Purple Sandpiper – 1994

Calidris maritima – PIBYDD DU – Principally a winter visitor

Mathew (1894) described the Purple Sandpiper as an autumn visitor while Lockley et al. (1949) refer to it occurring all around the year, even in summer.

It can be very inconspicuous as it picks over weed- covered rocks and delves into the nooks and crannies of the Pembrokeshire coastline at places such as the Furzenips, Little Haven, Fishguard breakwater and all of the islands. Mathew mentions that it “may easily escape observation, and only a naturalist familiar with its habits would be competent to detect it”. It is, therefore, difficult to assess how many are present but records suggests a total of about 40 are present in small groups of up to ten along the mainland coast, and that the offshore islands of Grassholm, Skokholm and Skomer may contain as many again, as does the Smalls, where up to 47 have been counted. Numbers are highest between November and April but a few can be found throughout the year.

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

More about the Purple Sandpiper in Pembrokeshire