Through the summer, I’ve been digging into Birds on your Doorstep, the vast data archive from the British Trust for Ornithology to assess changes in local birdlife over the last 50 years. You can read about the 10-km squares with the most birds recorded here, the fewest records here and the areas that have lost most breeding birds here. This week, I look at the parts of North Wales with the greatest number of ‘new’ species since 1970.
Top of the league is Carmel Head and The Skerries in northwest Anglesey, where a remarkable 44 species have been recorded in the breeding season for the first time since 1970. These include common birds such as Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and Coal Tit, in the plantation and gardens, and RSPB wardens looking after the huge tern colony have doubtless bumped up the total. Increased recording may account for 27 new species at Kinmel Bay too, including Whitethroat, Grasshopper Warbler and Stonechat, although some of the ‘new’ species are unlikely to have bred.
Other areas with net gains are the 10-km squares east of Trawsfynydd and south of Llangefni. Among 26 colonists in the hills east of Llyn Trawsfynydd are Great Crested Grebe and Tufted Duck, but Golden Plover, Redshank and Green Woodpecker are now absent. There are 24 new breeding species in central Anglesey, many resulting from the creation and management of the RSPB’s Cors Ddyga wetland in the Cefni Valley. Arrivals here include breeding Bittern, Pochard and Cetti’s Warbler, although Yellowhammer, Nightjar and Redshank have been lost.
A couple of Wood Sandpipers visited RSPB Cors Ddyga last week while Black Terns continue to pass Rhos Point and north Anglesey, and Sabine’s Gulls passed Point Lynas and Mynydd Mawr, near Aberdaron. A Spotted Redshank, scarce now on Anglesey, was on the Alaw estuary, and RSPB Conwy hosts Green Sandpiper, Ruff and Great White Egrets, plus the first Pintails of the autumn. A Cattle Egret was on the Border Pool at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands on Saturday, and a Melodious Warbler among the migrants on Bardsey. While most Swifts have already left the country, a brood at a nest in the Clwydian Hills has yet to fledge.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales, published in The Daily Post every Thursday.