Castles and birds on Anglesey Island

The northwest coast of Wales has miles of coastal marsh and extensive tidal flats that provide us with viewing spots of the diverse bird life here.  Even on rainy mornings, we can photograph the wildlife in protected blinds (or “hides”, as they are called here.

chaffinch

The male Chaffinch is (of course) more colorful than the plain brown female. Why are all the finches in the UK so much prettier than those in the US?  (Photo by Debbie Reynolds)

Willow Warbler

Willow Warblers are quite common, flitting around in the shrubbery.

Aberogwen nature preserve

Everywhere we walk is a feast of green, blooming wildflowers, and scenic castle walls.

A quick journey over the bridge to Anglesey Island brought us to the quaint town of Beaumaris, which as a coastal city had to have a castle. A busy morning of birding meant that we had to stop here for lunch.

Beaumaris Castle on Anglesey island

Beaumaris Castle, another construction of Edward I, as part of his master plan to subjugate the Welsh, was built about 1000 years ago, but looks remarkably good for its age.  During its occupancy by the British, ships could sail right up to the moat surrounding the castle walls.

Bluebells

I never get tired of seeing the Bluebells (or Harebells).  This courtyard in the Penmon Priory at the northeast tip of Anglesey island dates to the 6th century, although parts were rebuilt in the 1600s.

anglesey-puffin island

Here are the avid birders looking for puffins on Puffin Island, and seeing a few new species of nesting birds on the cliffs.

The highlight for today was stumbling across the nest of a Moorhen, tucked into the reeds about 20 feet from the walking path.  The hen (we think) sat patiently on her eggs placed on a raised platform above the water, while her mate (we think) swam nonchalantly by, feeding on some slimy looking algae.

Moorhen on her nest

Moorhens are a type of rail, closely related to Coots.  The red and yellow bill (and matching red spot on their legs) make nice accents to the black, brown, and white plumage.

Moorhen feeding on algae

Moorhens are omnivorous, consuming not only algae and plant material from the marsh in which they live, but may eat amphibians and small rodents if they can catch them.  Photo by Debbie Reynolds.

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