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bird NOTES.

Byline: by Alan Davies Conwy RSPB

WITH 2005 fast drawing to a close, it is a good time to look back over the birdwatching year and look forward to 2006 and what might be.

January 2005 saw the wintering Richard's pipit at Kinmel Bay and snow buntings at Pensarn. It had been an exceptional winter for waxwings and numbers at Ruthin built up with over 100 of these wonderful birds showing off around the craft centre.

In February, a great grey shrike was at World's End above Llangollen but it proved elusive to many. The month's most amazing report was of a black browed albatross flying north past The Range near South Stack. Easier to see was a first winter Iceland gull at Llandulas.

March provided a male marsh harrier and glaucous gull lingering on Anglesey. The mid-month appearance of the season's first wheatears foretold the arrival of spring.

April produced the first new rarity of the year, a female blue winged teal at Cob Pool, Malltraeth, often showing well from the roadside.

Into May and an early visit to Conwy RSPB was rewarded with a female Kentish plover, the first I'd ever seen in Wales. Exciting news broke on May 22 when an American golden plover was found at Cemlyn Lagoon. The last day of the month produced a short toed lark at Towyn. June 10 was a real red-letter day for me when I was fortunate enough to find a great reed warbler at Conwy RSPB. This giant warbler stayed several days and, with patience, was seen by many birders. Not far away another major event was taking place - the first of two osprey chicks hatched in the Glaslyn Valley near Porthmadog. Thankfully, everything went well and both birds fledged successfully.

June kept up the pace with a terek sandpiper at Cemlyn Lagoon, only the second ever seen in Wales.

It wasn't long before July burst into life with the staggering news of a sooty tern on Anglesey. This was a must-see bird and over the next three weeks thousands saw this wonderful visitor.

August was relatively quiet, but September will be remembered for the juvenile buff breasted sandpiper at Carmel Head, while October produced a scatter of yellow browed warblers, carried here on easterly winds from Siberia.

November saw the focus of Britain's birders again turn to Anglesey with the discovery of an American green heron at Red Wharf Bay. What an amazing bird, so colourful and tame.

As the year ended, it produced one more good bird, an adult laughing gull at Porthmadog. It's still there as I write, so it looks like being the first of 2006!

Latest news: Birdline, 09068 700249' Report sightings on: 01492 544588.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 29, 2005
Words:452
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