Siberian Chiffchaff – records

Phylloscopus collybita – SIFF-SAFF/SIFF SIAFF – Breeding summer visitor, passage migrant and winter visitor

Photo: Siberian chiffchaff caught on Skokholm © Richard Brown. This was the second spring record of Siberian Chiffchaff for the island. It was interesting to note how the appearance of the ear coverts of today’s bird could change from the classic ‘tobacco’ to rather pale.

The nominate subspecies of chiffchaff P.c. collybita is a summer visitor and according to the 2007-11 BTO atlas, was the most common breeding warbler species in Wales. Two other subspecies breed to the east and north of Britain – P.c. abietinus (Scandinavian chiffchaff)and P.c. tristis (Siberian chiffchaff) and are occasional visitors.

According to the International Ornithological Congress, the tristis subspecies breeds across Russia, as far west as the White Sea, and south to northern Mongolia, and winters across Arabia and east to Burma. Close monitoring by the Welsh Birds Rarities Committee demonstrated that the Siberian Chiffchaff occurs regularly on autumn passage, and there is evidence that southern Britain is becoming an alternative wintering area for some individuals.

Siberian Chiffchaffs are late autumn migrants, most arriving in late October and November but some remain over winter. Most are found along the north and south coasts of Wales, with just a handful recorded inland. A small number of spring migrants have also been recorded, mainly on Bardsey, which are presumed to be wintering individuals moving north.

This article explains how to distinguish between the races.

Pembrokeshire records are as follows:

1995 – Birds ascribed to tristis race noted Monk Haven 11 Mar, Ramsey 25 Sept and St Davids Hd 22 Oct and abietinus race trapped and ringed Pwllcrochan 18 Nov.

1996 – A single bird showing characteristics of the race tristis Skomer 9 Nov.

2003 –  In Jan/Feb, up to 6 recorded at Monk Haven, including 1 showing characteristics of the eastern race tristis.

2004 – There were reports of a tristis type bird at Monk Haven in the first winter period. One was showing characters of this race Porth Clais 13 and 18 Nov.

2005 – A tristis type individual was reported Monks Haven in Dec

2014 – Individuals showing characteristics of “Siberian Chiffchaff” P. c. tristis included two at Pembroke Mill Pond on 16th Feb (A. Mears, R. Kelsh) and one was trapped on Skokholm on 2nd Nov, feathers of which were DNA tested by Aberdeen University and confirmed its taxonomy (RB et al).

2015 – Individuals showing characteristics of “Siberian Chiffchaff” P. c. tristis included: at Monk Haven 2nd Jan (DJA et al), on Skokholm 23rd Oct (RDB) and one caught on the Teifi Marshes 15th Oct (CJ, KM).

2016 – Siberian race Phylloscopus collybita tristis: up to two at Milton on 16th Feb – 7th March (RE et al)

2017 – Birds of the Siberian race tristis at Skokholm 28th – 31st May (RB et al – DNA confirmed identification) and two on Skomer on 17th -18th Nov, with one until 19th (ES).

2018 – Three single Siberian Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita tristis on Skokholm on 7th, 16th and 20th Oct (RB, GE). Accepted by WRP on DNA analysis.

2019 – An individual showing characteristics of Siberian Chiffchaff was recorded on Skomer on 27 – 29 Oct.

2020 – Siberian Chiffchaff tristis: one Skokholm 11 April, confirmed by DNA analysis.


Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports which may contain more detail than shown here

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

More about the Chiffchaff in Pembrokeshire

Quail – records since 2000

Coturnix coturnixSofliarUnusual summer migrant.

