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Clwydian Hills AONB (1 Viewer)

glennmanc

Well-known member
I am starting this record of my “local patch” which lies within the Clwydians Hill AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; national designation) and includes part of the Alyn and Chwiler Living Landscape (North Wales Wildlife Trust Designation). See attached Map below.

I will start with my own list of bird sightings over many years past and will add regular updates. Please feel free to add your own observations and, especially to record any bird sightings, recent or historical, that will add to the list of 118 species below.

Whooper Swan Unusual sighting of 2 on Star Crossing pool very briefly
Mute Swan One fly-over
Greylag Goose Common all year, nesting
Canada Goose Common all year, nesting
Shelduck One fly-over
Mandarin Duck A single male on Star Crossing pool was my only sighting
Wigeon Once only on Star Crossing pool
Teal Frequent on Star Crossing pool from late Sep to mid-April; max 52
Mallard Nesting in all wetland areas
Gadwall Winter visitor, Ysceifiog Lake
Shoveler Often makes a brief stop-over in winter; max 18
Tufted Duck A few pairs nest and larger numbers winter
Goosander Small flocks usually stay for a while in early winter; max 14
Pheasant Released locally and present all year
Red-legged Partridge Rarely seen, but present (5 records)
Black Grouse Nests near Moel Famau, but rarely seen
Red Grouse Less common than Black Grouse (not seen recently)
Quail Rare; heard calling once in the 1990s (July)
Cormorant An occasional flyover in winter
Little Egret Seen 1-2x only
Grey Heron Often seen, at any time of year
Little Grebe Nested in 2016 and 2018
Black-necked Grebe Once only in the Wheeler valley
Red Kite Seen 3-4 times a year
Hen Harrier Very rare on passage (not seen this century!)
Marsh Harrier Twice on passage
Goshawk Rarely seen
Sparrowhawk Common locally, but secretive in summer
Buzzard Very common, seen daily in good numbers
Woodcock Last seen several years ago, now uncommon
Snipe One fly-over
Moorhen Nests on larger ponds and lakes
Coot Usually present on any pond, nesting
Lapwing Often present in summer, probably tries to nest locally
Curlew Seen 2x on passage in April
Little Ringed Plover One spring migrant on Star Crossing pool
Black-headed Gull Sometimes joins Common Gulls in winter
Common Gull Large numbers in fields in winter only
Lesser Black-backed Gull Common flyover
Herring Gull Common flyover
Great Black-backed Gull Occasional flyover
Stock Dove Quite common but local (northern part of AONB)
Woodpigeon Abundant throughout
Collared Dove Common near human settlements
Short-eared Owl Seen a few times when it nested ca 10 years ago
Tawny Owl Common nesting bird in woodland
Cuckoo One or two pairs in the hills in summer
Swift Frequent in summer or on passage; max 33
Kingfisher Seen on pools and on the River Alyn
Nightjar Uncommon and local in upland pine forest clearings
Green Woodpecker Uncommon in the hills
GreatSpotted Woodpecker Very common nesting bird in woodland
Kestrel Common in the hills only
Hobby Seen twice on passage
Peregrine Infrequent; seen more often when nesting locally
Chough A once-only sighting of 2 birds calling in flight
Magpie All too common
Jay Fairly common in wooded areas
Jackdaw Abundant throughout
Rook Abundant throughout
Carrion Crow Abundant throughout
Raven Common resident as singles or pairs
Goldcrest Common
Blue Tit Abundant throughout
Great Tit Abundant throughout
Marsh Tit Now quite uncommon, nested Pantymwyn in 2009
Coal Tit Common throughout
Skylark Breeds thinly in the hills
Sand Martin Nests in nearby sand pits
Swallow Nests in farm buildings
House Martin Nests near human settlements
Long-tailed Tit Quite common
Wood Warbler Uncommon nesting visitor to open woodland (declined)
Chiffchaff Common throughout
Willow Warbler Common in uplands and scrub
Blackcap Common nesting bird in woodland
Garden Warbler A rather sparse nesting visitor
Whitethroat Common in open country
Lesser Whitethroat Nested in Pantymwyn up to 2014, at least
Grasshopper Warbler Once or twice on spring passage
Sedge Warbler Nesting 1-2x near River Alyn
Nuthatch Common nesting bird in woodland
Treecreeper Fairly common in woodland, inconspicuous
Wren Abundant throughout
Starling Nests sparsely near villages/farms
Dipper Nests on River Alyn at Loggerheads and elsewhere
Ring Ouzel Regular spring migrant in the hills, late March- early May
Blackbird Abundant throughout
Fieldfare Sporadically common winter visitor to higher ground
Song Thrush Common nesting bird in woodland
Redwing Fairly common winter visitor, sometimes in large flocks
Mistle Thrush Common nesting bird in woodland
Spotted Flycatcher Uncommon, usually near buildings in summer
Pied Flycatcher Nests sparsely in woodland (once used garden nestboxes!)
Robin Abundant throughout
Redstart A common nesting bird in the hills
Whinchat Now uncommon on passage, rarely nesting
Stonechat Fairly common nesting bird in the hills
Wheatear A few pairs nest in the hills, declining
Dunnock Abundant throughout
House Sparrow Common near human settlements
Tree Sparrow Very sparse resident in farmland
Grey Wagtail Nests on the River Alyn
Pied Wagtail Fairly common, mostly in the hills
Meadow Pipit Nests in the hills, winter flocks in lower fields
Tree Pipit Very sparse upland nesting visitor
Brambling Regular winter visitor in small numbers at Pantywmyn
Chaffinch Abundant throughout
Bullfinch Fairly common, almost abundant in Pantywmyn
Greenfinch Common resident
Linnet Fairly common in the hills
Lesser Redpoll Nests in upland pine woods, winter visitor to feeders
Crossbill Regular nesting bird in upland pine forests
Goldfinch Very common throughout
Siskin Nests in stands of pine, winter visitor to feeders
Yellowhammer Locally fairly common but sparse generally
Reed Bunting Uncommon nesting bird (little suitable habitat)
 

