… The year ends with a few local surprises …
Passerines and others:
The unseasonably mild weather has had a number of Swallows hanging on in the UK, with 1 being seen and videoed at Craig y Rhwyd near Ynys Llanddwyn (25th). It has been a good year for Black Redstarts with 22 known sightings across 2021, with the latest being a rather showy bird favouring an area around the large white house to the north of the beach car park at Benllech (29th).
Photo: Black Redstart, Benllech, 29th December – Martin Jones
Avocet is a scarce bird on Anglesey, with sightings having been less than annual over the past 30 years or so. The past 2 years have been rather good, with 2 birds at Malltraeth on the 9th April 2020 followed by 1 on Malltraeth cob pool on the 27th August this year. This week produced an unseasonal record with 1 seen in flight over Porth Cywfan, heading in the direction of Malltraeth, which was later seen by another birder at the Braint estuary (27th). Up to 9 Purple Sandpipers were at Rhoscolyn (3 on 28th, 1 on 30th), a Greenshank at Traeth Dulas (27th) and 500+ Black-tailed Godwits continue to be seen at RSPB Cors Ddyga (31st).
Swans, Geese & Ducks:
7 Whooper Swans were on fields east of the Braint estuary (28th), with 3 Pink-footed Goose remaining on fields south of Plas Cemlyn (26th). 58+ Pale-bellied Brent Geese were reported from the Braint estuary (28th), with 3 seen at Rhoscolyn (30th), 50 at Penmon Pool (29th) and 70 from the beach at Newborough (31st).
Divers & Grebes:
Sightings of Great Northern Divers included 1 at Beddmanarch Bay (26th) and 2 off the south shore of Llanddwyn Island (31st). A Red-throated Diver was off Rhoscolyn (28th) and 2 Slavonian Grebes were seen at Beddmanarch Bay (26th).
Herons, Egrets and allies:
3 Great Egrets were seen at RSPB Cors Ddyga (26th).
5 Marsh Harriers and 2 Hen Harriers were seen at RSPB Cors Ddyga (26th). A female Merlin was seen hunting on the Braint estuary (28th).
No sightings of note.
Gulls and Terns:
No sightings of note.
2021 Annual Report
A big thank you to everyone who has shared records, shared photographs or more generally shown an interest in the weekly updates.
Last year I condensed the records into an annual report, which was available free of charge but with a suggestion that a donation be made to Bangor Bird Group if readers enjoyed the report and appreciated the effort. I know that many were very kind and generous in making donations to the bird group which aided their programme of talks.
I’ve continued this work into 2021 and, given that darkness has now fallen on the 31st, I have now made the 2021 available on-line so that those interested can download a copy (possibly the timeliest annual bird report in the World 😊). I have suggested that any donations in appreciation of the report are made to the North Wales Wildlife Trust’s fundraising campaign for the wardening at Cemlyn. It seems a fitting recipient at the end of a year where the wardens not only did a sterling job in protecting the tern colony, but also ensured that many got to see the Elegant Tern present over the late spring/early summer months.
A PDF copy of the 2021 Annual Report can be downloaded from:
A PDF copy of the 2020 Annual Report can be downloaded from:
Best wishes for the New Year
Finally, the very best wishes for the New Year and I hope that your birding year gets off to an excellent start on the 1st.