Photo above – Quail at the Quarry on Skokholm, 1 May 2021 © Richard Brown

2000None reported
2001One heard calling at Gelli in June (AKP, JAP)
2002Two unusual records, the first of one on Skomer 1 June – only the 9th island record, the other, a mile off St. Ann’s Head seen from the Waverley on 16 June.
2003Males heard calling at Marloes Mere 31 May and at Skomer 11 June.
2004All records were of single calling males: at Waterston 21 May (GHR et al), Mountain Park Farm 28 May (VNR) and Skomer 15 June (JGB).
2005Males heard calling at Abercych 12 – 13 May, Skomer 14 & 30 May, Kilpaison 19 – 25 June, Plumstone Mountain 29 June and St. David’s AF 28 July.
2006Males heard calling near Marloes 15-16 June, Rhoslanog Fach 12 July and near Nolton 23 – 28 July.
2007None reported
2008The only records were of calling males at: St. Govan’s on 16 May (BH) at Castlemartin on 27 June & 15 July (BH) and two at Hayscastle Cross on 12 July (RT).
2009The only record was of a single calling at Marloes Village on 16 June (MS).
2010Two calling birds were reported this year, both in June, from Brawdy 15 – 18th and St. Davids airfield on 17th (I. Bullock).
2011Two calling at Pantgwyn on 22 June, three near Brawdy 28 – 30 Aug. All other records all of singles: at Hayscastle 6th June, at Slebech Park on 29 June & 5 July and at Pantmaenog on 22 July.
2012Two records both of singing males, the first at Porthlysgi Farm St.Davids on 28 May (BD), the other Brynberian Moor 24 June (WJ, DJ). One flushed on Grassholm on 24 July was possibly a first for the island (NS, SV).
2013Two calling males reported this year, Abereiddy on 9 July (JG) and one calling in the Marloes area on 17 of the same month (BS).
2014Records more widespread this year starting with a bird on Skokholm on 17 May (see below)  then three between Little Haven & St. Brides on 3 June, a single bird at Harmony near Strumble Head on 19 June, a bird calling at Boncath on 29 July and finally one on Skomer on 6 Aug.
2015A single was flushed on Skomer on 11 May and another on Skokholm on 2 June (see below). One on the mainland calling at Nolton Cross on 22 Aug.
2016None reported
2017One flushed on Skokholm 10 (see below)
2018Two calling Llangloffan Fen 21 July and another two calling at Treseissyllt on 3 Aug. Up to three calling 12 July – mid-August near St. Nicholas.
2019Calling males heard at Llanrhian 18 June and Brynberian 21 June. Marloes Mere 31 May, Skokholm 31 May – 4 June (see below), two calling at Camrose 14 June, then singles at St. Ishmaels 16 July and at Brawdy 11 Aug.
2020None reported
2021Only two records of calling birds, at Redberth 30 May and near Upper Treleddyn Farm 23

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports which may contain more detail than shown here

Detail from the Skokholm Annual Reports

Earlier recordsThere were three singles in the 1990s, approximately six records in the 1980s (three of which were probably of two birds lingering for up to three days), five singles in the 1970s, seven singles in the 1960s, eight singles in the 1950s, four singles in the 1940s and three between 1938 and 1939 including one found dead on the roof of the Lighthouse.
2014One heard singing along the Lighthouse Track at just before midnight on 16th May was the first Skokholm record for over a decade (CB, EW). Checks on subsequent nights proved unsuccessful.
2015One flushed from above North Haven during the afternoon of 2nd June was not relocated .This was the first record since a singing bird on 16th May 2014 and only the second to be logged this decade.
2017One flushed from the coastal grassland above Purple Cove on a drizzly 10th June was the first record since 2nd June 2015 and only the third sighting this century following a singing bird on 16th May 2014 (GE).
2019One photographed on the plateau above Purple Cove on 31st May was the first since one at the same location on 10th June 2017 (LP, KO). One was flushed from the culvert along the South Pond Lower Drain the following day (RDB), a male was singing near North Pond on 4th June (GE et al.) and a bird was flushed from Windmill Gully on the 5th (RDB). Although it is possible that some of these sightings refer to the same very mobile individual, it would seem likely given the typically elusive nature of this species that more than one bird was present.

More about the Quail in Pembrokeshire

Richard’s Pipit – Records

Anthus richardi – Corhedydd RichardScarce visitor

1967 – Skokholm singles 13 Sep, 17-30 Oct, 16 Nov; Five at Wooltack Point 25 Nov

1968 – Skokholm – singles 7-8 Oct, 21-22 Oct; 26 Oct-5 Nov

1969 – Skokholm single 25 Sep

1970 – Skokholm two on 27 Sep, four on 29 Sep, single on 7-17 Oct

1971 – Skokholm, singles 12 Sep, 6-7 Oct, two on 24 Oct

1973 – Skomer single 18 Oct

1976 – Dowrog single 22 Oct

Above records taken from the WRP database & Welsh Bird Reports

1982 – Skokholm single 10 Oct (JD, EGG, GGG)

1983 – The Smalls single 30 Sep (MPL)

1985 – Stackpole single Warren 29 Sep (RJH)

1987 – Skokholm single 27 Sep (MB)

1988 – Skokholm singles 19-21 Sep, 12-14 Oct, 20 Oct (MB et al)

1989 – Single Skomer 9 Apr – First spring record for Pembs

1992 – Singles Skomer 11 Mar, Skokholm 6,7 & 9 Nov

1993 – Skokholm single 8 Oct (MB)

1994 – Singles Ramsey 1,4 & 9 Nov (DJA, IDB, JG) , Skokholm 14-15 Oct (MB)

1995 – Singles Esso 15 Oct (JWD), Strumble Hd 22 and 31 Oct (GHR) and 3 Marloes Mere 17 Oct, 2 on 18th (0 & GR et al).

1997 – One Angle Bay 18 Dec (AW) First Dec record for Pembs

2000 – Single Skomer 13 Nov (JGB).

2001 – Singles Skokholm 4-5 Oct and 10 Nov (GT).

2002 – Singles Strumble Hd 29 Sept (MYP), Pen Porth 3 Oct (BDG), Skomer 30 Sept and 22 Oct (JGB)

2003 – A good autumn for this species, singles Strumble Hd 18 Oct and 22 Oct (SEB, MYP et al), Whitesands 16 Oct, St Davids 24 Oct, Porthselau 26 Oct with 2 there 22-23 Oct and 11 Nov (PKG et al)

2004 – Singles Skomer on 11 and 31 Oct both flying W (JGB).

2005 – Singles Pembroke River 20 Oct (RE), Pen Anglas 22 Oct (AR).

2006 – Single bird heard Skomer 14 Oct (JGB).

2007 – The only accepted record was of a single at Point St. John by Ramsey Sound on 11th Oct (JB & MB). Additional record from 2007, one at St. David’s Head on 20th Oct. (MYP).

2008 – There were two records this year both of singles on Skomer on 26th Oct (DB) and at Angle Bay on 16th Dec (PJ).

2010 – The only record was of one at Freshwater West on 6th Dec (CH).

2011 – Singles Skomer on 14th & 28th Oct and 12th Nov (all DB), St. Davids Head on 2nd Nov (MYP) and Marloes Mere on 19th Nov (DJA).

2013 – A single at Strumble Head on 1st Oct (AR), Angle Bay 9 Nov-31 Dec (see below)

2014 – Single Skokholm on 15th Sept. (RDB, GE). One over-wintered at Rhoscrowther, Angle Bay from 9th Nov 2013 – 24th Feb 2014 (M. Ahmed)

Skokholm Annual Report 2014 – A vocal bird which flew low and east over the Gap on 15th September was the first Skokholm record since 2001 (RDB, GE). All Skokholm records sit within the period 12th September to 10th November and are typically of single birds, although there were four logged on 26th October 1968 and 29th September 1970.

2016 – (Skokholm record accepted by the County Records Panel but not included in Pembs or Welsh Bird Reports)

Skokholm Annual Report 2016 – A vocal bird on 21st October circled North Plain and then Orchid Bog before heading east (GE, RDB); it seemingly continued for the mainland as it could not be located on the Neck. This was the first Island record since another east-bound flyover found on 15th September 2014. The only other records this century were on the 4th and 5th October and 10th November 2001 and on 2nd May 2000.

2017 – One on Skokholm 21st Oct was the only record.

Skokholm Annual Report 2017 A typically vocal and rather skittish bird which dropped into Home Meadow on a drizzly 2nd November also perched in an Elder to the south of the meadow and briefly visited the Knoll before heading off high in a north-easterly direction (RDB, GE).

2018 – Single Skokholm on 10th Oct.

Skokholm Annual Report 2018 A typically vocal and rather skittish bird flushed from Purple Cove on 10th October was picked up in flight over South Pond and briefly relocated on the ground at Frank’s Point before it flew off north (GE, RDB).

2021 – The only record was of one amongst a flock of Skylarks on Skokholm 1 Oct.

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports and the Skokholm Annual Reports

