On our way to Anglesey we begin with a lovely walk to the scenic Aber Falls, spotting a pair of Grey Wagtails below the bridge at the start of the walk. Higher up we compare the songs of Blackcap and Garden Warbler, spot Buzzard, Kestrel and Red Kite and enjoy scope views of a couple of singing male Redstarts and a calling Cuckoo, visibly puffing out its chest with each “cuckoo”. Besides singing Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs, we also find a smart male Wheatear.
After breakfast at the excellent Nant Yr Odyn Hotel we head west and stake out Holyhead Harbour where we soon spot a trio of Black Guillemots below the harbour wall, and a pair of Ravens perched on a nearby rooftop. Moving on to the nearby South Stack RSPB reserve, we spend an exhilarating morning on the cliff tops lined with Thrift and Spring Squill in a stiff sea breeze under a clear blue sky. Early birds here include Rock Pipit and several Wheatears as well as more Ravens and an immigrant Hooded Crow across the sea from Ireland.
The cliffs here teem with thousands of Guillemots, with loads more rafting on the sea, plus hundreds of Razorbills, dozens of Kittiwakes and a few Fulmars on the ledges, and amid the throng we spot Puffin Billy! Out to sea, brilliant white Gannets are easy to spot but the distant low flying Manx Shearwaters are more of a challenge. Meanwhile, the resident Choughs perform a spectacular aerial show.
After lunch here we visit Cemlyn Bay on the north coast where the bedlam of a frenetic tern colony produces a pair of Mediterranean Gulls and a few blood red-billed Arctic Terns amongst crowds of noisy Common and Sandwich Terns, with a constant stream of partner birds delivering fresh fish from offshore and three Red-breasted Mergansers on the adjacent lagoon.
Last stop of the day is another stake out, this time in Newborough Forest, where we soon enjoy close views of three Red Squirrels, looking so much nicer than those horrible alien greys, while we also see Siskins, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Jay here, and so by now, some of us had seen all eight British corvids in one day!
On our way home from Anglesey a visit to the RSPB Conwy reserve produces a string of new sightings including Gadwall, Common Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, Sand Martin, Reed and Sedge Warblers, Greenfinch, Reed Bunting, a very showy Whitethroat and a flash by male Sparrowhawk. We also meet a very friendly Robin here.
Last stop of the day is at Gronant Dunes, alive with singing Skylarks, and along the shore, Ringed Plover and Dunlin are new for the trip, but the star of the show here is a colony of over 170 smart Little Terns, voted bird of the trip, out of a total of 86 birds, and even trumping the spectacular ‘Chough display’!