Golden Plover – 1994

Pluvialis apricaria – CWTIAD AUR – Winter visitor and passage migrant

Golden Plovers were evidently much more numerous in the past, for Mathew (1894) noted that “tens of thousands visited the county” in the very cold spring of 1886. Lockley et al. (1949) added that “frosty conditions with north-east winds bring great numbers to Pembrokeshire”.

They are frequently seen in wet pastures, mostly, but not exclusively, in the coastal regions. Flocks vary in size up to 1,500 birds but some roosts, such as those at Hook, Garron and Castle Martin ranges, can hold up to about 3,000 birds. The total population at such times is probably about 10,000 birds. Cold spells can bring hundreds of additional birds, many of which pass quickly on, but some stay and this has lead to high mortality when frozen conditions endure; for example over 100 corpses were found around Stackpole following the cold spell in February 1985.

A few arrive during August and September (exceptionally July) and peak numbers are reached between November and February. Spring departure takes place in March and early April and there appears to be a through passage during April and May (sometimes into June) which includes birds showing the plumage characteristics of northern races. Single Golden Plovers and small parties are seen flying in off the sea and coasting during the autumn arrival, and larger parties depart northwards from the estuaries on calm spring evenings. They are sometimes heard passing over at night during the migration periods.

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

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Golden Plover – 1980s winter

Pluvialis apricaria – CWTIAD AUR – Winter visitor and passage migrant

The darker the colour, the higher the relative total count for each 10km square.  The darkest blue represents over 496 birds.

The BTO winter atlas showed that Golden Plovers were present in both estuarine and agricultural 10km squares during the winters of 1981-82, 1982-82 and 1983-84.

Day roosting birds made up high numbers at the Cleddau Estuary, whereas those on the Castle Martin ranges were active feeders.  

Graham Rees. Pembrokeshire County Bird Recorder 1981-2007

Data collected by volunteers for the BTO. Lack, P. 1986 Atlas of wintering birds in Britain and Ireland. T & A.D. Poyser.

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Golden Plover – 1949

Pluvialis apricaria ?sub-sp

Mathew describes it as a “winter visitor; perhaps, also, a resident”.  In the very cold spring of 1886 “the lower parts of the county were visited by tens of thousands” and they came into Haverfordwest streets.  Breeding has not been confirmed; it remains a winter visitor, often in considerable numbers.

R.M.Lockley, G.C.S.Ingram, H.M.Salmon, 1949, The Birds of Pembrokeshire, The West Wales Field Society

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Golden Plover – 1894

Charadrius pluvialis

A winter visitor; perhaps, also, a resident.

Mr. Dix says, “common on the mountains in winter, they were seen here last year by the second week in October.”

Although we have ourselves failed to detect the Golden Plover among the birds nesting on the Precelly Mountains, we think it extremely likely that a few pairs may breed there, and we are the more inclined to this opinion as we have only been able to search a limited portion of the mountains on the western side. The Golden Plover nests on the Breconshire Mountains, and commonly on the moors in North Wales, and the Precelly Mountains offer very suitable ground for their summer quarters. Mr. J. H. Salter, of University College, Aberystwyth, informs us that Golden Plovers breed sparsely on the Cardiganshire hills.

We used to see large flocks every autumn and winter around Stone Hall, and often shot them when we were after Snipe, getting them within range by imitating their whistling call.

In the very cold spring of 1886, when a black frost with snow lasted for a stretch of six or seven weeks, the lower parts of the county were visited by tens of thousands of Golden Plovers. The birds might be seen on the muddy shores of Milford Haven, and in all the meadows adjoining the coast, searching in vain for food. We actually saw some in the town of Haverfordwest. We saw others on the hard turnpike road that ran in front of our dog-cart like chickens. A few visited our kitchen garden at Stone Hall.

Starving as they were, they did not perish in such numbers as the poor Peewits, that during this cruel frost we found lying about dead and frozen in the fields by scores.

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

More about the Golden Plover in Pembrokeshire

Golden Plover

Pluvialis apricaria – CWTIAD AUR – Winter visitor and passage migrant

Golden Plover – 1994

Pluvialis apricaria – CWTIAD AUR – Winter visitor and passage migrant Golden Plovers were evidently much more numerous in the past, for Mathew (1894) noted that “tens of thousands visited the county” in the very cold spring of 1886. Lockley et al. (1949) added that “frosty conditions with north-east winds bring great numbers to Pembrokeshire”. They are […]

Golden Plover – 1980s winter

Pluvialis apricaria – CWTIAD AUR – Winter visitor and passage migrant The darker the colour, the higher the relative total count for each 10km square.  The darkest blue represents over 496 birds. The BTO winter atlas showed that Golden Plovers were present in both estuarine and agricultural 10km squares during the winters of 1981-82, 1982-82 and 1983-84. […]

Golden Plover – 1894

Charadrius pluvialis A winter visitor; perhaps, also, a resident. Mr. Dix says, “common on the mountains in winter, they were seen here last year by the second week in October.” Although we have ourselves failed to detect the Golden Plover among the birds nesting on the Precelly Mountains, we think it extremely likely that a few pairs […]