A major review of crimes against wild birds in Wales has shown a welcome reduction in cases of eggs and chicks being taken from nests of birds of prey over the last 20 years. The number of clutches taken by egg-collectors has fallen by almost 99% since the end of the 1990s, coinciding with the introduction of custodial sentences for offenders. Red Kites and Peregrines had been particularly targeted, but Chough eggs in North Wales were also taken: there were 28 known nest thefts in 1990-99 and 11 in 2000-08, but thankfully none reported since.
The review, using data collected by the RSPB over the last 30 years, was published in the Welsh Ornithological Society’s journal this week. It also showed a fall in the number of eggs and chicks stolen for illegal falconry, although incidents still occur, believed to be associated with falcon-racing in the Middle East. However, the number of confirmed incidents of illegal shooting, trapping and poisoning of raptors has not fallen in the last 20 years, and poisoning has actually increased. Given that laying poison baits in the open has been illegal for 110 years, that’s worrying news. The report also found that the probability of raptor persecution was three times higher in areas where driven shooting of gamebirds was sold.
An easterly airflow brought a couple of Melodious Warblers and Pied Flycatchers to Bardsey, and a Honey Buzzard over the A55 at Bangor on Monday. A small fall of migrants at RSPB South Stack on Friday included Whitethroats and Spotted Flycatchers, with more flycatchers at Cemlyn and on the Great Orme. An adult Rose-coloured Starling remains in Nefyn, a Little Gull was seen briefly at Amlwch, Spoonbill at Penrhos coastal park near Holyhead and a Wood Sandpiper has been at RSPB Cors Ddyga all week.