Yellow Wagtail – First and last dates

Motacilla flava – SIGLEN FELEN – Passage migrant, has bred. Not recorded from December to February

Passage dates for flava/flassima only

YearSpringAutumnNotes
198121 April – 28 June22 Aug – 3 Octlate record – 2nd Nov, Mullock
198228 April – 5 June4 July – 12 Sept 
198323 April – 5 May26 Aug – 25 Sept 
19844 April – 7 June22 Aug – 17 Oct 
198523 April – 17 May9 July – 11 Oct 
198624 April – 1 June20 July – 25 Sept 
198720 April – 13 May29 Aug – 8 Oct 
198822 April – 21 May22 Aug – 16 Septlate record – 20 Oct, Skokholm
198919 April – 15 June2 July – 23 Sept16 on Skomer 28 Aug
199020 April – 12 May15 July – 27 Sept 
199112 April – 28 May23 Aug – 12 Oct9 at Strumble Head 27 Aug
199220 April – 19 May18 Aug – 5 Nov 
19938 April – 4 June29 July – 26 Sep 
199430 April – 27 May22 Aug – 10 Oct 
199512 April – 17 June3 Aug – 28 Oct 
199613 April – 5 June20 Aug – 2 OctMore recorded on mainland in autumn than for many years
199724 April – 26 May12 Aug – 19 Oct 
199829 April – 5 June13 Aug – 9 Oct10 on Ramsey, 1 Sept
19997 April – 19 May21 Aug – 6 Oct 
200025 April – 1 May18 Aug – 1 Oct 
200124 April – 29 May16 Aug – 20 Sept 
200217 June – 9 July19 Aug – 31 Oct 
20033 May – 14 June24 Aug – 25 Sept 
200425 April26 Aug – 3 OctVery few records
200529 April – 27 June19 July – 5 Oct 
200615 April – 5 June8 Sept – 1 Aug 
20071 May – 14 June8 Aug – 23 Sept 
200828 April – 16 May7 Aug – 17 Oct1 on Ramsey 7-22 July
200926 April – 2 May11 – 17 Sept1 Skomer 2 Nov
201015 April – 23 May1-22 Sept 
201119 April – 27 May25 Aug – 5 Oct 
201224 April – 17 May4 Aug – 26 Sept 
201321 April – 19 June19 Aug – 15 Oct 
201410 April – 31 May22 Aug – 23 Sept 
201514 April – 19 June18 Aug – 10 Oct 
201614 April – 16 May16 Aug – 11 Oct 
201721 April – 13 May13 Sept – 19 Oct 
20185 – 21 May23 Aug – 19 Oct 
201920 April – 21 June11 Aug – 11 Oct 
20203 – 25 May11 Aug – 21 Sept 

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

More about the Yellow Wagtail in Pembrokeshire

Knot – Ringing

Calidris canutus – PIBYDD YR ABER – Winter visitor and passage migrant. 

Knot – Orange flag T7

This colour-ringed knot was recorded in Pembrokeshire on 10 March 2018.  It was ringed as an adult on Merseyside in 2017, and spent that winter there.  This particular colour-ringing project has shown that there is interchange between Merseyside, Deeside and Ireland.  It is possible that T7 had spent at least part of the 2018-19 winter in Ireland and was now on its way east to join thousands of other knot on the Waddensee where they fatten up for the flight to their breeding grounds via staging posts in North Norway and Iceland.   It was last recorded back on Merseyside in July 2019.

As we see only small numbers of knot in Pembrokeshire, it is worth looking carefully for birds with colour-rings or flags.  Ideally get the number on the flag, but even a record of the colour and which leg it is on can provide useful information.

Thanks to Jim Wilson for the colour-ring information.


Knot – Z080116

During the flurry of Knot sightings in West Wales over the last few weeks, we have received data on the colour-ringed Knot on the 7th March at the Gann. It was first ringed in Waddenzee August 2014, resighted by the same ringer at Porsangerfjord Norway during spring migration and recaptured by Pemb’s Ringing Group 7th March 2018. A short but interesting life history for a bird that has an average weight of 137g. We still have a lot to learn about migrating Waders that choose to use the Gann as a stop-over. The continued resighting of colour ringed Waders by the users of the Pemb’s Bird blog is very much appreciated.

Mike & Theresa (posted on the Pembrokeshire Bird Ringing Blog)


References:

BALMER D, GILLINGS S, CAFFREY B, SWANN B, DOWNIE I, FULLER R. 2014. Bird Atlas 2007-11: The Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland.  HarperCollins.  UK

HBW – Handbook of the Birds of the World

LACK P. 1986.  The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland, T & A. D. Poyser, London

LOVEGROVE R, WILLIAMS G, WILLIAMS I. 1994.  Birds in Wales. T & A. D. Poyser, London

Pembrokeshire Bird Reports

WERNHAM. C, TOMS. M, MARCHANT. J, CLARK. J, SIRIWARDENA. G, BAILLIE. S. 2002. The Migration Atlas, Movements of the birds of Britain and Ireland, T & A. D. Poyser, London

More about the Knot in Pembrokeshire

Mediterranean Gull – colour rings

Colour-tinged Mediterranean Gulls have been turning up in Pembrokeshire for the past twenty years or so. Most were ringed at their natal colonies. This map shows the location of those colonies. In some cases, there have been several gulls from the same colony. And there are likely to be other birds for which we don’t have the records.

The histories of individual birds show that many of them have arrived here by a convoluted route, including via Morroco.

Any colour-tinged gulls should be reported to the European Colour-ringed Birding Website or to the British Trust for Ornithology, either of which will forward your sighting to the appropriate ringing scheme which will provide you with further details.

Red dots show the origins of birds with red rings, green for those with green rings, and blue for those with white rings (as white does not show up on this background).

More about the Mediterranean Gull in Pembrokeshire

Barnacle Goose – 2021-22 Winter

Branta leucopsis – GWYDD WYRAN – Winter visitor and passage migrant. 

The 1980s counts are for a flock that spent the winters between Skomer and Marloes Mere (see Barnacle Goose – 1994 for more details).

The counts since 2005 refer mainly to a feral flock breeding Cardigan Island, and wintering on the Teifi Estuary. One or two birds are sometimes seen elsewhere, usually in the company of other geese. As the geese often feed away from the estuary, they may not be present for WeBS counts.

More about the Barnacle Goose in Pembrokeshire

Mallard – 2021 Winter

Anas platyrhynchos – HWYADEN WYLLT – Breeding resident, passage migrant and winter visitor

Mallard can be seen at any time of year in Pembrokeshire, however, numbers in autumn and winter are augmented by arrivals from north-east Europe and Russia (based on ringing recoveries from Orielton and throughout Wales). Numbers are also increased by the release of birds for shooting, and it is possible the variability of this source accounts for much of the variability of the annual maxima recorded by the Wetland Bird Survey locally.

In the UK as a whole, numbers of (wild) mallard increased in the 1970s and 1980s, but have subsequently fallen. There is no clear reason for the decline, but there is a clear relationship with the ingestion of lead shot. Ringing recoveries have also shown that there is a reduction in the number of winter visitors from continental Europe (Birds of Wales)- probably due to a combination of less severe winters and a reduction in shooting pressure there.


Distribution

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.

Main sites

  • Pembroke Millponds
  • Teifi Estuary
  • Cleddau Estuary: Little Milford – Haverfordwest

Other sites, such as Millin Pill, Llys-y-fran and Marloes Mere have also held over 100 mallard on occasion.


Wetland Bird Survey

Current monthly WeBS totals can be seen here


Annie Haycock (BBS & WeBS local organiser)

References

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.

PRITCHARD R, HUGHES J, SPENCE I.M., HAYCOCK R.J. & BRENCHLEY A. (Editors) (2021) Birds of Wales. Liverpool University Press

More about the Mallard in Pembrokeshire

Little Grebe – 2021 Winter

Tachybaptus ruficollis – GWYACH FACH – Breeding resident and winter visitor

See also Little Grebe 2016 WeBS

Little Grebes spend the winters at a variety of sites from small pools, such as irrigation reservoirs, to large sheltered estuarine embayments. The coastal sites are more important in cold winters when inland sites freeze over. The susceptibility of the species to cold winters is illustrated by the drop in numbers (on WeBS sites at least) after the 2009-2010 and 2010-11 winters.

