Scarce and rare birds in Wales – January 2020

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.

A drake SMEW remained on the Usk (Monmouthshire) throughout.  A redhead was at Ynys Hir, Ceredigion, on 12th. A RING-NECKED DUCK was at Llyn Blaenmelindwr / Ceredigion on 3-31st and Marloes (Pembrokeshire) on 26th. There was a huge gathering of Common Scoter off the Denbighshire coast this month with guesstimates of 8,000-12,000 birds including a SURF SCOTER off Towyn on 19th and VELVET SCOTER off Colwyn Bay throughout. A Garganey was unseasonal at Gnoll CP (Glamorgan). Up to 19 Greenland White-fronted Geese were at Llyn Coron (Anglesey) on 18-19th, two were at Henborth, Cemlyn, on 30th, one was at Marloes on 25th and one at Trefin (Pembrokeshire) on 27-28th. A Black-necked Grebe at NWR (Gwent) on 18-29th and another off Oxwich (Gower) on 27th. A GLOSSY IBIS was at NWR on 22-25th and up to seven Spoonbill were at NWC (Carmarthen) throughout.

An Iceland Gull was at Llangorse Lake on 17th on the Teifi Est on 18th. and a CASPIAN GULL – still uncommon in Wales – was at Cosmeston (Glamorgan) on 12th.  The first Swallow of the year was at Cors Ddyga in mid-month which was not totally unexpected given the number of wintering reports around the UK, but a Common Swift at Marloes on 1st was remarkable, as was the temperature! A Siberian Chiffchaff was at Cardiff Bay on 22-25th

Black Redstarts were recorded at several sites: on the Little Orme (Caernarfonshire) on 19th-25th, Lampeter (Ceredigion) on 19th, Clarach Bay (Ceredigion) on 20th, Fishguard (Pembrokeshire) on 21st, Llanelli on 21st, Newquay on 21stMarsh Tits are increasingly rare in North Wales, so one on feeders at Loggerheads Country Park (Flintshire) on 31st was very welcome.

The regular Great Grey Shrike was at Llyn Brenig (Denbighshire) on 18th and another was at Llangorse Lake (Brecknockshire). A Snow Bunting of the nivalis race was at Red Wharf Bay (Anglesey) over 23-30th and there was a good scattering of reports of the usual race from the Kinmel Bay area throughout the month.

Waxwings have struggled to make it south of Scotland this winter and one at Chirk on 18th was the only confirmed Welsh record this month.

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