Woodcock – research

Scolopax rusticola – CYFFYLOG – Winter visitor and passage migrant.

Woodcock are probably one of the most common waders in the county during the winter, according to work done by Paddy Jenks with the Pembrokeshire and Teifi Ringing Groups.  However, they are rarely seen, let alone counted, because of their secretive and generally nocturnal habits.

Paddy and his team ringed a total of 1653 woodcock between November 2008 and March 2019. 107 of these individuals were recaptured or recovered.   The recaptures show that many individuals have a very high site fidelity.  The ringers often found birds within a hundred metres of where they had been caught either the same winter, or in previous winters.  

The recoveries outside of the UK show that many individuals wintering in Pembrokeshire originate in Russia.  In Europe, it is illegal to shoot during the breeding season, so most of the recoveries from closer to home are probably birds on autumn migration, though some could have bred in these areas.  

The ringing groups hope to continue with the project into the future with the aim of collecting as large a sample size as possible, so that any future changes can be discerned.

The full report can be seen here

Information provided by Mike & Theresa Sherman

More about Woodcock in Pembrokeshire

Yellow-legged Gull – records

Larus michahellisGwylan GoesfelenScarce winter visitor

Previous records are summarised in Yellow-legged Gull 2018

2019 –

  • Up to four at Llys y Fran Res. in January, two at both Amroth 25 Aug and at Slebech 5 Sept.
  • Otherwise all records were of singles at Fishguard Harbour 4 Jan, 26 – 27 Sept, 12 & 28 Nov, 7 & 25 – 26 Dec; at Nevern Est 25 Feb, 24 Sept, 9 & 23 Nov; at Gann 24 Oct, 20 Nov & 23 Dec; at Llanstadwell 21 Mar, Grassholm 3 Aug and at Marloes Mere 9 Nov.

2020 –

  • All individuals reported were: an adult in Fishguard Harbour 1 – 9 Jan, presumed same returning bird 8 Sept & 4 Dec.
  • Adults at the Gann 6 Jan, 15 Sept, 18 & 24 Oct and a 2CY 4 Dec.
  • Counts from Llys-y-fran Res gull roost: five adults and 3CY 4 Jan, two adults and 3CY on 17 Jan, five adults & 3CY on 2 Feb and four adults on 23 Feb. An adult on 15 Aug. Six adults 15 Nov, four adults & 1CY on 25 Nov, three adults & 3CY on 29 Nov, five adults & 3CY on 6 Dec.
  • An adult at Nevern Est 20 July, 1 & 23 Aug, 25 Sept & 31 Oct – quite probably the Fishguard individual. 1CY there on 1 Sept, had been ringed as a nestling in Switzerland.
  • Elsewhere an adult at Broad Haven (N) 20 Sept.

2021 –

  • In Fishguard Harbour, and adult 4 – 15 Feb, returning there from 17 Aug – until the end of the year and a 2CY on 19 Dec, presumed same individual also seen at Nevern Estuary 20 Oct, 16 & 23 Dec.
  • In Angle Bay an adult 24 Mar & 19 Aug and a 1CY on 13 Nov.
  • At the Gann: 27 Feb, two on 26 Oct, one 17 & 19 Nov and 10 & 21 Dec.
  • At the Llys-y-fran gull roost: six on 10 Jan, four on 21 Feb and four on 29 Oct & 22 Dec.
  • Elsewhere: adult Lawrenny Ferry 21 Jan, 2CY Amroth 13 Feb, Sprinkle Pill 15 Oct & 12 Nov
  • and at Fowborough Point 22 Oct & 12 Nov.

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports

More about the Yellow-legged Gull in Pembrokeshire

Glaucous Gull – records

Larus hyperboreus – GWYLAN Y GOGLEDD – Irregular winter visitor.

Previous records are summarised in Glaucous Gull winter

2020 – All records were: 2CY Teifi Est 4 – 6 Jan, 1CY St. Davids Head 16 Nov, 1CY Skokholm 18 & 20 Nov, 1CY Llysy fran Res 29 Nov, 1CY Marloes Mere 13 Dec and a 1CY Monkstone Point, Tenby 14 Dec, quite possibly all those in Nov – Dec relate to the same wandering bird.

