Spoonbill – records

Platalea leucorodia – LLWYBIG – Occasional visitor

Summary of previous records in Spoonbill – 1994

2006 – 11 juveniles at Uzmaston mid-morning of 18 Sept (JT) which had gone half hour later, presumably the same birds involved at Never Estuary where 12 were seen in the afternoon of 18 Sept (SB, RL, AR), and which departed northwards at sunset. Two had been colour ringed in Holland, had previously been seen at Goldcliff, Gwent and were subsequently seen in County Mayo, Ireland, in early Oct.

2007 – A colour-ringed immature was on the Teifi Estuary 26-30 April.  In December there was a small influx, with a colour-ringed juvenile (ringed in Holland) on the Teifi Est 26-28 Dec, an adult at ‘The Point’ Angle Bay on 28 Dec, and two nearby at Bentlass on the 29th.  (Also – July, 1 Pembroke Upper Millpond JH – blog)

Teifi immature bird: – left leg, green ring with B1 in black above a metal ring.  Right leg, dark blue ring with B1 in yellow.

  • ringed as a nestling Lauwersmeer NL 08/06/2005
  • seen: Ile de Sein, Finistere F 05/10/2005
  • seen: Scilly Islands GB 07/10/2005-08/10/2005
  • seen: Scilly Islands GB 19/04/2006-11/10/2006
  • seen: Teifi Est. Wales GB 26/04/2007 – 30/04/2007 at least.
  • Therefore the bird is a 2nd summer. Details from Richard Dobbins on the sightings blog

2008 – 1st year at the Teifi Est 1-5 Jan, it then moved to the Nevern where it was present until the 16 Jan.  An adult at St Davids on 28 July, then another or possibly the same adult at the Gann from 17 – 26 Sept.

2009 – Skomer had 2 birds fly over on 23 May and 9 June and later in the year two were present on the Pembroke river on the Pennar side on 28 Dec, but only one was left by the 31st.  Otherwise records of single birds: in the Lawrenny/West Williamston area from 12-14 Jan, Marloes Mere 10 May, and Nevern Estuary from 15 Oct until 4 Nov.

2010 – An adult & a juv. were present on the Pembroke River from 10th to 17th Jan.

2012 – Single birds observed: flying over Ramsey Sound on 26th Mar (MB), another flew over West Angle on 26th Aug (DJA) and at Sandy Haven on 30th Sept (DP).

2013 – One in the Marloes / Skomer / Skokholm area 19th – 21st May, another over Skokholm on 7th Aug.

A first-summer bird circled Skokholm on 19th May before heading out towards Skomer (EW et al.); what was presumably the same bird had previously been seen in flight over Marloes Mere that morning. Another subadult bird circled on 7th August before heading out to sea in the direction of Marloes (GE et al.); this bird was not relocated locally. These were the 12th and 13th records for Skokholm. Skokholm Bird Report 2013

2014 – A single immature bird was present at Mullock from 13 Mar until 1t April. During its stay it, made fleeting visits to both Skokholm & Skomer (14 & 17 Mar).

2016 – The only record is of a bird seen in flight at Newport on 6th Aug

2017 – The only records were of five (two of which were colour-ringed, but not from Holland) that flew into the Teifi Estuary, fed, then flew upstream on 24th Sept and of singles on Skomer on 14th & 15th June and on Skokholm on 26th June.

One was seen briefly at North Pond on 26th June, although it soon departed for the north (VH, MR). This was the first Skokholm record since 14th March 2014 and only the 15th for the Island. Skokholm Annual Report 2017

2018 – Two over Skomer 19th May, one in St. Bride’s Bay 29th Sept and a single the Gann 18th – 28th Oct (also seen Dale Airfield on 28th) were the only records received.

2019 – Singles at Carew 12 Apr and Teifi Marshes 17 Apr were the only records received.

2020 – The only record was of one at Boulston 21 May

Source- the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports

More about the Spoonbill in Pembrokeshire

Spoonbill – 2011

Platalea leucorodia – LLWYBIG – Near annual visitor in small numbers.

