Arctic Tern – 2009

Sterna paradisaea – MOR-WENNOL Y GOGLEDD – Passage migrant. Not recorded from December to March

The Arctic Tern has a continuous circumpolar Arctic and sub Arctic breeding range, the nearest nesting in Wales being at Anglesey and in Ireland in county Wexford. The species winters as far south as the edge of the Antarctic ice and there are ring recoveries of Anglesey birds off South Africa and Australia.

Mathew (1894) stated that the Arctic Tern was “seen commonly on passage in spring and autumn”, but Lockley et al (1949) later noted that they were “no longer seen commonly on passage” and noted just three occurrences, singles at Goodwick on the 13th August 1935 and at Skokholm on the 8th June 1938, with 20 at Dale at the end of April 1947. Donovan and Rees (1994) considered the Arctic Tern to be sparsely recorded in spring when up to eight at a time were seen passing, mainly off the west coast and offshore islands, between the 13th April and the 23rd June, but more numerous in autumn, when up to 30 in a day passed between the 21st July and the 22nd November, principally seen off the north coast.

Any detailed assessment of the Arctic Tern’s status is limited by the fact that only a proportion of Common or Arctic Terns are identified to species, most being logged as “Common or Arctic” , usually expressed as “Commic Tern” . What can be gleaned is that 130 were recorded at Skokholm on the 1st September 1997 and that single birds were recorded away from the coast at Heathfield Gravel Pit on the 23rd September 1999, at Bosherston on the 8-9th May 2000 and at Llawhaden on the 11th May 2000. 

See also the account for Common or Arctic Tern.

Graham Rees. Pembrokeshire County Bird Recorder 1981-2007

(Covers records up to and including 2009).

More about the Arctic Tern in Pembrokeshire