Distribution

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.

Main sites:

Pembroke Millponds – the fourth most-important site in Wales for little grebe

The Cleddau Estuary complex as a whole is the fifth most-important site in Wales, with the greatest concentration now being on the Pickleridge lagoon at the Gann Estuary.


Wetland Bird Survey

Note that Little Grebe were counted only on freshwater sites before 1994-95

Current monthly totals from WeBS counts can be seen here


Annie Haycock (BBS & WeBS local organiser)

References

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.

Pritchard R, Hughes J, Spence I.M., Haycock R.J. & Brenchley A. (Editors) (2021) Birds of Wales. Liverpool University Press

More about the Little Grebe in Pembrokeshire

Little Egret – 2021 winter

 Egretta garzetta – CREYR BACHWinter visitor and passage migrant which has bred.

See also Little Egret 2012

Little egret numbers increased rapidly between 1995 and 2005, then levelled out. The cold winter of 2010-2011, when at least eight little egrets were found dead in Pembrokeshire, reduced the numbers considerably – a shown in the counts for the subsequent winters. Numbers seem to have recovered a little since then, and they do not appear to have suffered (at least locally) from the effects of the cold ‘Beast from the East’ in 2018.

As the numbers have increased, the pattern of occurrence has changed slightly. Until 2001-02, the numbers built up slowly to a peak in December-January, then decreased slowly for the rest of the winter.

Since the 2002-03 winter, numbers have been noticeably higher in September-October. This may reflect dispersal of youngsters from local breeding populations. However, birds from further afield do reach the Cleddau, as evidenced by a colour-marked bird observed in November 2011, it had been ringed as a nestling in north Wales the previous spring.


Distribution

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.

Best places to see little egrets

Small numbers of egrets are found almost anywhere in the Cleddau complex, with embayments such as the Gann, Sandy Haven, Carew-Cresswell, Western Cleddau, and Pembroke River usually supporting larger numbers.

Small numbers are also regularly seen on the Nevern and Teifi Estuaries, and in Fishguard Harbour.


Wetland Bird Survey

The effect of the cold winters of 2010-11 to 2012-13 is clearly shown on this graph. The effect of the ‘Beast from East’ (cold spring of 2018) may simply have been a set-back in the overall recovery from the previous cold winters.

Current monthly WeBS counts can be seen here


Pattern of occurrence

Cumulative number of records per week since 2000 in Pembrokeshire, taken from BirdTrack. The low numbers of sightings in May-July may reflect the birds staying local to their breeding sites, which may or may not be in Pembrokeshire.


Annie Haycock (BBS & WeBS local organiser)

HAYCOCK A (2019). A review of the status of wetland birds in the Milford Haven Waterway and Daugleddau Estuary, 2019. A report to the Milford Haven Waterway Environmental Surveillance Group.

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 Little Egret in Pembrokeshire

Kingfisher – 2021 winter

Alcedo atthis – Glas y dorlan – breeding resident

Kingfishers often drift towards the coast in winter, often spending the season on the estuaries before moving back upstream to breeding areas. This movement was more marked when winters were colder and ponds more likely to be frozen over, forcing birds to move in search of food.

Distribution

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.

Best places to see kingfishers in winter:

  • Bosherston Lily Ponds
  • Nevern Estuary
  • Teifi Marshes Reserve
  • Pembroke Millponds

Wetland Bird Survey

The slightly higher numbers seen on WeBS sites in 1995-96, 2009-10 and 2010-2011 probably reflect the colder winters in those years.

Current monthly WeBS data can be seen here


Pattern of occurrence

Cumulative number of records per week in Pembrokeshire since 2000, taken from BirdTrack. Birds are more widespread during the autumn dispersal period, and also in winter when there are fewer leaves on the trees.


Annie Haycock (BBS & WeBS local organiser)

More about the Kingfisher in Pembrokeshire