Farmers, politicians, scientists, conservation and game-management groups came together this week in a unique event to back a recovery plan for one of our most threatened birds. The plan was presented to Members of the Senedd by Gylfinir Cymru/Curlew Wales at an online event hosted by the Farmers’ Union of Wales. The Plan highlights that Curlews are at risk of extinction as a breeding bird in Wales by 2033 without urgent intervention, and proposes critical actions to reverse the decline.
The event heard from farmers, including two in North Wales, who care passionately about the Curlews that nest on their land. The Recovery Plan calls for focused intervention in 12 Important Curlew Areas, most of which are in north and mid Wales, of the type being deployed by the Cri’r Gylfinir LIFE Project in Hiraethog and Ysbyty Ifan. Management of the Curlew’s nesting habitat, including restoration of peatland, and of predation by foxes and crows are among the immediate interventions, but the plan also looks to Welsh Government to ensure that farming, tree-planting and renewable energy policies help Curlews to thrive. Since breeding territories are larger than many upland farms, collaboration is a key element to saving Curlews.
Chaired by Curlew Champion Mark Isherwood MS and addressed by the Climate Change Minister Julie James MS and shadow spokespeople Janet Finch-Saunders MS and Delyth Jewell MS, there was consensus about the problem and support for Curlew recovery. However, the key test is whether policies and urgent funding are available to help land managers to protect the last few hundred pairs of a bird that has a strong cultural heritage in Wales. As several speakers said, “we can’t watch this bird go wading into extinction”.
There’s more detail on the plan at curlewwales.org (English) and gylfinircymru.org (Cymraeg).
The birding highlight of the weekend was a Red-backed Shrike on the coast path south of Abersoch, which was the latest ever recorded in North Wales – and there has only been one Welsh record that has stayed later into November. A close relative, a Great Grey Shrike, remains in clearfell forestry west of Llyn Brenig, 25 Great Northern Divers are in Caernarfon Bay, two Snow Buntings are on Llandudno’s West Shore beach and two more in Gronant dunes.
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A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales.