It was glorious to spend the sunny weekend exploring the woodlands, hills and coast of Meirionnydd, where the delayed unfurling of the leaves made it easier than usual to find the classic Welsh woodland trio returning to the worryingly dry rainforest. Pied Flycatchers and Redstarts were exploring holes in the lichen-dressed trees as potential nest sites, while a freshly-arrived Wood Warbler uttered its staccato song, reminiscent of a coin spinning to a stop. I finished on the Dwyryd estuary, hearing the seven whistles of a flock of Whimbrels refuelling en route to Iceland. Large flocks of Whimbrel elsewhere in the region included at least 80 in Bangor harbour and 57 on Bardsey.
I failed to hear a Cuckoo, but others were heard from several upland locations from the 20th, and other first migrant records included Lesser Whitethroat on the Great Orme on 22nd and a Swift at RSPB Conwy on the 24th. Demonstrating that spring migrants can appear anywhere, a pair of Whinchats was a good find on a farm at Glanwydden and a Wryneck was a top tick in a Rhyd-y-clafdy garden, near Pwllheli.
Rarest bird of the week was a Black Kite over South Stack on Monday, marking the opening of the new RSPB Visitor Centre. A single Dotterel was on the summit of Foel Fras, a White Stork was reported near Wrexham and a Lapland Bunting showed well near Cemlyn. Two Wood Sandpipers and up to seven Mediterranean Gulls are at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands.
Another pair of Ospreys has set up home in the Glaslyn Valley: a four-year-old male that fledged from Cors Dyfi in 2017 with a three-year-old female that hatched in Scotland but was released in Dorset’s Poole Harbour as part of a translocation project. Other Ospreys have been spotted around Llandudno, Bangor, Dinas Dinlle and Cemlyn this week.