Plectrophenax nivalis – BRAS YR EIRA – Passage migrant and winter visitor
There were 25 January records and 17 in February, up to 2006. Most were transient, recorded on single dates or gone in two or three days.
Two first seen at Fishguard Harbour on the 22nd November 1993 remained until the 14th January 1994, one staying until the 16th February.
Nine found on the Castle Martin ranges on the 21st December 1996 had reduced in number to seven by the 31st December, which stayed until the 19th January 1997, six of them were still there on the 2nd February.
Three which arrived on the salt marsh at the Nevern Estuary on the 29th November 2004, remained until the 11th January 2005, two of them until the 28th February.
A group of 23 occurred at Ramsey on the 6th January 2000 but there is no information as to how long they stayed.
The status of Mynydd Preseli as a wintering ground for Snow Buntings has not been resolved. It would appear that active watchers seldom traverse the upper regions in winter. Local farmer J. G. Stewart-Peter when recording two birds on the 2nd January 1953, stated that he saw small numbers on the highest parts of the range in most winters.
About thirty were noted on “Preseli Top” on the 1st March 1970 and 10 there on the 25th January 1986, 15 were near Foel Cerwyn on the 18th December 1987, three at Foel Feddau on the 18th February 1988 and eight or nine on Foel Drygarn on the 16th December 1997.
Graham Rees. Pembrokeshire County Bird Recorder 1981-2007