It has been another good week for wader migration in North Wales. A trip of four Dotterels on the Great Orme showed well, meeting their reputation for being trusting and unafraid. The Dotterel’s Welsh name, Hutan (y Mynydd) means ‘oaf’ and its English name comes from ‘dote’, an old world for a gullible fool (the same origin as ‘dotty’). Both were given by hunters who found them easy to obtain for the pot. Perhaps it’s not surprising they show little fear of humans; having hatched high on a northern mountain, they will have encountered few people. Now the threat from people is indirect: a factor in their decline as a breeding bird in Scotland is nitrogen in rainfall from burning fossil fuels. Higher deposition of nitrogen reduces alpine specialist plants, including species of moss, that are important breeding habitat for Dotterels.
Other wader highlights were Red-necked Phalaropes at Llyn Coron and off Porthmadog Cob, an American Golden Plover near Cemlyn, Wood Sandpiper at Valley Cob and Curlew Sandpipers at a host of sites, including double-figure counts at Malltraeth Cob and the Alaw estuary. A Barred Warbler was among a small fall of migrant songbirds on Bardsey on Monday, a late Swift was over Glanwydden last Wednesday and hundreds of Swallows are pouring south. I saw House Martins still attending a nest at Bethel, near Bodorgan, on Friday. Anyone else still have nesting House Martins?
An Osprey has hunted along the Menai Strait for several days, most regularly at Aber Ogwen, while another fished in the Cefni valley. The unringed bird near Bangor fledged from a nest this summer, probably in Scotland. Most Welsh Ospreys have left, but two remain in Nant Glaslyn, and on the Dyfi estuary, chick Padarn has yet to go. Her brother Pedran, was seen in Northumberland in late August, 15 days after he was last near the Dyfi nest site.
RSPB and BTO Cymru have thanked homeowners in Meirionnydd for suspending bird-feeding and emptying birdbaths over the summer, to reduce the risk of the disease Trichomonosis spreading to the nationally-important Hawfinch population. The organisations have asked people to refrain from feeding birds until the start of October. Read more about why here.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales.