It looks set to be the biggest winter for Waxwings in Wales for seven years, as more flocks of the Starling-size songbirds were spotted across the region. Near Colwyn Bay, last week’s small flock at Llysfaen grew each day and topped out at 55 on Sunday. Originating from Scandinavia, their trilling call has also been heard around berry-laden trees in Colwyn Bay, Llanddulas, Gronant, Bethesda, between Ruabon and Chirk, and at Hope, near Wrexham. More flocks are in north Powys. With plenty of Hawthorn berries still in the hedgerows, there is every chance of greater numbers visiting North Wales.
An impressive nine Long-tailed Ducks were with a Velvet Scoter off Black Rock Sands at the weekend, and another Long-tailed Duck was with Slavonian Grebes and a Black-necked Grebe off Harlech. The northern end of Cardigan Bay can be an excellent place to see wintering seaducks and grebes, but it is underwatched compared to the north-facing coasts of Wales. A Black-throated Diver was off Llandudno’s North Shore and four Velvet Scoters off Llanddulas.
Spotted Redshanks, a Siberian Chiffchaff and a Jack Snipe were at RSPB Conwy on Sunday. Four Cattle Egrets fed near Llanfwrog, north of Valley, and another is on fields near Pwllheli golf course. A Little Gull dropped into RSPB Cors Ddyga briefly on Monday.
A consultation on lead ammunition closes on 10 December; conservation and shooting organisations are encouraging people to get involved. The Health & Safety Executive is seeking views on ending the use of lead shot, bullets and airgun pellets, which are toxic to birds that ingest the tiny fragments. Hunting groups have called for an end to use of lead shot by 2025, but an assessment by Cambridge University earlier this year reported that a voluntary approach had “little impact” among Pheasant shooters.
The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust and the RSPB have campaigned for an end to lead in all ammunition (not only shot) for many years, and are encouraging participation in this consultation. Both organisations have set out their views and provided details of how to respond – see WWT website and RSPB website.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales, published in The Daily Post every Thursday.