Wheatear – first and last dates

Oenanthe oenanthe – TINWEN Y GARN – Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded in February and December

Earlier records are summarised in Wheatear 1994

YearFirst arrival Last to leave
19939 March3 November
19941 March21 October
199511 March20 October
19969 March17 November
19979 March2 November
199825 February14 October
199912 March13 November
20009 March5 November
20018 March28 October
200212 March4 November
20032 March26 October
200413 March20 October
200518 March12 November
200616 March25 November
200716 March9 November
200821 February11 October
200910 March1 November
20106 March31 October
20118 March16 November
201211 March28 October
20135 March31 October
20149 March4 November
20158 March6 November
201612 March31 October
201710 March25 October
201813 March11 November
201917 March27 October

First and last dates extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports

Pattern of occurrence

Note that these are records from BirdTrack only. They include data from the digitised Skokholm and Skomer logs. They do not include all the records sent to the county recorder and therefore may differ slightly from the table above. A week with only one or two records may not show up at this scale.

Week 10 (earliest arrival) is the week beginning 2nd March,

Week 46 is the week beginning 16th November.

More about the Wheatear in Pembrokeshire

Red-necked Phalarope – records

Phalaropus lobatusLlydandroed GyddfgochVagrant

The Red–necked Phalarope breeds above the middle latitudes across the Holarctic, the nearest to Pembrokeshire normally in the far north of Scotland. Western Palearctic birds winter in the Arabian Sea and largely migrate overland.

A juvenile shot on a farm pond at St Twynells in c.1900 was housed in the collection of F. Roberts. Bertram Lloyd examined the specimen on the 20th May 1928 and verified the identification was correct. Lockley et al (1949) quotes “Recorded by a writer in the Field, 18th March 1899” but gives no detail, not even a locality. Barrett, 1959, noted singles off St Ann’s Head (not St Govan’s as quoted by Donovan and Rees, 1994) on the 19th September 1950 and at the Gann on the 16th September 1957. Subsequently there was a juvenile on a farm slurry pond at Haroldston West on the 4th and 5th October 1983.

Graham Rees (County bird recorder 1981 to 2007)


Recent records

2015: Skokholm, 9 June photo above

2017: A single on Skomer on 28th Sept (PR)

2019: Male photographed on the Teifi Marshes 8 June (T.Evans)

Extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports

More about the Red-necked Phalarope in Pembrokeshire

Grey Phalarope – records

Phalaropus fulicarius – LLYDANDROED LLWYD – Passage migrant. Not recorded from April to July

Earlier records are summarised in Grey Phalarope 2006

2007 – All records were of singles: at the Nevern Est. on 30 Oct. and passing off Strumble Head on the 8 & 25 Sept., 29th Oct. and the 10 Nov.

2008 – a very good autumn for records of this species, with what must have been a large number of individuals off shore, including a count of 20+ near the Smalls Lighthouse on the 17th Sept. (with one group of 11) and 3 near Grassholm on 19 Sept.

All other records were of singles: near Smalls Lighthouse on the 30 Aug, off Freshwater West and North Haven, Skomer on the 11 and 12 Sept. & 7 Oct., off Castlemartin on the 21 Sept and near Grassholm on the 25 Sept.

Recorded passing Strumble Head: single on 13 Sept. & 1 Oct. and two on 2 Oct. Storm driven birds were reported from Pembroke Mill Pond on 2 Sept., on the driveway of a house in St. Florence on the 11 Sept. and at Hook & Little Milford on the 13 Sept.

2009 – A single at Newgale from 14 to 26 Jan, singles at Angle Bay 16 Jan, Wooltack Point 22 Nov, Freshwater West 28 & 29 Nov.

2010 – All records were from Strumble Head, where one was seen on 22 July, three were reported on 24 Aug and one was there on 29 Aug.

2011 – This proved to be a bumper year for passage of this species off Strumble Head. In September: singles on 5, 13, 14, 22 & 26, with two on 17 and six on 18. In October: two on 6th, ten on 7th, two on 17th and a single on 18th. There were also late records in December of singles on 5th, 17th & 20th Dec. Overall this was the second best year for records of this species at Strumble Head, since 1980, after the 35 in 2001.

2012 – A quiet year for the species at Strumble Head in 2012 with only five records all of single birds on 29 July (2nd earliest Strumble record), 24 & 26 Aug, 13 Sept & 12 Oct. Two off Ramsey on 11 Sept was the only non-Strumble record.

2013 – a good year for the species at Strumble Head with a total of 14 birds recorded on 10 dates between 25 August & 3 Nov, max three on 16 Sept. A single also seen from St. Davids Head on 29 October.

2014 – Strumble Head recorded nine birds this year, singles on 11 & 29 Aug, 3 & 7 Nov with the maximum day count being five on 21 Oct. Ramsey had one fly south on 4 Oct and two on 21st of the same month.

2015 – A single bird at St. Bride’s from 26 to 28 Dec (video above by Annie Haycock). At Strumble Head a total of 10 birds recorded, seven on 31 Aug, one on 5 Sept and two on 21 Nov.

2016 – At Strumble Head a total of 10 birds recorded. In August a single on the 3rd, in September singles on 2nd & 16th with three on 17th and two on 29th, then in November singles on 4th & 9th. One winter record at St. Justinians on 6th Jan.

2017 – A total of seven birds recorded from Strumble Head this year, singles on 18 Aug, 3 & 10 Oct, with two on 19 Aug & 11 Sept. One off St. Justinians on 21 Sept and one in North Haven, Skomer on 16 Sept.

2018 – Singles seen on Skomer 21 Sept, and Skokholm 17 Oct. Two off Strumble Head on 21 Sept and one on 23rd. Two off Skomer on 15 Oct.

2019 – All records were from Strumble Head: one on 6 & 31 Aug, two on 1 Sept and three on 5 Sept and eight on 6 Oct. Singles Skokholm 21 Aug & 10 Oct.

One was picked up, dazed by flying into a wall at Newgale on 11 October.  The bird was released the following day.

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports

More about the Grey Phalarope in Pembrokeshire

Swift – first and last dates

Apus apus – GWENNOL DDU –Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant. 

Previous records are summarised in Swift 1994

YearFirst recordLast record
19934 May8 Oct
199428 April30 Sept
199529 April30 Oct
199615 April7 Sept
199723 April11 Oct
199821 April26 Sept
199912 April22 Sept
200030 April1 Oct
200124 April26 Sept
200224 April12 Sept
200324 April28 Aug
200425 April10 Sept
200521 April4 Sept
200614 April23 Sept
200720 April18 Aug
200810 April17 Sept
200917 April30 Aug
201021 April4 Sept
20111 May31 Aug
201226 April
201321 April30 Aug
201413 April16 Sept
201518 April19 Sept
201619 April26 Sept
201719 April28 Aug
201825 April10 Aug
201930 March31 Aug

Dates extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports

More about the Swift in Pembrokeshire

Glaucous Gull – winter

Larus hyperboreus – GWYLAN Y GOGLEDD – Irregular winter visitor.

The Glaucous Gull breeds along the north coasts of Canada and Eurasia, and their associated islands. Most move south in the winter, though often still spending the season in frozen areas.

They are now seen regularly in Pembrokeshire in winter, often staying well into the spring. Small numbers are involved, sometimes none. Large movements are thought to be associated with colder weather further north, or rough weather at sea. However, not all cold winters bring birds this far south – there were none in 2010, and the influx in 2014 was during a relatively mild winter.

Once here, many birds stay around for a while, sometimes a few months, visiting a number of sites and sometimes making it difficult to determine exactly how many are present.

In early 2017 a colour-ringed first-winter bird turned up at Holyhead in Anglesey. It has been ringed as a chick on Svalbard, off the north coast of Norway, the previous year. This is so far the only indication of the origins of birds coming to Wales, but it does not mean that others don’t come from Iceland or Greenland.

This map was produced by the West Wales Biodiversity Information Centre using data collected between November and February for the BTO Atlas 2007-11, with additional data collected in 2011-12 winter to fill gaps in coverage.

Other sites have been used, eg Llanstadwell, Fishguard Harbour, Penberi Reservoir, while some birds have been recorded flying past St Govan’s Head and through Ramsey Sound.

