Choughs, the red-billed crow with a distinctive ringing call, is very much associated with Wales; the country held around 80% of the UK population at the last count. However, a new study shows that the population in North and Mid Wales is not as healthy as expected. Using data from 25 years of nest monitoring by Adrienne Stratford and Tony Cross, the paper published in the journal Bird Study found that the proportion of territories occupied each year at inland sites has fallen by more than two-thirds and that nesting success fell by one-third. Breeding metrics have fallen at coastal sites too, although less dramatically.
RSPB Cymru has warned that this could lead to local extinctions and has called for targeted options to enable livestock farmers to provide the grazing that Choughs need. The birds have already gone from inland sites in much of Wales, and there are fears that they could be lost in Eryri National Park away from the coast. In the 19th century, Choughs were a common sight in the slate quarries across the region. You can read more about what Choughs need in this Daily Post article from 2019.
A Pallas’s Warbler was a good find at Talacre last week, a quarter-ounce songbird that has travelled here from the mountain forests of northern Mongolia. An American Wigeon at RSPB Cors Ddyga is the first in North Wales since 2007 and showed pale cheeks indicative of a rare form that US hunters call ‘Storm Wigeon’.
Flooded fields attracted a Glossy Ibis to Valley and two to Llanengan, near Abersoch, which may have been the duo over Aberystwyth on Sunday. Elsewhere, two Black Redstarts were at Amlwch, a Firecrest at Glanwydden, Garganey at Cors Ddyga and Snow Bunting at Holyhead breakwater. A Ring Ouzel remains on Holyhead Mountain, Slavonian Grebes have returned to the Inland Sea and several Great Northern Divers are off Cemlyn.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales, published in The Daily Post every Thursday.