Long-tailed Duck – records

Clangula hyemalisHwyaden Gynffon-hirWinter visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded in August and September

Previous records of long-tailed ducks are summarised in Long-tailed Duck -2011

  • 2012 – 1 female at Bosherston on the 10-15th November
  • 2012 – 1 female from 5th December into 2013 off Wiseman’s Bridge (possibly same as above).
  • 2013 – 1 female Wiseman’s Bridge 4 Jan – 27 March (same as above)
  • 2013 – 1 drake Haroldston – 23 Feb (DJA)
  • 2014 – 1 imm Bosherston 23 Nov – Dec 30
  • 2016 – 1 Skomer 20 October
  • 2016 – 1  Gann 20 Nov (Gary ?)
  • 2016 – 1 1st winter drake, Coppet Hall – Wiseman’s Bridge – 22-24 Dec (Toby Phelps)
  • 2016 – 1 Pen Caer – mid Dec.
  • 2017 – 1 female Pen Caer – 4 Jan (first seen two weeks ago) to 3rd March (RD) (same as above)
  • 2019 – 1 Pembroke Castle Pond 1-3 Nov
  • 2019 – 1 Llys-y-fran 8 Nov
  • 2019 – 1 Skokholm – 2 on 2nd Dec (3rd Skokholm record)
  • 2019 – 2 Broad Haven, pair amongst the scoter flock, 2nd Dec to end of year (probably same as above)
  • 2020 – up to two off Broad Haven (N) 1 Jan – 22 Mar,
  • 2020 – one off St. Brides 11 Sept,
  • 2020 – a female Fishguard Harbour 19 Nov – end of the year
  • 2020 – a female off Amroth 23 Dec

  • 2021 – single in Fishguard Harbour until 9 Jan, a female off Amroth 11 Jan, perhaps the same bird off Wiseman’s Bridge 21 Feb;
  • 2021 – single off Broad Haven, St. Bride’s Bay 15 –19 Mar
  • 2021 – a female noted passing Strumble Head 21 Oct.

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Sightings Blog and the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports

More about the long-tailed duck in Pembrokeshire

Long-tailed Duck – 2011

Clangula hyemalisHwyaden Gynffon-hirErratic winter visitor and passage migrant.

Long–tailed Ducks have a circumpolar arctic and sub arctic breeding distribution, normally the nearest nesting to the UK being in Norway and Iceland. They winter out to sea but to a lesser extent along coasts, entering estuaries and sometimes visiting fresh waters.

The first to be recorded in Pembrokeshire was a male in summer plumage shot near Haverfordwest on the 15th June 1843, chronicled by Mathew (1894) who also noted that two immature birds were shot on the Stackpole Estate but quotes no dates.

Coincidentally the next to be recorded was also in June, shot within the Milford Haven waterway on the 7th in 1906. There followed recordings in three years during the 1950’s, four in the 1960’s, five in the 1970’s and in every year from 1980 to 2006.

Most long-tailed ducks were found within St Bride’s Bay and in the Pembrokeshire corner of Carmarthen Bay. Others around the coast at Pwllgwaelod, Fishguard Harbour, Strumble Head, St David’s Head, Ramsey, Skomer and Skokholm.

Also in the Teifi Estuary (once three and a half miles upstream), within the Cleddau Estuary at Landshipping/Picton Point, Carew, Westfield Pill, Llanstadwell, Sandy Haven and the Gann, and on fresh water at Heathfield Gravel Pits, a pond close to St Bride’s Haven, Bosherston and Llys y fran Reservoir.

Most sightings were of one or two birds at a time but four were at Llys y fran Reservoir on the 18th November 1973, five at Strumble Head 6th January 1973, three there 20th December 1981 and on 21st October 1984, three Broad Haven (north) 3rd – 21st January 1969, three Amroth/Saundersfoot 9th March 1991, 14th – 24th December 1994, 2nd January – 4th March 1995 and 6th January 1999, with four there 20th April 1984, 7 from 29th December 1990 to 10th January 1991 and up to 12 from 29th January to 9th April 1989.      

Monthly distribution: 1843 – 2008.

Some were seen on one date only but many remained in the same area throughout the winter, sometimes until March or April. One remained at the Gann from the 2nd January to the 23rd July in 1983. A male which was first seen at Pembroke Mill Ponds on the 24th December 2001 stayed until the 11th August 2004. This well watched bird frequently took bread offered to the local Mute Swans and Mallards, duly went through moults between winter and summer plumages and was thought to have taken brief sabbaticals at Westfield Pill on 7th and 8th August 2002 and 2nd September 2003.

