Scarce and rare birds in Wales – August 2020 – hundreds of colour-ringed gulls, Citrine Wagtails, a possible Brown Booby and an early Isabelline Wheatear

This summary is compiled for by Robin Sandham. Records featured are subject to acceptance by the British Birds Rarities Committee (bold capitals) and the Welsh Records Panel (bold italic capitals), where relevant. Please note that records will appear in this summary before they have been accepted by the appropriate record panel.

There were large congregations of terns and gulls around the coast with many birds settled at some sites and then moving around stormy weather. Colour ring-reading yet again proving its worth with Kittiwakes from French and Swedish colonies found at Rhos on Sea (Caernarfon) and Sandwich Terns elsewhere from Holland, Scotland and Ireland. Post breeding flocks of Mediterranean Gulls were at several sites around northern Cardigan Bay with over 1000 at Llanrhystud (Ceredigion) at the end of the month and 200 at Afon-Wen (Caernarfonshire) including colouring ringed birds from Germany, Poland, Ireland and France.  The mixed tern flock at Afon-Wen held up to ten Roseate Terns on 8th.

Three Spoonbills were at NWR’s Goldcliffe Pools (Gwent) on 25thThe GLOSSY IBIS was still at NWR on 16-30thGreat Egrets were widespread with up to 4 at RSPB Conwy being the highest count.

A possible BROWN BOOBY was off Port Eynon Point (Gower) on 23rdBalearic Shearwaters were off Skomer on 20th, Porth Ysgaden on 23rd, Strumble on 23rd,  Point Lynas (Anglesey) on 24th, Mwnt on 26th .

Long-tailed Skuas were seen off Porth Ysgaden and Bardsey on 23rd and 26th. A Pomarine Skua also passed Bardsey on 26thSooty Shearwaters were off Skokholm on 21st, Bardsey on 23rd and 26th rd, Strumble on 21st and 24th and Skomer on 25th. A GREAT SHEARWATER was off Strumble on 26th.  CASPIAN TERN was on the Gann Estuary (Pembrokeshire) on 4th and was previously seen in Ireland earlier in the day. Black Terns were at Cemaes Head (Pembrokeshire) on 12th, Kidwelly on 21st and RSPB Conwy on 24thRoseate Terns were at Cemlyn on 4-7th, up to 10 were at Afon-Wen (Caernarfonshire) on 8th and one was at Criccieth (Caernarfonshire) on 8th. Others were at Burry Port on 18-19th, Pembrey on 14-15th and 19th, Bardsey on 26-27th. An adult Sabine’s Gull was off Bardsey on 3rd and later at Afon-Wen (Caernarfonshire) on 7th.  Others were off Mwnt (Ceredigion) on 22nd, off Skomer on 25th, 4 off Point Lynas and 1 off Cemlyn (Anglesey) on 26th and 29th, Strumble on 26th, Bull Bay (Anglesey) on 29th and Skokholm on 30th.


A Honey Buzzard was over Morfa Bychan (Caernarfonshire) on 10th and Gowerton (Glamorgan) on 16th. There was a big movement of waders between 20-25th with several Little Stint, Curlew Sandpipers, Knot turning up at various sites. A PECTORAL SANDPIPER was at NWR (Gwent) on 22nd. A Dotterel was at Uwchmynydd on 20-26th and one over Garreg Lwyd (Carmarthen) on 30thWood Sandpipers were at RSPB Conwy on 1st, Sebastopol (Gwent) on 4th, Tregaron Bog (Ceredigion) on 12-13th, NWR (Glamorgan) on 15th, Penrhyn Bay (Caernarfonshire) on 18th, Westfield Pill NR (Pembrokeshire on 16th) Llanrhystud (Ceredigion) on 15th and 18th NWC (Carmarthen) on 13-15th and 20th and lastly at Dale Airfield (Pembrokeshire) on 30th.


CITRINE WAGTAIL was on Bardsey on 20-28th and a remarkably early ISABELLINE WHEATEAR was on Carmel Head on 30th. An adult ROSY STARLING was at Trawsfynydd on 1-3rd and a very early juvenile was on Skomer on 13th. An ICTERINE WARBLER was on Bardsey on 15th and a Wryneck there on 15th and 22-28th.

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