2021 – All records were: 2CY Gann 26 Mar – 6 Apr, 2CY Teifi Est 22 Mar, 2CY Llanrhian 6 May and 1CY Skokholm 2 Dec.

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

More about the Glaucous Gull in Pembrokeshire

Ring-billed Gull – records

Larus delawarensis – Gwylan FodrwybigVagrant

Previous records are summarised in Ring-billed Gull 2019

2020 – Wintering adult at Llys-y-fran Res from December 2019 until 23 Feb returning there from 25 Nov (BS et al). The only other record was of a 2CY at Dale – Gann 4 + 6 Jan (DJA, LM, BS et al).

2021 – Wintering adult at Llys-y-fran Res from 25 Nov 2020 until 14 Mar,

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports

More about the Ring-billed Gull in Pembrokeshire

King Eider – 2020 first for Pembrokeshire

Somateria spectabilis – HWYADEN FWYTHBLU’R GOGLEDD – Vagrant.

First county record was of a first winter male at Little Haven / Goultrop Roads 10 Nov onwards, moving around the coast, off Howney Stone, St. Brides until the end of the year (DO et al).

Probably overwintered, but with a lack of observations due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions

The only previous Welsh records have come from Caernarfonshire & Meirionnydd in 1989 – 1990 and Aberaeron, then Ynyslas, Ceredigion 2017 – 2019.

Extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports and from the Scarce and rare birds in Wales 2020 (Welsh Birds Rarities Committee/Welsh Ornithological Society).

Goshawk – records

Accipiter gentilis – GWALCH MARTH – Status unclear

Photo of juvenile goshawk at Carew Cheriton by Richard Ellis

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports since 2000

YearBreedingOther records
2000Probably 2 breeding pairs in the north of the county around the Teifi and another in the east.Elsewhere singles (females unless stated) at Llys y fran 9 Jan and in Sept at Roch on 11th , Crundale 18th (male), Slebech & Blackpool Mill 24th and Steynton 28th .
20012 pairs bred and 2 others suspected of breeding in the south of the county, 3 pairs suspected to have bred in the north.Elsewhere individuals recorded at: Solva 13 Jan, Porth Clais 21 Jan, Llanychaer 1 Feb, St. David’s 5 Apr, Strumble 5 Aug and at Ramsey a juv. 18 Sept and a female 25 Sept.
2002No records received of individuals from the north east of the county but three pairs were noted elsewhere in suitable habitat in the spring / early summer and 3 other pairs bred.Elsewhere individuals recorded at: Goodwick 18 Jan, Sealyham 19 June and at Strumble Hd 5 & 12 Sept.
2003A pair was observed displaying at Gelli and at Ffynone. Breeding season records also came from Trecwn, Dowrog & Pantmaenog and a juv. was seen at Strumble Head from 14 Aug on an off until 11 Nov.Elsewhere individuals recorded in the St. Davids area 15-16 Oct, 11 Nov & 21 Nov, Square & Compass 7 Dec, Westfield Pill 17 Dec, Llanmill 27 Nov and Saundersfoot 30 Dec.
2004Recorded breeding 16 AprRedstone 16 Jan, Sealyham 25-26 Feb, female Vachelic 9 Apr, Strumble Hd 10 Apr, Ramsey 25 May, Cwm yr Eglwys 27 July, Llanmill 30 Aug, juv Maenclochog 3 Sept, Nine Wells 5 Sept and Teifi Marshes 30 Oct.
2005A total of 5 pairs possibly bred in the county: at Gelly, Canaston Woods, Frenni Fawr. Pengawse and Ffynone_Westfield Pill 8 Mar, Ramsey 22 June & 20 Nov. Wolfescastle 10 July and Llanmill 27 Aug
2006Displaying birds were observed at three sites Gelly, Picton and Llys y fran.Blackpool Mill 20 Feb, Dowrog 8 Feb, Westfield Pill 14 Mar, Maenllwyd 25 May, near Maenclochog in May, Carew 7 Nov, Llanddewi Velfrey 2 Nov, Llanmill (carrying a Jackdaw) 23 Nov, Waundwrgi 2 Dec and 2 at Slebech 3 Dec.
2007Pairs bred or were seen displaying at Gelly, Canaston, Minwear, Puncheston and West Williamston. Martletwy on 13 Jan , Ffynone on 18 Feb., Sandy Haven on 24 Feb., Cwm Cneifa on 23 Mar., Hundleton on 12 Apr, Felindre on 14 May, Crymych on 2 Aug. & 21 Dec.. Abercych on 9 Aug, , Stackpole on 1 Nov., Llangloffan Fen on 12 Nov.. Dale on 18 Nov.. Dowrog 23 Nov. — 9 Dec. and at Carew River on 16 Dec
2008Pairs bred or thought to have bred at ten sites across the countyindividuals reported at Castlemartin, Cilgerran. Croes Goch. Crymych, Dowrog, Goodwick. Heathfield. Llangloffan. Llandewi Velfrey, Llanmill. Midland, Mullock Bridge, Narberth. Picton Castle. Rickets Head. Stackpole, Waundwrgi, West Williamston and Westfield Pill.
2009 Reported from nine sites
2010During the breeding season records came from The Rhos, Plumstone and Ffynone and at Ty Rhyg.Up to two males and a female were seen on many dates at Plumstone Mountain January – February. Elsewhere at Minwear on 3 Jan, at Ffynone on 20 Feb, One on Skomer on 27 Apr was the first for the island. At Cresswell Quay 30 Nov and at Tegryn on 7 Dec.
2011Reported from eight sites during the breeding seasonSingles at Clyderwen 3 Jan, Whalecombe 13 Feb, Dudwell Mountain 17 Feb, Wolf’s Castle 19 Feb, Llawhaden 27 Feb and Port Clais 11 Sept & 28 Oct. One was found dead at Eglwyswrw on 22 Aug.
2012Reported from three sitesReported from 15 sites during the year
2013At least one breeding pair, which fledged two young and a pair at another site in the north.Singles reported at: Woodhouse 3 Feb, Rudbaxton 23 Feb, Houghton on 24 Feb, Llandilo on 16 May, Carew Cheriton 17 July, Picton Home Farm on 28 Aug, Merrion on 27 Oct, Eastern Cleddau on 24 Nov.
2014Present during the breeding season at five sitesSlebech on 13 Feb, Tedion Mountain on 21 Mar, Angle 10 Mar, Skomer on 8 Aug, at Pen Anglas 11 Sept and Llanychaer 25 Sept & 16 Nov.
2015Reported from three sites during the breeding seasonReported from eight sites across the county
2016Reported from four sites during the breeding seasonReported from eight sites across the county
2017Reported from three sites during the breeding seasonReported from a total of eleven locations across the county
2018Breeding reported at two sites, with records from seven other sites during the breeding season.Outside the breeding season reported from a further 13 sites, including one on Skomer 15 Aug – 8 Oct.
2019Reported from 13 locations during the breeding season.Reported from 22 locations in the county.  Including one on Skomer 28 Oct.
2020Reported from 10 locations during the breeding seasons. Pairs displaying were observed at two sites and juveniles were seen at two other sites in July.

