THE group’s long weekend to Anglesey started with a visit on June 25 to the RSPB Reserve at Conwy.

After an obligatory stop at the cafe for refreshments we made our way past The Lookout.

We arrived at the Boardwalk Viewpoint.

On the water were the common duck species such as mallard, shelduck, tufted, gadwall and pochard.

A little egret was feeding on the shallow waters at the edges.

We moved on around the reserve and in the air we picked out swallows, swifts and house martins.

Also above us we saw fulmar, black-headed and herring gulls.

The only bird of prey was a buzzard which was mobbed by a flock of jackdaws.

From the Carneddau hide we spotted several waders such as oystercatcher, lapwing, little grebe together with moorhen and coot.

From the reeds we had good sightings of sedge and reed warbler, chiffchaff, willow warbler and reed bunting.

As it was close to high tide the Conwy estuary had very little muddy edges exposed but we did see cormorant and greater black backed gulls.

Forty seven species were seen on the reserve, a really good start.

In the afternoon we moved onto the Valley Wetlands which comprises two major lakes, Llyn Penrhyn and Llyn Traffwll, plus a cluster of smaller waters.

At Penrhyn we added kestrel, shoveler, meadow pipit and rook.

The site is well known for Cetti’s warbler but it was not found on the day.

Our first stop on Friday was at Beddmanarch Bay/Penrhos Coastal Park and the tide was well out so there was plenty of mud for the usual waders such as oystercatcher and other seabirds such as black-headed, lesser black- backed and herring gulls.

On the water were great crested grebe and mallard.

Common terns were observed flying around and over the causeway.

We moved on to Holyhead Harbour where we found several black guillemots, showing their distinctive white wing patches, and a few shags.

At the Breakwater Country Park we came across chough with their fiery red beaks and legs and had excellent views of peregrine and raven in one of the quarries.

We continued around the coast to visit the RSPB Reserve at South Stacks.

From the cliff path near Ellin’s Tower we could see below us on a very calm and blue sea several rafts of guillemot and razorbill, with occasional glimpses of puffin (only four reported).

Kittiwake and fulmar were also seen gliding effortlessly from their roosting positions on the cliff faces.

On the ground among the maritime heath we had good views of stonechat, meadow pipit, rock pipit and linnet.

A lone wheatear was also spotted on the ground feeding young nearby while in the sky swallows were performing their usual acrobatics.

Further out to sea gannets and sandwich tern were seen passing.

On Saturday the party headed north to Carmel Head and we watched sand martins fly in and out of their nest holes made in a sandy embankment.

A pair of red-breasted mergansers came close to the rocks in the inlet where we were and a Manx shearwater was spotted passing a headland.

A grey seal kept bobbing up to the surface to have a good look at us but kept its distance.

After a short time here we moved onto Cemlyn Bay to visit the reserve incorporating the beach lagoon.

On the lagoon were a few mallard, shelduck and a single ringed plover was spotted in the car park.

Turnstone and oystercatchers were on the shore and again Manx shearwaters could be seen out to sea.

As we approached the reserve along the beach we could hear the calls of the birds in the tern colony.

As there was a strong off-shore wind it was difficult to determine which species of terns were present so we abandoned the beach and set off for our last port.

We arrived at the Dingle and this compact woodland is watered by the river Cefni.

Among the woodland species we saw were blackbird, wren, robin, dunnock, goldcrest, treecreeper, jay, whitethroat, great-spotted woodpecker, blue and great tit.

A sparrowhawk was briefly glimpsed over the trees in the car park.

On the Sunday we returned to Cemlyn Bay and as the wind had calmed down we were able to identify sandwich, arctic and common tern on the colony.

From there we proceeded to Aberffraw for a quick stop to have a look at the plants and butterflies among the dunes.

Our final stop was at Maltraeth to overlook the cob pool, a favourite spot for the artist Charles Tunnicliffe, and the Cefni estuary.

The tide was well out and the waders were absent apart from an egret and several mute swan.

Overall a very successful weekend which was enjoyed by all of the party and which produced 91 species.