Burton Mere Wetlands, one of the excellent RSPB nature reserves on the Dee Estuary, hosted a new breeding species for North Wales this summer, when a pair of Pintails reared a brood on the Flintshire part of the reserve. Only a handful of breeding records of this resplendent duck have been confirmed in Wales, all in the southwest, although nesting was suspected on Anglesey in 2004. The Dee is an important refuge for thousands of Pintails arriving from Iceland and northeast Europe each winter, but a breeding record there was unexpected.
The latest Dee Estuary Birding Newsletter also reports a pair of nesting Bitterns, 60 pairs of Avocets, at least two pairs of Bearded Tits and 10 young Great White Egrets that fledged from three nests at Burton Mere, and two pairs of Cattle Egrets attempted to breed. On the saltmarsh, 56 pairs of Redshank and 89 pairs of Lapwing nested, while there were six pairs of Mediterranean Gulls and four Marsh Harrier nests on the upper estuary.
After four weeks at North Wales Wildlife Trust’s Cemlyn reserve, the Elegant Tern crossed Liverpool Bay to roost at Lancashire’s Formby Point, but there is every chance that it will visit North Wales again before it heads south with other terns in a few weeks. Colour-ringed Sandwich Terns spotted along the north coast this week originated from around the Irish Sea, including sites in Ireland, Cumbria and Wales, as well as several from farther away in Aberdeenshire and The Netherlands.
A Pacific Golden Plover was a great find at Malltraeth for a couple of days last week, only the second Welsh record, as was a Long-billed Dowitcher at Burton Mere. Other highlights over the weekend included a Spotted Redshank at RSPB Conwy and Hooded Crows at Mynachdy and South Stack.