Jays are on the move! Small flocks have been reported away from the woodlands in which they spend most of the year. Over the weekend, there were 14 over the Great Orme, a flock of 23 over the Dyfi estuary and groups of up to seven at the western end of Llŷn, where Jays are usually scarce. Naturalists in eastern Britain report that the acorn crop is sparse, so Jays may be roaming the countryside in search of oak trees, since these are a crucial part of their diet. If you see any large counts, let me know.
The Squacco Heron remained for a second week in the wetlands around Gronant, and a Wilson’s Phalarope from North America was a fine way to celebrate the tenth anniversary of RSPB’s Burton Mere Wetlands. Of the 13 Welsh records of this wader, this was the fifth in Flintshire. A Rose-coloured Starling remains on the rooftops of Llandudno Junction, and nearby two Garganeys and a Spotted Redshank are at RSPB Conwy. The first divers of the winter were seen off our coast, with a Black-throated and Great Northern Divers in Anglesey’s Beddmanarch Bay and a Red-throated Diver retaining some of its summer plumage off Llandudno, while a Slavonian Grebe is off Llanfairfechan. Low water levels on Llyn Alaw have attracted huge numbers of waterbirds, among them a Pectoral Sandpiper, Wood Sandpipers, Little Stints, Garganey and eight Great White Egrets.
It has been a good breeding season for Black-tailed Godwits in Iceland, judging by the large number of young birds in flocks migrating south this week. I’ve seen groups feeding at RSPB Conwy and Malltraeth Cob, but a flock of 19 over the Llŷn was more unusual. Also arriving from Iceland are flocks of Pink-footed Geese, heading to winter on the Dee estuary, and the first Redwings of the autumn were heard over Anglesey last Tuesday (21 September).