This Thursday is World Curlew Day, the annual celebration of the eight species of curlew found worldwide. Two of the eight are almost certainly extinct, one is listed as Endangered and two more are Near Threatened, which means the outlook is not bright. The last category includes Eurasian Curlew, of which 400-600 pairs nest in Wales but are at risk of extinction here by 2033 without urgent action.
Musician Merlyn Driver has travelled across the UK to produce a double album from various artists inspired by, and including, Curlews. Merlyn visited Mynydd Hiraethog and the National Trust’s Ysbyty Ifan last summer to record the birds on their moorland breeding grounds. The first track, Simmerdim, was released this week, with profits going to the RSPB’s Curlew conservation work. Fans are hoping that with enough downloads, Curlews could make it into the charts.
Organisations involved with Curlew conservation are asking for readers’ help monitoring breeding birds across Wales this spring. Partners in Gylfinir Cymru, which includes the Farmers’ Union of Wales, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, RSPB and BTO Cymru, have joined forces with Local Environmental Records Centres Wales so that anyone can report suspected territorial pairs. You can report sightings away from the coast at bit.ly/curlewcymru (neu bit.ly/gylfinircymru yn Gymraeg). BBC Radio Wales is marking World Curlew Day with a special edition of Country Focus devoted to the people who are helping to save the species from extinction in Wales.
One member of the family not currently at risk of global extinction is Whimbrel, and it was good to hear its seven short whistles on the Conwy and Anglesey at the weekend. Spring passage was boosted by improved weather: Wheatears flooded in from Wednesday and the sky was full of Swallows at Carmel Head on Monday. Star bird was a Black-winged Stilt that dropped into RSPB Cors Ddyga briefly on Sunday before flying to Lancashire, while a Dotterel at Llanfwrog was a good find on Monday. A Hoopoe was reported at Penmon, the first Wood Warbler of the year on the Great Orme and Lesser Whitethroat at Amlwch. Cuckoos were seen at several locations last week, and the first Swift of spring in North Wales was at Fairbourne last Thursday.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales.