(Compiled by Robin Sandham for WOS. Birds on the Welsh Rarities list are indicated by BOLD CAPITALS and BBRC rarities are indicated by BOLD ITALIC CAPITALS).
After a tropical end to February and a cool March, the April weather included a mixture of extremes, with summer warmth and sunshine over Easter, followed by Storm Hannah, which produced gusts of over 130kmh on the Llyn peninsula. However, these extremes do not appear to have impacted significantly on either spring migration, or Nearctic rarities.
The most watched, photographed and confiding scarce migrants were a trip of three Dotterel on the Great Orme from 23rd to 29th , which were briefly joined by a further seven for one day. Whilst this is a traditional site, two on Mynydd Hiraethog (Denbighshire) on 28th and 6 at Foel Fras on 30th were less expected.
Early common summer migrants included Pied Flycatchers at Penrhyndeudraeth (Meirionnydd) on 3rd, Ynys Hir (Ceredigion) on 5th, a Common Redstart on Skokholm (Pembrokeshire) on 2nd and a Sedge Warbler at Magor Marsh (Gwent) on 2nd, whilst long staying rarities included the GLOSSY IBIS at NWR (Gwent) from 1st – 28th the RING-NECKED DUCK Llyn Bran(Denbighshire) over the same dates, a SMEW at NWC Llanelli (Carmarthen) on 1st -7th and the three Spoonbill there from 1st – 20th. Others Spoonbills were at NWR (Gwent) on 14th and Carew (Pembrokeshire) on 12th with at least two Cattle Egrets at Porthcawl (Glamorgan) on 5th, at NWC Llanelli (Carmarthen) on 1st, with singles also at Kenfig NNR on 20th and Llyn Coed y Dinas (Powys) on 27th. A COMMON CRANE was at Ynys Hir on 23-28th and a GREAT WHITE EGRET was briefly at Gors Geirch on 25th.
An AMERICAN WIGEON appeared at Ynys Hir from 13th – 16th, a GREEN-WINGED TEAL was at Peterstone (Gwent) on 24-28th, a drake SURF SCOTER was off Llanfairfechan on 30th and a Black-throated Diver was off Colwyn Bay (Denbighshire) on 5th.
A BLACK KITE was seen flying over Holyhead Mountain and Carmel Head (Anglesey) on 6th then at Dinas Dinlle (Caernarfon) on 7th with further reports around South Stack (Anglesey) on 9th and 13th. Others were over Goldcliffe at NWR (Gwent) on 23rd and a possible floated over Borth (Ceredigion) on 28th. The female SNOWY OWL reappeared after a long absence and was photographed on Holyhead Mountain (Anglesey) on 11th and subsequently seen on 16th.
A RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was at NWR (Gwent) over 22-25th, and a Wood Sandpiper was at RSPB Conwy on 19th-24th. A Little Gull was in Cardiff Bay on 4-13th and at Llangorse Lake (Powys) on 5th and Loughor (Glamorgan) on 27th. An adult BONAPARTE’S GULL in Cardiff Bay (Glamorgan) on 22nd and a separate first winter bird was there from 26-30th. A Long-tailed Skua was off The Range (Anglesey) on 28th.
Another RED-RUMPED SWALLOW was at Kenfig (NNR) on 5th and one briefly at Lamby Lake (Glamorgan) on 15th. A splendid male CITRINE WAGTAIL was at Llwyn-On Reservoir over 27-28th. A Hoopoe was in Cardigan (Ceredigion) on 3rd and Lambston (Pembrokeshire) on 19th and another was reported in a garden in Rhos on Sea (Caernarfonshire) 25-27th. Great Grey Shrikes were at Plumstone Mountain (Pembrokeshire) on 6th, Llanychaer on 6th, Cors Caron (Ceredigion) on 1-6th, Twmbarlwm (Gwent) on 6th, Llyn Brenig on 10-11th. A singing IBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF was in Gwydir Forest above Penmachno (Caernarfonshire) on 16-18th. Black Redstarts were at Martin’s Haven on 5th, Ramsay on 6th, Carno (Powys) on 11th, Rhyl (Denbighshire) on 22nd, Great Orme on 26-28th and Skomer on 27-28th. A late Water Pipit was at Llyn Padarn (Caernarfonshire) on 14th.
Finally, the last day of the month brought a mass arrival of Swifts at several sites on 30th.