Scaup – 1994

Aythya marila – HWYADEN BENDDU – Winter visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded in May

Mathew (1894) considered the Scaup to be a common visitor that could be encountered offshore in “huge flocks”. Lockley et al. (1949) also considered it a common winter visitor, chiefly to Milford Haven, and stated that it was frequent at Orielton where up to 20 were seen at a time. The implication is that Scaup were no longer to be found in huge flocks offshore. Lloyd only encountered Scaup once during his extensive wanderings in Pembrokeshire during the 1920s and 1930s, recording three at Fishguard Harbour on 24 April 1935.

Up to 30 migrating Scaup per annum have been seen passing Strumble Head during October and November in eight of the last ten years. The bulk of winter records fall into the period from December to March. The average number reported in any one winter between 1949 and 1984 was just four birds, with an exceptional 13 in 1968. They became slightly more common and widespread during the cold spells of the 1980s, with an average of 50 birds per year, maximum gatherings being 28 at Amroth in February of 1986 and 1991 and at Newgale in December 1988. Most recent winter records are from St Bride’s Bay, the Amroth—Saundersfoot area of Carmarthen Bay and in the outer Cleddau Estuary between Llanstadwell and Dale. They have also turned up at freshwater sites, most frequently at Bosherston Pools but occasionally at Llysyfran reservoir, Jordanston Pools and Marloes Mere.

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

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