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bird NOTES: Off to the island for a warbler.

Byline: ALAN DAVIES, RSPB CONWY

MY plan was to head west and search for migrant birds at Aberdaron on the Lloen peninsula.

But for one reason or another a late start saw us still on the A55 passing Aber in mid morning.

I decided that it would not be a good use of time to drive the 60 miles to Aberdaron, so headed for Anglesey instead. Which is how we came to see a melodious warbler.

Point Lynas on the north east coast was bathed in warm sunshine and the walk out to the lighthouse was very pleasant, if rather short on birds.

We sat on the headland and scanned the calm sea. It was not long before we spotted someharbour porpoises not far offshore; the previous evening we had watched bottle nosed dolphinsoff the Great Orme, so it was nice now to watch their smaller cousins A group of gannets flew past and offered great views as they plunge-dived for fish, pulling their wings back at the last moment before impacting with the water.

Cemlyn Lagoon was the next stop, strangely quiet now the sandwich tern have all gone. Just a few coot on the lagoon and a lonely looking curlew on the islands.

Walking out to the beach gave nice views of juvenile stonechats.

On offshore rocks seven grey seals basked in the sunshine, doing good impressions of giant bananas as they held aloft their heads and tails.

A flock of snipe lifted from the seaweed - strange habitat for them. On the return leg of the walk linnets and whitethroat were the best sightings: a small area of scrub by the car park was lively with a flock of linnets and pied wagtails feeding along the wall.

Given the number of birds I wandered over for a closer look. I was about to stroll back to the car when a different bird popped into view, a warbler.

As quick as it had appeared, it vanished. But it rang alarm bells. After a short wait it appeared briefly again. The bill looked long and orange and its breast primrose yellow.

Melodious warbler? A rare bird in Wales and I was loath to claim it on such brief views.

There followed a tense wait for another sighting. Yes, it looks good. But I needed to see the wing structure to rule out the similar icterine warbler.

As I hurried back to the car for my telescope, the warbler decided to sit on a dead branch in full view. I hurriedly videoed the bird and the shaky footage seemed to confirm my suspicions. My mobile phone sprang to life. Less that half-an-hour later Ken Croft joined us and after viewing the bird, he thankfully agreed with our identification. Whew!

Others soon arrived, including Martin Jones in his suit straight from work, and Steve Culley, Anglesey's bird recorder. At times, the bird perched in the open on top of a stonewall, giving the growing crowd some amazing views.

The next day, we did make it to Aberdaron and enjoyed an osprey flying in out to seaFor latest news: Birdline, 09068 700249; Report sightings on: 01492 544588
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 8, 2005
Words:524
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