Autumn migrants passing through

Friday 1st September 2017

Many wading birds and wildfowl are arriving now to spend the winter with us. Can you spot the passage migrants which are on their way further south?

Many birds that breed further north come to Britain as the cold drives them south for food and shelter. On the North Wales coast, waders such as redshank arrive from Iceland; curlew from Finland and further east; while wigeon move in from Russia. Mixed in with them are birds which will only stay a few days before moving further south – can you spot a whimbrel or a greenshank? A whimbrel is like a small curlew with a different flight call (sounds like seven whistles), while a greenshank is slightly larger than a redshank, with ghostly pale plumage and greenish legs.

Your best chances for seeing waders and wildfowl are when the tide pushes the feeding birds close to a vantage point. NWWT’s Aberogwen/Spinnies Nature Reserve, near Bangor, with its two hides, is ideal – try to visit a couple of hours before high tide or once the tide is falling. Your best bet is the large hide on the shore. At Aberogwen you’ll probably find photographers patiently awaiting the arrival of the kingfisher or snapping a little egret hunting for small fish. Ask them what’s around – they will be happy to tell you!You can also visit Cemlyn Nature Reserve, and scan round the beach curving round from the shingle bar. Traeth Glaslyn near Porthmadog is another good site; the hide is accessed from the layby near Boston Lodge.

BIRD WATCH DAY... If you need some help with sorting out the waders and wildfowl, why not come along to our ‘Bird Watch Days’ at Aberogwen/Spinnies on 18 November and 3 December when members and local experts will be in the big hide from 11am to 3pm with telescopes to help you?