Grey Wagtail – 2003-07 breeding

Motacilla cinerea – SIGLEN LWYD – Breeding resident

Comparison with previous atlas:

1984-882003-07
Breeding confirmed4058
Breeding probable2124
Breeding possible5232
No of tetrads occupied113 (of 478)114 (of 490)
Percentage of tetrads23.6%23.3%

During the 1984-88 tetrad survey, Grey Wagtails were found to be widespread in Pembrokeshire, breeding on all major and many of the minor streams and rivers, from the Preseli Hills to the coast.  The results of the 2003-07 tetrad survey suggest that they are still widespread in the county, although there have been some localised losses, e.g. parts of the Western Cleddau catchment area and from watercourses to the south and east of Haverfordwest.  Gains have occurred in eastern parts of Pembrokeshire and in one or two tetrads in the west of the county. The data also indicate a 31% increase in the number of tetrads where breeding was confirmed, and a 12% increase in the number of tetrads where breeding was probable. The BBS index suggests a population change at UK level between 1994 and 2007 of +26%.

In general, Grey Wagtails appear to be doing well in the county, possibly reflecting the recent trend towards milder winters which will have helped to improve and maintain winter survival, hence recruitment to the breeding population.  They are sensitive to prolonged spells of cold weather, although population crashes are usually followed by quite rapid recovery. Other factors that are likely to influence Grey Wagtail breeding populations include water quality and the management of watercourses and associated vegetation by the sides of the banks. Operations such as the removal of gravel shoals could be detrimental, as could clearance of mature bank-side vegetation.

Following the 1984-88 tetrad survey, the breeding population was estimated to be around 450 pairs, based on an average of four pairs per tetrad. An estimate of the breeding population following the 2003-07 tetrad survey would probably be very similar, i.e. around 450 pairs.

Jane Hodges

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports, which may contain more detail than shown here.

More about Grey Wagtails in Pembrokeshire

Grey Wagtail – 1994

Motacilla cinerea – SIGLEN LWYD – Breeding resident

Map produced by the West Wales Biodiversity Information Centre
1984-88
Breeding confirmed40
Breeding probable21
Breeding possible52
No of tetrads occupied113 (of 478)
Percentage of tetrads23.6%

A common resident to Mathew (1894) and Lockley et al (1949).  Today Grey Wagtails breed along all of the major, and many of the minor, brooks and rivers in Pembrokeshire, from the mountains right down to sea level. They are not confined to fast flowing water, breeding by many slow moving streams and even by ponds, such as Bosherston Pools. At an average of four pairs per occupied tetrad, based on counts along suitable rivers and streams, the population during the 1984-1988 Breeding Birds Survey was probably about 450 pairs.

Small numbers, up to 25, move through the islands and coastal regions between July and October but it is not known whether this equates to dispersal or emigration. They are more widespread in winter when they frequent farm ditches and estuaries and some move into the towns and villages. Prolonged severe weather causes marked reductions in the population size, but they are capable of fairly rapid recovery.

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

More about Grey Wagtails in Pembrokeshire

Grey Wagtail – 1980s winter

Motacilla cinerea – SIGLEN LWYD – Breeding resident

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

The darker the colour, the higher the relative total count for each 10km square.  The darkest blue represents over 4 birds.

The map plot shows a slightly wider winter distribution than that of the breeding season.

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 Grey Wagtails in Pembrokeshire

Grey Wagtail

Motacilla cinerea – SIGLEN LWYD – Breeding resident

Grey Wagtail – 2003-07 breeding

Motacilla cinerea – SIGLEN LWYD – Breeding resident Comparison with previous atlas: 1984-88 2003-07 Breeding confirmed 40 58 Breeding probable 21 24 Breeding possible 52 32 No of tetrads occupied 113 (of 478) 114 (of 490) Percentage of tetrads 23.6% 23.3% During the 1984-88 tetrad survey, Grey Wagtails were found to be widespread in Pembrokeshire, […]

Grey Wagtail – 1994

Motacilla cinerea – SIGLEN LWYD – Breeding resident 1984-88 Breeding confirmed 40 Breeding probable 21 Breeding possible 52 No of tetrads occupied 113 (of 478) Percentage of tetrads 23.6% A common resident to Mathew (1894) and Lockley et al (1949).  Today Grey Wagtails breed along all of the major, and many of the minor, brooks and rivers in […]

Grey Wagtail – 1980s winter

Motacilla cinerea – SIGLEN LWYD – Breeding resident The BTO winter atlas showed that Grey Wagtails were present in most 10km squares during the winters of 1981-82, 1982-82 and 1983-84. The darker the colour, the higher the relative total count for each 10km square.  The darkest blue represents over 4 birds. The map plot shows a slightly […]

Grey Wagtail – 1949

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

Grey Wagtail – 1894

Species account from the 1894 ‘Birds of Pembrokeshire and its Islands’ by Rev M A Mathew