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

Graham Rees. Pembrokeshire County Bird Recorder 1981-2007

More about the Goshawk in Pembrokeshire

Eider – records

Somateria mollissima – HWYADEN FWYTHBLU – Winter visitor and possible breeder

Earlier records are summarised in Eider 2005

2006Singles Angle Bay 21 Jan, Ramsey 11 Oct, Strumble Hd 26 Oct and Gann 8 Dec
2007Only two records received this year, both from Strumble Head, a single male on 26 Sep (GHR) and two on 10 Dec (CBu)
2008A single female bird which was seen at Angle Bay between 22 Nov and 20 Dec, and four off Skomer on 19 May, were the only records
2009All records were: singles off Broad Haven (N) and Newgale on 8th Jan, three adult males past Strumble Head on 11th Oct & five past there on 2nd Nov. Finally there was a female/juv type at Neyland on 25th Nov.
2010A very poor year for this species with the only records being two females off Nolton on 6th Nov and a single male & 3 females at Druidston on 9th Dec.
2011A group of seven passed Strumble Head on 1st Jan, two at Amroth on 22nd & 23rd Nov reducing to a single bird on 18th & 28th Dec.
2012All records were: at the Gann two immature males from 17th to 20th March, another two then recorded at Saundersfoot on 16th Aug, then two females at Wisemans Bridge on 13th Oct & lastly a single male at Amroth on 10th Nov. The most bizarre report from 2012 is of an adult male flying low over the bracken on Brynberian Moor on 23rd May (PJ).
2013Three off Skomer on 29th Apr (photo opposite by DB) and two drakes that passed Strumble Head on 10th Oct were the only records for the year.
2014 No records
2015All records were: two drakes at St.Bride’s 21st Jan, three (2M,1F) at Broad Haven (N) 14th Mar and three at Haroldston Chins on 13th Apr, a drake at St.David’s Head 16th Mar and finally four ( 1M, 3F) flew through Ramsey Sound on 18th Dec. At Strumble Head two on 8th Sept and a single on 11th Dec, all females.
2016All records were, two Druidston 2nd Jan, six Broad Haven (N) 15th Feb with one there on 28th of same month, a single bird at Amroth on 6th March with 19 there on the 4th May & a single bird at Nolton Haven on 26th Nov. A flock of 19 that flew West at Amroth on 4th May comprised of 10 males, three 1st summer males & six females & was the largest flock recorded in the county since 40 off Porthgain on 29th Dec 2003.
2017A single bird Fishguard Harbour 7th to 10th Apr & three off Wiseman’s Bridge 16th Dec were the only records.
2018Singles at the Gann 30th Apr – 5 th May, Newgale 24th & 26th Nov and at Fishguard Harbour on 9th Dec. The only multiple bird records were from Monksone Point, of six on 22nd Dec, increasing to nine on 26th, three Wiseman’s Bridge 15th Jan and of four flying past Skomer on 29th Oct.
2019All records were: two at the mouth of the Teifi Est 27 Mar, five in Angle Bay 10 Apr, 40 off Amroth 17 Apr, a male off Pen Anglas 22 Oct and one Wiseman’s Bridge 23 Dec.
2020Only records received were: two Wiseman’s Bridge 26 Jan, four Angle Bay 4 Sept and two St. Brides 30 Dec.

Graham Rees. Pembrokeshire County Bird Recorder 1981-2007

More about the Eider in Pembrokeshire

Little Tern – records

Sternula albifronsMôr-wennol FechanScarce passage migrant. Not recorded from December to March or July

Earlier records are summarised in Little Tern 2006

2006All records from Strumble Hd where 1 on 3 Aug, 3 on 25 & 27 Sept, singles 28 Sept & 2 Oct.
2007All records were of singles off Strumble Head in September, on the 1st, 3rd and 5th (GHR, RS)
2008All records were: two at Freshwater West 30 April, and one there 20 May.  Two in Angle Bay on 5 Aug, and one on Carew River on 3 Sep.
2009Passage noted off Strumble Head in Autumn: in August two on the 20th and one on the 21st, in September one on 4th and 5th, and two on 8th, and finally one on 10th October.
2010All records came from Strumble Head where there was an above average year with a total of 29 birds between 25th July & 16th Sept. In July two on 25th, in August single birds on 16th & 18th with four on 21st and in September single birds on 1st, 4th & 5th with a good count of 16 on 7th (highest ever day count) and finally two on 16th.
2011Only recorded from Strumble Head where 14 birds passed, one on 29th Aug and in September a single on the 10th, two on 11th, 12th & 13th with four on the 18th.
2012Only recorded from Strumble Head where 15 birds passed on five dates: nine on 18th Aug with singles on 25th & 30th, in Sept. three on 1st & a single on the 24th.
2013Only recorded at Strumble Head when four seen on 28th July (RS).
2014Two spring records of a singles: at the Teifi Est on 4th May then another at Fishguard Harbour on 7th & 8th May. It was a good year for this species passing Strumble Head with a total of 21 birds logged. In August singles on 11th, 25th & 30th with two on 27th, six on 29th & seven on 28th. In September singles on 17th & 30th and in October a single bird on the 9th.
2015Only recorded at Strumble Head, with four on 23rd Aug and a single on 3rd Sept.
2016At Strumble Head a total of eight birds recorded, singles on 4th & 29th Aug with six on the 31st of the same month.
2017A total of nine birds recorded at Strumble Head, five in August, three in September and a single in October
2018A total of 17 logged passing Strumble Head: four on 24th & 27th Aug, five 21st Sept and two 19th & 23rd Sept
2019Single off Strumble Head 29 Sept was the only record.
2020One off the mouth of the Teifi Estuary, 19 Aug

