After the wind abated, I spent a glorious afternoon exploring Anglesey’s wetlands on Sunday. A Slavonian Grebe fed frenetically among Goldeneyes and Great Crested Grebes on the Inland Sea, but the real highlight was a golden hour at RSPB Cors Ddyga. With recent floods receding, the shallow water is alive with hundreds of Shoveler, Teal and Pintail that winter here from northeastern Europe. I missed Water Pipits and Great White Egrets that were spotted earlier in the day, but really didn’t mind. The magical sound of hundreds of Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits and Lapwings remained in the cold air long after it was too dark to discern their fine plumage, the airspace patrolled by an elegant grey male Hen Harrier. Thousands of Starlings streamed across the orange sky as the sun set, finding overnight sanctuary in the reedbeds. It really is a very special place.
Purple Sandpipers are roosting in Trearddur Bay and Rhos-on-Sea, lashed by waves that brought a Little Auk past the Great Orme and Great Northern Divers to Llandudno Bay, Holyhead harbour and the Menai Strait. Eight Whooper Swans touched down at Morfa Dinlle near Caernarfon airport on Monday, recent arrivals from Iceland. Long-tailed Ducks have been on Shotwick Boating Lake, Foryd Bay and Morfa Bychan but the Smew admired by visitors to RSPB Conwy for the last week has moved on. Single Scaup remain at Conwy and Rhyl’s Brickfields Pond.
At least two, perhaps as many as four, Great Grey Shrikes inhabit the clear-felled forestry around Llyn Brenig, but these master hunters roam widely across their winter territory, so it’s hard to be sure how many are involved, and it’s easy to miss them. Black Redstarts are at Moelfre, Amlwch and near Rhoscolyn, and a very late Swallow was at Malltraeth village on Sunday.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales, published in The Daily Post every Thursday.