It is fair to say that I wasn't chuffed. I was walking a stretch of the Anglesey Coastal Footpath with the wife. The walk looked good on the map but with the temperature heading into the nineties it was starting to get uncomfortable. The cliff path included a good number of steep climbs and the camera gear I was carrying, in expectation of getting some pictures of the Chough, was starting to get heavy.
At one point, I did think I saw two Chough in the distance, but the wife , who is not really a birder, pointed out that if they look like crows and sound like crows they probably are crows.
I had to do the 400 steps down to South Stack Lighthouse. The birds could be down there. But the 400 steps back up, when you know they are not there, were a bit harder. Fortunately I could make frequent stops to look at the birds out on the cliffs. Guillemots, Razorbills and a few Puffins and there were Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a Rock Pipit in the grounds of the lighthouse.
|Razorbill and Puffin|
|Lesser Black-backed Gull|
I tried the RSPB Visitors Centre and Ellin's Tower, all reliable spots for the Chough but still no luck. It was not looking good and we still had the walk back to the car at Holyhead to look forward to. We were about to give up when one of the wardens suggested we try a spot about half a kilometre further south along the coastal path. I wasn't really hopeful. If they were there we should have seen them flying by now but it was worth a try.
Well worth a try as it turned out. I was just about to turn back when I spotted a group of five or six sitting on the top of the cliffs. They seemed reluctant to move, the heat was obviously getting to them as well. Still, it gave me a few good picture opportunities.
A dog walker then appeared and the birds dropped over the edge and down the cliff. Despite extensive scanning of the cliff face I could not find them again. A great result and the walk back to the car didn't feel half as bad as I had been expecting.
The next morning we headed back to the Visitors Centre in the car. The idea of a full English or in this case a full Welsh, whilst sitting out on the veranda overlooking South Stack and the Irish Sea, was too good to turn down.
As you might expect, no effort needed today. When we arrived the Chough were sitting under the feeders in the garden and then when disturbed moved to the roof of the Visitors Centre. A great breakfast, great views, and Chough flying back and forth as well.
And one final picture. We saw lots of Silver-studded Blue butterflies around the area. Snails are not really my area of expertise but I will give it a try..........
|Silver-studded Blue with White-lipped Banded Snail (Yellow Form)|
any corrections to my identification will be gratefully received.