A tale of nature, wildlife and birding from Cheshire, North Wales and across the globe....

A tale of nature, wildlife and birding from Cheshire, North Wales and across the globe....

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Winter Birding on Anglesey - Hooded Crow, Iceland Gull, Black Guillemots and Slavonian Grebe!

With a whole host of great birds present on Anglesey over the winter, we decided to make the trip over from the mainland to try and catch up with what was an excellent selection of quality birding goodies on offer.

First stop was the Hooded Crow that has been favouring the McDonald’s car park in Holyhead for the past month. Presumably a bird from Ireland or the Isle of Man, it was great to see this subtly beautiful corvid up close, perching obligingly on the aerials of nearby houses and on the lampposts in the car park itself. 
Hooded Crow - Holyhead, Anglesey

With various hybrids scattered across the line where both Hooded and Carrion Crows reside up in Scotland, it was refreshing to see what is definitely a pure looking bird.
Hooded Crow - Holyhead, Anglesey

The Black Guillemots at Holyhead Harbour dutifully performed on cue, and viewing from Beach Road they were in their usual spot feeding near the ferry terminal.

The Iceland Gull near South Stack RSPB at the Range also proved to be extremely easy to connect with, and as soon as we turned the corner towards the farm fields that the gird reference had directed us to (SH 22971 80396), we spotted a bright white shape feeding in the grass. 
Iceland Gull - The Range, Anglesey
Quite flighty at times and occasionally heading down the opposite side of a small bank, we still got excellent views as this all-white primary feathered species fed amongst a group of Herring Gulls. 
The field on Google maps the Iceland Gull has been hanging out in
The nearby Choughs at South Stack RSPB also performed spectacularly, with two feeding in the fields opposite the Visitor Centre before taking to the skies and treating us to a show of aerial acrobatics.
Chough - South Stack RSPB, Anglesey
Our next stop at Anglesey’s Inland Sea also proved to be fruitful, and after some careful searching we picked out one of the Slavonian Grebes that have been present here for a good while. Much smaller than the accompanying Great Crested Grebes, the size and structural differences were obvious, with the red eye and dusky cap standing out through the scope. A large flock of Pale-bellied Brent Geese were also busy feeding on the tideline, and a close group of five individuals gave great views as they landed next to the car!
Brent Geese - Inland Sea, Anglesey
Sadly, the female Long-tailed Duck at Llyn Llywelan put paid to our 100% success rate of the day, and despite scanning the choppy waters of this small lake, we were unable to locate her amongst the many Coots and Tufted Ducks. Having been present since the end of November and still reported a few days earlier, it is highly likely she was hiding around a bend out of sight or over on one of the far edges of the lake. Usually reported from the North West end (where we were looking from) there is still every chance the bird is still present.

A fantastic day out and nearly all our targets achieved, the selection of birding delights on offer all in close proximity to one another is surely enough to tempt people over to Anglesey to make a full days birding of it!

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