This week’s weather forecast may prove to be winter’s last gasp, but northbound migrant birds are leaving North Wales as days lengthen. Snow Buntings were this week at RSPB South Stack, Porth Ysgaden, Morfa Madryn and beside Llyn Aled Isaf, high on Mynydd Hiraethog. Most are probably Icelandic breeding birds, mainly females that migrate farther away from their nesting areas than males. It is suspected that more winter in the Welsh mountains than are found, since flocks that are discovered tend to be larger than on the coast.
Other winter migrants include Whooper Swans at Rhuddlan and Bodelwyddan, Iceland Gull on the Little Orme, and Twite at Connah’s Quay nature reserve, where a Little Gull remained all week. Long-tailed Ducks and a Black-throated Diver are off Colwyn Bay and a Lesser Whitethroat, most likely one of the Siberian races, has visited a bird table in Chirk. Passing through were a dozen Black Redstarts on Bardsey last Wednesday, three at RSPB South Stack and one at Mynydd Bodafon. Lapland Buntings were over the Great Orme and South Stack.
Early summer arrivals include the first Little Ringed Plover at Bodelwyddan, Sandwich Terns at Cemlyn and Willow Warblers at South Stack and Amlwch last Wednesday, and a Sedge Warbler at Morfa Madryn on Sunday. Several Ring Ouzels are back on breeding territory in Nant Ffrancon, below Ogwen Cottage, and at Aber Falls.
Glaslyn’s female Osprey returned to the nest platform at Pont Croesor on Saturday, perfect timing for volunteers who re-opened the Visitor Centre on Monday. ‘Mrs G’ was soon fishing off Porthmadog Cob, where an Avocet was reported among Teal last week. Ospreys were also in the Conwy and Artro estuaries last week. A White Stork photographed over Queensferry on Sunday was perhaps one seen over Buckley last month.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales, published in The Daily Post every Thursday.