The Spoonbill has a wide breeding range in the Palearctic, those from northern Europe tending to winter in the west of Africa.

George Owen (1603) noted that the Spoonbill bred in Pembrokeshire during the Elizabethan era, but by Mathew’s (1894) time it was “an occasional visitor in the winter; not very rare, sometimes arriving in flocks”, of up to seven at a time. Lockley et al (1949) added four additional records of up to three birds. Donovan and Rees (1994) noted occurrences of one or two birds at a time in 12 years between 1949 and 1993.

Plotting the number of dated individuals present each month seems to indicate passage from March to June and from September to December, but some birds staying through the winter and to a lesser degree through the summer results in no sharp seasonal divisions.

Occurrences post Donovan and Rees (1994) have involved either single birds or two together, except in 2005, when a group of 11 juvenile birds were seen resting on the salt marsh at Uzmaston on the morning of the 18th September. They departed northwards half an hour later and presumably the same birds were involved when 12 settled in the Nevern Estuary that afternoon. This group included two which had been colour ringed as nestlings in Holland, were seen in Gwent prior to arrival in Pembrokeshire and by October had moved on to County Mayo in Ireland.

Spoonbill – habitat

The Spoonbill frequents wet areas such as flooded lands, marshes and water bodies. In Pembrokeshire this has included ponds at Skokholm, Skomer, Marloes Mere, Mullock Marsh and Dowrog,

In the winter it also occurs in sheltered coastal habitats, tidal creeks, estuaries and coastal lagoons, locally at Fishguard Harbour, the Teifi and Nevern estuaries and within the extensive Cleddau Estuary at the Gann, Sandy Haven, Angle Bay, Pembroke River, Castle Pill, Llanstadwell, Pembroke Dock, Carew/Cresswell, Uzmaston, Picton Ferry and Slebech.

Spoonbill – origins

A total of seven nestlings colour ringed in Holland were recorded in Pembrokeshire during their first autumn, between the years 1974 and 2007. A Dutch colour ringed bird in adult plumage was seen at Skomer on the 11th May 1992.

Over 2,000 pairs were breeding in Holland by 2011 and this population might well account for all modern Pembrokeshire records.

Graham Rees. Pembrokeshire County Bird Recorder 1981-2007

More about the Spoonbill in Pembrokeshire

Spoonbill – 1994

Platalea leucorodia – LLWYBIG – Occasional visitor

“On highe trees the heronflewes, the floveler”. This brief reference by George Owen (1603) records that the Spoonbill bred in Pembrokeshire during Elizabethan times. Mathew (1894) described it as “an occasional visitor — not very rare”, sometimes occurring in groups of up to seven birds, such as those at Goodwick in 1856 and at Mullock Bridge in 1885. He also noted that 11 were shot around Milford Haven in 1854 and 1855. Lockley et al. (1949) added records of birds on the Pembroke River in 1911, two at Milford Haven in 1927, one at Dowrog on 20 October 1928 and three together at Slebech in May 1931.

Since then up to two have been recorded in 12 years, mainly at the Cleddau Estuary, most frequently at the Gann and Angle Bay, but also at the Nevern and Teifi estuaries, Skokholm and Skomer. Colour-ringed juveniles seen on the Teifi Estuary in 1974 and on the Cleddau Estuary in 1988 had been marked as nestlings in Holland. Most occurrences are probably of juveniles initially dispersing from their continental breeding grounds and thereafter wandering about during immaturity. The two which arrived on the Cleddau Estuary from September to October 1988 overwintered, one remaining until 8 June 1989. Both returned in July and stayed into March 1990, one until 30 April. A colour-ringed adult from Holland was seen at Skomer on 11 May 1992.

