Little Bittern – 2013

Ixobrychus minutusAderyn Bwn LeiafRare visitor

Little Bitterns breed through much of Europe but is a rare vagrant to Britain. The first early records come from Mathew (1894): an adult  male at Merlin’s Bridge  was trapped beneath the wheel of the Mill and became part of the Mathias collection, later donated to Tenby Museum. He cites two other specimens collected including one in the same collection but there is no evidence either was obtained in Pembs. Later Lockley et al (1945) wrote of ‘singles off the Pembrokeshire Coast’ in 1899, shot near Fishguard in ‘about 1916’ and ‘taken’ near Solva ‘many years ago’.

There have been a further eight records in the modern era and these records are, thankfully, properly documented:

1964 – One found dead at Broad Haven 26th April (KJS Devonald) male

1970 – Sandy Haven 18th April (J Lloyd et al) male

1983 – Dowrog Common 3rd May (C Lambourne, KJS Devonald, GH Rees) male

1993 – Whitesands, found dead 12th April (J Bennett, R Hadfield) Specimen retained by JB. male

1995 – Castlemartin, a wing found 2nd April (GH Rees et al) male

1995 – Cilgerran Gorge 6th May (PE Davies) female

2008 – A garden near  Haverfordwest  7th-10th May (G&S Davies) later found dead (ID by RJ Haycock). male

2012 – Teifi Marshes  19TH-20TH April, (S Bebb et al) 2CY male

That four of the eight records involved dead birds is remarkable. The Teifi Marshes bird stayed just long enough to allow an opportunity for photographs. Clearly a male, the body plumage has moulted to attain adult plumage and  an adult  tertial can be clearly seen, contrasting with the majority of the retained juvenile wing feathers, proving that this is an immature bird. (top photo)

MYP 29/05/2013. Updated with records in the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports

More about the Little Bittern in Pembrokeshire

Little Bittern – 1994

Ixobrychus minutusAderyn Bwn LeiafRare visitor

One was recorded, but no date was given, from Merlin’s Bridge by Mathew (1894), who also mentioned that one in the Cawdor collection at Stackpole had been procured in the county. Lockley et al. (1949) noted singles off the Pembrokeshire coast in October 1899, shot near Fishguard in about 1916 and “taken” near Solva “many years ago”.

One was found dead at Broad Haven on 26 April 1964, one seen at Sandy Haven on 18 April 1970 and another at Dowrog on 3 May 1983 

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

More about the Little Bittern in Pembrokeshire

Little Bittern – 1949

Ixobrychus minutus minutus

Mathew records one captured beneath the mill-wheel, near Merlin’s Bridge, Haverfordwest, and gives two other, doubtful, records. 

A male captured off the Pembrokeshire coast, Oct 1899, was received at the Cardiff Museum.  A stuffed specimen at a farm near Fishguard was shot about 1916. H.W.Evans recorded one taken near Solva many years ago.

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

More about the Little Bittern in Pembrokeshire

Little Bittern – 1894

Ardetta minuta

A rare, occasional visitor; only two or three instances. One in the collection of Mr. H. Mathias, and given by him with his other birds to Tenby Museum, was captured beneath the wheel of the mill, near Merlin’s Bridge, Haverfordwest. This was an adult. At the sale at Camrose House, in the summer of 1881, we noticed an immature Little Bittern in a case in one of the bedrooms. It was indifferently stuffed, and we could learn no particulars about it, but it had, probably, been obtained on the estate. There is also a specimen in Lord Cawdor’s collection, at Stackpole, that is said to have been procured in the county.

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

More about the Little Bittern in Pembrokeshire

Little Bittern

Ixobrychus minutusAderyn Bwn LeiafRare visitor

Little Bittern – 2013

Ixobrychus minutus – Aderyn Bwn Leiaf – Rare visitor Little Bitterns breed through much of Europe but is a rare vagrant to Britain. The first early records come from Mathew (1894): an adult  male at Merlin’s Bridge  was trapped beneath the wheel of the Mill and became part of the Mathias collection, later donated to […]

Little Bittern – 1994

Ixobrychus minutus – Aderyn Bwn Leiaf – Rare visitor One was recorded, but no date was given, from Merlin’s Bridge by Mathew (1894), who also mentioned that one in the Cawdor collection at Stackpole had been procured in the county. Lockley et al. (1949) noted singles off the Pembrokeshire coast in October 1899, shot near Fishguard in about […]

Little Bittern – 1894

Ardetta minuta A rare, occasional visitor; only two or three instances. One in the collection of Mr. H. Mathias, and given by him with his other birds to Tenby Museum, was captured beneath the wheel of the mill, near Merlin’s Bridge, Haverfordwest. This was an adult. At the sale at Camrose House, in the summer of 1881, we noticed an immature Little […]