Friday 7 September 2012


After leaving the myriad Oystercatchers to their noisy lives in Bangor we headed across the old Menai Bridge to Anglesey first stopping at the compulsory tourist attraction Llanfairpwllgwygyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Which I am reliably informed means 'The church of Mary in the hollow of the white hazel near the fierce whirlpool and the church of Tysilio by the red cave', quite a mouthful in either language!
Elis being a tourist
After this we headed out around the coast road to Malltraeth that Charles Tunnicliffe made famous in his Shorelands Summer Diary. Although the birding wasn't that exciting it was good to see the scenes that Tunnicliffe had so ably described and illustrated. (The next day an American Golden Plover was found there! Bah!) From there we headed for South Stack the impressive clifftop RSPB reserve.
The lighthouse at South Stack
The cliffs at South Stack
Elis on the trail of the Red-billed Choughs

The plan here was for Elis to have the opportunity to photograph Red-billed Chough, she made the most of her chance.

Red-billed Chough

Up close and personal

These are truly lovely birds when seen in detail
These birds are not just good looking, their aerial antics are fun to watch as well

In addition we saw a Northern Wheatear, a family of Stonechats and a group of fly-by Ravens 'quarking' away to themselves.
Northern Wheatear



Leaving Anglesey we headed along the north coast of Gwynedd and stopped at Llanfairfechan. Here Elis gripped me off with a Grey Wagtail, the back end of which I only saw fleetingly as it whizzed off never to be seen again as I emerged form the local conveniences. A short walk along the sea wall didn't produce much except another wagtail species, this time the more mundane Pied Wagtail.

Pied Wagtail

We headed for a reserve along the coast road back towards Bangor at a place called Abergwyngregyn. It was a pleasant walk, but as the tide was out again by now we didn't get very close to any of the waders out on the flats although there was an impressive flock of some 1000 Eurasian Curlews loafing on the mud.
Marshes at Abergwyngregyn

Loafing Eurasian Curlews
The tamerisks and surrounding trees were alive with birds in one sunny corner, with Blue, Great, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Goldcrest, Willow Warbler, Greenfinch, Chaffinch and Treecreeper being in the mixed flock.

Coal Tit

Willow Warbler
Common Greenfinch
Common Treecreeper

We came across a small group of Ringed Plovers with two Dunlin. Although they were closer than the other waders they kept their distance. Elis noticed that some of the birds had coloured flags on their legs, but we were unable to read them at the time and the birds kept far enough away to make the photos little use except for discerning the colours. After closer inspection in the computer however some details were visible. More on that on the WaderQuest page.

Common Ringed Plovers and Dunlin

Flagged and ringed adult Common Ringed Plover

Not all the plovers were flagged and ringed

Juvenile flagged and ringed Common Ringed plover

Leaving there we headed back to the A5 to spend the night in Betws-y-Coed.

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