Sunday, 14 June 2015

Anglesey again, Penmon and Puffins

Bobbing along - Puffins from Puffin island

Another sunny day saw Bill and I back on Anglesey. This time we decided to do a stretch of the coastal path from Beaumaris to Penmon point and back, a walk of nine miles. A walk with a twist, we decided to include a boat trip from Beaumaris pier to Puffin Island.
Beaumaris is a pleasant seaside town with its own medieval castle. Popular with day-trippers and today was no exception. On a clear sunny day the view along the menai straight is fabulous, a panoramic views over the waters to the Snowdonia Mountain Range, Abergwyngregn and Llanfairfechan.
View from Beaumaris

We climbed aboard our boat- the island princess (Boat trips £9.00) the 11.30am boat was full including 5 well behaved dogs on board! The trip takes 75 mins and fortunately for all onboard the weather was great, sunny, light winds and not too much of a swell on the sea.
Puffin Island (Ynys Seiriol in Welsh) is uninhabited and is designated a Special Protection Area on account of its large cormorant population over 750 pairs, making it one of the largest colonies in the British Isles. A fabulous, beautiful sanctuary, free from humans disturbance, and land predators such as fox, stoat or rats. The rats were eradicated in 1998 - 2000 using tonnes of warfarin, brought to the island by boat and with the assistance of RAF Valley helicopter Squadron. The rats used to feast on eggs and chicks during the short breeding season, decimating the puffin, today the Scan team report 30 breeding pairs being a high estimate.
Puffin Island is the ninth largest island off the coast of Wales. It is carboniferous limestone, and has steep cliffs on all sides. Its highest point is 190ft above sea level and it covers an area of 69 acres. 

Puffin Island
As we approached the island, the usual cacophonies of a seabird colony met you ears, but fortunately unlike Bempton and Farne not close enough to be nasally assaulted by guano and regurgitated fish paste.
Puffin Island is home to breeding populations of at least 12 species of seabird in their natural habitat – guillemot and black guillemot, cormorants, kittiwakes, fulmar, razorbill, shag, cormorant,  and of course the puffin. Herring, lesser black backed and gtr black backed gulls. If you’re fortunate you may also get to see gannets, chough, raven, peregrine falcons and storm petrels.
Nesting colony



The east end of the island is home to a colony of grey seals which can be seen swimming in the sea or basking on the beach, as you can see rather chilled out.
Lifes' a beach- Grey Seals on Puffin island shore

Returning to Beaumaris the attentive skipper pointed out puffins bobbing about on the sea and a harbour porpoise off the bow of the boat. Note: those wanting a longer stay can join the Extended Wildlife & Sightseeing Cruise or 2hr photographers cruise.

Razorbill & Guillemot

Back on terra firma we set out on our walk following the coastal path, we have maps but, the way is marled by blue discs and generally well marked.
A lot of the walk to Penmon point is done over the beach or should I say pebbles/shingle, so a warning is required as this can be hard going and will extend your walking time; make sure you have the right footwear. 
Ringed plover pair
On the plus side, shingle can lead to some welcome bird sightings, all along the way
we observed piping oystercatchers, bathing gulls and a couple of scurrying ringed plover.  At sea along the shore a red breasted merganser and 3 eider ducks.

Whoooo... Eider ducks

Some of the cliffs along the way are striking with caves, and interesting strata and most importantly a home for sand martins.
Sand martin nesting bank


Approaching Penmon priory
Before reaching Penmon point and it's lighthouse you reach Penmon Priory, thought founded by St Seiriol’s in the sixth century.  A peaceful place surrounded by woodland with its own Holy Well, the spring emerges from a cliff behind the church.  It has a dovecot built to house domestic pigeons for their eggs and meat.  Inside were 1000 nesting boxes to accommodate the birds.

There had been reports the week before that someone had heard a corncrake in the priory grounds, no such luck! But lots of more common birds were heard and seen linnets, chiffchaff, willow warbler, blackbird, goldcrest, song thrush, goldfinch, great ,blue and long tailed tit, wren etc

Penmonpoint and a local artist Antony Garratt
Penmon Point 

At the end of the road is Penmon point. A picturesque area with lots of rock pools to explore. A fast flowing current flows through the sound that separates Puffin Island from the point (Trwyn Du). In 1837 a lighthouse was built to warn ships of the treacherous waters, in 1832 a lifeboat station was established and served the area between 1832- 1915, saving 116 lives.

Reverse the map and back for tea. So there you go a wee blog on somewhere very nice to go for the day.


Jennifer Jones said...

Sounds and looks fab.

RSPB Liverpool Local Group. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no' 207076, Scotland no. SC037654 said...

Thought we could see you in the distance................we had a nice day out at Aber falls. Saw pied flycatcher , redstart, heard cuckoo and wood warbler ........and fantastic views of ring ouzel ( 4 birds).

Sean, Ann, Rhodie and Indira.

laura bimson said...

Must drag Bill up there very soon

RSPB Liverpool Local Group. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no' 207076, Scotland no. SC037654 said...

have you seen footage of Humpback whale in Liverpool it...........fantastic !!