Calidris canutus – PIBYDD YR ABER – Winter visitor and passage migrant.
The knot breeds on the high Arctic tundra of Canada, Greenland and Russia. The majority of those wintering in the UK are of the Greenland and eastern Canada subspecies.
Most of the UK wintering population is on the east side of Britain, although flocks of several thousand do occur on the Dee, Dyfi and Carmarthen Bay estuaries. However, numbers in Pembrokeshire seem always to have been relatively small. We just don’t have the vast open mudflats that this species prefers.
The most likely places to see Knot in Pembrokeshire are the outer parts of the Cleddau (although they are occasionally seen further upstream), Teifi and Nevern Estuaries, and also on the large beaches of Freshwater West and Frainslake.
The only colour-ringed knot recorded in Pembrokeshire was T7 (above) on 10 March 2019. It was ringed as an adult on Merseyside in 2017, and spent that winter there. This particular colour-ringing project has shown that there is interchange between Merseyside, Deeside and Ireland. It is possible that T7 had spent at least part of the 2018-19 winter in Ireland and was now on its way east to join thousands of other knot on the Waddensee where they fatten up for the flight to their breeding grounds via staging posts in North Norway and Iceland. It was last recorded back on Merseyside in July 2019.
As we see only small numbers of knot in Pembrokeshire, it is worth looking carefully for birds with colour-rings or flags. Ideally get the number on the flag, but even a record of the colour and which leg it is on can provide useful information.
Thanks to Jim Wilson for the colour-ring information.
Annie Haycock (BBS & WeBS local organiser)
BALMER D, GILLINGS S, CAFFREY B, SWANN B, DOWNIE I, FULLER R. 2014. Bird Atlas 2007-11: The Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland. HarperCollins. UK
LACK P. 1986. The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland, T & A. D. Poyser, London
LOVEGROVE R, WILLIAMS G, WILLIAMS I. 1994. Birds in Wales. T & A. D. Poyser, London
Pembrokeshire Bird Reports
WERNHAM. C, TOMS. M, MARCHANT. J, CLARK. J, SIRIWARDENA. G, BAILLIE. S. 2002. The Migration Atlas, Movements of the birds of Britain and Ireland, T & A. D. Poyser, London