Snow Bunting – records

Plectrophenax nivalis – BRAS YR EIRA – Passage migrant and winter visitor

Previous records are summarised in Snow Bunting 2007.

2008 – Single at Fishguard outer breakwater from 5 Nov – 29 Dec, With two on 6 Nov and three on 23 Dec. Singles on Ramsey 12 Nov. and on Skomer 24 & 31 Oct.

2009 – On the outer breakwater at Fishguard Harbour, three on 1- 28 Jan with two here on 21 Feb. singles on 1 Mar and 17 Oct until the end of the year.  Singles at Strumble Head 11 Oct, on Skomer 9 Nov and Ramsey on 11 Nov and three on Foel Drygarn on 25 Dec.

2010 – In the early part of year single birds on Fishguard Outer Breakwater 2nd Jan, at St. David’s Head 13th Apr and on Ramsey 21st Apr – 3rd May. In autumn: up to four on Dale Airfield between 4th & 31st Oct. with three at St. David’s Head on 14th Oct, up to two birds on Fishguard Outer Breakwater from 6th Oct until the end of the year. Singles at Pen Anglas 9th to 30th Oct, and on St Davids Head 7th Nov. On Skomer single birds on 1st & 9th Oct then two on 12th & 21st Oct and finally one on 1st Nov

2011 – In the early part of the year two at Traeth Llyfyn on 22nd Jan. In autumn a single on Dale Airfield 29th Sept to 1st Oct then another on 24th Nov. Fishguard Outer Breakwater had up to three birds between 10th Oct to 11th Dec. Singles on St. David’s Head on 25th Oct, 10th Nov, 12th Dec with two on 9th Dec and one at St. Govan’s Head on 17th Oct. Ramsey Island singles on 20th & 27th Apr and four on 12th Dec. Photo below by C. Hurford.

2012 – In the early part of the year birds seen at St. David’s Head on from 8th to 13th Jan with a different individual on 25th Feb. Freshwater West had two on 16th Jan & one at Castle Martin on 19th Feb. Two on Fishguard Outer Breakwater in March, one of which was ringed by members of the Teifi Ringing Group on 11th, then two different birds on Fishguard Inner Breakwater on 22nd March & a single at Strumble Head on 1st April.

At the latter part of the year a single at St. David’s Head 22nd Oct, two at Strumble Head on 29th of same month & one at Castle Martin on same date. In November: singles at Broomhill Burrows on 6th, St.David’s Head on 8th, while on Fishguard Outer Breakwater various numbers recorded, max 5 on 20th.

2013 – All records were: seven seen on Foel Cwm Cerwyn on 12th Jan, in November, 12 on the Fishguard Outer Breakwater 15th, three at Whitesands on 7th, four at Newgale on 27th and singles at Freshwater West on 22nd & Broad Haven (S) on 28th. Another single was at St.David’s Head on 24th Oct.

2014 – All records were: single birds at Newgale 10th Jan, Strumble Head 20th to 21st Oct at least, Pencarnan 27th to 31st Oct, Marloes Mere 24th Nov (photo opposite by DJ Astins) and at Foel Feddau in the Preselis on 31st Dec, with six at the same site the day before. Skokholm had single birds on 6th Oct and 19th to 21st Oct, the second being trapped & ringed (race later confirmed as P.n.nivalis – Welsh rarities report 2020). The island then had two flyover records of single birds on 24th Oct & 3rd Nov.

2015 – A single birds on the Preseli’s at Foel Feddau on 17th Jan and another at St. David’s Head on 31st Oct were the only mainland records. On the islands, one on Ramsey on 10th Mar (photo right by L. Morgan) and one on Skomer on 7th Oct, a different bird was seen the following day.

2016 – All records were: a male Fishguard Harbour on outer breakwater 25th Oct-13th Nov, when feathers were found due to it being predated, a female also present 11th -13th Nov. On Skokholm a single on 11th Nov and on Skomer singles on 20th Oct & 7th Nov.

2017 – All records: 1 st w male on Skomer on 3rd Nov, three at St. David’s Head on 8th Nov and two on the Outer breakwater Fishguard Harbour on 16th Nov

2018 – Singles unless stated: at Porthgain on 7th Jan (photo below by B. Haycock), three at St. David’s Head 7th Mar, near Fishguard Fort on 31st Oct, male on Skomer 4th Nov and Outer Breakwater Fishguard Harbour on 8th Nov

2019 – Four on Dale Airfield 26 Oct, increasing to six 1 Nov with four there the following day, photo below by E. Davies. Five at Marloes Mere 27 Oct and singles at Gann 14 Oct, Skokholm 21 & 24 Oct and 4, 7-8, 10, 17 & 29 Nov and Skomer 3 & 11 Nov

2020 – All records were of singles: Fishguard Outer breakwater 30 Oct, Skokholm 4, 6 & 9 – 11 Nov, Strumble Head 24 Nov, Pwll Deri 27 Nov and at Llanrhian 6 Dec.66 Individuals of the race nivalis accepted by WBRC include: one trapped on the outer breakwater, Fishguard 11 Mar 2012 (per RD) and a female trapped and ringed on Skokholm 19 Oct 2014 (RB).

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports

More about the Snow Bunting in Pembrokeshire