Garden birds were the centre of attention for last weekend’s Big Garden Birdwatch, with the RSPB reminding participants to submit sightings via its website. Among the more unusual visitors overwintering in north Anglesey are a probable Siberian Lesser Whitethroat at Carreglefn and a Rose-coloured Starling in Amlwch Port.
Many people have reported Blackcaps, visitors from mainland Europe, in gardens in recent weeks. Bangor University student Toby Carter collated records from Daily Post readers and reports on social media during January. He received sightings of 263 birds in 158 gardens across North Wales. Most were along the coast, with concentrations around Colwyn Bay, Llandudno, Bangor and Menai Bridge, whereas only a handful was reported on Llŷn and around Cardigan Bay. Not surprisingly, there were none in the mountains, but there were some inland, as far south as Corwen.
Two Black Redstarts remain at Amlwch, with others in Beaumaris, near Llanfairfechan and at the tax office demolition site in Porthmadog. A Long-tailed Duck and four Slavonian Grebes were on Anglesey’s Inland Sea, with another four of the grebes north of the A55 in Beddmanarch Bay and two off Aber Ogwen. Three Snow Buntings are on the Great Orme, two remain on Holyhead breakwater and two returned to Horton’s Nose, Kinmel Bay, after a break of several weeks. An Iceland Gull and Scaup remain at Rhyl’s Brickfields Pond, a Little Gull was reported off Rhos Point and more than 30 Twite feed in saltmarsh off Flint Castle.
A flooded field near Gronant held 550 Black-tailed Godwits, an impressive count for North Wales, and presumably part of the flock of over 7,000 that feeds on the Dee estuary. Another flock of 58 was in Bangor harbour, where 53 Goldeneyes were counted at the weekend. Great White Egrets are off Porthmadog Cob and near Llyn Alaw.