North Wales Police, along with the three other Welsh forces, launch Operation Seabird Cymru this week, to highlight the impact of disturbance on coastal wildlife from recreational disturbance. It comes after increased reports of incidents, and the police hope that engaging local and visiting coastal users will prevent crimes against birds and mammals taking place.
Officers will patrol key locations and launch points through the summer, starting in Colwyn Bay and Abersoch this Thursday. Operation Seabird highlights problems such as collision of watercraft with whales, dolphins, seals and flightless seabird chicks when they leave their cliff-ledge colonies; noise disturbance by speed boats and jetskis; unleashed dogs chasing birds; and visual disturbance by walkers, paddleboarders and kayakers. The force is urging readers to report disturbance events to the Rural & Wildlife Crime team via 101 or the NWP webchat facility. The initiative coincides with the release of the Wales Coast Explorer smartphone app that includes the Marine Code of Conduct for coastal users.
RSPB Cymru has published the results of January’s Big Garden Birdwatch, in which over 36,000 people participated in Wales. The top five species were identical to 2021: House Sparrow, Starling, Blue Tit, Blackbird and Great Tit, with Goldfinch up two places to eighth and Woodpigeon to 10th. Long-tailed Tit dropped out of the top 10, to number 12 with numbers recorded down by 22% on the previous year. The only species in the top 40 that fell by a greater amount was Coal Tit, down by more than 23% and in 16th place.
The biggest change saw Jay climb from 33rd to 22nd place in the Welsh rankings, no doubt a result of birds dispersing to feed in gardens over winter following a UK-wide shortage of acorns that saw a record movement of Jays from around southern Britain to the Welsh coast.
In North Wales, the results were generally similar to the national picture, but Starling was number one and Chaffinch in fourth place on Anglesey, while in Gwynedd gardens Chaffinch was the third most abundant species and Starling was down in fourth. In Conwy county, Jackdaw was in fifth place, appropriate given that the name is borne by those born within the walls of the historic town. Blue Tit was the second most common species in Denbighshire gardens, after House Sparrow, while in Flintshire, Woodpigeon made the top five. The full results for Wales are on the RSPB website and those for each local authority in North Wales appear in the tables below.
The waiting ended at the region’s Osprey nests, with pairs reunited at Llyn Brenig, Llyn Clywedog and Cors Dyfi. A soap opera is developing at Glaslyn where returning female ‘Mrs G’ has moved to a nearby nest to join Aeron, after waiting a week for her usual mate, Aran, to arrive. Aran returned from Africa on Sunday afternoon, but will Mrs G return to her nest or move in with the younger male…? With live-streaming of the nests, web viewers will be the first to find out.
Continued northerly airflows and unsettled weather in Spain slowed migration last week, but that is set to change with southeasterly winds forecast. The first Redstarts and Pied Flycatchers were reported from Llanberis at the weekend, where a Snow Bunting fed beside Llyn Padarn. Single Snow Buntings were at Bull Bay and Uwchmynydd last week, and a Pied Flycatcher singing in a Queensferry garden was unusual. Willow Warblers, Swallows and House Martins were in several locations at the weekend, and there were good numbers of Sandwich Terns around the Anglesey coast. Two Great White Egrets flew over Bodysgallen on Saturday, a Greenland White-fronted Goose was at Morfa Dinlle, Black Redstart on the Little Orme and Iceland Gull on the Great Orme.
Ring Ouzels are on territory in the Aber Valley and Nant Ffrancon, while four on the Great Orme (with a few Tree Pipits) on Monday and others along the Llŷn coast were stopover migrants. Most remarkable were at least 21 Ring Ouzels at Penycloddiau on Saturday afternoon, and another was seen near Minera.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales, published in The Daily Post every Thursday.