We may be shrouded in mid-winter greyness, but this Common Tern is probably making the most of the tropical weather in the Gulf of Guinea, off west Africa. That is the winter destination for most Common Terns that nest in Britain and Ireland, including those from the two colonies on Anglesey and one in the Dee estuary, the only breeding sites in Wales. Terns will soon start to make their northward journey, arriving off our coast in mid-April. The pin-sharp photo of one resurfacing from a dive into Cemlyn lagoon was taken last summer by Lewi Burgess, then age 17, and won him the Young Photographer of the Year title in the Welsh Ornithological Society’s 2021 photo competition. Lewi, from Rhosgoch, won a week on Ynys Enlli, as the award is sponsored by Bardsey Bird & Field Observatory. The observatory is also offering a week on the island for £75 at Easter for 10 students at universities in Wales and the West Midlands.
It proved to be a double win for northwest Wales, as the overall top image in the competition was taken in Bangor, of an adult Tawny Owl with two ‘branchlings’, young birds that have left the nest but are yet to take their first flight. It was also taken by a talented young photographer, Jonathan Bull from Gloucestershire, while he studied at Bangor University. He graduated with a BSc in Zoology last year. All of the prize-winning pictures feature on the birdsin.wales website, where details of the 2022 competition will be announced in July.
Sightings this week include some long-staying visitors, such as an Iceland Gull among dozens of Grey Seals in Angel Bay, on Llandudno’s Little Orme, where more than a dozen Fulmars have returned to nesting cliffs in the old quarry and several Velvet Scoters were offshore on Sunday. A Glossy Ibis remains near Rhosneigr, three Swallows overwinter around Newborough and a Snow Bunting is near Talacre. A Ring-necked Duck is among Tufted Ducks on Llyn Tegid, south of Llangower, a group of European White-fronted Geese remains beside the Clwyd estuary and three of the Greenland race were near Llanfrothen. A Black Redstart was in Hawarden Industrial Estate at the weekend and a Cattle Egret on Bardsey is only the third island record.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales, published in The Daily Post every Thursday.