The wild weather makes spring feel some way off, but longer hours of daylight encourages birds to sing and, for some species, to begin nest-building. On Anglesey, I stopped to watch Ravens carry sticks to a steep cliff, additions to a huge nest platform that has been used for decades. Fulmars are back on their cliff ledges, attracting a mate with deep, guttural cackle, then taking to the air on stiff wings, masters of the updraft.
Fulmars are a seabird in trouble, on the Welsh coast as across the rest of Britain, so I cherish sharing their world for a few moments. It is one of several seabirds at risk as ‘bycatch’, a term that belies death by drowning. Up to 9,100 Fulmars each year die on fishing nets or longline hooks in UK waters, along with thousands of Guillemots and hundreds of Gannets and Cormorants. There is no data for Welsh waters, so we know nothing of what happens here but they roam widely on fishing trips during and outside the breeding season, so the effects of trawlers many miles away can be evident on the cliffs of North Wales. The RSPB has released a short animation to highlight the issue, and press government and the industry to fix it, as fisheries elsewhere have reduced albatross deaths by simple measures.
The Iceland Gull remains on the Little Orme, Snow Bunting on the Great Orme, Ring-necked Duck on Llyn Tegid, a Scaup at Rhyl’s Brickfields Pit and a pair at RSPB Conwy. A Water Pipit and Dark-bellied Brent Goose were good finds on the Dwyryd estuary saltings at Ynys last week. Three Firecrests are at Penrhos Country Park, and others at Conwy and at the Gwynedd end of Britannia Bridge. Hawfinches in Mynydd Hiraethog were a surprise, while a Great Grey Shrike continues to overwinter near the Sportsman’s Arms. On Anglesey, a Swallow manages to survive the winter in Bodorgan and 17 Black Guillemots were counted off Fedw Fawr, while one off Pwllheli was unusual for Cardigan Bay.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales.