Barn Owl – movements

Tyto alba – TYLLUAN WEN – Breeding resident.

Breeding adult barn owls in Britain are largely sedentary. Young barn owls do not disperse very far, with a median dispersal distance of 12 km from the nest, while only about 4% of movements are over 100km. In mainland Europe, dispersal distances are greater, often more than 50km with over 10% going more than 100km. Most recoveries in Wales have been less than 20km from their ringing site, but there are some exceptions.

2007 – A bird ringed at a nest at Glenurquhart, Highland, in June 2007 was hit by a car 624km away at St Ishmael’s that December.

2021 – At the end of October, Richard Crossen found a dead barn owl at Castlemartin Corse.  It had been ringed as a nestling in June 2021 at a site in the Towi valley, and so had moved 70km to coastal west

2021 – On November 7th, Andy Jones found the fresh remains of another barn owl on a farm just east of Lamphey.  There wasn’t much of the bird left – only the legs – suggesting it had been predated.  This one had been ringed as a nestling by the Mid-Wales Ringing Group at a site south-east of Machynlleth, 125km away!


PRITCHARD R, HUGHES J, SPENCE I M, HAYCOCK, B, BRENCHLEY A (Eds) 2020. The Birds of Wales.  Liverpool University Press

More about the Barn Owl in Pembrokeshire

Bonaparte’s Gull – 2020

Chroicocephalus philadelphiaGwylan Bonaparte – Vagrant

Teifi, June 23rd

This fine adult Bonaparte’s Gull  joined the Black-headed Gulls on Poppit salt marsh for the high tide roost this morning

(photos Jon Green)

The gull had a lovely fly around, calling distinctively and chasing the mainly non-adult Black-headed Gulls which in comparison looked a poor second as many are in moult and particularly scruffy looking.

Posted by Richard Dobbins

The Gann, 31st October

A delightful adult Bonaparte’s Gull at the Gann late afternoon.  Found around 15:50 after I decided not to watch the rugby with Lisa, it was still present at 17:00 when we left (she soon ditched the rugby!).  It gave very close views, as it was feeding with the Black-headed Gulls where the waves were breaking onto the beach as the tide pushed up.  Nice to share it with George & Fiona who speed-stomped over from Dale.  Also an adult Little Gull which didn’t show quite so well. Photos and post by David Astins.

The bird was photographed again the following day (top photo by Dave Astins), then not seen again until the 7th November when it had moved upstream of the bridge. On the 13th, it was seen at Pickleridge Pools. On the 15th it was with a flock of black-headed gulls flying from the Gann towards Mullock/Marloes, on the 17th at the Gann again still with a flock of black-headed gulls, and then on the 18th when it was last seen heading towards Dale at around 4pm.

2021 – Adult, assumed to be the returning bird from last year at the Gann 15 Nov (DJA).

More about the Bonaparte’s Gull in Pembrokeshire

Osprey – 2020

Pandion haliaetus – GWALCH Y PYSGOD – Scarce passage migrant.

Previous records are summarised in Osprey 2006


The table below summarises records (number of birds reported each month) since 2007. The annual totals and monthly pattern of records are consistent with those recorded between 1988 and 2006. The majority of records are from the Cleddau Estuary, with most of the rest from the islands, and the Nevern and Teifi estuaries.

2007   1     2  3
2008   22   4   8
2009   3   11   5
2010   2311     7
2011     1121   4
2012  13  122   9
2013  12  121   7
2014  11   451  12
2015  141  13   10
2016   21  23   8
2017   11  22   6
2018   21  11   5
2019   3  111   6

In 2010 and 2011 one or possibly two birds summered on the Cleddau estuary.  It is not certain whether any attempt was made to breed.  A juvenile was seen in the same area from August 2011 onwards, but this may have been a passage bird from other breeding sites in Wales.

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports


A colour-ringed bird was seen and frequently photographed (top photo) at the Gann from 5 – 29 September 2020. The colour-ring number has been confirmed as 422 (white numbers, blue ring). This was a juvenile male, ringed at a nest near Elgin, Moray, on 10th July by Roy Dennis and Ian Perks.

Information from the Pembrokeshire Bird Blog

More about the Osprey in Pembrokeshire

Long-tailed Duck – records

Clangula hyemalisHwyaden Gynffon-hirWinter visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded in August and September

Previous records of long-tailed ducks are summarised in Long-tailed Duck -2011

  • 2012 – 1 female at Bosherston on the 10-15th November
  • 2012 – 1 female from 5th December into 2013 off Wiseman’s Bridge (possibly same as above).
  • 2013 – 1 female Wiseman’s Bridge 4 Jan – 27 March (same as above)
  • 2013 – 1 drake Haroldston – 23 Feb (DJA)
  • 2014 – 1 imm Bosherston 23 Nov – Dec 30
  • 2016 – 1 Skomer 20 October
  • 2016 – 1  Gann 20 Nov (Gary ?)
  • 2016 – 1 1st winter drake, Coppet Hall – Wiseman’s Bridge – 22-24 Dec (Toby Phelps)
  • 2016 – 1 Pen Caer – mid Dec.
  • 2017 – 1 female Pen Caer – 4 Jan (first seen two weeks ago) to 3rd March (RD) (same as above)
  • 2019 – 1 Pembroke Castle Pond 1-3 Nov
  • 2019 – 1 Llys-y-fran 8 Nov
  • 2019 – 1 Skokholm – 2 on 2nd Dec (3rd Skokholm record)
  • 2019 – 2 Broad Haven, pair amongst the scoter flock, 2nd Dec to end of year (probably same as above)
  • 2020 – up to two off Broad Haven (N) 1 Jan – 22 Mar,
  • 2020 – one off St. Brides 11 Sept,
  • 2020 – a female Fishguard Harbour 19 Nov – end of the year
  • 2020 – a female off Amroth 23 Dec

  • 2021 – single in Fishguard Harbour until 9 Jan, a female off Amroth 11 Jan, perhaps the same bird off Wiseman’s Bridge 21 Feb;
  • 2021 – single off Broad Haven, St. Bride’s Bay 15 –19 Mar
  • 2021 – a female noted passing Strumble Head 21 Oct.

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Sightings Blog and the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports

More about the long-tailed duck in Pembrokeshire

Bonaparte's Gull at the Gann, (c) Brian Southern

Bonaparte’s Gull – 2018

Chroicocephalus philadelphiaGwylan Bonaparte – Vagrant

One at the Gann, 4th and 5th November

As Mr Astins thought it may be possible to see the Swift from the main land. I went to St Anne’s he went to Martins Haven. On my way back having had very horrible views of Skokholm in the poor visibility, I thought I would scan the gulls on the Gann. Picked out a Bonaparte’s gull in with the gulls opposite Crab Hall. As always wanted, confirmation from someone, so met up with DA at Martins Haven, where I showed him photos and video. He Confirmed it. Posted by Peter Howe at 5:40 pm

Then about 4.20pm I picked the bird up in a small roost forming maybe 150m offshore.  Too far for any decent photographs, but my poor efforts show some of the key features – smaller size, darker, dark bill & grey shawl along the neck sides.  I was also able to see the pale under primaries whilst it preened, and when the whole flock flew further out to sea the more buoyant flight with faster wingbeats were quite obvious.  This is only Pembrokeshire’s 4th Bonaparte’s, after birds at Solva in Spring 1888, and Strumble Head on 28th September 1997 and 16th-20th October 2012.  Be nice if it stays around. Posted by Dave A at 6:13 pm

The adult Bonaparte’s Gull still present at The Gann estuary this morning. On the shoreline feeding with Black-headed Gulls –  very mobile. (James Roden 5/11/2018)

Excerpts from the Pembrokeshire Bird Blog

Welsh Bird Report 2018 – 2nd CY+

More about the Bonaparte’s Gull in Pembrokeshire