Compiled for by Robin Sandham

Please note that the rare and scarce species mentioned here
are subject to acceptance by the British Birds Rarities Committee and the Welsh Records Panel.

January 2012

Long-stayers included the Lesser Scaup, at Cosmeston Lake CP (Glamorgan) which was reported on 1st-2nd and 7th but also in Cardiff Bay on 4th and 8th, before seeing out the month back Great northern diver, Rhyl (Marc Hughes)at Cosmeston. Remaining Great Northern Divers were at Rhyl Marine Lake (Denbs), until the 17th and at Llwyn-on Reservoir (Glamorgan) until 13th, while others were at Goodwick (Pembs) on 3rd, Abersoch on 5th, Foryd Bay (Caern) and Mumbles (Gower) on 8th. The Black-throated Diver at Holyhead Harbour was reported until the 8th and on the same day one was at Dinas Dinlle (Caern) then another turned up alongside the Great Northern at Rhyl’s Marine Lake on 21st-22nd, posing for some great comparison photo opportunities.

Relentless westerlies resulted in a blast of arctic gulls, teeing off with an Iceland Gull at Cosmeston Lake CP on the 1st and a Glaucous at Oxwich (Gower). These were followed by Iceland Gulls on 2nd at Cardiff and Oxwich until the 4th. Up north, a Glaucous Gull was on Glaslyn Marsh (Caern), and again here on 25th. Still on the 4th, more Iceland Gulls were at Aberystwyth (Cere), Criccieth (Caern), and another Glaucous Gull was seen from Bardsey on 6th. The 7th saw Iceland Gulls off Strumble (Pembs), Borth (Cere), Abergele (Denbs), and Pontllyfni (Caern) while on the 8th others were at Haroldston (Pembs) and the Teifi Estuary and at Newquay (Cere). Another Glaucous was at Pontllyfni on 8th-12th. Other Iceland Gulls followed on 9th at Soldiers Point (Anglesey) and on the 10th at Aberaeron (Cere).

Probable Kumlien's gull, pontllyfni (Marc Hughes)Bird ID guru Martin Garner gave a spellbinding talk to Bangor Bird Group on 11th followed by a day birding on 12th resulting in finding a good Kumlien’s Gull candidate at Pontllyfni which remained to 15th. Bangor Harbour scored an Iceland on 12th and another was off Aberavon (Glam) 10th-12th. Another Glaucous Gull was off the Harlech coast on 14th and the last of the Iceland Gulls for the time being was inland at Merthyr Tydfil (Glam) on 16th-17th. Another batch hit the news starting with an Iceland Gull at Pyle (Glam) from the 19th-31st. Three roosted at Llandegfedd Reservoir (Gwent) on 20th-23rd. A Glaucous Gull was on the Foryd Bay (Caern), while Icelands were at Freshwater West (Pembs), Kenfig NNR (Glam), Pontsticill Reservoir (Glam), and a fine adult at Rhyd-y-Clafdy (Caerns) 24-31st. Others were at Sker Point (Glam) on 25th with the last from Newquay (Cere) on 28th. This was possibly the best spell of 'white-wingers' in Wales ever!

Other gulls of interest included a Little Gull off Aberystwyth on 3rd and off Penmon (Anglesey) on 5th. A Ring-billed Gull was seen at Llys y Fran Reservoir (Pembs) on 8th and a Bonaparte’s Gull reported at St. Justinian (Pembs) on 13th was followed by another at Cardiff Bay on 22nd. Another Ring-billed Gull was seen at Aberaeron (Cere) on 24th. A rather unseasonal Balearic Shearwater commuted between Stumble and Ramsey (Pembs), between 1st and 7th. Interestingly, one was reported from the Wexford coast on the 14th. A Pomarine Skua was at Newport Wetlands (Gwent) on 2nd and another with 2 Arctic Skuas was seen from Rhos Point (Caern) on the 5th. A Great Skua was also seen from Fishguard (Pembs) on 7-8th.

