Sandwich Tern – first and last dates

Sterna sandvicensis – MOR-WENNOL FWYAF – Passage migrant.

Earlier records are summarised in Sandwich Tern 1994 and Sandwich Tern 2007

YearFirstLastNotes
20004 April26 November
200118 March1 November
200218 March5 November
200316 March11 November
200429 March25 October
200513 March25 October
200624 March31 October
200721 April28 October
200819 March15 October
20093 April27 September(1)
201022 March19 September
20119 April7 October
20123 March4 October
201324 March5 November
201430 March19 December
201531 March22 November
20164 April4 October
201720 March17 October
201830 March25 September
201923 March15 December

(1) 2009 Two winter records of a single, possibly the same bird, firstly in Fishguard harbour on 19 Jan and then off Broad Haven (N) on 2 Feb. The earliest migrants were 7 off Tenby on 3 April.

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports which may contain more detail.

Pattern of occurrence

A distinction between spring and autumn migrants is usually taken as July 1st (week 26/27). However, movements are clouded by immature birds that are in no hurry to get to breeding colonies, and failed breeders that may start wandering southwards before the end of June.

Note – This graph uses records from BirdTrack only, and includes records from the Skomer and Skokholm logs going back to the 1947. There will be additional records submitted only to the county bird recorder.

More about the Sandwich Tern in Pembrokeshire

Common Crossbill –

Loxia curvirostra – GYLFIN GROES – Erratic visitor, has bred

The Crossbill is described in the bird report as ‘erratic visitor, has bred’.  What constitutes an ‘erratic visitor’?  Tabulating records from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports shows that from 1993-2007 they were rarely recorded before May.  In some years dozens were recorded, in some years a handful or none.

YearJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
1990     13 1225450
1991 26334  4 4  
1992   41       
1993       1117 54 
19944 3  1 12    
1995            
1996         4  
1997    185070 917  
1998      5     
1999      8  67 
2000     3      
2001      1  2  
2002       310111
2003      1     
2004            
2005     39124206  
200612        16  
2007   2       12
20083030   111934492
20091   4 12  2  
20109  4  9  4  
201125  5 20   24  
2012 1010253 14  130
2013   9 14182  12
2014  heard   2  11 4
20157  5 386     
2016   17168     
2017   755555527 
2018 12      101234 
2019 211 20212215924049

Crossbills are stimulated to breed by an abundance of food – whatever time of year it may occur.   The nearest regularly breeding populations are in Ceredigion, where they  mostly fledge from February to April.  So, good numbers of birds seen in January-April may indicate local breeding.  However, it is really necessary to see evidence of actual nesting to be sure they bred here. From May onwards, it gets really difficult to sort out the locals from immigrants.

More about the Common Crossbill in Pembrokeshire

Whitethroat – first and last dates

Sylvia communis – LLWYDFRON – Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant.

Earlier records are summarised in Whitethroat 1994

YearFirstLast
199317 April12 October
199418 April23 October
19954 April18 October
199620 April9 November
19973 April4 October
199820 April30 September
199912 April24 September
200022 April30 September
200114 April28 October
200221 April2 October
200315 April28 August
200419 April30 October
200519 April17 November
200614 April3 October
200718 April23 September
200812 April17 September
200911 April16 October
20109 April7 September
20118 April19 October
201215 April28 September
201316 April16 October
201411 April25 Sept
201516 April11 October
201618 April11 October
20176 April1 October
20186 April24 September
201917 April25 September

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports which may contain more detail.

More about the Whitethroat in Pembrokeshire

Garden Warbler – First and last dates

Sylvia borin – TELOR YR ARDD – Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant.

Earlier records are summarised in Garden Warbler 1994

YearFirstLastNotes
199317 April26 October
19942 May19 October
199514 April20 October
199622 April1 November
199725 April25 October
19985 April15 November
199925 April23 October
200023 April7 October(1)
200126 April28 October(2)
200222 April15 October
200318 April13 October
200426 April11 October
20051 May5 October
200619 April9 October
200718 April15 October 
200823 April7 September
200926 April14 October(3)
201015 April7 November
201119 April4 September
20125 April11 September (4)
201317 April31 October(4)
201415 April22 November
201520 April19 September
201614 April15 October
201720 April25 September
201826 April25 September
201917 April30 September

(1) one was caught by a cat in Penally on 26 Dec. 2000

(2) singles Skomer 16 Nov & Hook 7 Dec. 2001

(3) One on Grassholm on 13 August 2009

(4) Records from Birdtrack

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports which may contain more detail.

