Scarce and rare birds in Wales – November 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.

masked wagtail (Jon Hudson)

masked wagtail (Jon Hudson)

At the end of the month a MASKED WAGTAIL (Motacilla alba personata), a subspecies of White Wagtail, originating from the Persian Gulf north-eastwards, was discovered on a house in Camrose (Pembroke) over 29th-30th. This is potentially a first for Britain so will generate quite a lot of interest.

A SQUACCO HERON was at Narberth (Pembroke) on 1st-5th, then at Saundersfoot (Pembroke) on 10th-15th. Great White Egrets were at Glandyfi (Ceredigion) on 1st, RSPB Conwy (Denbigh) on 3rd, Connah’s Quay (Flint) on 3rd and 10th (and presumably the same at Flint on 24th), RSPB Ynys-hir

(Ceredigion) on 7th-8th, Llanrhidian Marsh (Gower) on 6th-13th, Llangorse Lake (Brecon) on 7th-24th, Kenfig NNR (East Glamorgan) on 27th and the Teifi estuary (Ceredigion) on 24th. A CATTLE EGRET was at Salthouse Point (Gower) on 5th with four of the five long-staying birds at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands straying into Flintshire on the 13th at least. Bitterns were at Kenfig NNR on 2nd, Cosmeston Country Park (East Glamorgan) on 20th and RSPB Malltraeth Marsh (Anglesey) on 29th.

Black-throated Divers were off Strumble Head (Pembroke) on 10th, Porthcawl (East Glamorgan) on 14th and off Sker Point (East Glamorgan) on 20th. A Great Northern Diver was off Newborough (Anglesey) on 12th. A RED-NECKED GREBE was at Westfield Pill NR (Pembroke) on 2nd-7th and a Black-necked Grebe at Pwll (Carmarthen) on 13th-24th. Slavonian Grebes were at the National Wetlands Centre (Carmarthen) on 4th, at Penrhos Country Park (Anglesey) on 12th-23rd, and at Rhos-on-Sea (Caernarfon) on 14th. Four Greenland White-fronted Geese were at Llyn Llywenan (Anglesey) on 2nd, then to Llyn Alaw on 8th and back at Llywenan on 28th. Six more flew over Skomer on 4th, then five appeared on nearby Skokholm on 4th-6th and subsequently at Marloes on 12th-20th (all Pembroke). Belated news in December of a ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD at Fenn’s Moss (Denbigh), present from 26th to the month’s end.

grey phalarope (John Wilson)

grey phalarope (John Wilson)

The returning LESSER SCAUP was reported at Knap Lake (East Glamorgan) then at Cosmeston on 8th, although the presence of an Aythya hybrid has caused some confusion. An AMERICAN WIGEON was at Ynyslas (Ceredigion) on 23rd-28th. A Grey Phalarope was off Strumble on 4th and 9th, and a confiding bird was at East Aberthaw (East Glamorgan) on 7th-8th. Three Little Auks were off Rhos Point (Caernarfon) on 5th during strong northerlies, the only records of the Autumn.

Just shy of 130,000 Woodpigeons flew SW over Cardiff on 2nd were notable. Great Grey Shrikes were at Cross Inn Forest (Ceredigion) on 1st-10th, Brechfa (Carmarthen) on 1st, Llanddewi Brefi (Ceredigion) on 2nd, Blaenduad (Carmarthen) on 3rd-10th, Neuadd Reservoir (Brecon) on 7th-14th, Llyn Syfydrin (Ceredigion) on 8th, two in Clocaenog Forest (Denbigh) on 12th-27th, and one at Afan Forest Park (Gower) on 28th-30th.

black redstart (Stephen McAvoy)

black redstart (Stephen McAvoy)

Black Redstarts were at Haverfordwest (Pembroke) on 1st, RSPB Ramsey (Pembroke) on 2nd-20th, Broad Haven (Pembroke) on 8th, Penarth (East Glamorgan) on 3rd-23rd, Llys-y-Fran Reservoir (Pembroke) on 9th, St David’s Head (Pembroke) on 10th, Aberdare (East Glamorgan) on 13th, Rhossili Bay (Gower) on 13th-15th, Cardiff (East Glamorgan) on 14th, Newport (Pembroke) on 15th, Skokholm on 16th, Skomer on 3rd-23rd, Llanrwst (Caernarfon) on 20th, Southerndown (East Glamorgan) on 22nd, Edern (Caernarfon) over 23rd-24th, two at Kinmel Bay (Denbigh) on 27th, two at RSPB South Stack (Anglesey) on 27th and one at Stackpole Quay (Pembroke) on 29th.

