Trip to Bempton Cliffs & Cemlyn Bay (9th - 10th July 2021)

Friday the 9th was as good as my last day at work for the 2020/21 academic year and was hoping to head for one or perhaps two mega birds that had been seen over the previous 1-2 weeks, 'an Elegant Tern on Anglesey and a Black-browed Albatross at Bempton Cliffs RSPB'.

The first bird to get reported was the Elegant Tern, so I immediately checked everything was ok with work and set off at about 11am. However, this plan was soon changed when reports of a Black-browed Albatross started to arrive and instead of making my way westwards, I headed east towards Bempton Cliffs.

Black-browed Albatross at Bempton Cliffs, 9th July 2021.

I arrived at Bempton just before 2pm and made my way towards one of the northern viewpoints where the Albatross was last seen.  As luck would have it, there was another birdwatcher who was viewing the bird at a distance through heat haze.  Trying to locate the bird amongst hundreds of gannets in those poor conditions was certainly a challenge, but by 2:22pm, the Black-browed Albatross was at last on my life list. I then decided to wait and see if the Albatross would return to its favoured roosting spot on the cliff face, which eventually happened at about 7pm. The albatross flew in from the south and gave very good views for 2-3 minutes before settling on the cliff face (out of view).

Excellent bird to see and photograph with the added bonus of spending some time watching and using my new Canon R6 to photograph the many Gannets, Razorbills, Guillimot, Puffin, Kittiwake, etc. Excellent!

Soon after this I decided to head for Cemlyn Bay on Anglesey, where I planned to have a few hours sleep before hopefully seeing the Elegant Tern at daybreak.  The plan worked to perfection and the Elegant Tern was added to my life list by 4:40am. The Elegant Tern showed very well amongst good numbers of Sandwich Terns, Arctic Terns, Common Terns and Black-headed Gulls. Three Roseate Terns were seen in the tern colony with a supporting cast of Little Egret (1), Curlew (3), Oystercatcher (4), Black Guillimot (2), Stonechat (5), Sedge Warbler (1), etc.

Next up was South Stack were I managed to see Chough (12) and Hooded Crow (1). No opportunity to photograph the hooded crow, but the chough gave me excellent views. No sign of any peregrine falcons during the hour I was there.