After an almost total absence of Fieldfares in North Wales this autumn, huge numbers arrived on Saturday. An hour or so after daybreak, I noticed their chuckling calls over RSPB Conwy, and watched dozens of flocks of 20-30 birds streaming southeast. The scene was repeated across Conwy county, involving many thousands of birds in just a couple of hours, accompanied by smaller numbers of Redwings. Birders on Anglesey and Deeside also reported thousands of Fieldfares, and by Monday large flocks were in Mynydd Hiraethog. These will stay for just a few weeks before moving on to western France or Iberia.
Whooper Swans have started to arrive for winter in the Glaslyn Valley near Porthmadog, with a few settling briefly at RSPB Conwy, Cors Ddyga, Llyn Llywenan and The Broadwater at Tywyn in recent days, and the first 14 Greenland White-fronted Geese have arrived on the Dyfi estuary. On Monday, three Spoonbills were seen over RSPB Cors Ddyga, where water levels are beginning to fall after recent flooding, and a Long-tailed Duck remains off Benllech. Snow Buntings were on the Great Orme and Talacre beach, with – unusually - others scattered across inland mid-Wales, including at Coed Hafren and Llyn Gwyddior. Also unusual were two Velvet Scoters on Lake Vyrnwy last week.
Four Twite were at RSPB Oakenholt Marsh on the Dee estuary on Sunday, along with an unseasonal Avocet when most of its brethren are already in southwest England or France for the winter. Equally unseasonal was a Quail reported calling in Aberffraw dunes. Black Redstarts were spotted near the maritime museum at Holyhead’s Mackenzie Pier and near Point Lynas lighthouse, and a Siberian Chiffchaff was in willows behind Traeth Lligwy. Single Swallows over Llandudno Junction on Wednesday and at Penrhos Coastal Park on Sunday may prove to be the last of the year.
A weekly update of bird sightings and news from North Wales, published in The Daily Post every Thursday.