Wetland creation at RSPB Cors Ddyga in Anglesey’s Cefni Valley has been a spectacular success, as a weekend walk illustrated: to the bass notes of a booming Bittern, 500 Lapwings fed on the fields, interspersed with Pintails, Shovelers, Wigeons and a single Ruff. Marsh Harriers quartered over the reedbed and a Merlin perched up, taking a rest from hunting Meadow Pipits that it has perhaps followed down from the moors. I failed to hear the pinging call of a Bearded Tit reported here on Friday, the first on the island for some years. Habitat restoration here looks good for Bearded Tits to live year-round, and it would be great if they could establish a western outpost to add to their colonisation of the upper Dee estuary since 2019.
Rare waterbirds remain a theme of the North Wales birding scene, with the Baikal Teal at Foryd, west of Caernarfon, and Ring-necked Duck on Cefni Reservoir. A Surf Scoter is with several Long-tailed Ducks off Benllech and two are with Velvet Scoters off Llanddulas. A Slavonian Grebe was off Pensarn and five wereoff Penmaenmawr, a sight that used to be more frequent here. More than 50 Great Northern Divers are in Caernarfon Bay, off Pontllyfni, a regular gathering point in late winter before they head to their Arctic breeding grounds.
Whooper Swans were with Goldeneyes on Llyn y Dywarchen, near Rhyd Ddu, on Sunday as I walked up nearby Mynydd Mawr to the honking calls of barrel-rolling Ravens and a Kestrel hovering over the heather. The swans may be passing through, as were a flock of Meadow Pipits near the summit. An overwintering Snow Bunting remains at Horton’s Nose, Kinmel Bay, while a group of Pale-bellied Brent Geese at the mouth of the River Clwyd and a Long-tailed Duck in the estuary were unusual.
Volunteers at RSPB Conwy are organising a walk for young birders (age 8-16) during half term, on 25 February, with the potential for more such events if there is sufficient interest. Visit the RSPB website for more details and to book.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales.