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26th May 2021 – Eastville Park and Snuff Mills

Just a few nature photos of my walk today in my local parks of Eastville Park and Snuff Mills along the River Frome in Bristol.

Baby coot wishing it had bigger wings in Eastville Park
Canada geese gosling in Eastville Park
Lesser black-backed gull in Eastville Park
Swans protecting their cygnets in Eastville Park
Pigeon in flight in Eastville Park
… and coming in to land
Grey wagtail in Snuff Mills
Orange tip butterfly in Snuff Mills
Large white butterfly in Snuff Mills
Busy bee in Snuff Mills
A different bee in Snuff Mills

And a few of my favourite flowers:

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24th May 2021 – Snuff Mills, Bristol

We had a walk along the River Frome at Snuff Mills in Bristol this afternoon in the hope of seeing juvenile dippers and/or juvenile kingfishers of which I had seen reports.

We didn’t hang around as the forecast wasn’t good. I did stop to take some photos of some of the flowers in the garden at the entrance to the park – the volunteers who maintain the garden have done a splendid job and on a better day I must return and try to do them more justice.

We didn’t see any of the juvenile birds on our way out but on the way back we did see 2 juvenile kingfishers thanks to a local birder who had spent some time tracking them down. We didn’t stay long as the rain, which had been threatening all afternoon, decided to spoil our fun.

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20th May 2021 – Anglesey

Our last day in Anglesey and its been heavy rain and winds; hence the run of blog posts. However we did get out for an hour in the morning and went for a short walk (and a coffee) at Penmon Point. Despite the foul weather I did get a few of photos including a curlew and some eider duck.

Curlew
Eider duck
Oystercatcher
A truer picture of the weather conditions
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19th May 2021 – Anglesey

We started the day with a visit to another RSPB reserve at Cors Ddyga (also known as Malltraeth Marsh). For our walk around the reserve the weather was very dismal and it was difficult to photograph. However, we did get good views of lapwing displaying. There were also greylag geese, we heard lots of warblers and I saw my first swift of the year.

Lapwing
Lapwing
Swift
Yet another stonechat
Buck-bean, also known as bog-bean or marsh clover among other names

Fortunately the weather improved greatly and we had a splendid lunch on the terrace of the Oystercatcher at Rhosneigr in a beautiful setting in the dunes.

To walk off our lunch we had a walk along the pathway which runs between the Malltraeth Estuary and a lagoon where we saw sedge warblers and linnets.

Malltraeth Estuary
The lagoon tucked behind the Malltraeth Estuary with Snowdon in the background
Sedge warbler
Greylag goose and goslings
Linnet

On the way back we stopped again to photograph the amazingly photogenic Menai Straight.

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18th May 2021 – Anglesey

We drove across the Island of Anglesey and on to Holy Island to visit the RSPB reserve of South Stack Cliffs, a journey of less than an hour from Beaumaris.

We spent some time photographing the cliffs famous for the big colonies of guillemots, razorbills and puffins (but I could only really make out the guillemots). We then climbed up to the RSPB café for a coffee and then further on up for even more splendid views of the lighthouse. Fortunately the lighthouse was closed due to Covid-19 restrictions and so we were spared the 400 hundred or so steps. Besides the auks there were lots of small birds for us to see including wheatear, whitethroat, stonechat, rock pipits and the much larger choughs, the rarest member of the crow family.

South Stack lighthouse and cliffs
Auks on South Stack cliffs
Guillemots
Wheatear
Rock pipit
Chough
Chough in flight
Choughs with their red bills and legs
Whitethroat
Stonechat

As we were so close to Cemlyn Bay we could resist returning to see the tern colonies. I gather thousands more had arrived since our first visit a few days ago.

I wouldn’t like to try to count the terns
A small section of the tern colony
Sandwhich tern
Comic tern (the term used when you are not sure if its a common tern or an arctic tern)
Arctic tern
Sea campion

On the way back we stopped again near Penmon Point to see eider, oystercatchers and sand martin.

Eider ducks
Sand Martin
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16th May 2021 – Anglesey

With so much to do here in Anglesey I missed a blog for Sunday which I am now publishing out of sequence. We did a circular walk through Newborough Forest on the south west coast of Anglesey in the morning. Although there were duckboards through some sections, it was very boggy and we often had difficulty keeping our footing. We then moved a little further along the coast and walked through the dunes at Aberffraw which was a more pleasant experience. The flora was particularly interesting. It’s amazing how many of these plants have names associated with birds. On our return we spent a little while wandering around the pleasant seaside town of Beaumaris where we are staying and I took a few more bird photos experimenting with a wide angle lens.

