Quail – records since 2000

Coturnix coturnixSofliarUnusual summer migrant.

Photo above – Quail at the Quarry on Skokholm, 1 May 2021 © Richard Brown

2000None reported
2001One heard calling at Gelli in June (AKP, JAP)
2002Two unusual records, the first of one on Skomer 1 June – only the 9th island record, the other, a mile off St. Ann’s Head seen from the Waverley on 16 June.
2003Males heard calling at Marloes Mere 31 May and at Skomer 11 June.
2004All records were of single calling males: at Waterston 21 May (GHR et al), Mountain Park Farm 28 May (VNR) and Skomer 15 June (JGB).
2005Males heard calling at Abercych 12 – 13 May, Skomer 14 & 30 May, Kilpaison 19 – 25 June, Plumstone Mountain 29 June and St. David’s AF 28 July.
2006Males heard calling near Marloes 15-16 June, Rhoslanog Fach 12 July and near Nolton 23 – 28 July.
2007None reported
2008The only records were of calling males at: St. Govan’s on 16 May (BH) at Castlemartin on 27 June & 15 July (BH) and two at Hayscastle Cross on 12 July (RT).
2009The only record was of a single calling at Marloes Village on 16 June (MS).
2010Two calling birds were reported this year, both in June, from Brawdy 15 – 18th and St. Davids airfield on 17th (I. Bullock).
2011Two calling at Pantgwyn on 22 June, three near Brawdy 28 – 30 Aug. All other records all of singles: at Hayscastle 6th June, at Slebech Park on 29 June & 5 July and at Pantmaenog on 22 July.
2012Two records both of singing males, the first at Porthlysgi Farm St.Davids on 28 May (BD), the other Brynberian Moor 24 June (WJ, DJ). One flushed on Grassholm on 24 July was possibly a first for the island (NS, SV).
2013Two calling males reported this year, Abereiddy on 9 July (JG) and one calling in the Marloes area on 17 of the same month (BS).
2014Records more widespread this year starting with a bird on Skokholm on 17 May (see below)  then three between Little Haven & St. Brides on 3 June, a single bird at Harmony near Strumble Head on 19 June, a bird calling at Boncath on 29 July and finally one on Skomer on 6 Aug.
2015A single was flushed on Skomer on 11 May and another on Skokholm on 2 June (see below). One on the mainland calling at Nolton Cross on 22 Aug.
2016None reported
2017One flushed on Skokholm 10 (see below)
2018Two calling Llangloffan Fen 21 July and another two calling at Treseissyllt on 3 Aug. Up to three calling 12 July – mid August near St. Nicholas.
2019Calling males heard at Llanrhian 18 June and Brynberian 21 June. Marloes Mere 31 May, Skokholm 31 May – 4 June (see below), two calling at Camrose 14 June, then singles at St. Ishmaels 16 July and at Brawdy 11 Aug.
2020None reported

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

Detail from the Skokholm Annual Reports

Earlier recordsThere were three singles in the 1990s, approximately six records in the 1980s (three of which were probably of two birds lingering for up to three days), five singles in the 1970s, seven singles in the 1960s, eight singles in the 1950s, four singles in the 1940s and three between 1938 and 1939 including one found dead on the roof of the Lighthouse.
2014One heard singing along the Lighthouse Track at just before midnight on 16th May was the first Skokholm record for over a decade (CB, EW). Checks on subsequent nights proved unsuccessful.
2015One flushed from above North Haven during the afternoon of 2nd June was not relocated .This was the first record since a singing bird on 16th May 2014 and only the second to be logged this decade.
2017One flushed from the coastal grassland above Purple Cove on a drizzly 10th June was the first record since 2nd June 2015 and only the third sighting this century following a singing bird on 16th May 2014 (GE).
2019One photographed on the plateau above Purple Cove on 31st May was the first since one at the same location on 10th June 2017 (LP, KO). One was flushed from the culvert along the South Pond Lower Drain the following day (RDB), a male was singing near North Pond on 4th June (GE et al.) and a bird was flushed from Windmill Gully on the 5th (RDB). Although it is possible that some of these sightings refer to the same very mobile individual, it would seem likely given the typically elusive nature of this species that more than one bird was present.

More about the Quail in Pembrokeshire

Quail – 2003-07 breeding

Coturnix coturnixSofliarSummer visitor, erratic breeder.  Not recorded from January to March, or in November

Comparison with previous atlas:

1984-882003-07
Breeding confirmed1
Breeding probable711
Breeding possible1
No of tetrads occupied8 (of 478)12 (of 490)
Percentage of tetrads1.7%2.5%

Small numbers of quail are detected in Pembrokeshire most summers. Usually they are located by call, only rarely are nests found and most probably do not attempt to breed. The number registered during the two five year surveys are typical of the normal level and pattern of occurrence in the county. Greater numbers are encountered during infrequent “invasion years”.  The last time this was experienced was in 1989 when at least 80 were recorded and both eggs and young were found.

Graham Rees. Pembrokeshire County Bird Recorder 1981-2007

Rees, et al. 2008, Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pembrokeshire 2003-07. Pembrokeshire Bird Group.

More about the Quail in Pembrokeshire

Quail – 1994

Coturnix coturnixSofliarSummer visitor, erratic breeder.  Not recorded from January to March, or in November

1984-88
Breeding confirmed1
Breeding probable7
Breeding possible
No of tetrads occupied8 (of 478)
Percentage of tetrads1.7%

Considerable numbers occurred in Pembrokeshire during the irruption years of 1870, 1882, 1886, 1893 and 1899.  In 1870, for instance, many nests were found and 330 were shot by a group of 18 sportsmen  operating around the Pembrokeshire/Ceredigion border, with one shot at Tyrhos Common in December (Mathew 1894). Such incursions have not been recorded since.  Lockley et al (1949) noted the Quail as an almost regular passage migrant on the islands and mainland and that in most years it was heard in the spring along the coast, calling from  young corn and hay.  They also noted successful breeding on Dinas Island in 1948. 