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Peugeot

Well-known member
What a great Patch to choose, with some cracking birds on your list.......


It's good to see another Patch worker, who's prepared to share their sightings in North Wales on this Forum,.....please keep posting regularly.......
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
June 23rd, 2018. It's been quite a while since I walked through the pine forests towards Moel Famau at Bwlch Pen Baras. I remember finding a reeling Grasshopper Warbler near the car park on the pass many years ago. Today, I was very pleased to find a family party of 6+ Crossbills close to the path, very noisy and including the stripey juveniles to confirm successful breeding. Siskins were also common in the same place, feeding on the same recently-opened pine cones. Down in the valley, where the forest is more open, a single Garden Warbler was trying to compete with the many Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers. Another surprise was a Golden-ringed Dragonfly which caught a bee on a foxglove flower and proceeded to eat it. Since it looked like good Nightjar habitat, I returned at dusk (10.30-11pm these days), walked to the valley and found a reeling male. I needn't have walked so far because another Nightjar was calling closer to the car park when I returned.
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
June 25th: Early start (well, 7am anyway) this morning for a walk from Bwylch Pen Baras along the main path towards Moel Famau. Joggers were there before me, so little chance of seeing a Black or Red Grouse along the track - or so I thought! A jogger passed me, kindly sharing his loud music, and shortly afterwards a male Red Grouse with big red eyebrows walked onto the track in front of me. Otherwise, the birdlife was dominated by Meadow Pipits and Linnets, plus 2 singing Skylarks and a family of Stonechats.Even from near the car park, the views here are magnificent, stretching from the Horseshoe Pass, over the Berwyns with Cader Idris in the distance, then across the wonderful Mynydd Hiraethog with the 3 ranges of Snowdonia showing up behind, and finally the sea at Abergele decorated with dozens of giant white arrows of wind power.
 
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glennmanc

Well-known member
What a great Patch to choose, with some cracking birds on your list.......


It's good to see another Patch worker, who's prepared to share their sightings in North Wales on this Forum,.....please keep posting regularly.......

I envy the Shotton Steelworks site - "permit-only" isn't it - do you ever have "Open Days"?
 

Peugeot

Well-known member
I envy the Shotton Steelworks site - "permit-only" isn't it - do you ever have "Open Days"?


