Greenshank – 2021 Winter

Tringa nebularia – PIBYDD COESWERDD – Winter visitor and passage migrant

Typically, peak numbers of greenshank in Britain are recorded in August as birds move from their northern European (including Scottish) breeding sites to winter in south-west Europe and north and west Africa. The pattern seen in Pembrokeshire largely follows this regime, with generally higher numbers (usually 30-40, but over 70 in 1995 and 2005) seen in the July-September period compared with the November-February mid-winter period. (Note there were no migration period counts in the early 1990s).

Most of the birds have moved on by the end of October, but those remaining tend to stay put for the rest of the winter.  This is generally around 20-30 birds although 58 were present in January 2019.

The Cleddau Estuary is of National Importance for its greenshank population, and is the second-most important Welsh site (the Burry Inlet has higher counts) for the species.


This map was produced by the West Wales Biodiversity Information Centre using data collected between November and February for the BTO Atlas 2007-11, with additional data collected in 2011-12 winter to fill gaps in coverage.

The main sites are:

  • Nevern Estuary
  • Almost anywhere on the Cleddau Estuary

Wetland Bird Survey

Maximum count may be usually in September-October, but in 2019-20 the highest numbers were in January and March.

Monthly WeBS totals can be seen here

Pattern of occurrence

Cumulative number of records per week in Pembrokeshire since 2000, taken from BirdTrack. This gives an idea of when the species is most likely to be seen.

The June records are likely to be of failed breeders, returning south early. The main migration takes place from July to October. Birds arriving from October onwards are likely to stay the winter, moving on in March, back to (probably) their Scottish breeding grounds. Spring migration of birds that have wintered further south and will be breeding further north takes place in April-May.

Annie Haycock (BBS & WeBS local organiser)

HODGES J E. (2010-2020) Daugleddau Estuary and Milford Haven Waterway: annual surveillance of summer shelduck populations. Reports to the Milford Haven Waterway Environmental Surveillance Group.

More about the Greenshank in Pembrokeshire