Spring migration of birds is still underway, unusual for the end of May. Cuckoos, Wood Warblers, Garden Warbler and Whinchat are among those seen on Bardsey at the weekend, with 49 Spotted Flycatchers there on Sunday and 11 at South Stack on Monday. More, along with Tree Pipits, Redpolls and Siskins paused on the Great Orme, and I watched dozens of Swallows flying over the waves at the southern tip of the Isle of Man, that would have left north Anglesey a couple of hours earlier. A northerly airflow for much of the month is thought to be the reason for the delayed arrival. Other sightings include a pair of Avocets at Cemlyn, Serin over RSPB South Stack, Wood Sandpiper and Black-necked Grebe at Llyn Trawsfynydd,l and two Cranes over Llangybi, near Pwllheli, then south over Bardsey on Friday.
Wildlife Trust wardens at Cemlyn, Anglesey, reported the first Sandwich Tern chick hatched on Monday, after announcing that breeding numbers were half last year’s total and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza had been confirmed at the colony. The UK Government reports that Black-headed Gulls and Common Terns tested positive for bird flu on Anglesey and in Flintshire. Elsewhere in Wales, images from Grassholm in Pembrokeshire show significant gaps in the huge Gannet colony but RSPB Cymru reports no obvious signs of disease yet this year, and Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust reopened its Llyn Coed y Dinas reserve at Welshpool following a suspected outbreak in Black-headed Gulls.
After last week featuring the places with most bird sightings on BTO’s Birds on Your Doorstep, where has recorded the fewest species in the last decade? A sliver of coast north of Barmouth had just three regularly occurring species, but 63 when passage migrants were included. Two upland areas each had 14 regularly occurring species, the 10km square dominated by Aran Fawddwy between Bala and Dolgellau, and around Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog in North Berwyn. Perhaps the biggest contribution we could all make to bird data in Wales is to spend time recording birds in places that others don’t. If you want to know where to start, sign up to BirdTrack to make your sightings count.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales, published in The Daily Post every Thursday.