In midwinter, it can be tempting to wrap up in a duvet and curl up until spring. But the new year brings fresh impetus for birders; the yearlist is wiped clean and we start again for 2015. Top of many local birders' list is firecrest, at least one of which is still here today, though keeping low in the scrub during the blustery conditions, and the Cetti's warbler was heard from the Bridge Pond area this morning. The first woodcock of the year was seen here too this morning.
A couple of choughs are seen most mornings, at first light, flying southeast towards Glan Conwy, and it's great to see a couple of kestrels hunting over the saltmarsh regularly, the first in many months, much to the demonstrable annoyance of the carrion crows, ravens and buzzards. If you're aged over 30, you'll remember when kestrels were a common sight hovering over roadside verges; sadly, we've lost one-third of our kestrels since 1995, and at Conwy, we tend to see them only in the winter, when they move down from the surrounding hillsides.
On the lagoons, goldeneyes and red-breasted mergansers feed and display (and mate); small numbers of pochards and shovelers are here, and a goosander was reported on Saturday (3rd).
A great crested grebe has been on the lagoon for a couple of weeks now; could this be one of our breeding birds back already, or is it a wintering bird choosing our slightly more sheltered location over the stormy seas?
Bullfinches are very evident at the moment, with small groups of three or four feeding on various parts of the reserve. Siskin has been a scarce visitor this winter, though a male was seen on Thursday (8th). Water rails are more easily heard than seen, although one beneath the feeders in the Wildlife Garden this week was taking advantage of the leftovers chucked away by the busy blue tits and chaffinches.
Don't forget that the Big Garden Birdwatch is on 24/25 January, when we can all help take stock of our garden birds; it take just one hour, and you can register here. Next weekend (17/18 January), why not join us for our Get Ready for Big Garden Birdwatch, when we'll have lots of activities and advice. It's all free - just turn up between 11am and 3pm. Click on the link for details.