Following last week’s BirdNotes on the changing migration of Blackcaps, Bangor University undergraduate Toby Carter is seeking readers’ help to map the birds. If you have seen a Blackcap in your garden this month, please email email@example.com with your postcode and a note of how many males (with a black cap) and females (with a rusty brown cap). I’ll pass on your records and publish the results in a couple of weeks.
Midwinter is a time of minimal movement by birds, so many of this week’s sightings have been present for a few weeks. On Anglesey, three Slavonian Grebes, two Great Northern Diver and a Long-tailed Duck are on the Inland Sea and a Rose-coloured Starling feeds in gardens in Amlwch. Two Snow Buntings remain at Holyhead Breakwater and one returned to Horton’s Nose, Kinmel Bay, after a gap of several weeks. A Great Northern Diver remains off Beaumaris and 11 were in Caernarfon Bay, but a Bittern over Bangor harbour on Friday was surprising. Water Pipits remain at Glanwydden and Llandudno’s North Wales golf course, and a Hawfinch was at Marl Woods in Llandudno Junction. Firecrests were in Conwy’s Bodlondeb Woods and Marchwiel Marsh, near Wrexham, while a Ring-necked Duck was on Llyn Tegid.
Red Kites, which surely should be national bird of Wales, are a more regular sighting than 20 years ago, part of a recovery across Europe that has led to its global conservation status being revised. Its Red List category has moved from Near Threatened to Least Concern, which means it has moved a big step away from the risk of extinction. Great news, although it’s not doing well in the southwest of its range, with declines in southern Spain and Portugal, and it has recently been lost as a breeding species in Africa.