Scarce and rare birds in Wales – June 2020 – Rosy Starlings ignore COVID lockdown!

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.

Another month in ‘lockdown’ due to COVID-19 restrictions but ROSY STARLINGS invaded with birds at Pwll Trap (Carmarthen) on 2nd , in Conwy town on 3rd, on Bardsey on 13th, Rhyl (Denbighshire) on 15th, Cemaes (Anglesey) over 18-24th, Skokholm on 21st, Rhos-on-Sea (Caernarfonshire) on 22-24th, Gwbert (Ceredigion) on 25th, Trefeitha (Powys) on 28th and Ginst Point (Carmarthen) on 29th. Many involved birds visiting garden feeders and fruiting cherry trees.

A SOOTY TERN was photographed at Cemlyn on 14th but soon disappeared. A WHITE-THROATED SPARROW was in garden at Cwrtnewydd (Ceredigion) on 24th. A BLYTH’S REED WARBLER was on Bardsey on 8th and a COMMON NIGHTINGALE was recorded singing on the Dyfi Osprey Project webcam on 2nd.

Little Gull was at the NWC (Carmarthen) on 20th and an adult BONAPARTE’S GULL was on the Teifi Estuary (Pembrokeshire) on 23rd. A Black Tern was at Trimsaran (Carmarthen) on 14th and Goldcliffe village on 29th. A Roseate Tern was at Cemlyn on 26th. Three European Storm Petrels were ringed on Bardsey on 17th and four on 18th.  Four flew past Rhos Pont on 6th, two past Amlwch on 6th, one past Swanbridge (Glamorgan) on 29th. A Black-necked Grebe was at Lisvane Reservoir (Glamorgan) on 5th.

44 Black Guillemots were in Holyhead outer harbour on 18th following several days of sea mist. It has to involve birds from outside of the area as the Holyhead population is around 16-20 birds.  Inclement weather and high tides may have caused other colonies to fail.

EUROPEAN BEE-EATER was heard over Caswell (Gower) on 15thRED-BACKED SHRIKES were on Bardsey on 3rd, one photographed on Malltraeth cob (Anglesey) on 12th and one at Martin’s Haven on 22nd. A GREENISH WARBLER was on Skokholm on 23rd.  COMMON ROSEFINCHES were at Edern on 14th and Bardsey on 4-6th and another 12-14th, one at was at Briton Ferry on 14-19th.  A large irruption of Common Crossbill and Siskin is underway from eastern Europe so there is good chance they will turn up at new locations and potentially bring with them rarer species. 142 Common Crossbills passed Lavernock (Glamorgan) on 24th and a further 42 on 26th.

The UK’s largest Arctic Tern breeding colony on The Skerries (Anglesey) has been abandoned, and BTO scientists are asking the public for help to work out where these birds have gone. The colony is also home to several hundred pairs of Common Terns. This year, the RSPB wardens that normally look after it have been absent due to COVID-19, and the terns have left.

It seems that many of the birds have relocated to Cemlyn, with around 1000 ‘new’ terns arriving at the end of May – at least four have been identified as Cemlyn stalwarts from the orange flags on their legs. They seem to be getting territorial with lots of mating going on so hopefully we can “mind them” for the Skerries until next Summer.

Please keep your eyes peeled for colour-ringed Arctic Terns and contact (the project coordinator) if any turn up on a beach near you.

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