It was good to feel the sun and hear birdsong at the weekend, nature providing solace in dark times. I watched a pair of Long-tailed Tits busily adding moss and feathers, bound with silken spider webs, to their cylindrical nest in a bramble bush that is yet to grow its protective shroud of greenery. It’s a reminder that the nesting season is already here. Farmers know that they must not cut or trim trees between 1 March and 31 August (except for safety reasons) and this is good practice for garden owners too, says Rob Taylor, Wales Police Wildlife Co-ordinator.
“One of the most frequent wildlife enquiries calls the police receive during this time is that of hedge or tree cutting, potentially damaging nests and threatening the future of certain species,” he says. His advice, if you see someone cutting a hedge during this period, is to “speak to them and politely mention the risk to birds’ nests and the laws protecting nests. If they proceed and you know there is an active nest at risk, contact the police on 101 and ask to speak with a wildlife officer. Wales has several highly trained police wildlife officers and PCSOs who will be able to advise further and if needed investigate any potential offences”.
While resident species are starting to nest-build, most summer visitors are still some weeks away, so a Sand Martin at Llyn Pen-y-Parc near Beaumaris on Sunday was exceptional, the earliest Anglesey record this century. The weekend also saw a Ring-billed Gull in Beddmanarch Bay, two Surf Scoters off Llanddulas, and Cattle Egrets on Bardsey and near Llanynghenedl. A Hen Harrier drifting over Llandudno Pier on Saturday was a surprise to promenaders. At least 29 Great Northern Divers are in Caernarfon Bay, the start of a late winter build-up before they head north to breed.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales, published in The Daily Post every Thursday.