Greenshank – 2021 Winter

Tringa nebularia – PIBYDD COESWERDD – Winter visitor and passage migrant

Typically, peak numbers of greenshank in Britain are recorded in August as birds move from their northern European (including Scottish) breeding sites to winter in south-west Europe and north and west Africa. The pattern seen in Pembrokeshire largely follows this regime, with generally higher numbers (usually 30-40, but over 70 in 1995 and 2005) seen in the July-September period compared with the November-February mid-winter period. (Note there were no migration period counts in the early 1990s).

Most of the birds have moved on by the end of October, but those remaining tend to stay put for the rest of the winter.  This is generally around 20-30 birds although 58 were present in January 2019.

The Cleddau Estuary is of National Importance for its greenshank population, and is the second-most important Welsh site (the Burry Inlet has higher counts) for the species.

Distribution

This map was produced by the West Wales Biodiversity Information Centre using data collected between November and February for the BTO Atlas 2007-11, with additional data collected in 2011-12 winter to fill gaps in coverage.

The main sites are:

  • Nevern Estuary
  • Almost anywhere on the Cleddau Estuary

Wetland Bird Survey

Maximum count may be usually in September-October, but in 2019-20 the highest numbers were in January and March.

Monthly WeBS totals can be seen here

Pattern of occurrence

Cumulative number of records per week in Pembrokeshire since 2000, taken from BirdTrack. This gives an idea of when the species is most likely to be seen.

The June records are likely to be of failed breeders, returning south early. The main migration takes place from July to October. Birds arriving from October onwards are likely to stay the winter, moving on in March, back to (probably) their Scottish breeding grounds. Spring migration of birds that have wintered further south and will be breeding further north takes place in April-May.

Annie Haycock (BBS & WeBS local organiser)

HODGES J E. (2010-2020) Daugleddau Estuary and Milford Haven Waterway: annual surveillance of summer shelduck populations. Reports to the Milford Haven Waterway Environmental Surveillance Group.

More about the Greenshank in Pembrokeshire

Greenshank – WeBS 2021-22

Tringa nebularia – PIBYDD COESWERDD – Winter visitor and passage migrant

Updates to the Wetland Bird Survey counts for this season

Data for June and July are collected by Jane Hodges during the annual surveillance of summer shelduck populations on the Cleddau Estuary complex. There are no counts in August. The September to March data is collected from sites across Pembrokeshire (including the Teifi Estuary) for the BTO Wetland Bird Survey.

This graph will be updated as more counts come in

Annie Haycock (BBS & WeBS local organiser)

HODGES J E. (2010-2020) Daugleddau Estuary and Milford Haven Waterway: annual surveillance of summer shelduck populations. Reports to the Milford Haven Waterway Environmental Surveillance Group.

More about the Greenshank in Pembrokeshire

Greenshank – 1994

Tringa nebularia – PIBYDD COESWERDD – Winter visitor and passage migrant

The Greenshank was classified by Mathew (1894) as an occasional autumn visitor and by Lockley et al. (1949) as a regular autumn and winter visitor.

Migrant Greenshanks pass through Pembrokeshire regularly from July to October when up to five are seen at coastal localities, including the Teifi, Nevern and Cleddau estuaries, with occasional larger numbers such as 35 at Hook in August 1984 and 60 at the Gann in September 1969. They are sometimes seen passing headlands and stopping at the offshore islands, including Grassholm and the Smalls, and are heard passing over the county at night. There has been just one record at an inland water, on a small pool near Hayscastle on 7 and 8 September 1989.

On average about 25 Greenshanks winter on the Cleddau Estuary, where they arrive from mid- July (occasionally from late June) and depart from March to early April, which suggests that these birds probably breed in Scotland. Six birds were at Frainslake in January and February 1985.

They are less numerous in spring than in autumn, with up to three appearing on the offshore islands and coastal pools, such as the Gann, from May to early June.

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

More about the Greenshank in Pembrokeshire

Greenshank – 1980s winter

Tringa nebularia – PIBYDD COESWERDD – Winter visitor and passage migrant

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

The darkest colour represents over 6 birds seen a day. It is likely that the birds concerned were Scottish breeders.

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.

More about the Greenshank in Pembrokeshire

Greenshank – 1894

Totanus canescens – An autumn visitor.

This fine Sandpiper is not very uncommon. Mr. Tracy says: “It is occasionally taken in the autumn.” We have seen a fine specimen at the house of Mr. John Worthington, Glyn-y-mel, Fishguard, that was shot by Sir Hugh Owen, at Goodwick. Our friend, the Rev. Marcus S. C. Rickards, vicar of Twigworth, Gloucester, obtained a Greenshank on Caldy Island, during a recent visit to Tenby. He writes: “Not many days after my arrival, I rowed over to Caldy Island, on the shore of which I started a Greenshank. After disembarking and walking inland, I roused a pair by the margin of a pool. They rose with the accustomed cry, and flew up the hills chasing and toying around each other in a very graceful and interesting manner. This was, to the best of my recollection, about the 25th August.”

The Greenshank nests commonly by the sides of lochs in the north of Scotland.

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

More about Greenshank in Pembrokeshire

Greenshank

Tringa nebularia – PIBYDD COESWERDD – Winter visitor and passage migrant

Greenshank – 1994

Tringa nebularia – PIBYDD COESWERDD – Winter visitor and passage migrant The Greenshank was classified by Mathew (1894) as an occasional autumn visitor and by Lockley et al. (1949) as a regular autumn and winter visitor. Migrant Greenshanks pass through Pembrokeshire regularly from July to October when up to five are seen at coastal localities, including the Teifi, […]

Greenshank – 1980s winter

Tringa nebularia – PIBYDD COESWERDD – Winter visitor and passage migrant The BTO winter atlas showed that Greenshanks were present in six estuarine 10km squares during the winters of 1981-82, 1982-82 and 1983-84. The darkest colour represents over 6 birds seen a day. It is likely that the birds concerned were Scottish breeders. More about the […]

Greenshank – 1949

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

Greenshank – 1894

Species account from the 1894 Birds of Pembrokeshire and its Islands by the Rev. Murray Mathew