Great white egrets have made a recent reappearance on the reserve, almost exactly a year after they started to arrive last year (photo of two of last years birds by Mel Hughes). This time, at least four arrived at once on 24/6 and most of these seem to be hanging around with at least two or three birds being seen daily since.
For the first time a ringed bird has given us some indication of where these birds might be coming from and how far they are dispersing from their breeding colonies, with one individual originating from RSPB Ham Wall reserve in the Somerset levels. We know that the bird is a female, the largest of a brood of three and was ringed on 23/4 at just over 2 weeks old making it 11 weeks old at the time of arriving at Conwy. Interestingly this was the first time a bird had been recorded moving to Wales from the Somerset levels since the ringing project began there in 2016.
Another highlight over the past few weeks was a pair of avocets which were on the estuary on 5/6, a very good record for the reserve with only nine previous records and the first since November 2009.
Other notable waders included more little ringed plovers on several days throughout June, individual spotted redshank, greenshank and black-tailed godwit present on 26/6, whimbrel on 27/6, along with redshank and curlew which have been gradually building up in number again in recent weeks as autumn migration begins. A pair of common sandpiper have also been present throughout and have been showing signs of breeding activity around the river Ganol.
The variety of wildfowl has also increased slightly with the arrival of a small number of teal, and recent sightings of a family group of 11 goosander on the estuary. Three wigeon have remained on the reserve throughout the summer, while the usual influx of feral Canada and greylag geese has seen several hundred birds arrive to moult on the reserve which occurs annually at this time of year.
Another osprey was seen over the reserve on 7/6 adding to a good number of previous sightings earlier in the spring, and it's been a very good few weeks for red kite records here with sightings on 15 dates including three birds seen together on 24/6, perhaps due to birds breeding closer to the reserve than usual in the Conwy valley.
A variety of butterflies have been recorded with notable sightings including holly blue, brimstone, large skipper, small heath and the first meadow browns beginning to appear.
Dragonflies have included emperor, common darter and broad bodied and four-spotted chasers.
Male and female ghost moths (Jonni Price)
Meanwhile moth trapping took place on 5/6 and 19/6 with 68 species recorded including ghost moths, elephant and small elephant hawk moths, pale prominent and white ermine to name a few. To celebrate National Moth Night 2021 we will be holding a 'Moth Morning' on Sunday 11th July, so if you'd like to see a variety of moth species up close then please take a look at our website or ask at the reserve for details on how to book. This also marks the return of public events on the reserve after a gap of well over a year!
Large elephant hawk moth (Jonni Price)
Pale prominent (Jonni Price)
White ermine (Jonni Price)
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