On Conwy’s Sychnant Pass, the call of a male Cuckoo welcomed Spring on Saturday. Y Cog, in Welsh, features in a ninth-century poem, Claf Abercuawg, and one folk tale suggests that you’ll retain your state of health from the day of your first Cuckoo for the rest of the year. I trust I’ll remain out birdwatching until Christmas! Other Cuckoos in the hills of North Wales include a satellite-tagged male that returned to moorland above Wrexham for at least his third summer. Tracking by the British Trust for Ornithology shows he completed his 5000-mile journey a week earlier than in 2022, making the final leg from Brittany at the weekend.
Cuckoos feature in the latest UK Wild Bird Indicators published by government, based on surveys conducted by birdwatchers across the country. Birds of enclosed farmland fare worst, down 60% since 1970, but a decline in woodland species has accelerated in the last decade. Even wetland birds, whose populations were stable until 20 years ago, are on the slide. An upland bird indicator, published for the first time, shows a 10% decline since 1994. Moorland specialists, such as Curlew and Whinchat, and upland river birds such as Dipper, have declined the most.
Recent highlights in North Wales include Blue-headed Wagtails at Cemlyn, RSPB Cors Ddyga and Gronant, where the first Little Terns are on the beach fenced off by Denbighshire Council wardens. Large arrivals of Little Gulls and Bar-tailed Godwits around Britain included small numbers in North Wales. But Britain’s first Black-winged Kite, filmed near Newtown last week, has yet to show itself again.
Following the failure of aged Mrs G to return to Nant Glaslyn, the male Osprey at Pont Croesor, Aran, has a new mate. Glaslyn Wildlife have named her Elen, after another Eryri peak. She laid her first egg on Monday.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales, published in The Daily Post every Thursday.