Montague (1866) said of the Black Guillemot “we have seen it rarely on the coast of Wales near Tenbeigh where a few breed annually”. Mathew (1894) knew of no further occurrences but Lockley et al. (1949) added five records of single birds at the Teifi Estuary, St David’s Head and Jack Sound, all in June and July between 1914 and 1933.
Since then up to four have been recorded in 26 years, 60% in June and July. They have mostly been single birds, but a pair was seen around Ramsey Sound throughout the summers of 1968 and 1969 which, with one standing next to a hole in the cliffs of Stackpole Head in 1987, raised hopes of colonisation. All sightings have been from the outer coast ranging from Ceibwr to Strumble Head, Ramsey, Borough Head, Jack Sound, Skomer, Skokholm, Elegug Stacks and St Margaret’s Island, apart from one far up the Cleddau Estuary at Hook Quay on 31 January 1971.
The origin of these birds is not known; they may have come southwards from Anglesey or the Isle of Man, but most probably they have flown from Ireland.
Montagu (1820) said that a few then bred near Tenby. Mathew knew of no recent record in 1894.
Since then it has been seen: one Teifi estuary, July 1914 (T.Ground); one St Davids Head, 18 June 1924 (C.M.Acland); and one same place 16 July 1925 (Bertam Lloyd); one 15 July 1932 and 15 July 1933 in Jack Sound (R.M.L.)
A century ago there were a few Black Guillemots resident on the Pembrokeshire coast. Colonel Montagu, writing in his Ornithological Dictionary in 1802, says: “We have seen it rarely on the coast of Wales near Tenbeigh (sic), where a few breed annually; but nowhere else that we could find from thence to St. David’s.”
None now breed south of the Isle of Man, and the bird has deserted Anglesea, and the neighbourhood of Llandudno, in North Wales, where it was reported to occur by Pennant, equally with our coasts. There is no specimen of a Pembrokeshire Black Guillemot now existing that we know of in any collection; nor is the bird, in virtue of a chance straggler floated to our shores, at the present day included in any list of the birds of the county. The Black Guillemot is very abundant off the north-west of Scotland, and is a species that does not wander far from its habitat; specimens reported from the Bristol or English Channels are few and far between.
Cepphus grylle – GWYLOG DDU – Sporadic visitor, former breeder A supplement to the Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pembrokeshire 2003-2007. On 13th June 2003, a black guillemot in summer plumage flew into the cliffs at Penally. In 2007, two birds were recorded in Fishguard Harbour in June and July raising speculation that they may […]
Sporadic visitor, former breeder Montague (1866) said of the Black Guillemot “we have seen it rarely on the coast of Wales near Tenbeigh where a few breed annually”. Mathew (1894) knew of no further occurrences but Lockley et al. (1949) added five records of single birds at the Teifi Estuary, St David’s Head and Jack Sound, all […]