A Wright Royal Tern up for the books

Well, John been predicting that a mega would be turning up sometime in June and after a conversation a couple of days ago, the news of the Royal Tern appearing on the North Wales coast came as no surprise. Following it's movements from Ireland to Wales, we thought it would have to appear in the tern colonies on Anglesey (like the Bridled and Sooty Terns before it).
I'd been fixing the car all morning, done the shopping and was about to settle down to do some more species accounts for the Lancs Bird Report when I decided to have a quick look at the birdguides web-site. The big gray square on the North Wales coast set the pulses racing and was immediately followed by a call to JW who'd just been contacted by Billy.
We met up at Billy's and together with Bill Berry, set off to Llandudno. The A55 is a splendid road now and with the junction elimination works completed on the border the journey was incredibly smooth and fast. The only problem was the news that the Tern had departed west and that there was an adult Red-backed Shrike at Brockholes - if we hadn't been half way to our destination, I think he'd have been in a bit of a quandry!
An hour and a half after setting off, we pulled onto the road next to the west shore of Llandudno only to find that the bird had actually bee seen on the beach there before kite-surfers had moved it back east. I followed my nose to the Llandudno promenade and found a very serendipitous parking spot. We all lept out, set up scopes and spied the bird on the far side of the bay. Billy and I got back to the car whilst John and Bill made their way east on foot. We made it to the east side of the prom in reasonable time and found another lucky parking spot.
The tern was patrolling the sea quite close to the shore and we got some great scope views as if flew past us a couple of times. Also managed to get a record shot! At one point it seemed to be heading out to sea but it came back for a couple more fly-pasts before it carried on west over the pier and then out of view. And that was the last time it was seen that day - I'm sure it'll turn up again (sic).
It was time to head home and try for the shrike, so resisting the temptation of Fish & Chips, we made our way back. We were getting constant news that the bird was in view and eating bees but mindful of the fact that Shrikes tend to go to roost early, we were glad that we had no interruptions on the journey. Having got to the path at Boilton Wood, Billy said that we needed to take the right hand path and then go up. As we discovered later, that was the long way round and not the short cut!
I was glad to see a small gathering of locals with scopes trained on thebird so I had a quick look and then as I was setting up my scope, the bird disappeared. After an agonising 15 minutes or so, it eventually re-appeared and gave us some fine, though distant views in the fading light. It was still actively feeding and singing. It even coughed up a pellet. Finally it dived for cover and as it was well after 9pm, we decided to call it a day. And a splendid day it was too.


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