The number noted each year has varied, illustrated by the longest unbroken sequence of years being depicted graphically:

Just one bird recorded in the years 2005 and 2006 was the first time this occurred sequentially in this 27 year series, which if coupled with none being recorded in 2007 and 2008, may be an early indication that fewer Long – tailed Ducks are coming as far south as they did formerly.

The majority winter within the Arctic region, often in close proximity to the pack ice and climate change is causing the ice to recede, so it is possible less may travel as far south as they did in the past as more open water becomes accessible at higher latitudes.

More about the long-tailed duck in Pembrokeshire

Long-tailed Duck – 1994

Clangula hyemalisHwyaden Gynffon-hirWinter visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded in August and September

Mathew (1894) listed undated occurrences at Stackpole and Haverfordwest, and Lockley et al. (1949) added just one other, a female shot at Milford Haven on 7 December 1906.

Between two and seven have been noted in 24 of the last 30 years, following one at Dale in mid-January 1958. Records refer to ones and twos settling in for the winter in St Bride’s Bay, mostly off Newgale or Broad Haven, and the Amroth—Saundersfoot area of Carmarthen Bay. Others are seen in transit off headlands such as St David’s and Strumble. Occasional ‘mini wrecks’ deposit singles, or groups of up to four, on fresh waters such as Llysyfran reservoir and Bosherston Pools and into the Cleddau Estuary (to the Gann mostly), where they sometimes stay for weeks or months. Up to 12 were in the Amroth—Saundersfoot area from January to March 1989.

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

More about the long-tailed duck in Pembrokeshire

Long-tailed Duck – 1980s winter

Clangula hyemalisHwyaden Gynffon-hirWinter visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded in August and September

The BTO winter atlas showed that Long-tailed Ducks were present in several coastal and estuarine 10km squares during the winters of 1981-82, 1982-82 and 1983-84.

The coloured 10km squares represent 1-2 birds seen in a day.

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 long-tailed duck in Pembrokeshire

Long-tailed Duck – 1894

Harelda glacialis – An occasional winter visitor; rare.

There are two immature birds of this species in Lord Cawdor’s collection that had been shot at Stackpole. Mr. Tracy informed Mr. Dix that one was shot at Haverfordwest, on June 15th, 1843, a remarkable date for this northern bird to have been found so far to the south. From his description, this specimen appears to have been in almost complete summer plumage. It had one white scapular feather, and a few white feathers on the crown of the head, and on the back of the neck ; the white feathers remaining on the head and neck were about a quarter of an inch longer than the others.

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

More about the long-tailed duck in Pembrokeshire

Long-tailed Duck

Clangula hyemalisHwyaden Gynffon-hirWinter visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded in August and September

Long-tailed Duck – records

Clangula hyemalis – Hwyaden Gynffon-hir – Winter visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded in August and September Previous records of long-tailed ducks are summarised in Long-tailed Duck -2011 2012 – 1 female at Bosherston on the 10-15th November 2012 – 1 female from 5th December into 2013 off Wiseman’s Bridge (possibly same as above). 2013 – 1 […]

Long-tailed Duck – 2011

Clangula hyemalis – Hwyaden Gynffon-hir – Erratic winter visitor and passage migrant. Long–tailed Ducks have a circumpolar arctic and sub arctic breeding distribution, normally the nearest nesting to the UK being in Norway and Iceland. They winter out to sea but to a lesser extent along coasts, entering estuaries and sometimes visiting fresh waters. The […]

Long-tailed Duck – 1994

Clangula hyemalis – Hwyaden Gynffon-hir – Winter visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded in August and September Mathew (1894) listed undated occurrences at Stackpole and Haverfordwest, and Lockley et al. (1949) added just one other, a female shot at Milford Haven on 7 December 1906. Between two and seven have been noted in 24 of the last […]

Long-tailed Duck – 1980s winter

Clangula hyemalis – Hwyaden Gynffon-hir – Winter visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded in August and September The BTO winter atlas showed that Long-tailed Ducks were present in several coastal and estuarine 10km squares during the winters of 1981-82, 1982-82 and 1983-84. The coloured 10km squares represent 1-2 birds seen in a day. More about the long-tailed […]