After getting myself out of the doldrums with the flycatcher, I paid a visit to Lincolnshire where I caught up with some brown hares, including a youngster. Definitely the best images I have managed of these creatures to date, and a welcome addition to my galleries.
The drive up wasn't great, mainly because I'd left it until 9am to start out, and got caught in the run-to-the-sun queues along the north coast of Wales. But once we had unpacked, we headed straight out to look around. After calling into several places, we found our way to RSPB South Stack, with me hoping for views of choughs, and also for Dad to see a puffin, at long last. And it was Ann who spotted my target beside the road on the way up the hill to the reserve.
Feeding in a horse paddock, a pair of choughs were busy digging out grubs from the ground, and gave great views for us as we got the cameras working for the first time on the trip.
We followed, though we headed to Point Lynas instead, and were soon watching a family of kestrels as they hunted over the steep slopes beneath the lighthouse.
Wanting to perhaps get a closer view of the seabirds around South Stack, we opted to try again, though this time get there for opening time, and take a look at the island with the lighthouse on it. Again we spotted choughs around the fields on the way up to the RSPB car park, and again we took some more shots. Also around were stonechats, perched up on the vibrantly coloured heather.
There were a few razorbills around.
More chough pics on the way out, as well as some of the smaller birds on site (linnets, greenfinches and stonechats) and I was in need of a pint. We followed the road around the island and found a pub called The Pilot Boat Inn which served a lovely ale by Robinsons, called Blonde. Was most welcome, and from the beer garden we had a distant view of an estuary. It had to be explored, and after finding the right road down, Dulas Bay stretched out in front of us as we parked up at the Afon Goch estuary.
Curlews, godwits, gulls and shelducks were in good numbers, though sadly on the other side of the water, and with the heat haze we had no chance of getting anything worth keeping. Thankfully a pair of dunlin decided to feed on our side, and a careful approach yielded some decent shots.
Aside from choughs and terns, I had read before going that the island has been running a programme to eradicate greys in favour of red squirrels, and after a few visits to different woodlands, we spotted them approaching feeders nailed to trees for them.
So where else did we visit? Well, South Stack proved to be a draw on a number of occasions, resulting in yet more chough pics. On one occasion, we had two that were oblivious to people nearby, busily digging in dirt to get at the grubs, and were so close I had to remove the TC to get a closer focusing distance.
And Cemlyn Bay tempted me back for another go at the terns, taking in views from the other side by the old ruins this time, seeing the seals out on the offshore rocks and a pair of whitethroats near the car park.
The final morning was wet, so we didn't feel too gutted to leave. The island is about right for a week, at this time of year anyway. Maybe in Winter with some more migrants around it might warrant a longer stay, but for a week in July, in good company, fine weather and decent digs, it had been a good tonic for us all.