Puffin – 1949

Fratercula arctica grabae

Mathew considered it “by far the most numerous” bird on the Pembrokeshire list, describing the colony at Grassholm as contain “countless numbers” which “on rising and flying overhead, for the moment completely shaded the sun”.  In 1890 J.J.Neale estimated over half a million puffins at Grassholm.  In 1946 there were scarcely 50 pairs.  The decline in numbers at Grassholm seems to be related to the great increase at Skokholm in the same period. 

In the reign of Queen Elizabeth vast numbers bred on Ramsey, which has since been abandoned.  The same may be said of Caldey.  It breeds sparingly on a few isolated stacks and cliffs along the mainland coast, but its main stations are Skomer and Skokholm, where they are so numerous that is is difficult to form an estimate of the total force.  It is probably not less than one hundred thousand pairs.

R.M.Lockley, G.C.S.Ingram, H.M.Salmon, 1949, The Birds of Pembrokeshire, The West Wales Field Society 

More about the Puffin in Pembrokeshire