This singular bird, whose first appearance in the British Isles was noted early in July, 1859, at Tremadoc, at the north end of Cardigan Bay, was observed in Pembrokeshire at each of its great visitations in 1863 and 1888. A female bird was shot near Haverfordwest, February 8th, 1864; and is recorded in Professor Newton’s excellent account of the first immigration of the species to this country in the volume of the Ibis for 1854, page 211.
The Haverfordwest specimen was the last reported occurrence of this bird in Great Britain on its first visitation. Sir Hugh Owen has informed us that a Sand-Grouse was shot in Pembrokeshire, in the spring of 1870; this occurrence is singular, as no other Sand-Grouse is recorded from the British Isles in the year 1870. In the second, and still more numerous irruption of Pallas’s Sand-Grouse, in 1888, a female was shot in the parish of Ambleston, on 28th May in that year; and about that date, we heard from Mr. Mortimer Propert that some “strange birds” had been seen near St. David’s, that were probably a flock of Sand-Grouse.
The home of this species is to be found on the steppes of Tartary, and the cause which induced it to wander so far away, and in such numbers, is quite unknown.
NB – this account is as it appears in the original book. However, it seems likely that the reference to the Ibis for 1854 is a ‘typo’ and should be 1864.