Shoveler – 1994

Anas clypeata – HWYADEN LYDANBIG – Winter visitor and sparse breeder

Breeding confirmed2
Breeding probable
Breeding possible
No of tetrads occupied2 (of 478)
Percentage of tetrads0.4%

Mathew (1894) regarded the Shoveler as being “not very common”. Mackworth Praed (1946) writing about Orielton decoy stated that the Shoveler was comparatively rare before 1914 but “now 100 pairs is a very normal count” while Lockley et al. (1949) described it as a “not very numerous winter visitor” but regular at Orielton. Lockley (1956) noted that unusual numbers of Shovelers visited Orielton in December 1955, with at least 300 there on 28 December, the largest gathering recorded in the county. Subsequently it has remained a scarce winter visitor, the only locality used with great regularity being Marloes Mere. At this site they are difficult to count because of the extensive cover, but up to 50 are seen most winters. The islands of Skokholm and Skomer and the pond at Trefeiddan Pool are used as staging posts during the spring departure. Up to six have occurred erratically elsewhere in the county, mostly near the coast at localities such as Dowrog, Bosherston Pools and the Cleddau Estuary.

Lockley et al. (1949) list Angle, Castle Martin Corse, Dowrog and St David’s as breeding localities. Breeding was suspected at several sites during the 1970s. Saunders (1976) classified the Shoveler as a casual breeder and notes that “there have been several reports of breeding in the south of the county”. They were proved to be breeding at Skokholm and at Marloes Mere during the Breeding Birds Survey of 1984-1988, at Skokholm in 1991 and 1992 and at Skomer in 1989, 1990 and 1992.

Ringing recoveries from Orielton have shown that some of our winter Shovelers come from breeding grounds such as the Volga and Petchora rivers on the western Siberian Plain.

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

LOCKLEY R. M. 1961. The south-west peninsula. Nature in Wales 7: 124-133

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 Shoveler in Pembrokeshire