Graham Rees. Pembrokeshire County Bird Recorder 1981-2007

More about the Little Tern in Pembrokeshire

Chiffchaff – ringing recoveries

Phylloscopus collybita – SIFF-SAFF/SIFF SIAFF – Breeding summer visitor, passage migrant and winter visitor

Since 2009,  2157 chiffchaffs have been ringed at various sites on the Pembrokeshire mainland.   Another 2000 or so were ringed on Skokholm in that period.

These days, ringing is primarily for monitoring bird populations – their survival, reproductive rates, and so on.  It is a very important tool in understanding how and when bird populations change. 

A good proportion of the chiffchaffs ringed on the mainland are part of Constant Effort Site ringing, which is designed for population monitoring.  Many of the birds ringed will be breeding, or will have hatched on that site.  They will often be retrapped on the same site, in the same or subsequent years. These birds are not included in the map.

Chiffchaffs ringed on Skokholm are on migration.  They may be heading north in spring, and south in winter, although occasionally a bird seems to be going in the wrong direction as it overshoots its destination.  An example is a bird that was ringed on Skokholm in spring, but subsequently settled to breed in Cornwall that summer.

This map shows where birds ringed in Pembrokeshire went to, or where birds ringed elsewhere came from.

Ringing has been undertaken on Skokholm and elsewhere in Pembrokeshire for many decades, but the earlier data isn’t currently easily available. 

The apparently low number of birds that have left mainland Pembrokeshire reflect the fact that a large proportion are ringed as fledgelings and  juveniles, which are very vulnerable to predation.  Birds that have made it as far as Skokholm before being ringed are a bit older, and so have a much better chance of survival.

Meanwhile, that chiffchaff from Keeston is the oldest, and the furthest-travelled, chiff-chaff from Pembrokeshire in the last decade at least.

Annie Haycock (BBS & WeBS local organiser)

Data from Mike and Theresa Sherman of the Pembrokeshire Ringing Group, from the Skokholm Island Annual Reports, and from the BTO website.

More about the Chiffchaff in Pembrokeshire

Velvet Scoter – records

Melanitta fusca – MOR-HWYADEN GOGLEDD – Winter visitor.

