Many of our summer migrants have now arrived, with a rush of warblers and Swifts in the last week, and Spotted Flycatchers are due now, usually the last to make it to Britain. At Cemlyn lagoon, North Wales Wildlife Trust wardens report that Sandwich Terns and Black-headed Gulls are on nests, that Arctic Tern numbers are higher than usual but have yet to lay eggs, and a Roseate Tern visited on Sunday.
Rarity of the week was a Black-crowned Night Heron on the Afon Wen near Chwilog. Wood Sandpipers visited RSPB Cors Ddyga and Llyn Trawsfynydd last week, and a Short-eared Owl was over Gronant and Talacre, where Little Terns are starting to nest and Denbighshire Council and RSPB wardens are reminding dog-walkers to keep their pets on a lead. Two Dotterels were on the summit of Foel Fras and 10 on Carnedd Llewellyn, a brief pause en route to a Scottish or Norwegian mountain-top. A couple of Avocets stopped on the Clwyd estuary last week and a Black-winged Stilt and Spoonbill visited several sites on the Dee estuary.
The results of January’s RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch show House Sparrows topping the Welsh chart once again, with numbers higher than elsewhere in the UK. There were 49 species recorded in Welsh gardens over the Birdwatch weekend, with the biggest changes including a 68% increase in Blackcaps compared to 2022 and a 41% increase in Long-tailed Tits. Redwing, Fieldfare and Goldcrest sightings were also up. Nuthatch numbers were down by more than 20% and Jays by a massive 73%, which reflects the abnormal winter numbers in 2022 that followed a huge movement into Wales the previous autumn. The number of Pheasants recorded in gardens was also down by more than 20%, which may reflect lower volumes being released by shoots last year because avian influenza meant eggs and poults were more difficult to obtain.
The GWCT Big Farmland Bird Count results were also published recently, which recorded 95 species in Wales during two weeks in February. Robin, Blackbird and Carrion Crow were seen on more than 50% of farms participating.
Text updated on 9 May with additional information about 10 Dotterels in the Carneddau on Sunday 7th.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales, published in The Daily Post every Thursday.