Greenfinch – summary since 2000

Chloris chlorisLlinos WerddBreeding resident and passage migrant

The Greenfinch has been in catastrophic decline in Britain for the past twenty years or so, although this decline was not been particularly obvious in Pembrokeshire until about ten years ago. Its status as a breeding resident and passage migrant was so taken for granted that entries in the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports only comment on the largest flocks seen. That changed in 2015, when its scarcity was suddenly obvious.

In 2021, the greenfinch was added to the UK red list

Two species moved directly from the Green to Red List: Greenfinch and Ptarmigan. Increasingly severe declines in Greenfinch numbers have been reported in BBS reports for more than a decade, and the initial regional pattern of declines was associated with outbreaks of the disease Trichomonosis. This disease of the digestive tract is widespread in Greenfinch populations across Europe and may also be starting to affect other species such as Collared Dove, Sparrowhawk and Chaffinch. (Birds of Conservation Concern 2021)

The following entries are copied from the bird reports to chart its fortunes:

2000Autumn passage totaling 140 bird days Skomer 13 Oct – 21 Nov, with peaks of 25 on 17 Oct, 16 on 22 Oct, 30 on 3 Nov and 10 on 13 Nov. Flock of 75 Trefin 27 Dec. (179 ringed – one moved to Oxfordshire)
2001Flock of 200 Freshwater W 20 Jan. Distinct autumn passage recorded through the islands, 12 Oct – 19 Nov, with daily max of 30 Skokholm, 43 Skomer and 48 Ramsey. (151 ringed)
2002Autumn passage most pronounced at Skomer, where 691 bird-days, 30 Sept – 18 Nov, maxa 120 on 28, Oct and 146 on 4 Nov.
2003Autumn passage recorded on the Islands Oct-Nov including 116 E Skomer 14-19 Oct; max count Ramsey 30 on 16 Oct. (101 ringed – one bird moved to Norfolk)
2004The only spring record received from the islands was Skomer 24 Mar. Autumn passage Skomer: 6 Oct-14 Nov (max 78 w 18 Oct). At Strumble Hd 140 passed in 1 hr on 24 Oct. At Whitesands 250+ regularly fed on sunflowers in Oct.
2005Leucistic Juv Felindre Farchog 10 Aug. Autumn passage from the islands Sept-Nov. Max counts Skomer, where 86 on 14 Oct, 230 south-east 27 Oct, 87 west 1 Nov and 97 west 12 Nov. (165 ringed – one ringed in Cumbria 13/10/2005 found at Mullock 30/10/2005)
2006Small numbers reported from the islands Apr-May and Oct-Nov, max 20 Skomer 29 Oct. Singles were on Ramsey 2 and 15 Jan. One winter count: 1500 Hubberston 5 Jan (PJ). (410 ringed)
2007The largest counts were of 80 at Castlemartin Corse on 22nd Jan., 230 Furzymount (RSPB survey) on 23rd Oct. and 200+ at Freshwater West on 17th Nov.
2008Largest winter counts 100 Freshwater W on 12 Jan and 40 Pengawse Hill on 5 Nov
2009Largest count 30 Little Milford on 29th Oct and 50 on Skomer on 9th Nov.
2010Largest count 100 Furzey Mount Farm 30th Oct.
2011 (25 ringed at Teifi Marshes)
2012Max count 50+ Gupton Farm 30th Nov & 72 on 2nd Dec (48 ringed by Teifi ringing Group)
2013Largest count received was of 100 at Bullslaughter Bay, Castlemartin on 23rd Sept
2014Fairly scarce throughout the county this year, the only double-figure count received was of 16 on Ramsey on 25th Oct. Skokholm recorded only two birds, singles on 29th Oct & 9th Nov.
2015Breeding evidence noted from 23 1km squares.
2016107 records (of between 1 & 10) from at least 39 1km squares, with breeding evidence from at least 12 of these. This species has been hit extremely hard by the disease Trichomonosis.
2017Recorded from at least 35 1km squares. Breeding evidence reported from eight locations. Maximum count was 10 Gilfach Goch on 10th Aug a mixture of adult and juveniles.
2018Reported from at least 50 1km square locations. Breeding evidence from at least 14 of these. Maximum count was 10 Gilfach Goch on 27th Oct.
2019Reported from 48 locations. Breeding evidence was reported from eight locations. Largest counts were: eight at Gilfach Goch 31 Jan with nine there 7 Apr.
2020Reported from 29 locations. Breeding evidence reported from six locations. Largest count was of 12 at Gann 4 Aug. A total of 36 were ringed in a Clarbeston Road garden during April to June.

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports which may contain more detail than shown here

More about the Greenfinch in Pembrokeshire