More about the Richard’s Pipit in Pembrokeshire

Puffin – first and last

Fratercula arctica – PAL – Breeding summer visitor

YearFirst sightingLast sightingSkokholm
max count
max count
see below
198328 December3500
198422 March25 October3668c.7000+ pairs
19892175c.5700 pairs
1990c.2000-2500 pairsc.5000-6000 pairs
19914432c.5000-6000 pairs
19922505c.5000-6000 pairs
19936 March
earliest recorded
5 December2,145 in April
6,209 in July
c.11,000 spring
c.18,000 in July
199521 March19 August (Skomer)2,700 in spring10,473 in spring
199624 March27 September3,332 on 7 April
5,275 in July
9,141 in spring
11,869 in summer
199721 March24 September3,250 in spring9,049 in spring
19985 Jan (Strumble)17 Oct (Strumble)2,774 on 1 April9,235 in spring
199920 March30 Sept (Strumble)3,083 in spring9,213 in spring
20003,092 in spring10,614 in spring(4)
2001 15 March31 Oct (Strumble)7,854
20026 Feb (Strumble)7 Nov (Strumble)c.4,00010,338
200319 March9 Oct (Strumble)8,537 in May
21,292 in July
200413 March6 Oct (Strumble)10,688 on 14 May
200525 Oct (Strumble)10,717 on 6 May
200627 Dec (Wooltack)4,51010,876
200717 Sept (Strumble)4,900 AOS11,821 on 4 April
200819 March14 August (with fish)10,487
200912 July (Strumble)13,508 in spring
201117 Dec (Strumble)
201426 March17 August5,070 on 10 April18,237
20156,645 on 14 May21,349
20164 Feb (Ramsey)21 Oct (Pwll-deri)6,69222,539
201723 March14 Oct (Strumble)7,800 in May25,227
201813 March21 Sept (Strumble)8,762 30,895
20191 March5 Sept (Strumble)7,44724,108
202016 March5 September8,53434,796
20217 March21 August

(1) 291 found oiled during the Bridgeness incident

(2) Leucistic bird on Skokholm

(3) No puffins affected by Sea Empress oil spill, as this predated their arrival

(4) All white bird on Skomer

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire bird reports

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports which may contain more detail than shown here

More about the Puffin in Pembrokeshire

Chiffchaff – ringing recoveries

Phylloscopus collybita – SIFF-SAFF/SIFF SIAFF – Breeding summer visitor, passage migrant and winter visitor

Since 2009,  2157 chiffchaffs have been ringed at various sites on the Pembrokeshire mainland.   Another 2000 or so were ringed on Skokholm in that period.

These days, ringing is primarily for monitoring bird populations – their survival, reproductive rates, and so on.  It is a very important tool in understanding how and when bird populations change. 

A good proportion of the chiffchaffs ringed on the mainland are part of Constant Effort Site ringing, which is designed for population monitoring.  Many of the birds ringed will be breeding, or will have hatched on that site.  They will often be retrapped on the same site, in the same or subsequent years. These birds are not included in the map.

Chiffchaffs ringed on Skokholm are on migration.  They may be heading north in spring, and south in winter, although occasionally a bird seems to be going in the wrong direction as it overshoots its destination.  An example is a bird that was ringed on Skokholm in spring, but subsequently settled to breed in Cornwall that summer.

This map shows where birds ringed in Pembrokeshire went to, or where birds ringed elsewhere came from.

Ringing has been undertaken on Skokholm and elsewhere in Pembrokeshire for many decades, but the earlier data isn’t currently easily available. 

The apparently low number of birds that have left mainland Pembrokeshire reflect the fact that a large proportion are ringed as fledgelings and  juveniles, which are very vulnerable to predation.  Birds that have made it as far as Skokholm before being ringed are a bit older, and so have a much better chance of survival.

Meanwhile, that chiffchaff from Keeston is the oldest, and the furthest-travelled, chiff-chaff from Pembrokeshire in the last decade at least.

Annie Haycock (BBS & WeBS local organiser)

Data from Mike and Theresa Sherman of the Pembrokeshire Ringing Group, from the Skokholm Island Annual Reports, and from the BTO website.

More about the Chiffchaff in Pembrokeshire

Tree Pipit – first and last dates

Anthus trivialis – CORHEDYDD Y COED – Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded from November to February

Earlier records are summarised in Tree Pipit 1994

YearFirst arrivalLast date recorded
199317 April23 September
199420 April23 October
19952 April29 October
19967 April10 October
19979 April11 October
19989 April10 October
199928 April17 October
200014 April14 October
200110 April24 September
200226 March2 October
200317 April21 September
200422 April31 October
200511 April19 September
200615 April15 October
200715 April7 October
20087 April13 October
200930 AprilSeptember
201018 April11 October
201116 April20 October
201227 April22 July
201316 April22 September
201427 March22 September
20156 April12 October
201613 April8 October
20171 April2 September
201820 April10 October
20198 April19 September
202020 April19 September
202117 April21 September

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports which may contain more detail than shown here

More about the Tree Pipit in Pembrokeshire

Sooty Shearwater – records

Ardenna grisea – ADERYN –DRYCIN DU – Regular autumn passage migrant. Has not been recorded in February, June or November.

