Not very often that you can fit a “lifer”, for one of our group, into a normal birding trip, but, we managed it last Saturday! We usually go to Anglesey around this time of the year for the seabird colony’s and for a regularly good day out. What with all the bad weather we have just had there was always a chance that the high winds in the right direction would blow something rare to our shores. Then,the news broke, just after dinnertime, that a Little Swift had been seen in New Brighton, on the Wirral. In rain and generally poor conditions, but was showing well. One of our team needed this species but was unable to twitch the bird on Friday, so, we decided that if it remained on Saturday that it would be our first stop, being sort of on the way to Wales. At 5-45am on Saturday I checked RBA news and the bird had roosted and was still present. We all met and  headed for Liverpool via tunnel under the Mersey reaching the area near Perch Rock in New Brighton by 8-15am. It was still fairly windy as we headed towards a group of about 30 birders watching the Little Swift. It was performing very well along with Swift and House Martin’s so that you could make a comparison between the species. A really nice bird to watch for the 40 minutes we were there, as the bird flew quite close on occasions. It was congratulations for one of the team also. Next stop Holyhead Harbour on Anglesey, and a nice close up look at 7 Black Guillemots that were disturbed by the arrival of an Irish ferry and flew quite close to us. Up at South Stack masses of seabirds adorned the cliffs, but as it was very windy nobody got to close to the cliffs edge to watch them! Lots of Manx Shearwaters were passing and the Choughs and Ravens were enjoying the conditions to show of their aerial skills. No small birds were seen at South Stack due to the conditions. On to Cemlyn Bay lagoon for the masses of terns, but, on a sad note, I found a freshly dead Sandwich Tern chick that must have strayed too far from its parents and was taken by a passing gull. Lots of terns greeted us, with Sandwich Tern making up the largest breeding group present and with a few Common and Arctic Terns  with a solitary Kittiwake all made for good watching. A new lady warden was quite informative and she said that a Roseate Tern called in now and then, but not today though! We managed to pick out 4 Mediterranean Gulls, all in different plumages and a Black Guillemot was seen in the bay. Now as the weather looked a little dodgy we headed for the car. Last stop was Burton Mere RSPB reserve and a very impressive centre. It should be good in the winter, but we did miss the calls of the birds whilst we were inside! We managed to see a Green Sandpiper being hassled by the breeding Avocets with lots of chasing going on. It was time to go home after a very eventful day. We reached Rochdale by 6-15pm.

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