Black Tern – records since 2000

Chlidonias nigerCors-wennol DduAnnual passage migrant.

See also analysis of records presented in Black Tern 1994 and Black Tern 2006

2000 – 87 passed Strumble Hd on 14 dates, 27 Aug-23 Oct, max 45 on 24 Sept. Otherwise 2 Newgale Marsh 28 Sept with one remaining to 30 Sept.

2001 – Well above average passage with 182 logged at Strumble Hd, 25 Aug – 28 Oct, max 97 on 8 Oct

2002 – 18 passed Strumble Hd on 9 dates between 10 Aug-4 Oct, max 8 on 25 Sept

2003 – 7 passed Strumble Hd. on 5 dates between 16 Aug- 2 Oct. max 2 on 4 & 16 Sept. The smallest passage logged since 1993.

2004 – Passage noted at Strumble Hd between 8 Aug- 30 Sept. A total of 28 in Aug & 29 in Sept.  Max 13 on 8 Aug. Elsewhere singles from the Fishguard ferry 13 Aug, w of Grassholm 5 Sept & 3 Skomer 11 Sept.

2005 – 3 nr Grassholm 6 Sept, singles Nevern Est & Teifi Est 25thand Fishguard Harb 28th. Passage at Strumble Hd noted between 21 Aug – 26 Oct. Maxa a remarkable 536 on 31 Aug when party after party, on approaching the shore, bunched up & climbed steeply to disappear into the low cloud. Also 117 on 1 Sept (cf Commic Tern). Both dates surpassing the previous max day count of 112 on 27 Aug 1997. Totals for the whole Autumn add up to the best passage on record. Monthly totals were; Aug 543, Sept 133, Oct 1

2006 – Passage at Strumble Hd noted between 11 Aug – 9 Oct. Max 48 on 14 Sept. Monthly totals Aug 26, Sept 209, Oct 26

2007 – The only records were singles off Strumble Head on 12 & 20 Aug, and 10 & 16 Sept (GHR, AR, RS).  This is the smallest passage logged since 1993.

2008 – Spring records are unusual in the county, but this year there were a few, all sinqles. At Marloes Mere 17th Apr., in Jack’s Sound on 5th May, off Freshwater West on 14 May and one for three days at Bosherston 18th — 21 st Apr.

In autumn one at Bosherston18th — 20th Sept. and off Strumble Head one on 31 Aug. In September, 40 on the 1st, 14 on the 2nd, one on the 3rd & 4th, two on 11th and 8 on 14th.

2009 – Very few reported this year, only passage birds off Strumble Head, singles on 23rd & 31st Aug, two on 3rd & 4th Sept with one the following day.

2010 – A single bird was reported from Bosherston on 14th Sept, then another at Pembroke Mill Pond from 4th to 6th Oct. All other records came from Strumble Head where a total of 131 passed between 15th Aug & 6th Oct, max 54 on 5th Sept.

2011 – Strumble Head: A total of 105 birds passed on 15 dates between 31st Aug & 18th Oct max 40 on 18th Sept. The only other records were of a juvenile present at Bosherston from 30th Oct until 1st Nov and one off Skomer on 12th Sept.

2012 – 39 were counted amongst the Commons on Newport beach on 17th Aug. Otherwise the only records were from Strumble Head where a total of 232 birds passed on 19 dates between 13th Aug & 13th Sept, max 177 on 18th Aug. A bird seen on 27th Aug was present in front of the Strumble lookout for over 4 hours feeding with other flocks of birds that were moving through & was never seen to land during that time.

2013 – Again only recorded at Strumble Head, a very low year with only four birds seen. Singles on 28th Aug & the quite late date of 5th Oct and two on 30th Aug.

2014 – Another species only recorded at Strumble Head where 27 birds passed. In August a single on 27th, 16 on 28th, four on 29th and two each on 30th & 31st. The only other record was of two birds passing on 9th Oct.

2015 – Another species only recorded at Strumble Head. A good year for this species with 149 recorded, Maximum count 105 on 23rd Aug.

2016 – At Strumble Head, annual totals fluctuate; 2016 being a low year, with just 20 records, max.10 on 13th Sept. Skokholm had four birds on 13th Sept. Elsewhere: two at St. Brides Bay on 13th Sept and eight in Fishguard Harbour 24th Sept. 13 seen off Skomer on 29th Sept and three the following day.

2017 – Only five birds recorded at Strumble Head again underlining a very poor year for Tern species there and in the county generally.

2018 – A total of nine logged passing Strumble Head, all in August: two on 25th, four on 26th and three on 27th. Single off Broad Haven 2nd Sept.

2019 – Off Strumble Head nine on 31 Aug, single 1 Sept, two 5 Sept. Only other record was of two off Teifi Est 12 Sept.

2020 – All records were of birds passing Strumble Head: two on 22 Aug and one on 26 Aug & 5 Oct.

More about the Black Tern in Pembrokeshire

Black Tern – 2006

Chlidonias nigerCors-wennol DduAnnual passage migrant.

The Black Tern has a widespread breeding range embracing the North Americas, Europe and Western Asia. Most of those seen in Pembrokeshire probably originated in Scandinavia, Poland and the western region of the former Soviet Union. Birds from this area migrate to winter along the western seaboard of Africa, where they are mostly coastal and pelagic.

Mathew (1894) mentioned just two undated records for the county and Lockley et al (1949) added just one more, shot at St Davids in September 1904. Black Terns were recorded 19 times between the years of 1949 and 1980, involving a total of 53 birds, the maximum in a year being 12 at Skokholm on the 8th September 1958. Post 1980 the Black Tern proved to be a regular autumn passage migrant in variable numbers.

Records came from the Teifi Estuary, Nevern Estuary, Fishguard Harbour, Newgale, Broad Haven (North), several places within the Cleddau Estuary, Manorbier, Tenby, around the islands of Ramsey, Skokholm, Skomer and Grassholm, from the Fishguard to Rosslare and Pembroke to Rosslare ferries and over fresh water at Bosherston and Newgale Marsh. However the majority, 94 %, were seen at the intensely watched Strumble Head.

Annual total number of birds, 1981 – 2006.

Autumn migration

Autumn records spanned from the 8th August to the 11th November, 95 % of them between the 14th August and the 8th October. In some years few were seen, in others larger totals, especially when peak numbers passed in one or two days, as 100 on the 12th September 1981, 98 on the 14th August 1985, 112 on the 27th August 1997, 86 over the two days of the 24th and 25th August 1999, 97 on the 8th October 2001, 536 on the 31st August 2005 with 117 on the 1st September 2005.

The peaks occurred during brief periods of light to brisk southerly winds, particularly from the south east, accompanied by low cloud and mostly with rain or drizzle. On those occasions the terns flew in from out to sea flying directly into the wind. When nearing the shore they mostly turned westwards, which enabled them to continue out to sea but some turned into Cardigan Bay. On the 31st August 2005 groups approaching the land bunched into tight formation and climbed rapidly, almost vertically, to disappear from sight into the low cloud cover. It seems likely they continued on their south east heading, going overland. BWP notes that Black Terns sometimes migrate at considerable height and the beginning of such action was probably witnessed at Strumble Head that day.

Spring migration

Very few Black Terns have been recorded in Pembrokeshire in spring, viz. one at Dale on the 8th May 1954, two Teifi Marshes on the 7th May 1986, one Gann 19th April 1987 with three at nearby Anchor Hoaten the same day, one Skomer 24th April 1988, two Garron Pill 3rd May 1988 with one remaining for the next day, singles at Pembroke Mill Ponds 25th April 1988 and St Govan’s Head 20th April 1992.

More about the Black Tern in Pembrokeshire

Black Tern – 1994

Chlidonias nigerCors-wennol DduPassage migrant. Not recorded from December to March or in June and July

Mathew (1894) cited only two undated occurrences at Castle Martin and Fishguard, Lockley et al. (1949) adding one shot at St David’s in September 1904. Up to six were seen in 15 of the next 32 years, though there were 12 at Skokholm on 8 September 1958. Black Terns have been annual in the autumn since 1981, occurring between 11 August and 11 November, the bulk from mid-August to mid- September. They have been seen in most offshore areas, including Grassholm, Skokholm and Skomer, all around the coastline at localities such as St Ann’s Head and Tenby, and on adjacent fresh waters, including Bosherston Pools, but at times of heavy passage are principally seen at Strumble Head. Normally up to six are seen at a time but 23 were at Skokholm on 21 August 1983, 98 at Strumble Head on 14 August 1985 and 100 there on 12 September 1981.

Very few have been seen in Pembrokeshire in the spring; up to three have occurred between 19 April and 8 May but they are not annual.

Donovan J.W. & Rees G.H, 1994, Birds of Pembrokeshire

More about the Black Tern in Pembrokeshire

Black Tern – 1894

Hydrochelidon nigra

Seen occasionally on its passage in the autumn. The Rev. Clennell Wilkinson has seen Black Terns flying over a large pool of fresh water on the Burrows in Castle Martin parish, and Sir Hugh Owen has shot it at Goodwick. Included in Mr. Mathias’ list. The Black Tern is a lacustrine species, and may often be met with flying over pools in salt marshes near the coast. In such places we have frequently seen it, the birds hawking about like large Swallows.

Mathew M.A. 1894, Birds of Pembrokeshire and its Islands

More about the Black Tern in Pembrokeshire

Black Tern

Chlidonias nigerCors-wennol DduAnnual passage migrant.

Black Tern – 2006

Chlidonias niger – Cors-wennol Ddu – Annual passage migrant. The Black Tern has a widespread breeding range embracing the North Americas, Europe and Western Asia. Most of those seen in Pembrokeshire probably originated in Scandinavia, Poland and the western region of the former Soviet Union. Birds from this area migrate to winter along the western […]

Black Tern – 1994

Chlidonias niger – Cors-wennol Ddu – Passage migrant. Not recorded from December to March or in June and July Mathew (1894) cited only two undated occurrences at Castle Martin and Fishguard, Lockley et al. (1949) adding one shot at St David’s in September 1904. Up to six were seen in 15 of the next 32 years, though there were […]

Black Tern – 1949

Species account from the Birds of Pembrokeshire, 1949, by Lockley, Ingram and Salmon.

Black Tern – 1894

Hydrochelidon nigra Seen occasionally on its passage in the autumn. The Rev. Clennell Wilkinson has seen Black Terns flying over a large pool of fresh water on the Burrows in Castle Martin parish, and Sir Hugh Owen has shot it at Goodwick. Included in Mr. Mathias’ list. The Black Tern is a lacustrine species, and may often be met with […]