Water Rail – 2003-07 breeding

Rallus aquaticus – RHEGAN Y DWR – Winter visitor and scarce breeder

Comparison with previous atlas:

1984-882003-07
Breeding confirmed21
Breeding probable65
Breeding possible1210
No of tetrads occupied20 (of 478)16 (of 490)
Percentage of tetrads4.2%3.3%

This slender, long-billed crake with its cryptic brown and grey plumage broken by dark streaks, is more often heard than seen. It inhabits mainly fresh water lowland, boggy places with dense plant growth, making it difficult to see and providing concealment for its nest.

Bearing in mind how difficult detection of this species is, the survey results must be regarded as representing a minimum presence. The most striking difference in distribution change is the absence in the St Davids area indicated by the latter survey. There has been no obvious visible change, or loss or fragmentation, in the relevant habitat during the interval between surveys, suggesting apparent absence may not have been real. In that case it could be concluded that there has been no change in the county population level of about 20 pairs. A specialist census concentrating on this species might well be revealing and could lead to a reassessment of its breeding status in Pembrokeshire.

More about the Water Rail in Pembrokeshire

Water Rail – 1994

Rallus aquaticus – RHEGAN Y DWR – Winter visitor and scarce breeder

1984-88
Breeding confirmed2
Breeding probable6
Breeding possible12
No of tetrads occupied20 (of 478)
Percentage of tetrads4.2%

Bogs, moors and rough ground were much more widespread in Pembrokeshire during the nineteenth century when Mathew (1894) considered the Water Rail to be a common resident. By 1936 Lloyd only found them during the winter.  Lockley et al (1949) stated that the Water Rail was common in winter, from late August onwards, and knew of only two recent breeding records, on Skomer and Tenby Marsh.   

Breeding was suspected at Pointz Castle in 1968, proved at Dowrog during the period 1967-1971 and at Cwm yr Eglwys in 1980. Breeding was both proven and suspected during the Breeding Birds Survey of 1984-1988, as shown on the map, suggesting a minimum population of 20 pairs. It is difficult to know whether this indicates an increase or is the result of more observer effort.

Water Rails remain widespread during the winter. They arrive from August but principally in late September and October, and most have departed again by April.  They have been noted at the Smalls and South Bishop lighthouses during arrival time.

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

More about the Water Rail in Pembrokeshire

Water Rail – 1980s winter

Rallus aquaticus – RHEGAN Y DWR – Winter visitor and scarce breeder

The BTO winter atlas showed that Water rails were present in the majority of 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 3 birds seen in a day.

To a large degree the plotted distribution follows the degree of observer effort.

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 Water Rail in Pembrokeshire

Water-Rail – 1949

Rallus aquaticus aquaticus

A passage migrant on the islands, having been recorded even from the Smalls lighthouse several times.  Has bred on Skokholm, and H.A.Gilbert records that it has bred in the marsh between Tenby and Penally.  Common in winter, from late August onwards.  Mathew considered it bred, but gave no definite evidence; he described it as numerous in winter, and not less numerous in summer!

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

More about the Water Rail in Pembrokeshire

Water-Rail – 1894

Rallus aquaticus – Resident.

We had numerous Water-Rails at Stone Hall, and often saw them feeding on the lawn in company with Moor-hens. In the dusk, when they were running on the garden paths, we sometimes took them for rats. We used to see plenty of them by the Cleddy when fishing, and in the winter sometimes flushed them from little ditches bordered by brambles and furze, when we were after the Snipe.

We do not think they were more numerous in winter than at any other season, although some people might imagine them to be so because they are then more often seen, as much of the cover they can skulk in has then died down. Unless the spots frequented by the Rails are actually visited with a good dog accustomed to hunt them, they might be altogether undetected and considered rare, although in point of fact quite numerous, and that close at hand. In many parts of the country, where to our knowledge it is a common resident, the Water-Rail, for the above reason, is regarded as quite a rare bird, and we have once or twice had one sent to us to be named.

A Water-Rail was seen on the Smalls Rock, by the Lighthouse, October 15th, 1880; others on November 6th, 1883 (“Migration Reports”).

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

More about the Water Rail in Pembrokeshire

Water Rail

Rallus aquaticus – RHEGAN Y DWR – Winter visitor and scarce breeder

Water-Rail – 2020-21 WeBS

The latest totals from the Wetland Bird Survey in Pembrokeshire – and the average counts for the past ten seasons.

Water Rail – 2003-07 breeding

Rallus aquaticus – RHEGAN Y DWR – Winter visitor and scarce breeder Comparison with previous atlas: 1984-88 2003-07 Breeding confirmed 2 1 Breeding probable 6 5 Breeding possible 12 10 No of tetrads occupied 20 (of 478) 16 (of 490) Percentage of tetrads 4.2% 3.3% This slender, long-billed crake with its cryptic brown and grey […]

Water Rail – 1994

Rallus aquaticus – RHEGAN Y DWR – Winter visitor and scarce breeder 1984-88 Breeding confirmed 2 Breeding probable 6 Breeding possible 12 No of tetrads occupied 20 (of 478) Percentage of tetrads 4.2% Bogs, moors and rough ground were much more widespread in Pembrokeshire during the nineteenth century when Mathew (1894) considered the Water Rail […]

Water Rail – 1980s winter

Rallus aquaticus – RHEGAN Y DWR – Winter visitor and scarce breeder The BTO winter atlas showed that Water rails were present in the majority of 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 3 birds […]

Water-Rail – 1949

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

Water-Rail – 1894

Rallus aquaticus – Resident. We had numerous Water-Rails at Stone Hall, and often saw them feeding on the lawn in company with Moor-hens. In the dusk, when they were running on the garden paths, we sometimes took them for rats. We used to see plenty of them by the Cleddy when fishing, and in the winter sometimes flushed them from […]