Chough me!

Before I get on with today’s excitement, a quick update about what I got up to yesterday – a walk from Meadowhall to Blackburn Meadows brought up a year tick in the shape of several garden warblers, and other warblers around included whitethroats, blackcaps and sedge warblers. A walk on patch later in the day didn’t yield too much of interest, except for another garden warbler singing in a clearing near Little Matlock Wood, and a grey wagtail near the Fisheries.

Right now that’s out of the way… today Laura and I had a crazy day trip all the way to Anglesey, a beautiful part of the British coastline I’m ashamed to say I’ve never been to until today. The first stop was South Stack RSPB, an absolutely picturesque place which very quickly yielded a much-wanted lifer in the form of choughs. After a few close fly-pasts, we eventually saw eight performing in the air at once, and one was obliging enough to pose for a photo.

Chough

Elsewhere ravens swooped over the cliffs sending panic among the assembled gulls, fulmars glided over the sea, and squinting among the guillemots and razorbills finally revealed a couple of puffins (sadly providing a photo too terrible even for this blog – hopefully a trip to the Farnes in a couple of weeks will get some better shots!). Other year ticks were rock pipit, kittiwake and shag. Some more pics…

 South Stack
South Stack

Guillemots
Just one ot two guillemots…

Spot the choughs...
Spot the choughs…

Raven
Raven (dodgy shot, sorry…)

During a quick detour to Holyhead I had a scan round the harbour for black guillemots, with no joy, but leaving the Holy Island area an overhead sandwich tern was another year tick. On a whim we took a road to Cemlyn Bay, which turned out to be a fantastic National Trust reserve, with a colony of terns that included both sandwich and arctic terns, and other birds around included oystercatcher, ringed plover, dunlin, red-breasted merganser, shelduck and, um, some particularly manky Muscovy ducks!

Terns, etc
Terns and stuff

Red-breasted Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser

Oystercatcher
Oystercatcher

Manky Muscovy
Uuuuurggghhh!

A long drive (thanks Laura!) but a great day in the best weather of the year… I’m stupidly sunburt now though!

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Pete

My name is Pete

5 thoughts on “Chough me!”

  1. Cheers Dean… Laura actually took that one so I’ll have to pass on the compliments! Maybe I’ll ask her to take all the pics for this blog!

  2. Choughs are one of my favourite birds – definately a top 10-er!

    I can’t believe you went all that way in a day – that’s quite a drive. Well done Laura!

  3. I’m hoping to visit South Stack later in the year.

    I haven’t been there for 20+ years, but your post and photos brought back happy memories of watching choughs performing aerobatics over the dramatic coastal scenery.

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