Strong winds on Saturday brought seabirds closer to shore as they passed through the Irish Sea before heading out into the Atlantic Ocean. Black Tern and Little Gull fed off Point Lynas, and two Little Terns roosted at Rhos Point. A couple of Roseate Terns were off Bardsey and an impressive 1300 Kittiwakes roosted on the island. Single Balearic Shearwaters – a globally-threatened seabird that feeds off the west coast of Britain after leaving its breeding burrows in the western Mediterranean - were off Wylfa, Cemlyn and Criccieth. In the first decade of this century, Anglesey averaged 35 records each year, but numbers have fallen sharply in line with the population decline.
I expect Great Skuas to be scarce off our shores this autumn too, after huge numbers died on their breeding grounds in Scotland and the Faeroes this summer. Highly pathogenic avian influenza (bird flu) continues to kill seabirds around the coast, with the number of Gannets dead or missing from Grassholm in Pembrokeshire– until recently the only colony in Wales – now estimated to run into the low thousands.
Southbound Ospreys stopped at Aber Ogwen and the Conwy estuary en route to west Africa. Songbirds are also on the move, with migrants such as Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Willow Warblers and a juvenile Cuckoo on the Great Orme. Spotted Redshanks are at RSPB Conwy and Cemlyn lagoon, and Green Sandpipers were at Llyn Llygeirian and The Dingle nature reserve in Llangefni. The count of Mediterranean Gulls on Anglesey’s Inland Sea reached 32 on Sunday, three Garganeys were on Cefni Reservoir last week, and others at Burton Mere Wetlands and Ynys-hir, both sites also recording Spotted Crake at the weekend. A Red-backed Shrike is at Whixall Moss, just into Shropshire, and Hooded Crows remain by the Clwyd estuary and Aber Dysynni.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales, published in The Daily Post every Thursday.