It seems only a few weeks since I was counting Siskins in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, the results of which are due to be published on Friday. But as the Earth tilts towards the sun, the birds in my garden are ringing the changes. I haven’t seen the overwintering male Blackcap here for a couple of weeks, but today one sang enthusiastically – perhaps the same bird, but more likely a new arrival from Africa as the wintering bird returned to central Europe. A Blackbird is feeding worms to chicks hidden away in next door’s garden, and a smart male Bullfinch is fiercely defending the seed-feeder from Goldfinches and Blue Tits. It's only the second Bullfinch that I've seen here in 15 years, so I hope there may be a pair and that the species is turning the corner after a long decline. I remember when Bullfinches could be killed under a General Licence because of agricultural damage, and the anger in some quarters when they were given improved legal protection...
Home-working over the last two years has really made me appreciate the annual cycle of the garden visitors. The British Trust for Ornithology is still offering free access to its year-round Garden Birdwatch, to which you can contribute valuable data without leaving home.
Northerly winds have put the brakes on the arrival of summer migrants, although Ring Ouzels were at Talacre and World’s End at the weekend. The first Swallow of the year in North Wales (save for one that overwintered on Anglesey until early February) was at RSPB Conwy on 29 March, with others past South Stack and over Rhyl Brickpits the following day. Several Mediterranean Gulls, along with Sandwich Terns, were welcomed to Cemlyn by North Wales Wildlife Trust wardens who have set up the lagoon islands with nesting shelters and an electric fence for the breeding season. Single Ospreys await the return of mates from Africa at nest sites in the Glaslyn Valley and Cors Dyfi, with others seen at Llyn Brenig and over the A55 near Rhosneigr.
Large numbers of Fieldfares were moving east through Mynydd Hiraethog last week, a Snow Bunting was on the Little Orme on Sunday and a Pink-footed Goose on Bardsey was only the tenth island record. Two Velvet Scoters remain among Common Scoters between Penrhyn Bay and Pensarn, and an Iceland Gull at RSPB Conwy was perhaps the bird that overwintered on the Little Orme. Several Green Sandpipers were on Anglesey at the weekend, Black Redstarts at South Stack and Rhoscolyn, and a Garganey at RSPB Cors Ddyga.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales, published in The Daily Post every Thursday.