Walking in the hills above Nant Conwy at the weekend, the woods and hedgerows were alive with the soft ‘tseep’ call of hundreds of Redwings, fresh in from the east. Most were invisible to me, hidden by the leaves while feasting on berries. The arrival of the first frosts in northern Norway last week triggered a huge southwestern movement of migrants from Scandinavia, including thrushes and finches. ‘Vismig’, a portmanteau of ‘visible migration’, has become a popular activity for birders in autumn, with the keenest contributing their counts to a global database called Trektellen. Its website has reported large numbers of migrants in recent days, including more than 200,000 Chaffinches and 100,000 Redwings over a coastal site at The Hague in The Netherlands on Saturday.
Counts in Britain were far smaller, and it takes a few days for birds to filter through to North Wales, but on Sunday and Monday large numbers of Chaffinches were reported over north Anglesey and the Conwy coast. There were counts of more than 2000 Chaffinches at the end of Pen Llŷn, 300 Siskins over Bardsey, and smaller numbers of Bramblings. A couple of Twite flew over Mynydd Mawr and a Lapland Bunting and Tree Sparrow were on Bardsey. The first Fieldfares were reported too, at Cemaes and Hiraethog, and Black Redstarts were on the Great Orme, Bardsey, at Aberdaron and below Holyhead Mountain. Starlings have started to gather at evening roosts on Anglesey, at Rhosneigr, Parys Mountain and RSPB Cors Ddyga.
The last few stragglers of summer include a Swallow at Uwchmynydd, and Wheatear and Arctic Tern at Cemlyn on Monday. There was a Common Tern at Traeth Lligwy and Ring Ouzels on the Great Orme and by Llyn Trawsfynydd on Sunday, and last week a Woodlark was seen at Aberdaron.