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BIRD NOTES With Julian Hughes.

THE latest stocktake of Britain's birds was published this week, the result of monitoring by thousands of volunteers who count birds in 1km squares for the Breeding Bird Survey.

For some, it didn't make happy reading.

In a week that a Turtle Dove was seen behind Tremeirchion school, near St Asaph, this species is listed as the UK's fastest declining bird.

Numbers are at a new low, just 7% of their 1994 total. In 20 years, we've lost 93% of birds and it is now at real risk of global extinction.

Is this destined to be our Passenger Pigeon (a North American bird that went extinct in 1913)? In Wales, the Yellowhammer - once common on farmland and ffridd - is declining at a far greater rate than elsewhere in the UK: down 57% since 1994.

Changes in pasture management and the loss of arable and fodder crops grown in our uplands are thought to lie behind these changes.

Oystercatcher, Golden Plover, Lapwing and Curlew are all in trouble too, with the 50 declining species only marginally counterbalanced by 61 increasing birds.

This week, southbound waders, heading for Africa after the Arctic breeding season, stopped to feed along our coasts: Green Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Knot, Dunlin and Blacktailed Godwits were at RSPB Conwy over the weekend, while a Mediterranean Gull here may be the same as one found at Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay, on Monday.

Spotted Redshanks were at Connah's Quay reserve, while a Great White Egret was lower down the Dee estuary, at RSPB Point of Ayr.

A Roseate Tern was at NWWT Cemlyn Bay on Saturday, probably one of several seen at RSPB The Skerries this summer.

A Purple Sandpiper was an unseasonal arrival on Bardsey - they are usually associated with the depths of winter.

Birding events are on the Daily Post website.

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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 14, 2016
Words:302
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