Although Buff-breasted Sandpiper is the commonest trans-Atlantic shorebird to occur in Britain, it had been found in North Wales on just 15 previous occasions prior to this year. They nest in the high Arctic of Alaska and northwest Canada and remarkably there have been two in the region this autumn, both found by Simon Roberts. After discovering one near Cemlyn, Anglesey, earlier this month, he found one near Caernarfon airport over the weekend. It’s the first ever in mainland Caernarfonshire too, as all five previous records in the county were on Bardsey. It is consorting with Golden Plovers, as is an American Golden Plover that remains near Cemlyn. Other scarce waders include four Curlew Sandpipers at RSPB Conwy and others on the Clwyd, Cefni and Alaw estuaries, and a Dotterel was on the Great Orme last week.
From the east, the first Yellow-browed Warblers were seen over the weekend, with records near Aberdaron, on Bardsey, in a Valley garden and at Wylfa Woods. Other sounds of autumn came with Redwings over Bangor last Wednesday and a flock of Pink-footed Geese over the Alaw estuary. Larger numbers of the geese are on the Dee estuary with a Snow Goose among them, and a Cattle Egret at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands. A Great White Egret remains on Llyn Brenig, where a Common Scoter dropped in recently.
Strong winds brought Sabine’s Gull, Long-tailed Skua and Grey Phalarope past Bardsey, Pomarine Skuas off Point Lynas, Criccieth and Tywyn, two Leach’s Petrels reported off Colwyn Bay, and a handful of Arctic Skuas and Red-throated Divers around the coast. A Lapland Bunting flew over RSPB South Stack on Sunday and a Marsh Harrier flew north over RSPB Conwy on Monday.
Ospreys remain at Aber Ogwen and at Malltraeth for the third consecutive week, but surely must be on the move south very soon.
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A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales.