Skeins of geese filled the skies at the weekend as colder northerly winds got behind Pink-footed Geese arriving from Iceland. Most touched-down on the saltmarshes and fields at the top end of the Dee Estuary, where several thousand will spend the next six months, making dawn and dusk commutes between inland stubble fields and the night-time safety of the estuary. Smaller numbers were seen farther west, over Llysfaen and Colwyn Bay. A flock of 14 Whooper Swans over Bull Bay also came from Iceland but more surprising was a Taiga Bean Goose at RSPB’s Cors Ddyga, the first ever seen in North Wales. Closely related to ‘Pink-feet’, these geese breed in Scandinavia and Russia and usually winter around the Baltic Sea, although a handful visit Norfolk and central Scotland each year. It joined two Glossy Ibis that have spent the week on the Anglesey wetland.
The northerly wind brought scarce waders to the region, with a Pectoral Sandpiper at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands, Little Stint on Llyn Trawsfynydd, and Curlew Sandpipers with Spotted Redshanks at RSPB Conwy. It also deposited a Lapland Bunting at Uwchmynydd, pushed Sabine’s Gull close to Point Lynas and a Little Gull off Rhos-on-Sea. RSPB Conwy, Porthmadog Cob and Anglesey’s Inland Sea each hold two Great White Egrets, while an Osprey has hunted at the latter site all week.
A Whooper Swan at RSPB Conwy may be one that was off Aber Ogwen in recent weeks, while the escaped Black Swan travelled in the opposite direction, from the Conwy estuary to Llanfairfechan. A couple of Common Sandpipers on Church Island in Menai Strait will probably stay for the winter while most of their brethren fly south of the Sahara. A Yellow-browed Warbler is at Amlwch Port and Sunday night brought the first wave of Redwings across North Wales.