More about the Garden Warbler in Pembs

Twite – records

Carduelis flavirostrisLlinos y MynyddScarce visitor

Earlier records are summarised in Twite 1994

1995 – One Skokholm 28 Oct

1996 – Singles Skokholm 6 Oct and Fowborough 16 Nov

1999 – 18 St David’s Hd 10 Dec (BD), the largest group recorded since 19 at the Gann 28 Dec 1981

2000 – Singles Skokholm 3 May (GT) and Ramsey 9 June (RH).

2001 – One Skomer 11 Nov (JGB)

2012 – The only record was of a single on Skomer on 7 Nov (DB).

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports which may contain more detail.

More about the Twite in Pembrokeshire

Sooty Shearwater – records

Puffinus griseus – ADERYN –DRYCIN DU – Regular autumn passage migrant. Has not been recorded in February, June or November.

Earlier records are summarised in Sooty Shearwater 1994 and Sooty Shearwater 2006

Monthly totals of birds passing Strumble Head 2007-2020:

YearAugustSeptemberOctoberMax day count
200722506 on 24 September
20082462732 on 2 September
200945192424 on 3 October
2010161918 on 15 September
201114260287 on 7 September
76 on 5 September
20122188247 on 24 September
20134115283 on 16 September
201416336 on 30 August
2015511 
2016255626 on 4 September
201761115 on 11 September
2018251210 on 24 August
2019222 on 1 September
2020133

Data from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports and Adrian Rogers with other Strumblers.

Additional notes from Bird Reports:

2007 – Only non-Strumble record was of a single off Newgale on 18 Nov

2009 – Elsewhere 12 from a Sea Trust Pelagic on 23 Sept, 10 near Grassholm 25 Sept. Singles off the Deer Park on 18th Aug, off St. Govan’s Head 4th & 6th Sept and off Ramsey Island on 1st Nov (6th island record) which coincidentally was the last date that one was reported from Strumble Head where a total of 89 passed between 17th Aug and 1st Nov.

2010 – Only one non-Strumble record, from Grassholm on 23 Aug.

2011 – First recorded at Strumble Head on 17 July. The total of 277 from Strumble Head is the 3rd highest yearly total ever recorded.

2012 – Passed Strumble Head on a total of 20 dates between 18 Aug & 3 Oct, max 47 on 24 Sept. A single bird was recorded past Skokholm on 16 Sept.

2013 – A total of 123 passed Strumble Head on 14 dates between 14 Aug & 3 Nov. Elsewhere five were seen from Ramsey Island on 16 Sept and one on 3 Nov, two off St.Davids Head on 24 Oct and singles off Skokholm on 4 Aug and off Grassholm on 6 Aug.

2014 – Quite a poor year at Strumble Head, 22 birds in total recorded on only nine days. September is usually the peak month for “Sooties” but the wind conditions this year were very poor in sea-watching terms, hence the low totals. Single Birds were seen from Skomer on 30 July, the Fishguard to Rosslare Ferry on 20 Aug, from the Cartlett Lady on a Seatrust Survey on 4 Sept and from Ramsey on 21 Oct.

2015 – Another poor year at Strumble Head, starting with a single on 19th July. Skokholm had a single bird on 12 Aug and one off Ramsey on 22nd Oct.

2016 – At Strumble Head a much better showing in 2016 with a total of 81 birds on 15 dates between 4th Aug & 29th Sept, max 26 on 4th Sept. Skokholm had single birds on 21st Aug & 4th Sept with three on 3rd Sept. Off Skomer, seven on 4th Sept and a single on 16th Oct. One off Ramsey on 20th Aug.

2017 – A poor year with only 18 birds recorded at Strumble Head, maximum five on 11th Sept. One off Skomer on 27th Aug and singles off Skokholm on 27th July and 28th Aug

2018 – Singles off Skokholm: 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th Aug and 8th Sept. A total of 37 logged passing Strumble Head: three on 16th Aug, 10 on 24th Aug, eight on 27th and five on 21 Sept.

2019 – Total of four logged passing Strumble Head, singles 18 & 31 Aug and two 1 Sept. Off Skokholm: singles on 10, 16,18, 22, 25, 29 & 30 Aug

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports which may contain more detail.

Photo credit: dfaulder, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

More about the Sooty Shearwater in Pembrokeshire

Hobby – records

Falco subbuteo – HEBOG YR EHEDYDD – Passage migrant

Earlier records are summarised in Hobby 1994

Number of individuals recorded each month (if a bird stayed into a second month, it is counted in that month too).

YearJFMAMJJASOND
1993  11  3  
1994  2  111 
1995 1241 2  
1996  12121 1
1997  7   62 
1998  31  12 
1999 11 1  41
2000  22 22 1
2001 121111 1
2002  2  4321
2003 1 3   21
2004    31 1 
2005   2 221 
2006  35  36 
2007     1 21
2008  121 12 
2009  121122 
2010 22113   
2011  2 3222 
2012 11212   
2013 12132 2 
2014   31 13 
2015  23123  
2016 1  12 1 
2017  1  1   
2018  54314  
2019 231 131 

Note that in some years, breeding has been suspected, but not confirmed.

