A Tawny Owl roosting on Anglesey has won top prize in the Welsh Ornithological Society’s photographic competition for Stephen Culley. The shot was taken at Cemaes Bay during lockdown last May, in what he describes as a “chance encounter”. Tawnies are our most abundant owl species, although Anglesey is one of the Welsh counties where they occur at lowest density, according to the 2018 Tawny Owl Point Survey by the British Trust for Ornithology.
Summer migrants are appearing in greater numbers, with Wheatears, Sand Martins and House Martins at several sites across North Wales. Ring Ouzels were on the Great Orme and Conwy Mountain, and two sang on territory in the Anafon Valley, above Abergwyngregyn. Early Sandwich Terns were at Llanfairfechan and Wales’ only breeding colony, Cemlyn Lagoon. A Whitethroat near Bettisfield on Saturday (20 March) is 10 days earlier than the earliest North Wales record this century.
Bird Observatory staff returned to Bardsey last week, and immediately reported passage of Goldcrests, Chiffchaffs, Siskins, Firecrest and a Black Redstart, although the rarest visitor to the island was a Treecreeper. On the mainland, remote recording the sounds of nocturnal migration revealed Teal, Water Rails, Skylarks and Common Scoters among the species flying over a Penrhyn Bay housing estate in recent nights, as well as a major movement of Redwings heading back to Scandinavia. Common Scoters were also recorded over central Bangor. Two Siberian Chiffchaffs displayed to each other at Glanwydden, but will also be heading northeast very soon.
Two Lapland Buntings joined Snow Buntings on the Great Orme, Long-tailed Ducks remain in Foryd Bay and on Anglesey’s Inland Sea, where four Slavonian Grebes were seen at the weekend. Another ‘Slav’ Grebe was off Llanfairfechan on Monday, the first Puffin on the sea at South Stack, and an Iceland Gull remains at Rhyl’s Brickfields Pond. A Glossy Ibis flew south over Rhosneigr and a Ring-necked Duck was at nearby Llyn Maelog last week.
A new national avifauna, The Birds of Wales, will be published in July. Liverpool University Press is accepting pre-orders for £25 (plus p&p), which is £20 below the published price. Click here for details and to order, using the code WALES50 to get the discount.