Snipe – 2003-07 breeding

Gallinago gallinago – GIACH GYFFREDIN – Winter visitor and scarce breeder

Comparison with previous atlas:

1984-882003-07
Breeding confirmed
Breeding probable3
Breeding possible65
No of tetrads occupied9 (of 478) (of 490)
Percentage of tetrads1.9 %1%

Within Pembrokeshire, Snipe were considered to be fairly widespread as a breeding species until about 50-60 years ago. During the 1984-88 atlas period they were recorded from nine tetrads, mainly in the Preseli Hills and in the catchment area of the Eastern Cleddau. Only a handful of pairs were recorded, and whilst breeding may have occurred in three separate tetrads, there was no certainty of this. It was thought that extensive land drainage and reduced grazing of the commons had caused the decline, with an increase in predators placing further pressure on the remaining population.

Some 20 years later, Snipe were recorded from 5 tetrads during 2003-07 but only three of these were inland within areas of potentially suitable breeding habitat. The other two locations being near the coast were almost certainly records of transient birds. Even at the inland locations, it is likely that Snipe recorded here were also migrants. No “classic” display flights were recorded and their former haunts currently seem unable to support a breeding population.

Bob Haycock (BTO rep & Chairman of the Pembs Bird Group)

Rees G.H., Haycock R.J., Haycock A, Hodges J.E., Sutcliffe S.J., Jenks P, and Dobbins R. 2008, Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pembrokeshire 2003-07. Pembrokeshire Bird Group.

More about the Snipe in Pembrokeshire