Redstart – 1994

Phoenicurus phoenicurus – TINGOCH – Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded from December to March

Breeding confirmed21
Breeding probable9
Breeding possible9
No of tetrads occupied39 (of 478)
Percentage of tetrads8.2%

The Redstart has long been regarded as a rare and erratic breeding bird in Pembrokeshire. Mathew (1894) recorded only two nests and Lockley et al. (1949) added two more breeding occurrences. Scattered breeding pairs were documented during the 1950s at sites including Minwear and Lawrenny. However, the Breeding Birds Survey of 1984-1988 found that Redstarts bred in stone walls all around the foothills of the Preseli Mountains, with about ten pairs scattered elsewhere in the county, including some in nest boxes at the Pengelli Forest Nature Reserve. The Preseli birds are very inconspicuous until their broods are out, the population of about 100 pairs being easily overlooked. Most nest close to settlements which makes them generally inaccessible, but some, such as those at the old slate quarry buildings at Rosebush, are more easily observed.

Redstarts are fairly sparse on passage, up to four being recorded at coastal sites, including Skokholm, Skomer and Strumble Head, between 2 April and 26 May, with occasional stragglers until 24 June. However, our breeding birds are normally back on the breeding grounds during the last month or so of passage, suggesting that the coastal birds are heading elsewhere. Autumn passage extends from July to 30 October, with up to five birds at a time, and over a wider area than in spring, with exceptional larger falls occurring, such as 20 at Skokholm on 21 September 1988. Singles were at Skokholm on 2 November 1968 and 6 November 1992 and a male was seen at St Non’s on 8 November 1987.

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

More about the Redstart in Pembrokeshire