Great White Egrets remained at Llangorse Lake (Brecon) throughout the month, while others commuted around Burry Inlet: at Wernffwrdd (Gower) on 1st-5th, Gowerton on 4th and White Mill (Carmarthen) on 21st. A Spoonbill remained at Point of Ayr (Flints) on 2nd-10th.

Glossy ibis flock, Carew (Bob Haycock)There was a mid-winter influx of Glossy Ibis from the 12th onwards with birds all in the south: Neyland (Pembs), two at St. David’s on 13th, one at Cosmeston Lake 17th, three at Marloes (Pembs) on 18th and 27th, two at Newport Wetlands from 14th-31st, two at Dowrog Common (Pembs) 24th-31st and a staggering 23 at Carew (Pembs) at the end of the month. Water Pipits were reported from the 1st at Malltraeth (Anglesey), Newgale (Pembs) on 5th, and on the River Clwyd at Kinmel Bay (Denbs) on 11th. Singles all on the 15th were at Collister Pill (Gwent), Millin Pill (Pembs) and at Llwyn-on Reservoir (Glam). Others were on the Ogmore Estuary (Glam) on 18th, Glaslyn Marsh on 25th and at Neath (Glam) on 28th.

Surf scoter, Porthdinllaen (Chris Jones)A first-winter drake Smew was on the Foryd Bay (Caern) from 2nd-18th. A first winter Scaup was a good inland find at Llyn Coed-y-Dinas (Montgomery) on 4th. Another good inland record was a Common Scoter on Bala Lake/Llyn Tegid (Meirionnydd) on 15th. Two Long-tailed Ducks at Black Rock Sands (Caern) on 10th multiplied to 10 by the 17th. Meanwhile a female Surf Scoter was found in the flock there Tundra bean geese, Dolydd Hafren (Marc Hughes)on 14th. Other Surf Scoters were found in the north with 3 drakes off Llanddulas from 14th and a nice female close in at Porthdinllaen (Caern) from 24th-31st. Three Tundra Bean Geese were a county first for Dolydd Hafren (Montgomery) on 28-29th. Black Redstarts were at Criccieth (Caern) on 2nd, Pembroke Dock on 7th, Aberystwyth on 12th and Llandudno (Caern) on 16th and 20th. Another was at Cardiff Bay 22nd-29th, and lastly at Penarth (Glam) on 23rd.

Up to two Firecrests remained at Siberian chiffchaff, RSPB Conwy (Robert Hughes)RSPB Conwy all month, while another was at Kidwelly (Carmarthen) on 6th. A Siberian Chiffchaff was seen and photographed at RSPB Conwy between 22nd -24th. A wintering Ring Ouzel seems to have settled in Pembrokeshire, reported from Skomer on 23rd and St Justinian on 30th. The only Yellow-browed Warbler was at Westfield Pill NR (Pembs) on 12th and another odd record was of a Whinchat in Carmarthenshire on 18th.

Great grey shrike, Hafren Forest (Marc Hughes)It was an excellent month for Great Grey Shrikes with singles at Llwyn-on Reservoir (Glam) 1st-15th, Ty-Rhyg (Pembs) 2nd-21st, Wentwood Forest (Gwent) 8th-12th, Llyn Alwen (Denbs) on 22nd, Hafren Forest (Montgomery) on 28th and Brecon on 29th. Waders were thin on the ground but the Long-billed Dowitcher at Kidwelly remained on and off all month. A Grey Phalarope flew in-off at Pontllyfni and joined the Kumlien’s Gull on the shore. On the 21st a Purple Sandpiper was caught and ringed at Rhos Point (Caern) and on the 22nd a Darvic-ringed Oystercatcher at Foryd Bay (Caern) was found to have been ringed in Aberdeen. A Mealy Redpoll was with Lessers in Welshpool (Montgomery), 28-29th and the Snow Buntings at Kinmel Bay, peaked at 18 mid-month but reduced to 6 by the end. Lastly an escaped Egyptian Vulture was reported over Taliaris Park (Camarthen) on 7th which was an odd winter sight.