Two Waxwings dropped in briefly on Sunday to Llaneilian, the first village on Anglesey for birds arriving from the northeast. It’s been seven winters since there were last good numbers of this noisy, punkish songbird from northern Europe, but with numbers in Scotland already, perhaps more will arrive in the coming weeks. There’s certainly no shortage of berries to feed them, following the spectacular Hawthorn blossoms last spring. Listen out for their excited, high-pitched trill, especially around supermarket car parks planted with Rowan trees.
A dozen Twite are on the shingle shore at Gronant, perhaps freshly arrived from the Western Isles of Scotland and set to head up the Dee estuary to their regular wintering area at Connah’s Quay nature reserve. Three Woodlarks were a great find at Morfa Nefyn on Monday and a Black Redstart was by the halfway tram station on the Great Orme. Yellow-browed Warblers were at Talacre and Porth Meudwy, a Firecrest was ringed on the Orme last week, and a Ring Ouzel remained at Holyhead’s Breakwater Country Park on Monday. A Surf Scoter and half a dozen Velvet Scoters were among the growing flock of Common Scoters on calm seas off Llanddulas, and a Slavonian Grebe was in Bangor harbour last week.
Several Cattle Egrets remained in the region on Monday, with four on Anglesey’s Alaw estuary, three by the Cefni upstream from Malltraeth and one by the sluice at Porthmadog. Late Garganeys are at Connah’s Quay nature reserve and RSPB Conwy, where a couple of Spotted Redshanks remain. Two Glossy Ibises flew south over Bardsey last Friday, just before Bird Observatory staff departed the island for the season. Short-eared Owls are arriving from the north and can turn up anywhere: Lleweni, Aber and Holyhead are among the sightings in recent days.
News that bird flu has reached the Antarctic region, with confirmed cases in Brown Skuas on South Georgia, has elevated fears of the impact if the virus spreads, including to albatrosses and penguins already under pressure from long-line fishing and a rapidly changing climate.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales, published in The Daily Post every Thursday.