Scarce and rare birds in Wales – April 2016

This is compiled for birdsin.wales by Robin Sandham. Records featured are subject to acceptance by the British Birds Rarities Committee and the Welsh Records Panel, where relevant. An index of all months can be found here.


A cool April, though only 0.5 degrees Centigrade below the Welsh average, with a northerly airflow that slowed northbound migration. Overnight fronts mid-month brought a couple of falls of spring migrants, including a good scattering of Ring Ouzels and large numbers of Willow Warblers.

The GLOSSY IBIS remained at Newport Wetlands (Gwent) from the previous month, to 29th at least.

white stork (per Iolo Williams)

white stork (per Iolo Williams)

A WHITE STORK was at the Teifi Marshes (Pembroke) on 10th-11th, then was seen over Cors Dyfi (Montgomery) and Porthmadog (Caernarfon) on 12th and also reported over RSPB South Stack (Anglesey) on 13th. Later news came of it or another at Afon Wen (Caernarfon) over 15-18th, this bird reported as still present on 30th. Two COMMON CRANES drifted into Flintshire across the Dee Estuary on 11th, were reported from a field near Llanberis (Caernarfon) on 15th and near Whitford (Flint) on 21st.

Bitterns were at the National Wetlands Centre (Carmarthen) on 3rd and Cosmeston Lakes Country Park (East Glamorgan) on 1st-3rd and birds also boomed at Newport Wetlands and RSPB Valley Wetlands(Anglesey) during the month. The drake LESSER SCAUP remained at Cosmeston Lakes CP and Cardiff Bay Wetlands (East Glamorgan) throughout the month. Two drake SURF SCOTERS were seen off the Great Orme (Caernarfon) on 9th-17th, among a large flock of Common Scoters and up to nine Velvet Scoters. Garganeys were seen iin Cardiff Bay on 10th, the National Wetlands Centre on 11th, and two were at Marloes Mere (Pembroke) on 27th.

A handful of Ospreys were seen at various locations through the month, with the breeding males at Pont Croesor (Caernarfon) and Cors Dyfi each pairing up with two incubating females. An intriguing record from Bardsey on 24th involved a possible GYR FALCON or hybrid, flushed from the ground and never seen again.

Iceland gull (Arfon Williams)

Iceland gull (Arfon Williams)

Glaucous Gulls were on Bardsey (Caernarfon) on 5th and Angle Bay (Pembroke) on 8th while Iceland Gulls remained at Porth Dafarch (Anglesey) on 1st-6th and Llanrhystud (Ceredigion) on 2nd-3rd, with others at Aberystwyth (Ceredigion), the Teifi Estuary on 8th, Cardiff on 11th-20th (and presumably the same at Lisvane Reservoir on 23rd), at Newport (Pembroke) on 16th-23rd and Angle (Pembroke) on 28th. Little Gulls were at Llangorse Lake (Brecon) on 3rd-4th, in Cardiff Bay on 12th, at Cemlyn (Anglesey) on 16th, Llyn Bach (Porthmadog) on 25th and Llyn Coed-y-Dinas (Montgomery) on 30th. An Arctic Tern at Llangorse Lake (Brecon) on 24th was a good inland record, and the first Little Tern of the year was seen at Kenfig NNR on 29th. A BONAPARTE’S GULL at Cardiff Bay on 5th and 19th is presumed to be the returning bird from previous years.

A BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER was a great find at Newport Wetlands on 22nd, seen also on the high tides of 23rd – it is only the seventh Welsh record and the earliest ever. A colour-ringed KENTISH PLOVER was found at Sker Point (East Glamorgan) on 18th and was typically short-staying. The rings were thought to trace it to a French scheme.

american golden plover (Dave Astins)

american golden plover (Dave Astins)

An AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER was another excellent find on 29th, but this winter-plumage bird stayed just one day at Angle. The only Dotterels were both in Carmarthen: on Garreg Lwyd on 23rd and Tair Carn Uchaf on 30th. Curlew Sandpipers were on the Gann Estuary (Pembroke) on 23rd-27th and at Newport Wetlands on 30th.

blue-headed wagtail (Julian Hughes)

blue-headed wagtail (Julian Hughes)

Great Grey Shrikes remained in Cross Inn Forest (Ceredigion) on to 26th at least, at Hundred House (Powys) on 4th, at Clocaenog Forest (Denbighshire) to 24th, Afan Forest Park (East Glamorgan) on 10th and one was at Penllyn Forest (Meirionnydd) on 17th. Two were claimed at Ysbyty Ystwyth (Ceredigion) on 26th. Hoopoes were near Caerwys (Denbigh) on 12th and on Skokholm (Pembroke) on 19th. The overwintering Water Pipit was last seeen at RSPB Conwy (Denbigh) on 1st-2nd, and another was at Cors Caron (Ceredigion) on 10th. A Blue-headed Wagtail was at RSPB Conwy on 27th-30th and another at Kenfig NNR (East Glamorgan) on 28th.

eastern subalpine warbler (Skokholm blog)

eastern subalpine warbler (Skokholm blog)

An EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER was ringed on Skokholm (Pembroke) on 24th. Black Redstarts were on the Great Orme (Caernarfon) on 2nd, Skokholm and Garden City (Flint) on 7th, at Ramsey (Pembroke) on 11th and another was on Skokholm on 26th-27th. Late Firecrests were at RSPB South Stack on 23rd and 30th. A LITTLE BUNTING was a great Spring find at St. Ann’s Head (Pembroke) on 16th. There was an unconfirmed report of a Black-headed Bunting on a garden feeder in Tywyn (Meirionnydd) on 7th.


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