After walking up Tonfanau to see the Iron Age hillfort I went along the road to Tonfanau station, crossed the tracks and passed part of the old military camp to go down to the pebble beach. It is an excellent place for watching the oyster catchers, and I was lucky to find some pottering around at the water’s edge, amongst the small rocks. Oystercatchers are lovely to look at. Their bright orange beak and pink legs make them stand out from any background, whilst their black and white plumage is particularly distinctive when the birds are in flight. They make a piercing peeping sound, which can be heard here on the British Birdsongs website. Oystercatchers feed on molluscs that the find on rocky shorelines, which they open by stabbing the sharp beak through linking muscles, and then hitting on stones and rocks to break them up, sometimes audibly. The video below shows a pair of them on the beach at Tonfanau. Duration: 1 minute, 33 seconds.
Due to the difficulty of walking on pebbles and the discomfort of lying on them, together with the rocky approach to the sea that challenges bare feet, there are rarely many other people there. Whilst Aberdovey was simply packed, there were only a handful of people along that stretch of the sea, two of them fishing in waders, quite a long way out. Walking back to the Tonfanau bridge over the Dysynni as it opens out into the sea, the path is flanked either side with verges full of wild flowers at the moment.