Spoonbill – 1994

Platalea leucorodia – LLWYBIG – Occasional visitor

“On highe trees the heronflewes, the floveler”. This brief reference by George Owen (1603) records that the Spoonbill bred in Pembrokeshire during Elizabethan times. Mathew (1894) described it as “an occasional visitor — not very rare”, sometimes occurring in groups of up to seven birds, such as those at Goodwick in 1856 and at Mullock Bridge in 1885. He also noted that 11 were shot around Milford Haven in 1854 and 1855. Lockley et al. (1949) added records of birds on the Pembroke River in 1911, two at Milford Haven in 1927, one at Dowrog on 20 October 1928 and three together at Slebech in May 1931.

Since then up to two have been recorded in 12 years, mainly at the Cleddau Estuary, most frequently at the Gann and Angle Bay, but also at the Nevern and Teifi estuaries, Skokholm and Skomer. Colour-ringed juveniles seen on the Teifi Estuary in 1974 and on the Cleddau Estuary in 1988 had been marked as nestlings in Holland. Most occurrences are probably of juveniles initially dispersing from their continental breeding grounds and thereafter wandering about during immaturity. The two which arrived on the Cleddau Estuary from September to October 1988 overwintered, one remaining until 8 June 1989. Both returned in July and stayed into March 1990, one until 30 April. A colour-ringed adult from Holland was seen at Skomer on 11 May 1992.

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

More about the Spoonbill in Pembrokeshire