Photographers call it the golden hour, but by the time I get out in late afternoon, it’s more of an apricot half-hour, the sun already below the peaks of Y Carneddau. As fingers of frost creep across parked cars, the longer daylight has triggered the Song and Mistle Thrushes to sing into the dusk, as lines of chattering Jackdaws fill the fading sky, heading to roost. As I wander home, Tawny Owls duet their call-and-response: the female ‘ke-wick’ and the male his quavering ‘who-oo’. That hour of nature after work revitalises me in winter and fortified me through multiple lockdowns.
In a trial in Edinburgh, published this week, 350 patients were prescribed nature as part of treatment for 32 different health conditions and 74% felt it had benefited their recovery. Over 90% of health professionals said they’d like to prescribe nature as part of the treatment, and now RSPB Scotland is looking to expand the trial. Essential to such a plan, however, is a network of good places for nature in rural and urban areas. Could nature be part of the future thinking of public health in Wales too?
The calm days and flat sea enabled birders to find at least three Surf Scoters off Old Colwyn/Llanddulas, along with Velvet Scoters, Scaup, Black-throated Diver and Long-tailed Duck among thousands of Common Scoters. A family group of two adult and a young Glossy Ibis near Llyn Maelog, Rhosneigr, is part of an influx of over 100 birds across Britain and Ireland, presumably from Spain, in recent days.
A flock of 130 Pink-footed Geese flew along the coast at Prestatyn on Friday, while five European White-fronted and three Pink-footed Geese remain in fields by the Clwyd estuary upstream from Rhyl and the overwintering Scaup at the nearby Brickfields Pit. Scaup are also at RSPB Conwy, Cefni Reservoir and on flooded fields at RSPB Cors Ddyga, a surprising location for a diving duck.
An Iceland Gull continues to feed among the Grey Seals in the Little Orme’s Angel Bay. There are Black Redstarts at Amlwch, Benllech and the mouth of Afon Dysynni, and Firecrests at Traeth Bychan, and between Penymynydd and the A55 in Flintshire. Four Slavonian Grebes remain in Beddmanarch Bay and at least one is in the Menai Strait, off Aber Ogwen.
Inland, four Hawfinches have been in trees in St Grwst churchyard, Llanrwst, a Great Grey Shrike holds territory in clearfelled forestry south of the Sportsman’s Arms near Llyn Brenig, and Willow Tits are visiting the feeders outside the reservoir’s Visitor Centre.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales.