With many summer visitors already feeding chicks in nests across North Wales, you might assume that spring migration is over. But birders know that the rarest birds are often found in early June, especially with a continuous easterly airflow.
The region’s only bird observatory, on Bardsey, had a very busy week. As well as monitoring the island’s breeding seabirds, the team clocked up some first-class rarities. A smart male Eastern Subalpine Warbler was found singing last Tuesday. Hailing from the eastern Med, it was the 12th record for the island, whereas none has been found in mainland North Wales. The following day saw a male Golden Oriole and an unseasonal Redwing, while small numbers of Spotted Flycatchers continued to pass through.
On Sunday, an unrecognised song outside the observatory proved to come from a White-throated Sparrow, which later hopped into an outbuilding. It was weighed and measured before release, and in good health probably arrived on a trans-Atlantic ship. Remarkably, it’s the second North American sparrow on Bardsey in a month.
Anglesey’s Holy Island gave Bardsey a run for its money, with a male Red-backed Shrike at Rhoscolyn on Friday and a female at RSPB South Stack on Monday. A Broad-billed Sandpiper on the Inland Sea is en route to the taiga bogs of northeast Europe; the species has only been recorded in Wales on ten previous occasions. Other unusual visitors this week include a Red-rumped Swallow at Oakenholt, two Cranes over Colwyn Bay on Saturday, and just outside the region, two Black-crowned Night Herons at RSPB Ynys-hir.
In the Carneddau at the weekend, singing Ring Ouzels indicate that first broods of young have fledged and incubation of second broods will soon be underway. A recently fledged juvenile on the Great Orme on Sunday was unexpected, however.
It is the 70th anniversary year of Bardsey Bird & Field Observatory, to be celebrated at a Members' Weekend and AGM at Canolfan Prenteg on Sunday 18 June (from 11.30am). Details, including details of how to participate, on the BBFO website.
Click on the gallery below to enlarge the images: Broad-billed Sandpiper (Steve Culley), Eastern Subalpine Warbler (Steve Stansfield) and White-throated Sparrow (Steve Stansfield).
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales, published in The Daily Post every Thursday.