Melanitta perspicillata – Môr-hwyaden Yr Ewyn – Rare visitor
The Surf Scoter breeds across the North American continent mostly north of the tree line, moving south after the breeding season along both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. A very few cross to northern Europe, particularly to Britain and Ireland.
The first Surf Scoter recorded in Pembrokeshire was a male found at Druidston by Leader Hawkins on the 29th October 1979, which stayed until the 4th November. There followed an immature male passing Strumble Head on the 13th November 1982 and four males together doing the same thing on the 13th November 1987. A male, sometimes two males together, off Madoc’s Haven, near Nolton, from the 14th November 1987 to the 5th March 1988, were most likely part of the Strumble Head foursome. A male passed Skokholm on the 25th October 1990.
A male was present off Amroth from the 3rd to the 27th January 1991, 27th November 1994 to the 2nd January 1995, with two males seen on the 22nd December 1994, a male from the 14th February to the 14th March 1997, 21st and 22nd March 1998, 15th November 1998 to the 11th February 1999, 29th November 1999 to the 15th January 2000. Males were also seen elsewhere in Carmarthen Bay during this span of years, for example at Marros and Pendine in Carmarthenshire.
A male and female were at Broad Haven (N) in St Bride’s Bay from the 5th December 2003 to the 2nd January 2004 and a male and female off Newgale, also in St Bride’s Bay, on the 26th and 27th November 2005. Single males passed Strumble Head on the 9th June and the 22nd September 2004.
All the Surf Scoters recorded in Pembrokeshire were seen in association with Common Scoters and it is probable that they accompanied that species on its annual migrations to and from winter quarters, in which case far fewer individuals were probably involved than the plethora of dates might suggest.
Graham Rees (County bird recorder 1981 to 2007)
23 December 2003 two males at Amroth.
26 Nov 2005, Newgale male and female