woodlark (Marc Hughes)

woodlark (Marc Hughes)

Single Water Pipits were at the National Wetlands Centre on 5th, at Newport Wetlands (Gwent) on 12th, RSPB Conwy on 12th, Usk Reservoir (Brecon) on 14th, East Aberthaw on 22nd, and seven were at Newgale (Pembroke) on 27th. A Woodlark was on the Great Orme (Caernarfon) on 18th-19th.

Waxwing (Gareth Wynne-Williams)

Waxwing (Gareth Wynne-Williams)

The first Waxwing in Wales this winter was at Glaslyn Marsh (Meirionnydd) on 9th, followed by two in Rhyl (Denbigh) on 12th, Bodelwyddan (Denbigh) on 13th, and there were 40 at Pentrefelin (Denbigh) on 19th with 16 remaining until 28th. Singles wereat Penisa’r Waen (Caernarfon) on 23rd, at Bryngwyn (Carmarthen) on 23rd, in Wrexham (Denbigh) on 29th and in Caernarfon town on 30th. Cold weather into December may push more farther west.

barred warbler (Stuart Thomas)

barred warbler (Stuart Thomas)

The HUME’S LEAF WARBLER remained at Middleton (Gower) until 1st (present since 29 October). Two PALLAS’S WARBLERS within a week were on Bardsey (Caernarfon), on 2nd-3rd and 12th, and another was on Skomer on 13th. A BARRED WARBLER was trapped and ringed in a Rhos-on-Sea (Denbigh) garden on 18th with the bird retrapped on 24th, a county first.

It was a remarkable month for SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFFS,

Siberian chiffchaff (Robert Mitchell)

Siberian chiffchaff (Robert Mitchell)

with at least 10: at Middleton on 1st, RSPB Conwy on 2nd, Rhossili Bay on 2nd, three on Bardsey on 5th, Skomer on 8th, Stackpole Quay on 24th, one ringed at Glan Conwy (Denbigh) on 24th, and one at Forest Farm (East Glamorgan) on 25th. Yellow-browed Warblers were at Breakwater Country Park (Anglesey) on 8th-9th, RSPB Ynys-hir and Cosmeston Lakes CP on 23rd. Firecrests were at Oxwich (Gower) on 5th, Bosherton Lily Pond (Pembroke) on 9th, Kenfig NNR on 22nd-28th, and theWelsh Wildlife Centre (Pembroke) on 25th.

chough (Derek Moore)

chough (Derek Moore)

A colour-ringed Chough seen near Porthcawl on 10 November proved to be a young female ringed on north Anglesey as a chick earlier this year. The distance between the two locations, 219 km, is almost double the previous maximum dispersal distance recorded by a ringed Welsh bird.

Lapland Buntings were at St. David’s Head, up to eight on The Range, RSPB South Stack, on 1st-2nd, and another two over there on 2nd; one flew over Llyn Llywenan on 2nd, up to seven were at Rhossili Bay on 5th-29th, one was on Skomer on 7th-8th, one at Peterstone Wentlooge (Gwent) on 8th, two on Pen Anglas Point (Pembroke) on 13th, five at Cemlyn (Anglesey) on 12th and two were on Skokholm on 15th-16th. Snow Bunting were at Soldier’s Point (Anglesey) on 3rd, two at Llandudno’s West Shore on 4th-29th, one at Sker Point on 7th, one at Twmpa (Brecon) on 10th, up to two on the breakwater at Fishguard (Pembroke) on 11th-13th, four at Ynyslas on 22nd-23rd and one at Nash Point (East Glamorgan) on 30th.


A Birding Wales Facebook page provides all-Wales sightings news for scarce, rare or notable records and local club or WOS announcements. If you are interested and a Facebook user please join.