BRAINT ES­TU­ARY

Waders and wild­fowl at the south­ern ex­trem­ity of An­gle­sey

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding - DAVID SAUNDERS

THE AFON BRAINT com­pletes its short jour­ney as a nar­row twist­ing es­tu­ary be­fore reach­ing the Me­nai Strait, be­yond which Caernar­von and its as­tound­ing cas­tle are im­me­di­ately ap­par­ent and, fur­ther, the Snow­do­nia peaks and Snow­don it­self. To­wards the head of the Braint Es­tu­ary and pro­vid­ing ac­cess to the east­ern shore, are the Gi­ant’s Step­ping Stones (the Rhud­dgaer Step­ping Stones). Take care when walk­ing on these. The es­tu­ary lies at the east­ern side of New­bor­ough War­ren, the first coastal Na­tional Na­ture Re­serve in Wales, when de­clared in 1955. The sand dunes, one of the largest dune sys­tems in Great Bri­tain, coastal marshes, sandy and rocky shores are home to a daz­zling ar­ray of plants and an­i­mals. The es­tu­ary is just a few min­utes’ walk from the car park, and usu­ally has Green­shank and Redshank while those who search dili­gently will hope­fully be re­warded with the sight­ing of a Spot­ted Redshank. How­ever, to make the most of the visit you need to be de­ter­mined and head all the way to Aber­me­nai Point. Here, the star birds for me, at least in win­ter, are the pale-bel­lied Brent Geese. The salt­marshes at­tract Hen Harrier, Merlin and Pere­grine, while ig­nore Rock Pipits at your peril, as you could miss a Wa­ter Pipit. By con­trast, eas­ily reached and cer­tainly not to be over­looked, is the open wa­ter area of Llyn Rhos-ddu, with its ac­ces­si­ble-for-all bird hide. Here, the first con­firmed record of Lit­tle Grebes breed­ing on An­gle­sey was ob­tained in 1902. To­day, this bird, which you’ll find seems to spend more time be­neath the sur­face than above, oc­curs on all suit­able wa­ters, so look out for them.

Green­shank

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