Somateria mollissima – HWYADEN FWYTHBLU – Winter visitor and possible breeder
Mathew (1894) mentioned single birds at Stackpole (undated) and at Dale on 18 January 1891, and Lockley et al. (1949) could add no others. Eiders have appeared with increasing frequency since 1952, when four were at Dale during the second half of November. A few records refer to the Cleddau Estuary, the majority to the outer coast. Groups of up to eight settle in St Bride’s Bay in most winters, where they are most frequently seen at Newgale, and others have been seen off the south coast between Saundersfoot and Flimston, which probably come from the resident flock at Whiteford Point (West Glamorgan). The maximum gathering recorded in Pembrokeshire was of about 30 off the Green Bridge on 26 April 1984. Autumn birds seen in transit off Strumble Head may have originated in Ireland and include most of the adult males recorded.
It was suspected that Eiders attempted to breed at Caldey Island in the early 1980s, and a flightless group seen at St Govan’s Head in mid-July 1983 was probably a brood.