Red-breasted Merganser – Records

Mergus serrator – HWYADEN FRONGOCH – Winter visitor

Red-breasted Mergansers wintered regularly in small numbers on the Cleddau Estuary and other sites around Pembrokeshire. The maximum counts for each year are shown on the Wetland Bird Survey page. That page also shows the maximum numbers recorded in Carmarthen Bay from the Amroth/Wiseman’s Bridge area – these counts are ad hoc, and not part of WeBS.

The Wetland Bird survey shows a decline in the UK’s wintering population of Red-breasted Mergansers evident since the mid-1990s. Numbers wintering to the east of the UK increased steadily in the same period, suggesting a shift in wintering range, as has been shown for other waterbirds. However, there is now evidence of a decline there too.

Given the decline in numbers, this page shows all records as presented in the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports since 2010.

2010Max. 25 at Amroth on 27th Jan and 20 there on 11th Dec. All other records were of one or two birds from the Gann, Teifi, West Angle, Wisemans Bridge, Newport and Fishguard Harbour. Single birds passed Strumble Head on 3rd Sept & 23rd Oct.
2011Max. Amroth/Wisemans Bridge 21 on 18th Dec, three at Carew Millpond 20th Nov, two redheads were Broad haven (N) 6th Jan & Pwllgwaelod 19th Feb. All other records were of single birds at Fishguard Harbour on 3rd & 22nd Jan, Teifi Estuary 11th Oct and at Pembroke on 29th & 30th Dec.
2012Max 48 Wisemans Bridge 5th Jan with nine there on 3rd March, six Amroth on 8th Jan with 20 there on 18th Dec. The Gann had two on 1st Oct with all the other records being of single birds at the Teifi 21st March, Bluckspool 30th Oct & finally at Pencarnan on 12th Dec.
2013Max count was 12 at Wisemans Bridge on 21st Nov, a male at the Gann on 2nd June was quite late, possibly indicating an interest in breeding at the site again ?
2014Another species surely under recorded with only eight records received from five different sites, all counts received were of four at Wiseman’s Bridge on 8th Jan, a pair at Fishguard Harbour on 4th Jan (the only record from the North of the county), a pair at Amroth on 28th Dec, then singles at Bosherston 1st to 4th Jan and another on 4th Mar, at Carew Mill on 5th Jan and at Amroth on 10th Nov.
2015Recorded at The Gann, Newport & the Teifi in the North of the county and Saundersfoot, Amroth, Wisemans Bridge area in the South. Maximum count was of seven at Amroth on 28th Dec and four at Newport on 20th Oct. A bird seen from Lydstep Headland on 7th May was an interesting record and could possibly indicate a breeding attempt in the area.
2016A single fly past bird at Strumble Head on 21st Aug & two seen between Pwll Deri & Strumble Head on 21st Oct. Elsewhere: only recorded from the Teifi which had a max of four on 4th April and Amroth/Wiseman’s Bridge/Coppet Hall area which had the only double figure count of 12 at Amroth on 6th March.
2017Another species recorded at just a few sites, a maximum count of nine birds at Wiseman’s Bridge on 15th Dec.
2018Seven Amroth 31st Mar, four off Wiseman’s Bridge 3rd & 4th Jan, three off Monkstone Point 26th Dec, two Teifi Estuary 13th Nov. Otherwise singles at the Gann and Nevern.
2019 see below. Elsewhere: single Solva 15 Dec and five Wiseman’s Bridge 23 Dec. 
Fishguard Harbour511
St Bride’s Bay455
2020 Singles: off Aber Fforest 6 Jan, in Fishguard Harbour 8, 9 & 19 Jan, Solva 12 Jan, off Broad Haven (N) on 23 Oct, at Gann 4 – 22 Nov. Two on the Teifi Est 20 -21 Mar and 26 Oct. Largest numbers were off Wiseman’s Bridge with up to 11 in Jan (peak 26th), three in Feb (peak 3rd) and nine in December (peak 11th). Three off Skokholm 18 Sept.

More about the Red-breasted Merganser in Pembrokeshire