RARELY can a wildlife conservation group have secured a more apt location for its HQ than Marine Awareness North Wales. Half way up Bangor's magnificent Garth Pier, directly above the noisy waves of feathered waders pecking the mudflats beneath for a tasty morsel, in fact.
Two of the distinctively Victorian polygonal kiosks have been taken over as public information and education centres, jam-packed with leaflets, posters and hoardings offering an insight into the wildlife all around.
I learn that the birds enjoying their fill this low tide, the expanses of mud stretching almost to Anglesey on the other side of the Menai Strait and towards Porth Penrhyn this side, might well include oystercatchers, redshanks, curlews or little egrets. I reckon I'd recognise the sinister silhouette of a cormorant off my own bat.
And it's not just specimens of the feathered variety. A youngster pushes a squeaking trolley towards the tip of the pier, laden with fishing equipment.
Piers are ideal solutions for landlubbers who get seasick at the thought of clambering aboard a boat, yet who love the sea air.
This one, built in the 1890s at a cost of £14,475, is reckoned to be one of Wales' finest. At 1,550 feet long, it's at first sight more of a bridge, tantalisingly stretching out into the embrace of mother Anglesey's wooded shores.
Yet it could easily have become just a memory. Having once handled steamers to and from Blackpool, Liverpool and the Isle of Man, by 1971 it had fallen into such disrepair it was closed for safety reasons.
In 1974 owners Arfon Borough Council proposed to demolish it, but were thwarted when the city council secured Grade II listed status for the crumbling old wreck.
They subsequently purchased it for a nominal £1, setting about the onerous task of getting the finances together to secure its future. It re-opened to the public 20 years ago this month.
Today, refreshingly, it's not heavily commercialised. I plop just 25p into an honesty box to gain admittance, having paid £1 for all-day parking in the car park.
Telescopes sit forlornly, heads down waiting to spring into optic life as eager mitts feed them 20p pieces.
Marine Awareness North Wales' kiosks have the Bangor Soroptomists as company, as well as a small number selling the requisite knick knacks and the odd cold drink or ice cream.
Meanwhile the traditional end-of-the-pier pavilion hosts the Tearooms, another polygonal structure looking like a cross between a pagoda and an onion-domed Russian Orthodox church.
Inside, you can tuck into simple fare, including a cup of tea (85p), a hot chocolate (£1), a buttered scone (95p) or perhaps a Bakewell tart (90p), enjoyed amid homely pictures on the walls and ornamental shire horses at rest on the window-sill.