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/ Willow warbler PICTURE: JAN [...].

Byline: BIRD NOTES With Julian Hughes

| Willow warbler PICTURE: JAN BOATRIGHT EASTER Weekend gave me the chance to make my first visit of spring to my 1km patch of Conwy randomly selected for the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS).

Although grey and cold, it was nice to be out, noting every bird I saw or heard: the muted calls of a pair of Bullfinches, the almost ultrasonic rhythm of a Goldcrest in a pine tree, the rattle of a Redstart and its appearance on a birch branch, pumping its orange tail.

The BBS is the bedrock of our knowledge of countryside birds, organised by the British Trust for Ornithology, RSPB and government's Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

Almost 2,700 volunteers like me survey over 3,700 squares, our individual records determining whether the trends for dozens of species are marked up or down.

Volunteers walk the same area each year, so you get to know your patch. There seemed to be plenty of Willow Warblers around, and once I'd entered my records online, I could see that it was the best year here since 2009.

I wouldn't have guessed it was a particularly good year for the similarlooking Chiffchaff, but the records don't lie; it's the best count here since 2004. I'm looking forward to my next visit in May.

Scarcer visitors to North Wales this week include seven Cattle Egrets that remain in the Cefni Valley, Lapland Bunting at Cemlyn Bay, and six Long-tailed Ducks were in Foryd Bay.

Bardsey's nocturnal Manx Shearwaters are back in numbers, while the island recorded its first ever Spring Balearic Shearwater.

Hooded Crows were seen at Holy Island's Silver Bay, Carmel Head and Bardsey over the weekend.

A Ring Ouzel, Mealy Redpolls and a Pied Flycatcher were on the Great Orme, and the first Arctic Tern of the year was at Shotton pools. | Find local birding events on the Daily Post website.

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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:Apr 20, 2017
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