very cold and still. Here again were typical birds of the mudflats accompanied by 50 Brent geese, a grey plover and distant views of red- breasted mergansers and black guillemots.
Early risers on day 4 saw a beautiful sunrise, but it was very windy and storm clouds were brewing. In between horizontal showers a jack snipe was flushed at Cors Goch reserve and at Camlyn Bay there were 3 red-throated divers. Our final stop was to explore the lunar landscape of Pary's Mountain.
The last full day was stormy with very strong winds and rain squalls. At Trwyn Du overlooking Puffin Island, some hardy birdwatching (hanging on to scopes to stop them blowing over) gave us shags, guillemots razorbills and a pair of common scoter. Despite a valiant effort by the flight crew and some interesting steep and narrow lanes, the rest of the day offered little respite from the storm and little birdwatching was possible.
Our final morning on Anglesey was abandoned as the storm continued with incessant rain and we headed home. However, a break in the weather allowed a short visit to RSPB Burton Mere on the Wirral before we resumed our journey. Many thanks yet again to Lyndon and Margaret for organising another enjoyable trip.

Michael Hails