On the Anglesey coast at the weekend, flocks of Swallows gathered, perching briefly in treetops a sign of readiness to depart for Africa. Smaller numbers of Sand Martins fed on insects over the cliffs, and several Wheatears may also have been early southbound migrants. A few Swifts screeched over the village this morning, suggesting that one or two nests have young that are yet to fledge, but most have gone already.
A visit to the Inland Sea, separating Holy Island from the rest of Anglesey, found a flock of 20 Mediterranean Gulls, all adults with white wings and various stages of black head feathers moulting to white. That is a good count for North Wales, but nothing compared to the sight of more than 1,250 in a field above Llanon, Ceredigion, a flock count that smashed the Welsh record for the third successive year. Three dozen of them bore colour rings which will explain more about the origins of this late summer influx to Wales, where the species remains a rare breeder. The recent European Breeding Bird Atlas shows that Mediterranean Gulls have shifted northwest in recent decades, away from the Black Sea and into western Europe. Wetland creation, protection of their colonies and a warming planet are all contributing to this change.
A Purple Heron has spent several days at RSPB Cors Ddyga, the most westerly of a small influx into the southern half of Britain, and a Ring-necked Duck remains at RSPB Valley Wetlands. A Black Kite was over Llyn Coron on Sunday, perhaps the same as seen in mid Wales last week. A Curlew Sandpiper and three Ruffs were on Malltraeth Cob pool on Sunday, and several Balearic Shearwaters were seen around the Anglesey coast last week. Hooded Crows are near Rhoscolyn, the Alaw estuary, Uwchmynydd and on the Clwyd estuary, and a family of Garganeys is at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales.