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Clwydian Hills AONB (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Apr 14th. It looks as if the easterly winds are holding back the departure of the Bramblings, so if you have the chance, take a look at the 15-20 birds that are haunting the hedgerows on the paved path from Pantymwyn down to Devil's Gorge - just follow the buzzing and squeaking. I did my "Early Visit" to Gwysaney near Mold for the BTO-Breeding Birds Survey this morning, and found a strange combination of winter (bitterly cold!) and spring: to confuse the BBS, 6 Bramblings and a Redpoll were still winter visitors along with large flocks of Herring Gulls and a remarkable couple of Little Egrets in a field by the Mold-Denbigh road. For spring arrivals, there were singing Redstart, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and (probably migrating) a single Willow Warbler.


Well-known member
Late April-Late May
It looks as if April 25th may have been my last date for Brambling in Pantymwyn but pairs of both Redpolls and Siskins continue to visit feeders throughout May. A male Pied Flycatcher had already returned to its stronghold in the Chwiler Valley by April 19th and another was at Loggerheads on May 1st. Wood Warblers returned to Bryn Alyn in good numbers by May 3rd, easy to locate by their distinctive song, but less easy to spot among the new leaves. On May 15th, a male Mandarin Duck was on the river Alyn at Devil's Gorge, the first I've ever seen in Pantymwyn.
The Annual Bird Walk on May 5th this year ranged over Mynydd Hiraethog, the Clwydian Hills and Connah's Quay Nature Reserve (the last of which failed to provide the hoped-for abundance of wildfowl and waders), starting with the NWWT Dawn Chorus at 4.30AM.
Trying to get a high score of birds, 80 species were found (a better day at CQNR would have given 90+):
Canada Goose
Greylag Goose
Mute Swan
Tufted Duck
Black Grouse (Brenig)
Red Grouse (Brenig)
Red-legged Partridge
Little Grebe
Great Crested Grebe (Brenig)
Grey Heron
Little Egret
Osprey (Brenig)
Little Ringed Plover (Brenig)
Common Sandpiper
Black-headed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Common Tern
Stock Dove
Collared Dove
Tawny Owl
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Carrion Crow
Coal Tit
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Sand Martin
House Martin
Willow Warbler
Wood Warbler
Garden Warbler
Song Thrush
Mistle Thrush
Pied Flycatcher
House Sparrow
Pied/White Wagtail
Meadow Pipit
Lesser Redpoll
Patience can be rewarded at the road bridges over the river Alyn around Mold. On April 21st, a Dipper flew 10ft above my head before dropping down to the river, while on May 22nd, I had to wait only 5 min before a Kingfisher flashed over the surface and under the bridge. The same day at the Star Crossing pool, a Fox had caught a large male Pheasant just as I arrived and was carrying it off to feed its young. As I approached some nearby woodland, I heard frantic calls from blackbirds and chaffinches, so I knew what to expect, but I've never had such a good view of a Tawny Owl, perched erect on a tree branch only 10 yards away. It looked at me for about 5 seconds before dropping down.
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Well-known member
Oct 21st 2019. No posts since spring, so a relatively uneventful summer, although the local Peregrines did breed successfully. Now things are starting to pick up. The Common Gulls are back with a roost of 470 in a field near Cilcain this morning and visible migration of Redwings in flocks of 20-40 was underway. In Pantymwyn village, I counted 54 Redwing yesterday, mixed with Song Thrushes, Mistle Thrushes and Blackbirds, feeding on haws and rowans. On the Star Crossing pool, only a couple of Little Grebes so far, but the Fforest Farm pool near Cilcain had 20 Mallard and a Wigeon this morning. Large numbers of Woodpigeon are also on the move in the area


Well-known member
Oct 6th 2020. A year since my last post and, apart from being locked-down in Flintshire, notable how little has changed. The influx of Blackbirds, beginnings of Common Gull overflights and Goosanders (20 redheads today!) on the Star Crossing pool are happening again. One "new" species for the list was a brief Green Sandpiper at Star Crossing a couple of weeks ago. Raptors did well this year and I can't wait for the proposed release of Golden Eagles in Snowdonia (they will certainly be looking for somewhere a bit more peaceful).
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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)
Update in Jan 2022:
Another 28 species brings the area total to 118+27 = 145 spp, + 4 historical recrds

Pochard A male on Star Crossing Pool on 9/11/20

Goldeneye Flock of 2 males and 5 females on Star Crossing Pool on 7/11/13

Grey partridge. PenyCloddiau in 2015 and between Nannerch & Afonwen in 2016.

Water Rail Rhydymwyn Nature Reserve in 2013, 2014 and 2018.

Great Crested Grebe Last seen Ysceifiog Lake in 2009 and Llyn Gweryd in 2019

Osprey Moel Famau in April 2005

Honey Buzzard Pen y Cloddiau in Sep 2009

Rough-legged Buzzard Pen Y Cloddiau in Oct 2010

Jack Snipe Pen Y Cloddiau in 2009, 2011 and 2013

Dotterel Pen Y Cloddiau in April 2011

Dunlin 5 at Star Crossing on 4/5/21

Common Sandpiper. One near Afonwen on 28/10/14.

Green Sandpiper Two at Star Crossing in 2021 and one at Rhydymwyn in 2022

Golden Plover Passage records at Glyn Arthur in 2008 and Moel Eithinen in 2017 .

Ringnecked Parakeet A pair near Rhydymwyn on 2010

Barn Owl Nested at Rhydymwyn in 2021

Little Owl Bred Rhydymwyn and Pen Y Cloddiau in 2016.

Hoopoe. Cilcain in 2001 and Afonwen in 2016

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Most recent at Rhydymwyn in winters of 2014 and 2017

Merlin Last nested successfully in 1999.

Waxwing 12 at Cilcain on 4/3/09

Willow Tit Most recent records at Afonwen in 2013, 2016 and 2017

Reed Warbler. Rhydymwyn Reserve in 2015

Firecrest One in Cilcain 10/12/06

Yellow Wagtail One in Pantymwyn in 2021

Hawfinch Most recent was one in Nannerch churchyard on 26/12/14.

Snow Bunting. 2 at Moel Famau in 2004 and one at PenYCloddiau in 2010.

Redbacked Shrike One on Moel Famau in 1993

Emperor Goose. Llyn Gweryd 1991 Wildfowl Trust Survey

Lesser White-fronted Goose Llyn Gweryd 1991 Wildfowl Trust Survey

Black-crowned Night Heron One flying over Ddôl Uchaf towards Ysceifiog Lake at dusk in 1993.

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