Updates to the Wetland Bird Survey counts for this season.
The June and July totals are provided courtesy of the annual shelduck monitoring on the Cleddau Estuary by Jane Hodges for the PCNPA. There is no count in August.
Note that totals for any month this season may be updated as more counts come in. Canada Geese often feed in fields away from the estuaries where they are not counted, so monthly totals can seem erratic.
The maximum count can be in any month, but in recent years has been in September.
Two unusual records, the first of one on Skomer 1 June – only the 9th island record, the other, a mile off St. Ann’s Head seen from the Waverley on 16 June.
Males heard calling at Marloes Mere 31 May and at Skomer 11 June.
All records were of single calling males: at Waterston 21 May (GHR et al), Mountain Park Farm 28 May (VNR) and Skomer 15 June (JGB).
Males heard calling at Abercych 12 – 13 May, Skomer 14 & 30 May, Kilpaison 19 – 25 June, Plumstone Mountain 29 June and St. David’s AF 28 July.
Males heard calling near Marloes 15-16 June, Rhoslanog Fach 12 July and near Nolton 23 – 28 July.
The only records were of calling males at: St. Govan’s on 16 May (BH) at Castlemartin on 27 June & 15 July (BH) and two at Hayscastle Cross on 12 July (RT).
The only record was of a single calling at Marloes Village on 16 June (MS).
Two calling birds were reported this year, both in June, from Brawdy 15 – 18th and St. Davids airfield on 17th (I. Bullock).
Two calling at Pantgwyn on 22 June, three near Brawdy 28 – 30 Aug. All other records all of singles: at Hayscastle 6th June, at Slebech Park on 29 June & 5 July and at Pantmaenog on 22 July.
Two records both of singing males, the first at Porthlysgi Farm St.Davids on 28 May (BD), the other Brynberian Moor 24 June (WJ, DJ). One flushed on Grassholm on 24 July was possibly a first for the island (NS, SV).
Two calling males reported this year, Abereiddy on 9 July (JG) and one calling in the Marloes area on 17 of the same month (BS).
Records more widespread this year starting with a bird on Skokholm on 17 May (see below)then three between Little Haven & St. Brides on 3 June, a single bird at Harmony near Strumble Head on 19 June, a bird calling at Boncath on 29 July and finally one on Skomer on 6 Aug.
A single was flushed on Skomer on 11 May and another on Skokholm on 2 June (see below). One on the mainland calling at Nolton Cross on 22 Aug.
One flushed on Skokholm 10 (see below)
Two calling Llangloffan Fen 21 July and another two calling at Treseissyllt on 3 Aug. Up to three calling 12 July – mid August near St. Nicholas.
Calling males heard at Llanrhian 18 June and Brynberian 21 June. Marloes Mere 31 May, Skokholm 31 May – 4 June (see below), two calling at Camrose 14 June, then singles at St. Ishmaels 16 July and at Brawdy 11 Aug.
There were three singles in the 1990s, approximately six records in the 1980s (three of which were probably of two birds lingering for up to three days), five singles in the 1970s, seven singles in the 1960s, eight singles in the 1950s, four singles in the 1940s and three between 1938 and 1939 including one found dead on the roof of the Lighthouse.
One heard singing along the Lighthouse Track at just before midnight on 16th May was the first Skokholm record for over a decade (CB, EW). Checks on subsequent nights proved unsuccessful.
One flushed from above North Haven during the afternoon of 2nd June was not relocated .This was the first record since a singing bird on 16th May 2014 and only the second to be logged this decade.
One flushed from the coastal grassland above Purple Cove on a drizzly 10th June was the first record since 2nd June 2015 and only the third sighting this century following a singing bird on 16th May 2014 (GE).
One photographed on the plateau above Purple Cove on 31st May was the first since one at the same location on 10th June 2017 (LP, KO). One was flushed from the culvert along the South Pond Lower Drain the following day (RDB), a male was singing near North Pond on 4th June (GE et al.) and a bird was flushed from Windmill Gully on the 5th (RDB). Although it is possible that some of these sightings refer to the same very mobile individual, it would seem likely given the typically elusive nature of this species that more than one bird was present.
Phoenicurus ochruros – TINGOCH DU – Winter visitor and passage migrant
All records since 1981.
(1) 1982 – An unprecedented Black Redstart event for our county was of no less than 111 recorded from 38 localities in early November – 54 of which were located in one day in the Castlemartin peninsula. Numbers gradually reduced through November, and by December they were found only at Stackpole, Bosherston and Strumble Head.
(2) 1997 – Late record of a female on Skokholm
(3) 2002 – twelve black redstarts known to have over-wintered
(4) 2009 – Excellent year for records of this species in spring. In autumn, widespread between 17 Oct and 25 Dec with a peak in the last week of Oct, max of 9 at Bosherston
(5) 2014 – A bird at the Farm on 3rd July was unseasonable (Skokholm Annual Report)
(6) 2015 – Late record on Ramsey
(7) 2016 – An adult male on the Little Neck on 11th July was unseasonable; the only other July records have been singles in 2014, 2011, 1997 and 1976. (Skokholm Annual Report)
(8) 2018 – Late record on Skomer
(9) 2019 – An adult female, around the Observatory buildings on the 10th, was only the sixth island record in July. (Skokholm Annual Report)
If you look at the previous starling accounts you’ll see that the 1984-88 atlas showed them to be breeding in 40% of the tetrads (2x2km squares) across the county. By the 2003-07 atlas, that had declined to just under 12%. But what is the situation now?
This map shows where starlings have been recorded in April-June 2011-2020 according to records in BirdTrack. The black squares indicate that the observer recorded definite evidence of breeding in 2021 – nests, birds carrying food, recently fledged youngsters (being fed), for example. This has doubled the number of tetrads with breeding evidence compared with the previous ten years.
Many thanks to those of you who have already added their sightings to BirdTrack this year, especially those who have been able to add evidence of breeding. If you have entered starling records to the WWBIC system, they are not shown here, but will be added in later in the year. If you have been recording starlings for Garden Birdwatch during April-May, these will also be added later in the year. This delay is simply because these recording schemes use different databases.
There is still time to update this map. The easiest way to do this, is for everyone to note where they see starlings in April, May and June, and add those records to BirdTrack. In BirdTrack you can pinpoint a location on a map or aerial photo. Then when entering details, click on the ‘highest breeding evidence’ box and select the appropriate code.
Starlings may produce a second brood, so there is a chance of finding breeding birds in June. Flocks of starlings don’t count for this project (you should still record them, but don’t include a breeding code) – once independent, the fledged chicks quickly form flocks and move away from the nest sites, so could have come from anywhere.
If you really don’t want to use BirdTrack, then there is the WWBIC recording scheme either on-line or via their app (part of iRecord) where you’ll have to state in the comments field what you have seen. If all else fails, you can email me, but remember to include the site name, the site grid reference, and the breeding code.
The map will be updated in early July, though records not submitted through BirdTrack may take longer to incorporate so there will be another update later in the year.