Earlier records are summarised in Sooty Shearwater 1994 and Sooty Shearwater 2006

Monthly totals of birds passing Strumble Head 2007-2020:

YearAugustSeptemberOctoberMax day count
200722506 on 24 September
20082462732 on 2 September
200945192424 on 3 October
2010161918 on 15 September
201114260287 on 7 September
76 on 5 September
20122188247 on 24 September
20134115283 on 16 September
201416336 on 30 August
2016255626 on 4 September
201761115 on 11 September
2018251210 on 24 August
2019222 on 1 September
20214222 in December

Data from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports and Adrian Rogers with other Strumblers.

Additional notes from Bird Reports:

2007 – Only non-Strumble record was of a single off Newgale on 18 Nov

2009 – Elsewhere 12 from a Sea Trust Pelagic on 23 Sept, 10 near Grassholm 25 Sept. Singles off the Deer Park on 18th Aug, off St. Govan’s Head 4th & 6th Sept and off Ramsey Island on 1st Nov (6th island record) which coincidentally was the last date that one was reported from Strumble Head where a total of 89 passed between 17th Aug and 1st Nov.

2010 – Only one non-Strumble record, from Grassholm on 23 Aug.

2011 – First recorded at Strumble Head on 17 July. The total of 277 from Strumble Head is the 3rd highest yearly total ever recorded.

2012 – Passed Strumble Head on a total of 20 dates between 18 Aug & 3 Oct, max 47 on 24 Sept. A single bird was recorded past Skokholm on 16 Sept.

2013 – A total of 123 passed Strumble Head on 14 dates between 14 Aug & 3 Nov. Elsewhere five were seen from Ramsey Island on 16 Sept and one on 3 Nov, two off St.Davids Head on 24 Oct and singles off Skokholm on 4 Aug and off Grassholm on 6 Aug.

Skokholm – One east past the Lighthouse on 4th August, a day which saw over 60,000 Manx Shearwaters pass in moderate southerly winds, was the only record of the year (RDB). This perhaps reflects the unseasonably calm or predominantly easterly autumn period and a corresponding absence of observers at the seawatching hide. However it should also be noted that two days of strong southwesterlies followed by northerlies in mid-September, which saw good numbers to our north, failed to produce any Skokholm records.

2014 – Quite a poor year at Strumble Head, 22 birds in total recorded on only nine days. September is usually the peak month for “Sooties” but the wind conditions this year were very poor in sea-watching terms, hence the low totals. Single Birds were seen from Skomer on 30 July, the Fishguard to Rosslare Ferry on 20 Aug, from the Cartlett Lady on a Seatrust Survey on 4 Sept and from Ramsey on 21 Oct.

2015 – Another poor year at Strumble Head, starting with a single on 19th July. Skokholm had a single bird on 12 Aug and one off Ramsey on 22nd Oct.

2016 – At Strumble Head a much better showing in 2016 with a total of 81 birds on 15 dates between 4th Aug & 29th Sept, max 26 on 4th Sept. Skokholm had single birds on 21st Aug & 4th Sept with three on 3rd Sept. Off Skomer, seven on 4th Sept and a single on 16th Oct. One off Ramsey on 20th Aug.

2017 – A poor year with only 18 birds recorded at Strumble Head, maximum five on 11th Sept. One off Skomer on 27th Aug and singles off Skokholm on 27th July and 28th Aug

2018 – Singles off Skokholm: 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th Aug and 8th Sept. A total of 37 logged passing Strumble Head: three on 16th Aug, 10 on 24th Aug, eight on 27th and five on 21 Sept.

2019 – Total of four logged passing Strumble Head, singles 18 & 31 Aug and two 1 Sept. Off Skokholm: singles on 10, 16,18, 22, 25, 29 & 30 Aug

2020 – Very few recorded passing Strumble Head: a total of 13 in August, max seven on 23rd, and in September, singles on the 5th, 24th & 25th. The only other records were: off Skokholm 31 July 16 Aug, two on 21st and one 24 Aug, two off Skomer 3 Aug and a single on 25 Aug, one off Ramsey 26 Aug and two on 25 Sept.

2021 – All records were from Strumble Head, where a total of 10 were logged: singles 7 & 16 Aug, 29 & 30 Sept, 7 & 26 Nov and 7 & 10 Dec. Only larger count was of two on 8 Aug.

