Scarce and rare birds in Wales – March 2020 – observing the COVID-19 restrictions

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.

Whilst COVID-19 brought birding outside gardens and short walks to a shuddering halt towards the end of the month, welcome harbingers of spring arrived despite the chaos amid the pandemic, with Sand Martins at WWC and St Clear’s (Carmarthen) on 8th, Wheatears at Abergavenny on 7th and on the Great Orme on 12th and Swallows over Glyn (Glamorgan) on 4th and Pentre Halkyn (Flintshire) on 7th. Early spring vagrants included a Wryneck, reported from Nolton Haven (Pembrokeshire) on 21st and a Hoopoe seen and photographed in Pembrokeshire on 28th.

Long staying visitors included the GLOSSY IBIS, still at NWR on 3rd-20th, a GREEN WINGED TEAL at Llanegan (Caernarfonshire) on 2nd and three sightings of RING-NECKED DUCK at Llyn Pendam on 5th, at Llyn Blaenmelindwr (Ceredigion) from 6th-8th and a female at RSPB Conwy on 23rd. A Black-necked Grebe was in Cardiff Bay on 23rd and a Great Egret was at Llangorse on 4th. The KUMLIEN’S GULL remained at Aberavon from 1st-6th, an Iceland Gull was at Teifi Estuary on 7th and Little Gulls were in Cardiff Bay on 4th and Teifi Estuary on 7th.

A ROSY STARLING, presumably the same bird that has wintered on Anglesey, appeared in Llanfaethlu (Anglesey) from 1st-20th, now gradually moulting into breeding plumage and the Snow Bunting of the nivalis race was still at Red Wharf Bay (Anglesey) over 1st-23rd.

Other winter visitors lingered for much of the month and probably beyond lockdown day: Black Redstarts were still on the Little Orme (Caernarfonshire) on 2nd, Porthgain (Pembrokeshire) on 6th, Great Orme from 6th-31st and Bardsey from 24th-31st. Water Pipits were at Newport (Pembrokeshire) and Dalton’s Point (Gower) on 5th, up to 6 at Neath Saltmarsh on 20th and another single at the Ogmore Estuary  WWC (Carmarthen) on 23rd. Great Grey Shrikes remained at Llwyn-On Reservoir on 1st-6th and 19th, Plumstone Mountain (Pembrokeshire) from 2nd-20th and Brechfa (Carmarthen) on 6th. A Firecrest in Dave Anning’s garden on 29th gave him a lockdown special!

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