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports which contain more detail.

More about the Hobby in Pembrokeshire

Willow Warbler – first and last dates

Phylloscopus trochilus – TELOR YR HELYG – Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant.

Previous records summarised in Willow Warbler 1994

YearFirstLastNotes
199325 March19 October
199429 March15 October
199524 March19 October
199624 March9 October
199723 March17 October
199821 March7 October
199930 March28 October
200016 March20 October
200127 March21 October
200225 March21 October
200317 March14 October(1)
200428 March8 October
200522 March22 October(2)
20061 April6 November
20076 April11 October
200831 March13 October
200921 March31 October
20103 April3 October
201126 March16 October
20123 April23 October
201329 March22 September
201427 March14 October
201527 March20 October
201628 March26 October
201719 March27 October
201830 March18 October
201924 March13 October

(1) 2003 – Remarkably, a wintering bird present Monk’s Haven 14 Feb (SED). This is the second winter record for Pembs, following one singing at Stackpole 9 Feb 1991.

(2) 2005 –  Final record appeared to be Angle Bay 22 Oct but then another found lingering at The Rhos 5 Dec (J&MB). Only the 3rd record of wintering in the county, the others being in 1991 and 2003.

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports which may contain more detail.

More about the Willow Warbler in Pembrokeshire

Bluethroat – records

Luscinia svecicaScarce visitor

First record on 9 May 1946. All records from then until 1992 are summarised in Bluethroat 1994

1993 – Female Bosterston 8 June (P&AC)

1995 – A first summer red-spotted male Skokholm 29 June (MB)

2008 – A white-spotted male on Skomer on 10-11 April (M Butler, J Milborrow)

2010 – A stunning male of the red spotted race on Skomer on the 21st May (DB).

2017 – Adult male caught on Skokholm on 27th May (RD, WJ et al), photo by R. Brown. Accepted by WRP.

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports which may contain more detail.

A stunning male mist netted at the Well on 27th May 2017 was the first Skokholm record since 29th June 1995, only the 13th record for the Island and the 18th for Pembrokeshire (RD, WJ et al.). A lack of red feathering amongst its blue throat feathers and a relatively short wing chord of 73mm both suggested that it was not a Red-spotted L. s. svecica of northern Europe and Asia, however deducing its origins based on appearance alone becomes more problematic as White-spotted L. s. cyanecula of south and central Europe do not always have a white spot, meaning that they closely resemble Blue-throated, Spanish breeding L. s. azuricollis and the larger Turkish breeding L. s. luristanica. It is perhaps thus no surprise that there is limited genetic variation between all these forms and that this is very much a single species. Nevertheless it is hoped that a retained feather held by Professor Martin Collinson at the University of Aberdeen will provide a sufficiently distinctive genetic signature so as to allow this bird to be linked to a particular breeding area in the future.

Of the 12 previous Skokholm records, the first seven between 1955 and 1968 were all in autumn, whilst four of the latter five were in spring.

Following the first for Skokholm, a first winter male L. s.svecica on 10th October 1955, there was a first-winter L. s. svecica between the 12th and 15th September 1956, a first-winter male on 15th September 1964, a female-type bird on 24th September 1964, another first-winter male L. s. svecica on 29th September 1964 (taking the year total to an unprecedented three individuals), one logged on 11 dates between 16th September and 1st October 1967, the only Skokholm record of L. s. cyanecula on 20th October 1968, males of L. s. svecica on 21st May 1975, 15th May 1982 and 14th May 1985, an unraced male on 27th September 1992 and most recently a male L. s. svecica on 29th June 1995

Skokholm Annual Report 2017

More about the Bluethroat in Pembrokeshire

Sand Martin – first and last dates

Riparia riparia – GWENNOL Y GLENNYDD – Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant.

YearFirstLast
199310 March10 October
199412 March12 October
199510 March29 September
199612 March2 October
19976 March25 October
19987 March24 October
199914 March6 October
20008 March18 October
200111 March9 October
20026 March12 October
200318 March11 October
200414 February7 September
200517 March9 November
200612 March25 September
200711 March4 October
200826 February16 October
20094 March20 September
201016 March7 September
201127 February9 September
20121 March19 September
20138 March12 September
20149 March24 October
20157 March25 September
201618 March7 October
20178 March3 November
201812 March27 September
201928 February2 October

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports which may contain more detail.

More about the Sand Martin in Pembrokeshire