Scarce and rare birds in Wales – November 2020 – photogenic Snow Buntings and a new King Eider

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 first winter drake KING EIDER (photo by David Ord) was at Little Haven Pembrokeshire) on 12-26th.  RING-NECKED DUCKS were in Cardiff bay on 1-14th, Cosmeston Lake on 17-30th, Rhaslas Pond (Glamorgan) on 19th and Myrfyr Tydfil (Glamorgan) on 26th. A European White-fronted Goose was at Llanishen Reservoir (Glamorgan) on 5th, Caldicott Pill (Gwent) on 23-30th, and Llandegfedd Reservoir on 29th. 17 Greenland White-fronted Geese were at RSPB Cors Ddyga (Anglesey) on 22-29th. Great Northern and Red-throated Divers were present all month in several locations. A RED-NECKED GREBE was on Llys-y-Fran Reservoir (Pembrokeshire) on 16th, Cwm yr Eglwys (Pembrokeshire) on 20th and Fishguard (Pembrokeshire) on 22nd.

The BONAPARTE’S GULL (photo by Dave Astins) remained on the Gann Estuary on 1-17th. A Sabine’s Gull was off Bangor on 4th. A Glaucous Gull toured Pembrokeshire with sightings from Marloes on 6th, St David’s Head on 16th and Llys y Fran Reservoir and Skokholm on 18-20th. An Iceland Gull was on the Teifi Estuary on 17th and a RING-BILLED GULL was at Llys y Fran Reservoir on 25thCASPIAN GULLS were at the Gann Estuary on 11th (photo by Dave Astins) with a different bird from 20th -23rd and a further report in Cardiff Bay on 30th: the second bird from the Gann estuary was originally ringed in Germany in 2016 and subsequently seen in Ceredigion in March 2017 and Pembrokeshire in July 2017. A Leach’s Petrel was off Strumble on 17th and 19th.

Two Cattle Egrets were at Quoits Water Pill, Bentlass, (Pembrokeshire) on 4th, with further birds at NWC (Carmarthen) on 5-21st, Newport (Pembrokeshire) on 5th, Rhyl (Flintshire) on 15-21st and Hudleton (Pembrokeshire) on 18th. Six Spoonbills were at NWC (Carmarthen) on 15th and the GLOSSY IBIS was at Goldcliffe NR (Gwent) on 19-25th.

Grey Phalarope in Cardiff Bay on 2nd and Glandyfi (Ceredigion) on 4th and briefly at Colwyn Bay (Denbighshire) on 6th. A RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was at Sker Point (Glamorgan) on 4th.

The Cors Ddyga reed bed held an enormous roost of Starlings during November, rising to an estimated one million by the end of the month – the largest gathering reported in Wales for many years. The ROSY STARLING was still in Bull Bay (Anglesey) on 3rd and it was then in a garden in Amlwch Port 14-30thGreat Grey Shrikes were at Buckland Hill (Powys) on 5th, Cross Inn Forest (Ceredigion) on 5-19th, Brechfa (Carmarthen) on 6-29th and Skomer on 7th.

HUME’S LEAF WARBLER (stock photo) was at Broadhaven (Pembrokeshire) over 27-29th but very elusive.

Snow Buntings (featured image by Derren Jones), Lapland Buntings, Black Redstarts, Great Egrets, Firecrests and Yellow-browed Warblers were at several sites. Siberian Chiffchaffs were ringed on the Great Orme on 9th and 10th and seen at Amlwch (Anglesey) on 20th and at Landimore (Gower) on 26th. A Turtle Dove was on Aberystwyth (Ceredigion) on 22nd. A Richards Pipit was at Aberystwyth on 13th  and Water Pipits were at Newport (Pembrokeshire) on 1-22nd, Newgale (Pembrokeshire) on 19-21st, Ogmore Estuary (Glamorgan) on 3rd, Whiteford NNR (Gower) on 20th. A possible Pallid Swift was in Amlwch (Anglesey) late in the month, which appeared to roost on a building near the town.

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