Seaside birds of Anglesey

Whilst out in nature in the early mornings the past week, I couldn’t help but notice all the bird activity everywhere that I have been. It’s as if during the last hot spell, the bird life on the coast of Anglesey  has really tuned up a gear. The bird life on Anglesey is amazing put simply. Where ever we go, no matter what season it is, we spot different varieties of birds, be it on the beaches or on the land on Anglesey.

For me, they mark the change of the seasons more than the calendar dates they are assigned. Whether its the swallows, geese, turns or swifts there are some arriving in and some departing from our lands. It must mean Anglesey is a rather special place for nature (which I’ve had my suspicions for a while) with similar migratory patterns with  the fish. Nature is abundant here.

As a fisherman you play very close attention to the birds on there water, in order to see what is happening under the water. The birds have a far better idea of where the fish are shoaling from the aerial perspective.

Just today we watched as two massive Guillemots dived into the water from upwards of fifty feet, creating a massive splash to catch mackerel. The glide past you with a very large wing span and a wonder to watch

The marine birds that are plentiful are a wonderful sign that the seas in our coastal water are once again blossoming and the bait fish have returned strong for another season.

So I thought i’d write a small guide of the birds I’m spotting whilst out on my walks fishing trips, for all of the readers who are avid bird spotters on Anglesey or budding anthology enthusiasts in the making.

It should give you an idea what birds you are spotting on the shores of Anglesey. Again I know very little about anthology, only what I spot by eye and use for my own references. This is by no means an exhaustive guide juts a quick reference list of what you may see on your trips to Anglesey and north Wales shoreline. Hope its useful for you- I learnt a a fair bit writing it!

 

Turns

When we go out early morning fishing, the first birds that we see are the Turns, whether these are Arctic turns or not I’m unsure. However they are diving into the water feeding on the baitfish always on the edge of tidal currents.

common tern ????? ??
Arctic Turn having a feed

 

Cormorants

The true fisherman of the water, these birds are just amazing to watch duck diving the shoreline fishing for eels and baitfish.

 

crowned-cormorant-by-adam-riley
Cormorants drying its feathers

 

Seagulls

The sandwich thief of the beach, I don’t need to give these guys and introduction. However I am impressed by their sheer opportunistic ability and ability to thrive.

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Seagulls mid-flight

 

Black backed gulls

A larger counterpart of the gull family. we have see black backed gulls once a while back in Anglesey near north stack, we don’t see them very often anymore. They can grown to a very large size. I was in Grimsby once whilst working on a wind farm, and I saw these guys the size of small pterodactyls.

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The huge black backed gull

Gannet

The majestic bird of the sea. I cant tell you how beautiful it is to see these birds dive bombing into the water gayer bait fish- just this morning we saw a pair feeding on the a bait fish shoal as the dropped from 50ft into the water to catch their lunch. Impressive creatures. The glide super low over the water at amazing speeds.

gannet - wildlfe articles
The majestic guillemot

 

Puffin

The most colourful birds on our foreshore and not one we see tat often if I’m honest. If we go to south stack we can see them from the RSPB at Ellins tower. Beautiful animals that seem to make they way into a lot of Anglesey art. Often seen with a mouth full of its favourite food, sandeels.

Puffin - wikipeida
A colourful puffin

 

Guillemot

One of the UKs most abundant sea birds, coming inshore only to land and nest and spend s the rest of its life at sea. I find that quite amazing! I have seen many around the south stack area, another beautiful bird in our waters.

 

Guillemot
Guillemot

 

 

Strom petrel

Seen regularly offshore when I have been working off the coast of Anglesey north Wales, but occasionally I have seen on the north side of Anglesey. Apparently the feed far out to sea in the wake of trawlers and fishing vessels.

elliots_storm-petrel
Storm Petrel

 

Chough

I often see these birds whilst out climbing or on the sea cliffs or actually up in Snowdonia for that matter high on ridges when I stop for a sandwich. Quite playful creatures with a curiosity to match. My observations are that seem masters of flight with some amazing

Chough-on-Ramsey-Island-St-Davids-Pembrokeshire-Wales-UK-e1486911929237
Chough

Razorbill

we love the beautiful patterns on the plumage and big on the Razorbills. Quite a nervous bird when in contact with us humans. I seem to remember kayaking through south stack and having them feeing in dramatic fashion form the low points on the sea cliffs. The birds come to shore in the winter to breed in the northern Atlantic.

 

Razorbill_TonySmith_FlickrCC_314- Razorbill | Audubon Field Guide
Razorbill

Kittewake

Often spotted on the foreshores on Rhosneigr and neighbouring beaches as the tides recedes feeding on sandhoppers and insects. The birds are apparently declining due to a lack of sandals which have been over fished by commercial fishermen. They spend the winters in the Atlantic.

