‘Tea-cher, tea-cher’ was the strident call on Monday morning, not only from primary pupils returning to school after lockdown, but from Great Tits in my local wood, where a Great Spotted Woodpecker has resumed loud drumming on a hollow tree. This week’s burst of spring-like weather brought out the first butterflies and hoverflies and encouraged more birds into song, and even nest-building. Last week saw the first Wheatear and Sand Martins make landfall in South Wales, and in recent days there has been a Garganey in Cheshire and Swallows in southwest England.
Southerly winds mean that one or two should make it to North Wales this week, but for now a few overwintering ‘summer’ migrants have stirred: Blackcaps were singing at Llanfair PG and Wrexham, Chiffchaff at Amlwch Port and a Common Sandpiper remains on Church Island in the Menai Strait. Several Chiffchaffs have wintered near Penrhyn Bay, including at least one of Siberian origin. Increasing numbers of Lesser Black-backed Gulls, many of which will have wintered in Iberia, are another sign that spring beckons.
Skylarks and Meadow Pipits were on the move over the Little Orme at the weekend, but otherwise the region’s sightings retain a wintry feel: Iceland Gull and Scaup on Rhyl’s Brickfields Pond, Long-tailed Duck in Beddmanarch Bay, Snow Buntings on the Great Orme and at Kinmel Bay. The overwintering Rose-coloured Starling is at Amlwch Port, Firecrest in Gloddaeth Woods and nine Great Northern Divers were in Caernarfon Bay, with another off the Great Orme.
Great White Egrets are on the Afon Glaslyn at Pont Croesor, on the Clwyd floods by the A55 near St Asaph and on the River Dee at Shotton. A Cattle Egret remains near Valley, six Pintails are at Llay Pool and a Marsh Tit reported in Bangor was a rare westerly record. A flock of 90 Choughs near Aberdaron was encouraging to see after the recent ice and snow.
Photographer and sound-recordist Ben Porter has produced a wonderful seasonal audio-visual journey through the nature and landscape of Pen Llŷn as part of the LIVE collaboration between communities on the Iveragh Peninsula in southwest Ireland and the Llŷn Peninsula. If you fancy an escape during lockdown, I strongly recommend five minutes immersing yourself in it!