We stopped for a view of the Menai Bridge
Wild cherry in the Newborough Forest
Bluebells in the forest
A stonechat in the dunes
… and in flight
Apparently Run away Robin (Ground Ivy)
Bird’s eye speedwell
Common stork’s bill
Beaumaris slowly unlocking from Covid-19, but still only eating and drinking outdoors
A well-known view on any pier
Wide angle view of a gull
Welcome blue sky
Beaumaris pier (not quite as splendid as the one in Bangor across the Menai Straight)
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17th May 2021 – Anglesey

Wanting to pack as much as possible into our stay in Anglesey we were the first to arrive at the National Trust estate of Plas Newydd. The house is still not open but we were able to enjoy the stunning views over the Menai Strait, the Faenol and Snowdonia as we walked around the beautiful grounds even though the weather was still rather dismal.

Views of Snowdonia across the Menai Straits from Plas Newydd gardens
A few rays of sunshine (which didn’t last long) to brighten our morning
Azaleas in full bloom – all they needed was a bit of sunshine
I was ill prepared for this shot of a red squirrel in the woods as I only had a wide angle lens with me.
Magnificent trunks of Monterey cypress from the central coast of California
Plas Newydd
Bluebells in the woods at Plas Newydd
Rhododendrons in the woods at Plas Newydd
The outskirts of Caernarfon with the mountains of Snowdonia as a backdrop

After our visit we made our way to the Cefni reservoir just north of Llangefni, the county council seat of Anglesey. The weather brightened up and we had a lovely walk around the reservoir hearing wonderful birdsong and seeing butterflies and an interesting array of flora. On the water there were great crested grebe and we even saw a goldcrest which landed so close in front of us that I didn’t really manage to focus on it.

An orange tip butterfly on its host plant cuckoo flower
Pink purslane
Great crested grebe
Goldcrest
The Cefni Reservoir

On our way home we visited Penmon Point where there are good views of Puffin Island. We saw all sorts of bird life here including eider ducks, oystercatchers, sandwich terns and the superb spectacle of 2 gannets diving in a nearby bay.

Eider ducks and sandwich tern
Eider duck
Oystercatchers
Puffin Island
Puffin Island
Oystercatchers
Gannet
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15th May 2021 – Cemlyn Bay, Anglesey

Cemlyn Bay

How good it is to be away from home. I’m not sure I felt that way when we were waiting for some lunch outside a restaurant in Cemaes on the north west coast of the island of Anglesey and it was getting colder and colder, nor when it started to rain. However, when our lunch arrived, after a lengthy wait, the sun came out for the first time that day and we were able to enjoy our lunch and reflect on the splendid walk we had had that morning along the shingle ridge of Cemlyn Bay.

Cemlyn is recognised for its National Nature Reserve and as a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, It is home to the rare spotted rock rose and renowned for its breeding colonies of the Sandwich, common and Arctic terns.

As well as the terns we saw a large colony of black-headed gulls, oystercatchers, barn swallows and sand martins, grey herons, little egrets, shelduck (with chicks), a tree pipit and a red breasted merganser.

I can’t say I saw any spotted rock rose but there was lots of wonderful flora including sea kale, bog yellowcress, sea campion, sea thrift and bird’s foot trefoil.

Sandwich tern
Arctic tern
Common tern
Oystercatchers
Red breasted merganser
Sand martins
Barn swallow
Tree pipit
Bog yellowcress
Sea kale
Sea thrift
Sea campion
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2nd May 2021 – WWT Steart Marshes

The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust website claims that ” Steart Marshes is the first of WWT’s working wetlands. It provides flood defence for local homes and businesses, showcases productive farmland and is home to a thriving nature reserve. The project proves we can fight climate change by working with nature.”

In line with government Covid-19 guidelines the hides are still closed but you get good views of the marshes from the walkways. However, we didn’t see much on the marshes but our visit was still very enjoyable as, with the sun on our backs and the sound of sky larks all around, we felt very positive (even though I failed to capture a couple of clear views of sky larks ascending).

There were a few treats though as we saw linnets, stonechat, reed warblers, reed buntings, a little grebe and a pair of yellow wagtails.

Linnets
A stonechat with an eye on a fly
Little grebe
Reed bunting
Yellow wagtail where you would expect to find them (at the feet of cattle)
Yellow wagtail
Reed warbler
Reed bunting