Buzzard – 1894

Buteo vulgaris – BWNCATH

There are so many Boncaths in the county, either hamlets or inns, that we have in this fact a sure witness to the former abundance of the Common Buzzard in Pembrokeshire, “Boncath” being the Welsh name of the bird. At the present day we are only able to state that there are a few Buzzards left in the county, and that there may be possibly still some half dozen nesting stations of the bird on the islands, and on the cliffs along the coast.

We have seen the Buzzard at Stone Hall, and have several times spared it when we have been Woodcock shooting in warm bottoms not far from the sea. The bird has flown foolishly up to us, or has crossed low over head, presenting an easy shot. We have seen a Buzzard’s nest on a cliff on Ramsey Island, and possess an egg from it, one of a clutch taken by Mr. Mortimer Propert. All the Pembrokeshire Buzzards’ eggs that we have seen are large in size, the one we have is larger than any in a long series of continental eggs in our cabinet, but, as the Rev. C. M. Phelps remarks, “they are not as a rule richly marked.” The Rev. C. M. Phelps agrees with us in estimating the present breeding stations of the Buzzard to be about six, and he adds that they are all on high cliffs.

Mr. Dix writes: “In May, 1866, I had the unexpected pleasure of seeing a pair of Buzzards at Llangranog, on the Cardiganshire coast, where I have no doubt they had a nest. I was first struck by their peculiar, plaintive note, greatly resembling the mewing of a kitten. Never having seen this bird on the wing before, and they being some 300 ft. above me, I was some time before I could be sure of the species. They were mobbed by several Crows and Jackdaws; as they wheeled and doubled about their rounded wings gave them a very unhawk-like appearance. I was glad to find they had selected so safe a nesting place, it being a shelving rock overgrown with ferns and grass.”

Mathew M.A. 1894, Birds of Pembrokeshire and its Islands

More about the Buzzard in Pembrokeshire