Previous records are summarised in Velvet Scoter 1994

1993Singles Strumble Head 9 Jan, 12 Jun and 20 Nov and Druidston 25 Nov, 3 Skomer 22 Oct.
19944 Amroth 30 Jan, up to 7 in that area 20 Nov – 3 1 Dec, singles Strumble Hd 2 July and Newgale 13 Nov.
1995Singles Strumble Head 1 Jan, 3 Nov and 2 Dec, 2 Newgale 2 Jan, with singles there 8 Jan and 14 Dec, singles Ramsey 22 June and Gann 18-19 Nov, 3 Amroth 12 Jan and 4 Mar, with on 15 Jan and 17 Dec.
1996Singles Fishguard Harbour 9 Feb and Amroth 14 Feb, with 14 there 27 Mar. One Strumble Head 20 Sept.
19973 Nolton 5 – 7 Jan, one Newgale 12 Feb, 4 Amroth 3 Mar, 2 Strumble Hd 15 Oct, singles there 26 Oct and 7 Nov, and at Wiseman’s Bridge 14 Dec.
19983 Broad Haven (N) 10 Jan, up to 4 Newgale 26 Jan – 15 Feb, up to 6 Amroth 15-22 March. Singles Strumble Head 26 Sept & 14 Nov. 2 on 4 Nov. 2 Druidston 6 Dec, 2 Amroth 13 Dec and 2 Broad Haven (N) 20 – 21 Dec.
19991-5 Amroth 6-30 Jan, one there 18 & 21 Nov (TJP et al), 1-2 Broad Haven (N) 11-21 Jan (KJSD et al), one Strumble Head 17 Jan (SB).
20004 Strumble Head 15 Oct (GHR).
2001Male Amroth 17 Feb (GHR) and female 25 Feb (DSB), one Strumble Head 10 Nov and 7 on 13 Dec (SEB).
2002Variably 4-9 Nolton/Newgale 15 Feb – 14 Mar, singles Strumble Head 3 & 10 Nov, 5 Broad Haven (N) 29 Nov – 31 Dec.
20035 Broad Haven (N) 5 Jan, 9 there 24 Jan – 12 Feb, 8 on 14 & 15 Feb, 12 on 5 Dec, then 7 from 6 – 29 Dec. One Amroth 2 Jan, 2 Strumble Head 30 Nov.
20046 Broad Haven (N) 2 Jan, one there 25 Jan, one Strumble Head 18 Jan, 2 on 15 Feb,3 on 24 Oct and 2 on 25 Oct.
2005Singles Newgale 13 Jan & 15 Feb, Manorbier 10 Nov, Angle Bay 20 Nov, Newgale 26 & 27 Nov, 2 at latter 24 & 25 Dec, one St Davids Head 26 Dec.
2006One Newgale 2 – 6 Jan, with 2 there 3 Jan, one Skomer 29 Mar, 2 Strumble Head 8 Dec.
2007All records were: a male passing off Strumble Head on 12 Sept., three males there on 18 Nov. and two males on 10th Dec, (SEB, AR, CBu). Five off Broad Haven (N) on 18th & 19th Dec., reducing to three by the 23rd (TJP, PKG, KJSD).
2008The only records were of 5 off Broad Haven North from 2nd until 6th Jan. (LL. DJA).
2009All records were in St. Bride’s Bay off Broad Haven (N). There were two on 21 Feb, increasing to nine on 19 March which then reduced to two again by the 21st. Later in the year another two were recorded at the same site from 17 to 21 Dec. Elsewhere one passed Strumble Head on 9 Sept and three males passed by on 11 Oct and three were off Pen Anglas on 30 Nov.
2010All records were from St. Brides Bay with two at Broad Haven on 10 Jan and one at Newgale on 30 Jan & 1 Feb. Then at the other end of the year, three at Broad Haven on 19 Nov rising to eight by 21st, dropping to two from 24 Dec with just 1 remaining by the 31st.
2011All records were from Broad Haven (N) where there was a pair from 3 to 9 Jan then a female reported on 20 Nov & 1 Dec at the same site.
2012A 1st winter male at Broad Haven (N) on 26 Feb, a female at the same site from 23 – 30 Nov & three females Wisemans Bridge on 5 Dec were the only records.
2013A single Female at Broad Haven (N) from 2 to 20 March and three off Newgale 26 Dec were the only acceptable records.
2014Single individuals were recorded at Strumble Head on 22 Sept, a male off the St. Davids Head/St. John’s Point area from 15 to 19 Nov and off Amroth on 24 Dec.  
2015The only record for the year was of three past Strumble Head on 12 Sept.
2016A single female type bird which joined the Common Scoter flock at Wiseman’s Bridge on 15 Dec was the only record for the year.
2017No records
2018Only record was of a male and two females off Amroth 24 March
2019Only records were of two in Whitesands Bay 28 Nov and singles off Skomer 5 Nov, off Skokholm 2 Dec and in St. Brides Bay off Broad Haven N on 17 Dec
2020Only records received were: off Broad Haven (N): one 12 – 21 Jan, three 23 Oct and one 6 Dec; off Wiseman’s Bridge – Coppet Hall: 27- 30 there 19 – 26 Jan, two on 3 Dec and a single 11 Dec.

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

More about the Velvet Scoter in Pembrokeshire