Trip reports

South Stack and Cemlyn Bay

South Stack and Cemlyn Bay
Sandwich Tern - Dennis Atherton

Sunday, 8 July 2018

This was originally scheduled as a coach trip but was cancelled because of lack of bookings.
A few of us decided to go by car and met up at Chester services. There was news that a snowy owl had been seen at South Stack the previous day.

So, maybe a chance of a mega rarity!

We arrived at South Stack but news wasn't good. No sightings from the numerous birders present.

Still, we decided to have a look. We set off towards the radio masts and then split up, but a couple of hours of zig-zagging and meandering brought no luck. Linnets, blackbirds, carrion crows, rock pipits, meadow pipits, stonechat, starlings, were all present in the rocky interior.

On the main sea cliffs and out to sea were the birds to be expected - puffins, guillemots, and razorbills, and a number of gannets. Kittiwakes, herring gulls, and lesser black-backed gulls used the cliff face thermals, and the odd great black-backed gull menacingly did the same.

A few oystercatchers and shags were seen on the rocks at the foot of the cliffs but choughs, though, were in very short supply - possibly the dry weather had driven them a bit inland to softer feeding grounds.

Plenty of butterflies though, particularly the silver studded blues.

We called at Holyhead harbour on the way back, and got a good view of one of the resident black guillemots.

Then, on to North Wales Wildlife Trust's Reserve at Cemlyn Bay for a short visit. Plenty of terns here, after what had been expected to be a poor breeding season, as large groups had relocated from the Cumbrian coast. Common terns, arctic terns, and sandwich terns in good numbers flying overhead and quickly returning with small fish for their young. A red-breasted merganser was also present on the lagoon, and out to sea were a couple of black guillemots and a few cormorants.

No snowy owl, but plenty of sunshine.

6 attended, 35 species seen