There are no Open Day's here, and as you correctly say, it's strictly by Permit Holder only, with no public access whatsoever, I'm afraid.
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
July 1st, 2018. A Little Ringed Plover turned up to join the Lapwings at Star Crossing Pool today and a single Little Grebe was still feeding the one remaining chick from the original litter.
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
July 3rd, 2018. Took my telescope to the Star Crossing Pool to make sure of the "Little Ringed Plover" and found I had mistaken it for a Lapwing chick. How embarassing! There were 3 chicks today feeding at the pool edge with the parents (presumably) standing unconcerned a few yards away. If they had paid more attention to their offspring, I might have suspected earlier. This is really good news for a species that is losing its old habitats in Flintshire. Let's hope the Grey Heron stays away for a while. The single remaining Little Grebe chick, now full-grown, seemed to be alone - I wonder if the parents are starting a 2nd brood on a nearby pool.
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
July 6th, 2018. Nercwys Forest is a traditional spot for Nightjars, but I've had little luck with them in recent years. Last night, at 10.15PM, I had good views of one that landed on a branch above my head, after flying around an open area and once giving its wing-clapping display. Tawny Owls usually call just before the Nightjars start to sing, and though I heard nothing last night I did see one later at 10.30PM perched on telegraph pole as I drove back towards Mold. I saw another Tawny Owl morning at 10.30AM, roosting in pines near Pen-y-cloddiau and being mobbed by blackbirds, song thrushes, nuthatch and chiffchaff. Meanwhile, over at the Star Crossing Pool, the 3 Lapwing chicks are still intact and their parents don't let the Jackdaws get too close.
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
July 15th, 2018. Great news that the 3 Lapwing chicks were nearly full-grown today and reasonably-safe from most predators. Together with the Little Grebe chick and 7-8 Mallard ducklings, not a bad season for a small farm pool, even though an algal bloom almost covers its surface.
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
July 17th A walk from Pantymwyn down to Devil's Gorge at the river Alyn gave a fairly standard list of birds for the time of year:
Pheasant 1
Woodpigeon 14
Collared Dove 1
Swift 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
Magpie 3
Jay 3
Jackdaw 10
Carrion Crow 9
Blue Tit 9
Great Tit 6
Coal Tit 1
House Martin 4
Chiffchaff 2
Nuthatch 2
Wren 2
Blackbird 12
Robin 4
Dunnock 6
House Sparrow 9
Chaffinch 4
Bullfinch 7 Recently fledged (FL)
Greenfinch 7
Goldfinch 4
Siskin 2
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
July 20th, 2018. Perhaps the young Lapwings are not entirely safe, after all - this morning a male Peregrine circled the pool as I watched and was chased away by one of the adult Lapwings. This was my first Peregrine at this location. After circling for a minute or so, it closed its wings and plunged out of sight, but within 30 seconds it had re-appeared and the chase by the Lapwing was repeated. After the intruder was finally (?) driven off, the Lapwing displayed over the pond for a full minute before doing its own closed-wing plunge to the ground.
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
July 21st. Three recently-fledged Siskins at a Pantymwyn feeder today. Nice to see successful breeding in an area dominated by broadleaved woodland, with coniferous patches.
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
July 24th, 2018. At 7AM, as I watched the latest brood of young bullfinches on a Pantymwyn feeder, a male sparrowhawk snatched one of them and held it on the ground for about 20 secs before flying off with it. Meanwhile, over at Star Crossing, the 3 young Lapwings are looking good, almost able to fly, to judge by the wing-flapping.
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
July 27th, 2018 This morning I did a circular tour along the "Precipice" part of the Leete path. Near the start of the path on Trial Hill, I heard a sharp "pitch-eu" and glimpsed a tit with a brown back, black cap and very white throat as it flew away. This was the first Marsh Tit I have seen for quite a few years in Pantymwyn, though they have nested on some of my more regular walking routes in the past (once in a telegraph pole near Cefn Bychan Woods!).
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
July 29th, 2018. A wet and windy Sunday in Pantymwyn but I ventured out around 3PM, not expecting to find much, but there are always surprises. Today the surprise was a juvenile Stonechat in a garden behind Cefn Bychan. They are common enough in the Clwydian hills but it may be the first I've seen on this side of the Alun valley.
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
Aug 5th, 2018. A walk up the Cilcain moors this morning seemed to have little out of the ordinary - just a stream of migrating swallows to join the usual kestrels, buzzards and ravens.Then a Cuckoo appeared, mobbed by swallows, and landed on a bush. It was clearly a juvenile bird and I wondered whether it was a local bird or a migrant from further north. The answer came when a Meadow Pipit foster parent landed on the Cuckoo's back and fed something into its begging orange gape.
 

Peugeot

Well-known member
Aug 5th, 2018. A walk up the Cilcain moors this morning seemed to have little out of the ordinary - just a stream of migrating swallows to join the usual kestrels, buzzards and ravens.Then a Cuckoo appeared, mobbed by swallows, and landed on a bush. It was clearly a juvenile bird and I wondered whether it was a local bird or a migrant from further north. The answer came when a Meadow Pipit foster parent landed on the Cuckoo's back and fed something into its begging orange gape.


Wonderful!...........I've never seen a juvenile Cuckoo being fed in 'real life' by it's foster parent, I, like most people, have only ever seen it on the television,.....you're very lucky.
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
Aug 22nd 2018. Not much to report in the Pantymwyn area, except that the Lapwing family is still there on the Star Crossing Pool, all 5 of them, and my first Common Gull of the coming winter season flew over it. Sparrowhawk sightings are back to "normal" levels after the summer secrecy, including a juvenile male mobbed by a larger Magpie. I made a small contribution to the NWWT Scything Event in Pantymwyn last week, where we managed to clear about half a large field and turn it into bales of hay. Let's hope it has a visible positive effect on the wild flowers next spring.
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
Sep 13th 2018. An adult Hobby glided slowly across the Cilcain Road in Pantymwyn at 10AM this morning, heading for the Alyn Valley. The sunny weather gave such good lighting that its reddish undertail could be seen at a distance.
 

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