Glossy Ibis – 2012

Plegadis falcinellusCrymanbig DuVagrant

Rare but 12 records since 2000. 

This includes a flock of 23 between 28th January and 4th February 2012 that toured various site in the Carew Cheriton/Milton/Sageston area. They roosted near Carew River. Smaller numbers at other sites that year may have been part of the same flock? Source: Pembrokeshire Bird report, 2012.

Pembrokeshire Neyland, two, 12 January (A. Hansen), presumed same St Davids Head, 13 January to 1 February, (M. Young-Powell et al.).

Sageston, 14 January, (M. Arnold per Pembrokeshire Recorder). Marloes Mere, three, 18 January to 12 May, then four on 13 May to 9 June, one from 10 June into 2013, (M. Howe et al. per Pembrokeshire Recorder). Carew, 23, 28 January to 14 February (R. Ellis et al.). Walwyn’s Castle, 28–31 January. & L. Bowen, P. Lewis). Source – British Birds Rarity Committee report 2012

NB at least 126 glossy ibises arrived in Britain at this time. Some had been ringed in the Doñana National Park in southern Spain. Their arrival coincided with very dry (drought) conditions in Spain and other parts of southern Europe which possibly contributed to their dispersal away from usual/regular wintering areas.

Background info from the British Birds Rarity Committee report 2012:

In the 1970s, the Glossy Ibis bred no closer than the Balkans, having become extinct in the Iberian Peninsula at the beginning of the twentieth century. Breeding occurred in Italy and Sardinia during the 1980s and was followed a decade later by re-establishment of breeding colonies in the Doñana National Park in southwest Spain, and the Ebro Delta in northeast Spain in 1996. The Doñana colony increased rapidly to become the largest in western Europe, holding more than 3,500 pairs in 2007 and about 5,300 pairs in 2010 (Toral et al. 2012), although there was no breeding there in 1999 and 2005 owing to severe droughts (Santoro et al. 2010).

Expansion into the Camargue in southern France began in 2006, where the population has also increased rapidly. Some 7,000 pairs nested in Doñana in 2011 but another drought in 2012 resulted in just a few colonies remaining, the largest of which held no more than 30 pairs (Ausden et al. 2013). These periodic droughts trigger dispersal from breeding colonies and may be responsible for the recent influxes in Britain, although not all coincide with drought years. Perhaps the earlier droughts have established a regular post-breeding dispersal to the northwest, and these annual influxes are now something we can continue to look forward to.

More about the Glossy Ibis in Pembrokeshire