Pochard – 1994

Aythya ferina – HWYADEN BENGOCH – Winter visitor and passage migrant, has bred

Mathew (1894) considered the Pochard to be a not uncommon winter visitor but cites only a few scattered records. Mackworth Praed (1946) noted that it had decreased at Orielton, not more than 30 using the lake although formerly it had occurred in dozens. Lockley et al. (1949) regarded it as regular on the upper reaches of the Cleddau Estuary and occasional at Orielton. Saunders (1976) considered the species to be a winter visitor in small numbers but also noted a gathering of 80 at the newly constructed Llysyfran reservoir.

A pair bred at Orielton in 1959 and this remains the sole breeding record for Pembrokeshire.

Small numbers, up to ten at a time, pass off Strumble Head between August and November with a corresponding build-up in the county which peaks between late November and December, with influxes sometimes occurring in cold spells in January and February. Many farm irrigation reservoirs have been constructed in the potato growing areas of Pembrokeshire in recent years and these have become attractive to Pochards. Small parties of up to ten can be found scattered across such waters throughout the winter. Most of the larger waters in the county regularly attract Pochards, additional birds arriving to join them during cold spells. The largest gatherings noted have been 89 at Bicton, 327 at Llysyfran reservoir and 462 at Bosherston Pools.

Departure is mainly in March though occasional birds can linger, and an injured male has summered at Bosherston Pools for several years.

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

PRAED, C.W. MACKWORTH. 1946. Orielton decoy ringing station report. London, The International Committee for Bird Preservation

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

More about the Pochard in Pembrokeshire