More about the Glaucous Gull in Pembrokeshire

Dotterel – records

Charadrius morinellus – HUTAN Y MYNYDDPassage migrant

Previous records are summarised in Dotterel 2012

2012 – The only record involved a single juvenile at Dale airfield on 9 Sept

2014 – Three on Dale Airfield on 2 Sept, then a single bird flew over Martin’s Haven on 14 Sept, at least one bird on Skokholm on 21 Sept and finally there were three juveniles at Dale Airfield on 4 Oct

2015 – One at St. Davids Head on 15th Sept was the only record received

2016 – Only record was of 12 at Marloes Mere & Skomer on 6th May

2018 – One at West Hook Farm, Marloes 5th May was the only record

2019 – The only records were of singles on Plumstone Mountain 19 – 20 Sept and on Dale Airfield 21 – 28 Sept

Source – Pembrokeshire Bird Reports

More about the Dotterel in Pembrokeshire

Red-eyed Vireo – 2019

Vireo olivaceusFireo Llygatgoch / Telor LlygatgochVagrant

Jodie (storm petrel researcher) found a stunning Red-eyed Vireo in the Courtyard. This was just the second for Skokholm and the third for Pembrokeshire! Having fed for a while on Craneflies outside of the Cottage, it made its way back into the Courtyard where it showed a bit of interest in the flies which have gathered around the oranges stuck to Elder branches in anticipation of tomorrow’s Baltimore Oriole (the last vireo on Skokholm, the first for Wales and fifth for Britain found on 14th October 1967, occurred four days after our first Baltimore Oriole was last seen, so we are being optimistic).

Having been trapped in the Courtyard mist net and ringed, it was released back into its favoured bushes where it fed until dusk (and a really quite spectacular sunset).

Skokholm Blog

Pembrokeshire Bird Report 2019

More about the Red-eyed Vireo in Pembrokeshire

Tree Sparrow – records

Passer montanus – GOLFAN MYNYDDScarce visitor, formerly bred

Given the increasing scarcity of this species in Pembrokeshire, all records since 2000 are given here.

2000 – Present in the Castle Morris nest box scheme area but no details of breeding available. Otherwise, singles Manorbier 18-19 March and Castell Malgwyn 11 June, 2 Skomer 8 May.

2001 – 5 nr Upper Haythog 3 Feb, singles Treleddyd fawr 11 Nov, Skomer 6 & 13 May, 9, 11 & 20 Sept, 2 there 1 Nov and 3 on 21 Sept.

2002 – One Mullock 23 Nov (SJS) was the only record

2003 – One Llawhaden 2-4 Jan. 3 birds present at one site 15 May and 4 June, 2 holding territory. Breeding occurred Ramsey for the first time, a pair nested and 2 young fledged 12 July.

2004 – Up to 6 were in the Castle Morris area Jan-Mar. One pair bred once again Ramsey rearing 6 young. In autumn, one was in the St David’s airfield area 15 Oct.

2005 – Nr Llandeloy 17 Mar, up to 7 St Florence 7 April to year’s end, 2 Skomer 25 Apr and a single 12 Nov and Traeth Llyfn 22 Sept.

2006 – Up to 15+ present St Florence Jan-Feb, singles Hubberston 14 Jan, Kilpaison 1 July. On Skomer: 2 on 10 May and one on 31st and present 3 Jun.

2007 – Only two records were received, firstly of a single at Llangloffan Fen on 3rd – 31st Jan. (BH) and three at Strumble Head on 24m Oct. (RW).

2008 – Singles Llangloffan 17th, 18th and 24th Jan, Grassholm 16th-1 7th July, two Newtown on 18th Apr and seven Treddiog Fach on 16th June. One on Skomer 12th May.

2009 – Five near Marros Mountain SN1809 on 26th Jan and two at Crow Hill on 4th-5th May were the only records received.

2010 – There were only two records this year both of singles, the first in the layby opposite Llangloffan Graveyard possibly bathing or collecting grit on 5th Aug (AR). The other was on Skomer on 9th to 11th Oct (DB).

2011 – The only record received was of a single at St.Davids Head on 21st Apr (MYP).

2012 – The only report of this species in 2012 was of two with Yellowhammers at Martletwy on 25th Dec (B & AH).

2013 – All records received were: one at Woodhouse 19th & 21st Feb, five at Caerfai 28th Apr, two at Abercastle 5th May & another single bird between Newton Cross & Mathry in December.

2014 – Up to two birds seen in the Treddiog/ Newton Cross area near Hayscastle between 2nd & 4th Jan then two at Trefeiddan on 22nd Apr. Later in the year, a juvenile at St. Davids Head on 15th Sept, then finally the amazing record of a bird on Grassholm on 14th Oct, the 2nd record for the island, the previous being another single bird on 16th & 17th July 2008.

2017 – The only records were of one at St. Davids Head on 8th Apr and one at the farm, Skomer 3rd – 5th May.

2018 – Singles Skokholm on 26th May and 29th Sept. Two Strumble Head 29th Sept

2019 – One Ramsey 22 – 23 April

Source – Pembrokeshire Bird Reports

More about the Tree Sparrow in Pembrokeshire