Leach’s Petrel – 1994

Oceanodroma leucorhoaPedryn-Drycin Gynffon FforchogProbably a regular visitor in variable numbers. Not recorded in January, March, April or August.

Mathew (1894) stated that “it is not very rare as a visitor in stormy weather”. Lockley et al. (1949) expressed surprise at this statement for they knew of only one occurrence “in the last fifty years”. Saunders (1976) stated that the Leach’s Petrel was normally “a rare storm driven visitor to the county” but drew attention to an exceptional wreck in October/ November 1952, when 88 dead and 5 live birds were noted along a 0.5 km stretch of Newgale Beach (Boyd 1952).

Post-Lockley et al., and the 1952 wreck apart, Leach’s Petrels were recorded on only five occasioris offshore up to 1980, while one or two were found visiting Storm Petrel colonies at Skokholm in May to July of the years 1966, 1976-1978, 1980 and 1989. Single birds were noted at Fowborough in the Cleddau Estuary on 6 February 1983 and at the Smalls on 24 September 1983, but regular sea-watching at Strumble Head since 1980 has indicated that a few occur most years, probably every year. Up to ten are usually seen between September and November and they become more numerous during north-west gales; for example, 109 passed Strumble Head on 13 September 1988. Severe gales in late December 1989 resulted in singles being seen at Newgale and Wiseman’s Bridge and at Angle Bay six were seen.

Donovan J.W. & Rees G.H, 1994, Birds of Pembrokeshire

BOYD, H. 1952. The “wreck” of Leach’s Petrel in the autumn of 1952. British Birds 47: 137-163.

SAUNDERS, D.R. 1976. A brief guide to the birds of Pembrokeshire. Five Arches Press.

More about the Leach’s Petrel in Pembrokeshire