Kittewake
Kittewake

 

Fulmar

Related to the albatross, the fulmar likes to nest on sea cliffs where if you some across them by accident, rumour has it they will vomit on you as a protection mechanism. The glide beautifully over the sea and I have seen them feeding together when working offshore.

 

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Fulma in its native home- the sea

 

Wading Birds – these are the ones I see at low water or as the tide is receding or rising. They are great at catching small insects and baby fish from my observations, on the inter tidal zones.

 

Sandpiper

Spotted all along the shoreline at Porth trecastell, cable bay feeding in the shallows, and on the intertidal mudflats on the Anglesey shoreline for worms and other bivalves and invertebrates. Some are among the World’s greatest long-distance migrants travelling annually from the Arctic to Europe, South America, Africa and Australia.

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The sand piper

 

Lapwing

I have seen a few of these on the Island sea area whilst fishing late in the summer evenings feeding around the tidal grasslands.

 

lapwing
Lapwing

 

Curlew

A bird with a distinctive call that I always here when I’m out on the shoreline. The largest European wading bird which loves to over winter on our estuaries.

long-billed_curlew_eating_sand_crab
Curlew

 

Saunderling 

A plump grey and white bird that is a wader on our shorelines over winter time. The surprisingly migrate from the artic and make their way here for our milder winter away from their high breeding grounds.

 

saunderling
Saunderling

 

Some background on the Anglesey Coastline and migratory birds

 

Anglesey is the largest island of North Wales with an area of 276 square miles. Anglesey has a population of about eighty thousand people. The island of Anglesey or Ynus Mon is in the Celtic Sea and the sandy beaches and the awe-inspiring natural beauty of our island had made it a preferred destination of many visiting tourists. There are many cliffs and small bays along the entire stretch of the northern coastline.

Anglesey has a 124 mile long Coastal Path. There are a few lakes and rivers also in Anglesey. The enormous birdlife is the most important natural resource of Anglesey. The presence of various resident bird species as well as the numerous migratory birds provides the most exciting bird watching Angleseyexperience to the tourists.

About 2000 species of migratory birds make the seasonal migrations and they travel thousands of miles in search of coastal wetlands and other natural habitats. The  Island of Anglesey is one of the favorite destinations of migratory birds. The migratory birds and the different marine bird species together attract bird lovers to North Wales.

 

Some regions for bird watching on Anglesey 

 

RSPB South Stack

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in Manchester in the year 1889 to ensure the protection of bird species whose numbers are declining rapidly. Those who go for RSPB bird watching can get close-up views of guillemots, razorbills and puffins. The viewers are provided with binoculars and telescopes.

The RSPB South Stack Cliff Reserve is in the Isle of Anglesey and this reserve is known for rare species of choughs. In spring and summer basking adder and porpoises can be viewed here. The nature trails lead to the heathland along the cliffs and also they go up to the top of Holyhead Mountain.

 

Valley Wetlands

This amazing natural reserve in Anglesey is the home for wildfowl, tufted ducks, grebes, gadwalls, pochars and shovelers. The Valley Wetlands includes 20ha of reed. The reed and the surrounding marshes together make an ideal habitat for wetland birds.

Cemlyn Bay North Wales Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve

This lagoon is an ideal place for wildfowl to survive. This nesting site is protected from predators. The bird species that can be seen in Cemlyn Bay include Arctic Terns and Sandwich Terns. Here one can view a variety of mammals and reptiles also.

 

Cymyran beach – Rhosneigr beach- Starvation island

The beaches that form the bay that from Rhosneigr to the inland sea at Valley. There is an intertidal reef that comes out called Ynus Feurig lying almost dead centre between the village of Rhosneigr and the RAF airfield base at valley.

There is a reef there that runs out to see which is under the watchful eye from the RSPB

The islands are important for their tern colony, in particular for roseate tern, for which this is the most regular breeding site on Anglesey, although numbers of breeding pairs are low currently.

The island has been designated as part of the Ynys Feurig, Cemlyn Bay and The Skerries Special Protection Area along with two other nearby sites, Cemlyn Bay and The Skerries, and all three are also classed by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area.

 

Skerries light house

The Skerries (Welsh: Ynysoedd y Moelrhoniaid) are a group of sparsely vegetated rocky islets (skerries), with a total area of about  42 acres lying 1.9 mi offshore from Carmel Head at the northwest corner of Anglesey, Wales.

The islands are important as a breeding site for seabirds, and they attract divers, who come to visit the numerous shipwrecks. The Skerries Lighthouse sits atop the highest point in the islands.

The islands can be visited by charter boat from Holyhead. The individual islets are accessible from one another at low tide and by small bridges (wikipedia)

The Skerries islands have a seabird colony, which is particularly important for the Arctic tern. The following species also breed there, the atlantic puffin, black-legged kittiwake, common tern, herring gull and lesser black-backed gull.

Some little reads for bird lovers

 

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