Woodlark – 1994

Lullula arboreaEhedydd y CoedFormer breeding resident, now an occasional visitor

Woodlarks were generally distributed in Pembrokeshire up to 1866 but their numbers were then severely depressed by the attention of bird catchers. They sold for 36 shillings a dozen, and in consequence were sought after to the point where Mathew (1894) feared they had nearly been obliterated from the county list.

Numbers recovered during the 1900s and Bertram Lloyd found them widespread during 1927 and 1928. His diaries note their disappearance following the severe winter of 1928/29, but encounters increased from 1931 to 1937.

Lockley et al. (1949) noted that the Woodlark was widely distributed on heath and moorland, particularly around the foothills of the Preseli Mountains, being scarcest in the extreme west. This continued to be the situation until the arctic winters of 1962 and 1963 virtually exterminated them. A pair reared young at Amroth in 1965 and five were seen near Brynberian in May 1967 but there has been no sign of breeding since.

The Woodlark is now only an occasional visitor, one or two being recorded in only nine years between 1970 and 1992, in March and April at Skokholm and Skomer, August and October at Skomer and October and November at Strumble Head. There are winter records of four at Stackpole, in February 1984, and one there in January 1987.

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

CONDER, P.J. 1954. Weather movements at Dale and Marloes, Pembrokeshire. British Birds 47: 349—350.

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

More about the Woodlark in Pembrokshire