South Stack RSPB - 14th June 2009

This was our first trip to South Stack, as you can see by the many lifers but I’m sure it won’t be our last. As we pulled up into the car park it was very misty and the hope of seeing anything along the cliff edges didn’t look to good. Not to be deterred we kitted up and headed down the trail towards the RSPB visitors centre to find out where the best viewpoints are. Amongst the heather and gorse we spotted both a male and female Linnet and soon after a Stonechat showed well enough to take a few photos. The mist had dispersed by the time we arrived at the visitors centre and we had good views of the nesting Guillimot and Razorbill. Plenty of Gull flying around, mainly Herring but also Lesser and Greater Black Backed could be seen on the cliff. It wasn’t long before we saw the first and second Chough of the day flying around the cliff next to the visitors centre with its unmastakable call. What we were really looking for though were Kittiwake and Fulmar, the kittiwake came first having heard there distinctive call we picked one out gliding along the edge of the cliff. The Fulmar came later; we climbed to the top of the cliff to another car park and took the steps (400!) down towards the lighthouse. There are plenty of places to stop on the way down to rest, I mean watch the nesting birds along the cliffs and it was here we found a nesting pair on the lighthouse island. We also saw a few gliding around the cliff edges and it was here where I shot my best photo to date. It might not be perfectly focused but to get the shot I did of the Fulmar on the wing so close was just amazing for me. As we descended further we spotted a pair of Puffin, another lifer for both of us and a bird I’ve wanted to see for a very long time. We didn’t cross to the lighthouse itself as we didn’t have to much time though it does look a good spot to watch the cliffs from so maybe next time. Back up the steps more Chough, a few photos and an ice-cream and we were back at the cliff edge watching the nesting birds flying in and out. It was here we saw the Raven trying its chances with the Guillimot and as you can see it managed an egg after about 10 minutes of trying and another Raven soon took its place soon after the first had flown. A quick look around the visitors centre and it was back to the car with a Rock Pipit in-between. The visitors centre is worth a look as they have live feeds of nesting Chough, a ‘today’s sightings’ board and plenty of wardens to chat to.

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