Last week BirdNotes reported on the dramatic threats to Britain’s seabirds from warming seas, and North Wales Wildlife Trust reported that 40% of Arctic Terns and 55% of Sandwich Terns at its Cemlyn colony on Anglesey were lost to avian flu, so news of a seabird success story is very welcome. Denbighshire County Council announced that a record 212 pairs of Little Tern bred on the beach at Gronant, fledging 155 youngsters. Another 16 fledged at the RSPB Point of Ayr colony, established in 2019, and hopefully most are on their way to their first winter in West Africa.
The Gronant colony is at its largest in almost 50 years and produced exactly the right number of chicks this year to maintain its size, an average of 0.74 young per nest. It constitutes 10% of the UK Little Tern population, thanks to sterling work by local authority wardens and volunteers from North Wales Little Tern Group who use fences and daily patrols to protect the beach-nesting seabirds from predation, and disturbance by people and dogs. The birds are one of the species for which government has to manage the Liverpool Bay Special Protection Area, which extends from eastern Anglesey to north Lancashire.
A Yellow-browed Warbler near Carmel Head last Wednesday is the earliest ever found in Wales. Most arrive in early October. Curlew Sandpipers are passing through North Wales, including 10 on the Border Pool at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands, which also hosted a Pectoral Sandpiper, a couple of Wood Sandpipers and 12 Cattle Egrets. Four Curlew Sandpipers and a Pectoral Sandpiper were on Anglesey’s Alaw estuary. Other highlights include a Hoopoe in an Aberffraw garden, Sabine’s Gull off Point Lynas and Bull Bay, and a Cory’s Shearwater past Bardsey. A Little Stint is at RSPB Conwy, the first Lapland Bunting of autumn at RSPB South Stack and a Hooded Crow was reported at Llandudno’s West Shore.
I’m looking forward to speaking at the Welsh Ornithological Society’s conference at Aberystwyth University on 4 November, and hope to meet birdwatchers from across North Wales. Also speaking on the theme of "Into and Out of the Red – creating a brighter future for birds in Wales" will be WOS President, Iolo Williams, the BTO’s Rachel Taylor, NRW’s Patrick Lindley, Rare Breeding Bird Panel chair Dawn Balmer, and Bob Haycock from Pembrokeshire Bird Group. Full details and how to book are on the WOS website.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales.