Finally set off for a birding trip to Anglesey with my friend Mags, after a couple of aborted attempts owing to poor weather. In fact it didn’t look that great as we left, but it turned out fine, and we completed our mission of visiting Puffin Island (by boat) and South Stack, seeing birds, wild [land-based] mammals (a hare and a rabbit) and marine life (seals, porpoises and [bottlenose] dolphins. A great day.
Our first point of call was Beaumaris, where Mags sussed out some of the shops while I wandered along the promenade. I expected to see gulls ands oyster catchers, but was surprised to see shelducks (apparently common there) and even a little egret wading in the sea water.
And wandering around the waterside were other birds that don’t get their feet wet:
We set sail for Puffin Island and fortunately the sea was reasonably calm, so the Quell I had taken proved to have been unnecessary. I say the sea was calm, but all is relative – it was certainly not what a photographer would wish for as we dropped and rose into the troughs and crests of the sea.
As we sailed towards Puffin Island we saw both porpoises (near Beaumaris) and bottlenose dolphins (near Puffin Island), in different places as apparently they don’t get on too well together. It’s very hard to take pictures of these marine creatures as they come out of nowhere very suddenly, and you’re lucky if you have your camera even pointing in the right direction, let alone managing to focus it. Above, a couple of porpoises; we saw dolphins aplenty, but never managed to get the camera on them.
What we did see was seals, and lots of them, lazing around the rocks of Puffin Island, and keeping company with large numbers of sea birds: guillemots, razorbills, puffins (obviously), shags, cormorants, etc.
A short walk back to the car in Beaumaris, and a final encounter with a young mallard:
And so we set off to South Stack, on the other side of Anglesey, on Holy Island. Our aim was to see Choughs (a lifer for me), and it was a repeat journey as the last time I had been there the mist and fog had been so thick I could barely see my own feet.
There are not very many places in the UK where you can see choughs, but here on South Stack they are plentiful as the ground is ideal for their foraging style.
We had come to South Stack with the hopes of seeing certain birds; choughs (of course), ravens, rock pipits, stonechats and linnets were on the top of our list. We saw all of these (except the rock pipit, which we certainly heard) but only managed to photograph a few:
And a bunny to boot:
So, a lovely day, with a curious epitaph. We stopped for a bite to eat in Holyhead on the way home. The light had more or less gone, but as we got out of the car we saw a rook, calmly strutting his stuff around the car park.
The implication of this is that on one day we had seen all the English corvids: crow, rook, raven, jackdaw and chough. No hooded crows, but for that we’d have to go to northern Scotland or Ireland.