Two Curlews are now wearing ‘backpacks’ with a transmitter that will send their movements to a base-station in Anglesey’s Cefni Valley. The British Trust for Ornithology wants to find out more about their movements over the next few weeks as part of a multi-partner ECHOES project looking at the effects of sea-level rise in Wales and Ireland. Many of the Curlews that winter along the North Wales coast come from breeding areas in northern England and northern Europe, but satellite-tracking by ornithologists shows that breeding on farmland in northwest Germany visit our coast too. A colour-ringed Curlew photographed in north Anglesey recently had been hand-reared at Nordhorn Zoo on the German border with the Netherlands. Having been released into the wild in July 2012, this recent Welsh sighting was the first since.
Hundreds of European White-fronted Geese have arrived in Britain from Russia in recent weeks. These are the same species, but a very different population, as the Greenland White-fronted Geese that winter on Anglesey and on the Dyfi estuary. The Russian birds have mostly been found in central and eastern England, but a couple made it to Wales, including one at Llanfrothen in the Glaslyn Valley on Saturday.
Most of Britain’s Swallows should be in South Africa for Christmas, so two in St Asaph on Sunday must have been feeling the cold. They are not the latest in Britain this year, however, as a Swallow was on the outskirts of Edinburgh on Monday, nor are they the latest ever in the Flintshire recording area, as there was one in Rhyl on 15 December 2016.
On Anglesey, three Slavonian Grebes and eight Scaup are on the Inland Sea and the overwintering Rose-coloured Starling remains at Amlwch Port. Four Black Redstarts were together on a rooftop in Llandudno last week, part of an influx across the region that brought nine to Anglesey. Two Great White Egrets were on the Conwy river south of Caerhun on Sunday and one at RSPB Conwy on Monday, while others were at Llyn Llywenan and Worthenbury in the Dee valley last week. Starlings continue to gather at dusk over RSPB Cors Ddyga, alongside a Short-eared Owl and Barn Owl hunted over the weekend.