19:15, 11 Oct 2016
Bird Notes columnist Julian Hughes of RSPB Conwy reveals what birds have been spotted in the past week and where to go birding in the coming days
When I was a young birder, a few birds shone colourfully from my first European bird book.
One didn’t just look amazing, it had a descriptive name that spoke of the Russian taiga: Red-flanked Bluetail.
But this piece of exotica was way out of my league: its nesting grounds lay behind the Iron Curtain and the handful ever to be seen in Britain were on remote Scottish islands.
But through the 1980s, their breeding range extended west into Finland, and then a friend found one in Dorset, and thousands of birdwatchers went to see this semi-mythical bird.
Bluetails have become more frequent visitors to Britain’s shores since that 1993 mega-star, with typically five each autumn.
Wales is not well-placed to find birds from the east, with just three previous Bluetail records, two of which were on Bardsey Island.
So, one found in a garden above Llandudno’s West Shore late on Monday afternoon drew an appreciative crowd, as it fed busily in the branches of a Sycamore.