Scarce and rare birds in Wales – June 2021 – Pacific Swift: a first for Wales

This summary is compiled for birdsin.wales 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.

After a cold and wet May, there was high pressure from the off in June and it suddenly warmed up.  Spring seemed to close without even opening – but in came the rarities. A male EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER was at Carmel Head on 1st and an un-raced bird on Skomer on 1st. A WESTERN BONELLI’S WARBLER was ringed on Skokholm on 2nd. At the end of the month came the icing on the cake: a PACIFIC SWIFT was photographed (by Cath Hammond) at Mewslade Bay (Gower) on 27th – the first for Wales, if accepted.

Meanwhile, amongst the excitement, three Spoonbills were at Cors Ddyga  (Anglesey) on 21st and 24th. Cattle Egrets were at NWC Llanelli (Carmarthen) on 11th and Kenfig NNR (Glamorgan) on 12th and Cors Ddyga (Anglesey) on 30th.

Up to three Roseate Terns were at Cemlyn (Anglesey) from 12th-30st. A CASPIAN TERN at NWC Llanelli (Carmarthen) on 24-30th was colour-ringed and originated from Finland.

A BLACK KITE was over Llangrannog and Aberaeron (Ceredigion) on 3rd and one was reported over Haverfordwest (Pembrokeshire) on 30thWOODCHAT SHRIKES were on Skomer on 1st, at Tregaron Bog (Ceredigion) on 1st-2nd and Peniel (Carmarthenshire) on 4th.

A MARSH WARBLER and an ICTERINE WARBLER were on Bardsey on 1st, singing in the same patch of scrub! Turtle Doves were found on Skokholm on 1st and Broom (Pembrokeshire) on 6th.

COMMON ROSEFINCHES were at Cemlyn  and Bardsey on 2nd and Ramsay (Pembrokeshire) on 5th. One was also reported singing in a Holyhead garden on 3rd. A BEE-EATER was at Porth Clais (Pembrokeshire) on 6th. A Hoopoe was located at Devil’s Bridge (Ceredigion) on 17th but had reportedly been present for a few days. There was growing evidence of another ROSY STARLING influx from south eastern Europe: it got underway at Holyhead (Anglesey) on 1st with 3 birds reported and singles remaining until 3rd.  Others were at Lavernock Point (Glamorgan) on 2nd, Cemaes and Beaumaris (Anglesey) on 3-8th, Cemlyn (Anglesey) on 5th,  Rhyl (Denbighshire) on 6th, Bardsey (Caernarfonshire) on 7-11th,  Valley on 12th, Ynyslas on 13th, Llanelli (Carmarthen) on 13th, Tregele (Anglesey) on 12-14th, Morfa Nefyn (Caernarfon) on 9-10th,  Aberystwyth on 9-10th, Milford Haven on 10th, Hasguard Cross on 15th and Haverfordwest (Pembrokeshire) on 16th  St Bride’s Wentlooge and 20th and Sudbrook (Gwent) on 21st.  This could be an annual event for the next few years at least.

Away from known breeding pairs, two Avocets were on the Conwy estuary (Denbighshire) on 5th. An early Wood Sandpiper was at Goldcliffe on 21st.  Finally, an unseasonal RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was seen on the sea near Ramsay (Pembrokeshire) on 23rd. 

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