The pre-Christmas arrival of Waxwings on the east coast of England, a few of which penetrated as far west as Merseyside and Shropshire, raised hopes of an influx into North Wales. One lucky householder in Mynydd Isa, near Mold, snapped one feeding in her garden last week, but otherwise these winter wonderbirds have steered clear. However, birdwatchers keen to see new birds in 2023 made a good start to the year elsewhere.
On Anglesey, a Grey Phalarope saw in 2023 in Trearddur Bay, a Cattle Egret was found near Llanfwrog, north of Valley, and a couple of Scaup were on the Inland Sea. A flock of Pink-footed Geese roam the island, the most recent sightings at RSPB Cors Ddyga and Traeth Dulas, with several hundred more heading west along the North Wales coast. Meanwhile, thousands of Guillemots made a pre-season visit to check out the cliffs around Puffin Island.
A Hawfinch and Firecrest were in Llandudno Junction’s Marl Woods, another Hawfinch at Llandrillo, in Y Berwyn and several more along the river in Llanrwst. Downstream, a couple of Great White Egrets are in flooded fields at Maenan Abbey.
A ringtail Hen Harrier quartered over reedbeds in the Conwy Valley this week, with others at Mynydd Bodafon and RSPB Cors Ddyga, which also hunt at the mouth of the Cefni estuary. Another is in the Glaslyn Valley, where over 40 Whooper Swans and a Greenland White-fronted Goose graze near Garreg. Smaller groups of Whoopers are near Llyn Alaw and at RSPB Cors Ddyga.
Three Long-tailed Ducks are off Benllech and another, more unusually, on the river Clwyd south of Rhyl, with an impressive count of 28 Goosanders on the nearby Brickfield Pond. A Black Redstart watched over shoppers in Llandudno’s Upper Mostyn Street at the weekend, and others were spotted at Tywyn, Kinmel Bay, Hawarden, Rhoscolyn, Amlwch and South Stack. Twite and a couple of Water Pipits are on Gronant beach, with more pipits and a Mandarin Duck at RSPB Cors Ddyga on Monday.
Three Slavonian Grebes are in the Menai Strait off Aber Ogwen and a Caspian Gull roosted at Gresford Flash. In north Cardigan Bay, a Black-necked and two Slavonian Grebes were with a Great Northern Diver off Borth-y-Gest, and a Velvet Scoter and Long-tailed Duck remain off Criccieth.
2022 may be over, but Anglesey enthusiasts can already read about the birding highlights in the Anglesey Bird News annual report, online here with suggested donations to the North Wales Wildlife Trust’s Cemlyn Wardens appeal.
In case you missed it, here’s another take on the recently published Birds of Conservation Concern Wales, and why 2023 will be a critical year for policies to reverse the declines.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales, published in The Daily Post every Thursday.