I contributed to the Welsh Ornithological Society’s rookery survey at the weekend, finding two rookeries in a 2km x 2km square in the Conwy Valley. The woven collections of sticks are evident in bare trees and the raucous, squabbling calls carry across the fields. Counting Rook nests is fairly straightforward too, except for those in the canopy of a tall Scots Pine. But identifying the tree species, especially deciduous trees that have yet to bud or leaf, is trickier. Thankfully Cofnod, the North Wales Environmental Records Centre gathering the records, allows you to upload a photo of the tree, so experts can verify my identification later. WOS reports that volunteers have signed up for 70% of priority tetrads, but there are still a few squares on Llŷn, north Anglesey, central Denbighshire and along the English border that need coverage in the next couple of weeks, before the leaves emerge. Visit birdsin.wales to sign up (and see the priority squares that need surveying here).
My survey was accompanied by double-noted Chiffchaffs, which arrived in number over the weekend. Wheatears landed on coastal headlands across the region, having travelled from sub-Saharan Africa. Other summer migrants include a Ring Ouzel near Minera on Sunday, White Wagtails and Sand Martins at RSPB Conwy, and a White Stork - the national bird of Ukraine - over Buckley on Friday.
Overwintering birds remaining include a Great Grey Shrike in Mynydd Hiraethog, near the Sportsman’s Arms, Iceland Gull on the Little Orme and Cattle Egret on Bardsey. Hawfinches were again in Llanrwst and Blaenau Ffestiniog, two Surf Scoters off Pensarn on Monday and a Great Northern Diver off Ynys Llanddwyn. Birders were shocked to learn of an attempt to steal eggs from a Raven nest on Anglesey at the weekend, providing a timely reminder not to publicise the presence of nesting birds on social media.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales.