Wryneck – 1994

Jynx torquillaPengamPassage migrant, has bred

The Wryneck nested in Pembrokeshire during the nineteenth century. Monk (1963) mentions two records, while Mathew (1894), although describing it as a rare visitor, quoted several evocative earlier reports which strongly suggested breeding. As its breeding range in England and Wales contracted it became a rare visitor and Lockley et al. (1949) added but one occurrence, a bird at Skokholm on 6 May 1938.

It has since proved to be a regular passage migrant in small numbers. Eleven single birds have been recorded in spring, between 12 March and 27 May, but up to four birds on 56 occasions in autumn, from 26 August to 18 October, with the majority in September ( and with one exception, a bird seen at Haverfordwest on 11 July 1961). Wrynecks are difficult to detect and 80% of the records come from the offshore islands where there is scant cover to conceal them. However, enough have been detected on the mainland to suggest it occurs more frequently there than the records show.

One found dead at St Davids on 31 January 1965 (which was reclaimed from a dustbin to convince the skeptical county recorder!) and one wintering in the Manorbier/Penally area from 23 December 1965 to 1 February 1966 are particularly unusual records. Cramp (1985) quotes only two winter records for northern Europe, in west Germany and in northern France.

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

CRAMP, S. (ed.) 1977-1993. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa: the birds of the Western Palearctic. Oxford, Oxford University Press. 7 Vols.

MONK, J.F. 1963. The past and present status of the Wryneck in the British Isles. Bird Study 10: 112—132.

More about the Wryneck in Pembrokeshire