Grey Heron – historical notes about heronries

Ardea cinerea – CREYR GLAS – Breeding resident

1970s:

Pemb. up to 6 colonies and 57-63 nests in best counts, 1973-75. Dyfed Bird Report


Pwll-y-Gors Heronry, Clarbeston, Pembrokeshire, 1974

A narrow strip of woodland c.1km long from north to south, barely 100m wide, on a very steep west-facing hillside, with pasture above and the boggy valley of the Syfni below.  Oak, beech, ash and sycamore.  The nests were in three groups approximately 100m apart in the middle of the wood. 

The southern group consisted of one nest in a young oak about 35ft high, one nest at c.25ft built on an old nest and two in an ivied sycamore at 60ft, difficult to see clearly.  Only the old nest was here on 28 March, and it was unoccupied.  The only successful nest in the heronry was the one in the oak which had 3 fully feathered young on 18th June.

The middle group was two clusters of one new and one old nest in a beech at c.70ft.  A stale unbroken egg was found on the ground near on 18 June.

The northern group consisted of 2 well-built nests (one in a cluster with an unoccupied 1973 nest) and a very frail platform of a few sticks already there on 28 March, the same but plastered with dropping on 3 May, no trace remaining on 24 May.  In two beech trees, nests at c.70ft, platform at c.50ft. 

Two pairs of carrion crows bred, and a pair of buzzards probably did so.

Twelve trees along the top of the wood were felled and cut up for firewood between 28 March and 3 May near the northern group. 

A large area of the bog below the wood had recently been drained by the excavation of deep ditches by 28 March and was subsequently fenced.  Disturbance may have been caused, especially to the middle group. 

T.A.W. Davis (Found amongst papers from the late Jack Donovan.)

Other records for this site (in SN0521). From the Pembrokeshire Bird Archive

1970Occupied
1971Occupied
1972Occupied
19736 nests
19746 nests
19755 nests
19761 nest
1977 no information
19783 nests
19790 nests
1980 No further records.  It is possible this heronry relocated to Gelli/Shipping Wood for which the first count is in 1985.  Herons remained there until it was clear-felled in 1998.

More about the Grey Heron in Pembrokeshire