Two sites in North Wales have upheld their deserved reputation as among the best in Britain for scarce wagtails. RSPB Conwy scored first, with a Yellow Wagtail of the Iberian race found on Friday and relocated on Sunday. It is the first ever seen in Wales, although the nature reserve had a ‘near miss’ in April 2008 when a likely candidate was seen, but it proved impossible to record its call to clinch the identification. No such problem this time, with more birders carrying recording equipment and this week’s bird more vocal.
On Sunday, a possible Citrine Wagtail heard near Cemlyn lagoon on Anglesey was confirmed by a sighting in a nearby field. The bird remained all day, alongside a Blue-headed Yellow Wagtail. It’s only the 10th Citrine Wagtail in North Wales, a bird that breeds no closer than the Finnish border with Russia. By coincidence, the first Citrine Wagtail in North Wales was at RSPB Conwy in April 2008, found when I went looking for that putative ‘Iberian Wagtail’.
Now is the time to visit our broad-leaved woodlands, as the fresh leaves of Oak and Beech unfurl. For places to visit, check the excellent Celtic Rainforest Wales website. The project is doing great work to restore these sites by removing invasive Rhododendron and reintroducing grazing by ponies and cattle. Listen for Redstarts, Pied Flycatchers and Wood Warblers that recently arrived from Africa. The first two species nest in holes, but Wood Warblers nest in foliage on the ground, which is another reason to keep dogs on a lead in the countryside this spring.
Good numbers of Swallows finally arrived this week, with smaller numbers of House Martins and Swifts. Hooded Crows were on the Great Orme, Clwyd estuary, Bardsey and RSPB South Stack, while three Dotterels were on the summit of Foel Fras on Sunday. Two Avocets spent last Wednesday on the Conwy estuary, but didn’t linger.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales, published in The Daily Post every Thursday.