Hundreds of birds have died at Wales’ largest Common Tern colony. The seabirds nest on two large rafts next to Tata Steel’s works at Shotton, but since the start of spring more than 40% of the terns have died, Pete Coffey from Merseyside Ringing Group told Radio 4’s Today programme (at 2h 40m). The Group also estimates that 200 Black-headed Gulls have died and not a single chick survived at the site, which hosted more than 400 pairs in 2021, making it the largest in Wales. The British Trust for Ornithology fears that at least 10,000 Black-headed Gulls, 4% of the population, have died across the UK since the end of March. Since these are long-lived birds, the losses will be evident for many years, as illustrated at Anglesey’s Cemlyn reserve where Sandwich Tern numbers are half their 2022 total even though there was no sign of avian influenza there last summer.
In better news, North Wales Wildlife Trust reports that around 560 Sandwich Tern chicks are growing quickly at Cemlyn, and Avocets are due to hatch eggs this week. It’s the first time that Avocets have nested on Anglesey, and the first North Wales record away from RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands where they have bred on the Flintshire side of the border since 2017. A Wood Sandpiper visited that reserve’s Border Pool last week. At least 15 Mediterranean Gulls are on the Glaslyn estuary, the start of a summer influx from mainland Europe that can bring many hundreds to Cardigan Bay.
Nesting Curlews on Anglesey and Choughs on Pen Llŷn are among 67 species that will benefit from a Wales-wide recovery project announced this week. Natur am Byth, a partnership of charities and Natural Resources Wales, will work with farmers and owners in Eryri, the Dee and Cefni Valleys, Anglesey fens and the coast and inshore waters of northwest Wales. The project will start in September following a £4.1 million award by National Lottery Heritage Fund. RSPB Cymru will lead a project on Llŷn and Ynys Mon, Marine Conservation Society a project off the Llŷn and Ynys Mon coasts, and Plantlife a project on arctic-alpine plants in Eryri. Buglife will manage work for Scarce Yellow Sally, a Critically Endangered stonefly whose only site in western Europe is a 20-km section of the river around Bangor-on-Dee.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales.