Green Sandpiper – 2006

Tringa ochropus – PIBYDD GWYRDD – Passage migrant and winter visitor

The Green Sandpiper breeds across the northern Palearctic from Scandinavia to Siberia, wintering south of this range as far south as Africa and Asia.

From the late 1800’s to the present, the Green Sandpiper has predominantly been an autumn visitor to Pembrokeshire. Throughout this period some have over wintered and a small erratic spring passage has been detected. They have been seen around many small pools, both on the mainland and offshore islands, in the upper reaches of estuaries around the zone where fresh water runs into salt water and overflying land including habitations.

Overall it is likely that this species has been under recorded, inasmuch as it can occur on quite small ponds and streams which are seldom visited by observers.

Spring

Departure of over wintering birds from the main localities have been recorded up to late April and early May. Assessing spring passage has therefore not included records of this nature. Away from these wintering sites spring passage has been noted in 21 years between 1952 and 2006, so it has not been an annual event. Records have come from Skokholm, Skomer, Pembroke Mill Ponds, St David’s airfield, Tretio, Pen Beri, Gann, Teifi Estuary, Treffgarne, Ritec and Fortune’s Frolic. They occurred between March and 22nd May and involved single birds, except for two at St David’s airfield on the 7th April 2003 and two at the Gann on the 29th April 2001.

Autumn

Females tend to leave the breeding grounds early, about a third of the way through June, small chicks being left in the care of the males. Autumn passage in Pembrokeshire has commenced from the 20th June and continued to October, representing 65 % of the annual totals. Earlier birds were recorded at the Teifi Marshes on the 13th June 1990 and 2nd June 1996. One individual was reported as summering at the Teifi Marshes in 1994, being present from May to August.

Conceivably some November occurrences could have been late migrants but October has been used as a cut off point in this assessment.

Autumn passage totals 1990 – 2006.

These are minimum figures, for no means have been found for evaluating turnover of individuals at each site. Most records refer to one to four birds per occasion but up to five have been recorded at Skokholm, Eastern Cleddau and Heathfield Gravel Pit, six at Skomer, Teifi Marshes and the Gann, seven at Westfield Pill and nine at Pembroke Mill Ponds.

Winter

In 1894 Mathew wrote of the Green Sandpiper, “not infrequently it occurs throughout the winter months”. Subsequently this was established as a regular feature. This has mostly involved single birds at any one locality but up to five have been seen at favoured sites. The most favoured places have been Westfield Pill, the Blackpool Mill/Minwear region of the Eastern Cleddau, Millin Pill, Carew/Milton and Cresswell Quay. Birds centred on these areas possibly account for occurrences at Rosemarket, Clerkenhill, Llawhaden, Little Milford, Broadley/Southern Pitts and Cosheston. Less regular winter records have come from Pentwd, Nevern Estuary, Sealyham, Heathfield, St Davids airfield, Wallis Moor, Scolton, Bicton, Herbrandston, Gann / Mullock, Monkton, Ludchurch, Norchard and Lydstep.

More about the Green Sandpiper in Pembrokeshire

Green Sandpiper – 1994

Tringa ochropus – PIBYDD GWYRDD – Passage migrant and winter visitor

Mathew (1894) considered the Green Sandpiper to be a fairly common autumn visitor although Lockley et al. (1949) listed only eight autumn occurrences. It is now a regular autumn passage migrant, up to seven occurring on small ponds, farm slurry lagoons and streams throughout the county, including those on the offshore islands, and along the pills of the estuaries, passing between 4 July and 23 November.

Mathew also remarked that Green Sandpipers “not infrequently” wintered in Pembrokeshire and Lockley (1961) noted they were “regular but not common winter visitors” to the south-west peninsula. One or two are still found wintering on or near the Cleddau Estuary, most regularly at Westfield Pill and around the Carew/Cresswell Rivers area, but none have been recorded further inland.

There is a sparse spring passage when one or two Green Sandpipers are seen in coastal areas between 11 April and 22 May, but not in every year.

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

LOCKLEY R. M. 1961. The south-west peninsula. Nature in Wales 7: 124-133

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Green Sandpiper – 1980s winter

Tringa ochropus – PIBYDD GWYRDD – Passage migrant and winter visitor

The BTO winter atlas showed that Green Sandpipers were present in two estuarine 10km squares during the winters of 1981-82, 1982-82 and 1983-84.

The colour represents single birds seen a day. The UK is at the northern extremity of the winter range of this species.

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

More about the Green Sandpiper in Pembrokeshire

Green Sandpiper – 1949

Tringa ochropus

Mathew describes it as a fairly common autumn visitor, occasionally staying the winter. 

One killed St Davids, 8 Aug 1911 (Bertram Lloyd).  One seen River Alan, 3 Sept 1930 (D.L.Lack) One seen near Pembroke, 5 and 7 July, 1936 by B.L. who considered it a regular autumn passage migrant. Recorded Skokholm: 1 Oct 1946, 28 July, 8 and 19 Aug 1947

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

More about the Green Sandpiper in Pembrokeshire

Green Sandpiper – 1894

Helodromas ochropus – An autumn visitor.

This Sandpiper, which is larger than the preceding species, and is to be known by its conspicuous white tail, broadly barred with black, and by its shrill whistle when it is flushed, makes its appearance by the sides of pools and creeks near the coast about the middle of August, and is fairly common. It has its favourite stations on the marshes, and the places where it has been noticed one year are almost certain to be revisited season after season.

Not unfrequently it occurs throughout the winter months, and is always one of the very wildest of birds, and difficult to approach. Sir Hugh Owen has seen it at Goodwick. Mr. Tracy writes: ” A few of these beautiful birds may always be obtained about the margins of our fresh water rivers and ponds during the autumn and winter.” Mr. Dix, in his neighbourhood, considered the Green Sandpiper scarce, but remarks that it was a regular visitor to certain spots every August, only remaining for a few days.

This species differs from other Sandpipers that place their eggs upon the ground in swamps or at the edges of ponds and streams, by always selecting the deserted nest of a Pigeon or Crow to breed in, at some considerable height from the ground. It is believed, with some probability, to occasionally nest in the British Isles, as it has been noted in every month in the year, and young birds have been met with so little advanced in plumage as to preclude the idea that they could have come from any distance.

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

More about the Green Sandpiper in Pembrokeshire

Green Sandpiper

Tringa ochropus – PIBYDD GWYRDD – Passage migrant and winter visitor

Green Sandpiper – 2006

Tringa ochropus – PIBYDD GWYRDD – Passage migrant and winter visitor The Green Sandpiper breeds across the northern Palearctic from Scandinavia to Siberia, wintering south of this range as far south as Africa and Asia. From the late 1800’s to the present, the Green Sandpiper has predominantly been an autumn visitor to Pembrokeshire. Throughout this […]

Green Sandpiper – 1994

Tringa ochropus – PIBYDD GWYRDD – Passage migrant and winter visitor Mathew (1894) considered the Green Sandpiper to be a fairly common autumn visitor although Lockley et al. (1949) listed only eight autumn occurrences. It is now a regular autumn passage migrant, up to seven occurring on small ponds, farm slurry lagoons and streams throughout the county, […]

Green Sandpiper – 1980s winter

Tringa ochropus – PIBYDD GWYRDD – Passage migrant and winter visitor The BTO winter atlas showed that Green Sandpipers were present in two estuarine 10km squares during the winters of 1981-82, 1982-82 and 1983-84. The colour represents single birds seen a day. The UK is at the northern extremity of the winter range of this species. […]

Green Sandpiper – 1894

Helodromas ochropus – An autumn visitor. This Sandpiper, which is larger than the preceding species, and is to be known by its conspicuous white tail, broadly barred with black, and by its shrill whistle when it is flushed, makes its appearance by the sides of pools and creeks near the coast about the middle of August, and is fairly common. […]