Quail occur most years now but in very small numbers, mainly between May and July, mostly in barley fields. There was an influx of about 80 recorded from 18 localities during 1989, part of an exceptional national invasion. A few occasionally breed (see map), but this is usually only proven when chicks become casualties of silage cutting.

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

More about the Quail in Pembrokeshire

Quail – 1949

Coturnix coturnix coturnix

Mentioned as breeding by Geo. Owen, 1603.  It was very numerous and many bred in the summers of 1870 and 1899 (Game Book of Newport Castle, Sept 1899; three bevys – one of 11 – seen, and three quail shot). Mathew rather surprisingly says that “the only occurrences which came under our own notice were all of singe birds obtained in the winter”.  An almost regular passage migrant on the islands and mainland, and heard in most springtimes calling from young corn and hay along the coast.  A bevy was raised at Dinas Island, 1948 (R.M.L.)

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

More about the Quail in Pembrokeshire

Quail – 1894

Coturnix communis – An irregular summer visitor.

One or two are noted every season, and in certain years it is numerous. Mr. Tracy writes: “I receive a specimen or two almost every autumn, or during the winter.” The only occurrences which came under our own notice were all of single birds obtained in the winter months.

Captain O. T. Edwardes, of Tyrhos, shot one in December, on Tyrhos Common, close to Stone Hall. Mr. Dix writes : “An adult female was shot at Boncath, near here, on September 7th, 1867, and was sent to me a day or two afterwards; it was flushed from amongst some rushes in a wet springy meadow, where in winter we usually find snipes. This singularly agrees with the observations in the ‘Birds of Norfolk.’ Eight or nine years ago five were seen near here, of which three were shot ; and about twelve years ago three were seen near Eglwyswrw, and all were shot; they were all found in and near similar cover to the bird I have. I think I never saw a bird so loaded with fat as that sent me; although rolled up in four or five thicknesses of newspaper, the grease went through all, and the feathers were so saturated that I almost despaired of cleaning them.”

Mr. Dix was an intimate friend of Mr. H. Stevenson, the author of the ” Birds of Norfolk,” and on referring to that admirable work, we find (vol. i., p. 431) that Mr. Stevenson attributes the scarcity of the Quail in the county of Norfolk, at the present day, to the fact that the rough, swampy places that were the birds favourite grounds, have all been enclosed and ploughed up.

In the Zoologist for 1870, Mr. Dix records the abundance of Quail in Cardiganshire and North Pembrokeshire that year. There were many nests, and he himself heard of 330 having been killed by eighteen sportsmen, who supplied him with their lists, and thinks that the total number bagged may have been from four to five times that number. Nearly the whole were shot in September. Early in October several sportsmen looked after Quails, but could find none.

The first Quail was noticed in the middle of July, near a field in which two nests were subsequently found. “This was a barley field, and when it was cut, about August 14th, two nests were found; one contained eggs. Near the other nine young ones, just hatched, were seen; these remained near the same spot for some time. Another nest with eggs was found within a day or two of the above date, and not more than two hundred yards distant.” We cannot but think the date here given is rather a late one for the birds to be found nesting, and would point to the flight having reached Pembrokeshire late in the summer. The birds would certainly begin to nest immediately on their arrival.

Mr. Dix states that although there were so many Quail in the north of the county, only one or two were seen in the south ; 1870 was a great year for Quails all over the kingdom, especially in the west and south-west. In 1893, Quail were again numerous in most parts of England, and were met with commonly in North Pembrokeshire, and many were killed in the St. David’s district. The report from the Small’s Lighthouse mentions Quail appearing there on the morning of September 3rd, 18S5, indicating the departure of the birds towards the south. We cannot gather whether this refers to a single bird, or to a passing flock.

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

More about the Quail in Pembrokeshire

Quail

Coturnix coturnixSofliarSummer visitor, erratic breeder.  Not recorded from January to March, or in November

Quail – records since 2000

All records of quail, extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports since 2000. Extra detail of Skokholm records from the Skokholm Annual Reports also included.

Quail – 2003-07 breeding

Coturnix coturnix – Sofliar – Summer visitor, erratic breeder.  Not recorded from January to March, or in November Comparison with previous atlas: 1984-88 2003-07 Breeding confirmed 1 Breeding probable 7 11 Breeding possible 1 No of tetrads occupied 8 (of 478) 12 (of 490) Percentage of tetrads 1.7% 2.5% Small numbers of quail are detected […]

Quail – 1994

Coturnix coturnix – Sofliar – Summer visitor, erratic breeder.  Not recorded from January to March, or in November 1984-88 Breeding confirmed 1 Breeding probable 7 Breeding possible No of tetrads occupied 8 (of 478) Percentage of tetrads 1.7% Considerable numbers occurred in Pembrokeshire during the irruption years of 1870, 1882, 1886, 1893 and 1899.  In […]

Quail – 1949

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

Quail – 1894

Coturnix communis – An irregular summer visitor. One or two are noted every season, and in certain years it is numerous. Mr. Tracy writes: “I receive a specimen or two almost every autumn, or during the winter.” The only occurrences which came under our own notice were all of single birds obtained in the winter months. Captain O. T. […]