Ringed plover – 1994

Charadrius hiaticula – CWTIAD TORCHOG – Passage migrant, formerly bred

Breeding confirmed
Breeding probable
Breeding possible3
No of tetrads occupied3 (of 478)
Percentage of tetrads0.6%

The Ringed Plover nested at many places on the coast according to Mathew (1894), and was still a widespread breeder in the time of Lockley et al. (1949), who noted Newport, Newgale, Freshwater West and Tenby as localities. However, Lockley (1957) describes their status as “a few pairs nest where there are suitable banks of shingle and sand”. It has since become sporadic as a breeding species, suitable beaches being increasingly popular for human recreation. Other records are a pair nesting on the clifftop at St Govan’s in 1962, an occasional pair within the tank ranges of Castle Martin noted by Saunders (1976), four pairs breeding on bare ground in the Texaco Oil Refinery in 1978 and two pairs nesting at Linney Head and two more at the site of the old Esso oil refinery, Herbrandston, in 1992.

Mathew (1894) stated that large flocks arrive in the autumn and Lockley et al. (1949) that it was a numerous winter visitor. However, Lloyd’s records between 1925 and 1937 suggest a winter status similar to that of the present day. Counts from the Cleddau Estuary, the principal locality, demonstrate the general pattern and scale of occurrence. Peaks averaged 210 at the Cleddau between the winters of 1969/70 and 1975/76 (Prys-Jones 1989). Smaller numbers, up to 40, at the Teifi and Nevern estuaries follow a similar pattern. Elsewhere the Ringed Plover is erratic, and a survey of the outer coastline in 1985 located just 26 birds.

Small numbers are seen passing headlands, and occasionally visit the islands, in April and May and again between August and October. A chick ringed at Criccieth in 1957 was recovered on the Cleddau Estuary on10 March 1958.

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

LLOYD, B. 1925—1939. Diaries. National Library of Wales.

PRYS-JONES, R.P. 1989. The abundance and distribution of wildfowl and waders on the Cleddau. Report from the British Trust for Ornithology to the Nature Conservancy Council.

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

More about the Ringed Plover in Pembrokeshire