Scarce and rare birds in Wales – May 2021 – the wettest May on record in Wales and one of the coldest

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.

This was the wettest Welsh May on record – and one of the coldest until right at the end, with almost constant northerly winds. The weather has had significant impacts on both spring migration and breeding birds, with food in very short supply. Right at the end of the month there was a welcome burst of scarcities, but these were little consolation to the breeding birds.

There was particularly atrocious weather in the first week with hail and wind leaving a wintry covering on the summits. The BONAPARTE’S GULL remained in Cardiff Bay on 1-7th. A Long-tailed Skua was off Aberystwyth (Ceredigion) on 22nd and Aberdovey (Meirionnydd) on 24th.  A Black Tern was at Cemlyn (Anglesey) on 22nd.

Two Dotterel were on Foel Fras on 1st and 10th and four on 11th. Two were at Carmel Head on 9th whilst other duos were popular on the Great Orme on 4-6th and near Afonwen (Flintshire) on 6th.

 SAVI’S WARBLER sang at the NWC, Llanelli (Carmarthen) from 6-28th. A SQUACCO HERON was at Ynys Hir (Ceredigion) on 13-14th. An unraced SUBALPINE WARBLER was on Skomer on 30th, Skokholm on 31st.

Hoopoe was in a garden in St. Dogmaels on 1st, St Clears on 3rd and Manorbier Newton (Pembrokeshire) on 4th.  Turtle Doves were at Merthyr Mawr (Glamorgan) on 11th and Skokholm on 31st.

An ASHY-HEADED WAGTAIL was at Goldcliffe (Gwent) on 6th.  A BLACK-HEADED WAGTAIL was in Cardiff Bay on 13-14th.  A RED-RUMPED SWALLOW was at Goldcliffe (Gwent) on 23rd.

WOODCHAT SHRIKE was on Bardsey on 14th. A LESSER GREY SHRIKE was on Skomer on 31st. A COMMON ROSEFINCH was ringed on Skokholm on 29th and one seen at St Justinian (Pembrokeshire) on 31st. A BLACK-HEADED BUNTING was a welcome record at the Derlwyn Arms beer garden in Brnyamman (Carmarthen) on 26th. A ROSY STARLING was at Trefeiddan Common (Pembrokeshire) on 31st.  A GOLDEN ORIOLE was at St David’s on 29thBlack Redstarts were in Bangor on 2nd, on Skokholm on 4th, the Range (Anglesey) on 9th. Spotted Flycatchers arrived on 2nd and there was subsequently a good passage on Bardsey.

Two summer plumage Great Northern Divers were in Cemlyn Bay on 28-29th.

After a spell of absence the Walrus reappeared on the ramp at Tenby Lifeboat Station over 6-7th and again in the third week but departed south to Cornwall and then onward to the west coast of France!


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