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

More about the Spoonbill in Pembrokeshire

Spoonbill – 1949

Platalea laucorodia leucorodia

Bred in 1603 (George Owen). Mathew described it as “an occasional visitor . . not very rare” and gives the following records: eleven shot, Milford Haven, 1854-5; one near Mullock Bridge, 1854; seven Goodwick Sands, 1856; one Pembroke, 1867; one near St Davids 31 Oct 1890. 

Recent records: one Pembroke Estuary, winter 1911; and two Milford Haven, winter 1927 (W.F.Bentley); one Dowrog 20 Oct, 1928 (H.M.S.); three Slebech 19-22 May 1931 (Miss Stewart); the same three seen by Bertram Lloyd over about three weeks.

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

More about the Spoonbill in Pembrokeshire

Spoonbill – 1894

Platalea leucorodia

An occasional visitor in the winter; not very rare, sometimes arriving in considerable flocks.

The direction from which the Pembrokeshire Spoonbills reach us is somewhat of a puzzle. The bird is a common species in Holland, and, therefore, as might naturally be expected, a regular visitor to the eastern counties of England. But birds crossing the German Ocean do not penetrate so far to the west as the Principality, save in a very few exceptional instances. We must, therefore, look to some other quarter for our Spoonbills, and are inclined to believe that they come to us from the south of Spain via the Bay of Biscay. Flocks of Spoonbills have been observed in the winter-time on the north coast of Cornwall, and this would seem to favour the route we have suggested.

We learn from Mr. H. Mathias that, in the years 1854 and 1855, as many as eleven Spoonbills were shot on the shores of Milford Haven. The specimen in Mr. Mathias’ collection at the Tenby Museum was killed near Mallock Bridge in 1854. In 1885, five or seven were shot in one day near the same bridge. Mr. Mathias saw all these birds in Tracy’s shop, in Pembroke, soon after they were set up. Several of them were young birds, and one of them was so small and so ill-fledged that it seemed wonderful how it could have reached the Pembrokeshire coast.

Sir Hugh Owen has told us that a flock of seven Spoonbills was seen on Goodwick Sands in 1856. Mr. Dix saw an immature Spoonbill in Tracy’s shop in 1867, and was informed that two or three are seen about Pembroke almost every year. One was killed near St. David’s, on October 31st, 1890, as we learn from Mr. Mortimer Propert, who saw the bird when he was out with the hounds on a stubble field, in company with some farm-yard Geese a few days before it was shot. It was finally killed on a farm called Arglof, midway between St. David’s and Solva, and was, as we heard from Jeffreys, the bird-stuffer, a very fine, white bird, but without a crest.

In most of the instances we have given above, of the visits of the Spoonbill to Pembrokeshire the dates were not supplied to us, but we believe that, as in the south-western counties of England, they were all during the winter, in this differing from the appearances of the bird in the eastern counties, where it is in general seen in the spring.

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

More about the Spoonbill in Pembrokeshire

Spoonbill

Platalea leucorodia – LLWYBIG – Occasional visitor

Spoonbill – records

Platalea leucorodia – LLWYBIG – Occasional visitor Summary of previous records in Spoonbill – 1994 2006 – 11 juveniles at Uzmaston mid-morning of 18 Sept (JT) which had gone half hour later, presumably the same birds involved at Never Estuary where 12 were seen in the afternoon of 18 Sept (SB, RL, AR), and which […]

Spoonbill – 2011

Platalea leucorodia – LLWYBIG – Near annual visitor in small numbers. The Spoonbill has a wide breeding range in the Palearctic, those from northern Europe tending to winter in the west of Africa. George Owen (1603) noted that the Spoonbill bred in Pembrokeshire during the Elizabethan era, but by Mathew’s (1894) time it was “an occasional visitor […]

Spoonbill – 1949

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

Spoonbill – 1894

Platalea leucorodia An occasional visitor in the winter; not very rare, sometimes arriving in considerable flocks. The direction from which the Pembrokeshire Spoonbills reach us is somewhat of a puzzle. The bird is a common species in Holland, and, therefore, as might naturally be expected, a regular visitor to the eastern counties of England. But birds crossing the German Ocean […]