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports which may contain more detail than shown here

Photo credit: dfaulder, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

More about the Sooty Shearwater in Pembrokeshire

Bluethroat – records

Luscinia svecicaScarce visitor

First record on 9 May 1946. All records from then until 1992 are summarised in Bluethroat 1994

1993 – Female Bosterston 8 June (P&AC)

1995 – A first summer red-spotted male Skokholm 29 June (MB)

2008 – A white-spotted male on Skomer on 10-11 April (M Butler, J Milborrow)

2010 – A stunning male of the red spotted race on Skomer on the 21st May (DB).

2017 – Adult male caught on Skokholm on 27th May (RD, WJ et al), photo by R. Brown. Accepted by WRP.

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports which may contain more detail than shown here

A stunning male mist netted at the Well on 27th May 2017 was the first Skokholm record since 29th June 1995, only the 13th record for the Island and the 18th for Pembrokeshire (RD, WJ et al.). A lack of red feathering amongst its blue throat feathers and a relatively short wing chord of 73mm both suggested that it was not a Red-spotted L. s. svecica of northern Europe and Asia, however deducing its origins based on appearance alone becomes more problematic as White-spotted L. s. cyanecula of south and central Europe do not always have a white spot, meaning that they closely resemble Blue-throated, Spanish breeding L. s. azuricollis and the larger Turkish breeding L. s. luristanica. It is perhaps thus no surprise that there is limited genetic variation between all these forms and that this is very much a single species. Nevertheless it is hoped that a retained feather held by Professor Martin Collinson at the University of Aberdeen will provide a sufficiently distinctive genetic signature so as to allow this bird to be linked to a particular breeding area in the future.

Of the 12 previous Skokholm records, the first seven between 1955 and 1968 were all in autumn, whilst four of the latter five were in spring.

Following the first for Skokholm, a first winter male L. s.svecica on 10th October 1955, there was a first-winter L. s. svecica between the 12th and 15th September 1956, a first-winter male on 15th September 1964, a female-type bird on 24th September 1964, another first-winter male L. s. svecica on 29th September 1964 (taking the year total to an unprecedented three individuals), one logged on 11 dates between 16th September and 1st October 1967, the only Skokholm record of L. s. cyanecula on 20th October 1968, males of L. s. svecica on 21st May 1975, 15th May 1982 and 14th May 1985, an unraced male on 27th September 1992 and most recently a male L. s. svecica on 29th June 1995

Skokholm Annual Report 2017

2020 – A red-spotted male trapped on Skokholm 20 May (RDB et al)

More about the Bluethroat 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

Great Shearwater – records

Ardenna gravis – ADERYN-DRYCIN MAWR – Near annual rare autumn passage migrant

Earlier records are summarised in Great Shearwater 2007

2008 – The only accepted record was from Strumble Head, 4th September

2009 – Single birds recorded on three occasions this autumn off Strumble Head: on 17th Aug (AR), 29th Aug & on 3rd Oct (RS).

2010 – Only one record was received of a single passing Strumble Head on 29th Aug (RS).

2011 – The weather conditions in early September were suitable enough for this species to be recorded at Strumble Head this year with two seen each day on the 5th (AR) and 6th (SEB).

2014 – At Strumble Head a very good passage during the last two weeks in August with single birds seen on 17th & 24th then four on 29th, a good count of ten on 30th & finally another two on 31st (AR et al). As with Cory’s Shearwater, it is the first time both large Shearwaters have been recorded on three consecutive days at Strumble.

A single bird was seen & photographed from the Fishguard to Rosslare Ferry on 20th Aug (thought to have been in Irish waters, included here for information only).

2015 – Single birds on 8th & 19th July were the only records for the year, the 8th July record being the earliest county record. (AR, RS).

2016 – A good showing this year off Strumble Head, with the suitable conditions giving a total of 13 birds. In Aug, two on 8th, three on 21st and a single on 28th. In Sept, four on the 2nd and singles on the 4th, 16th & 25th. Additionally one at sea on 18th Aug (RC, SL Murray et al).

2017 – The only record this year was of one off Skokholm on 19th Aug (RB).

A substantial amount of seawatching effort in recent years has proven this to be a truly rare species in this part of the world, however it is perhaps surprising that one heading into moderate westerly winds off the Lighthouse on the morning of 19th August was only the third Skokholm record (or fourth Skokholm bird). The only other Island records to be accepted by the Welsh Records Panel concern two birds logged on 9th September 1993 and a single on 9th August 2000. A probable was noted on 11th September 1969 and singles in 2007 and 2011 have subsequently been deemed ‘not proven’. Skokholm Annual Report 2017

2018 – Single off Skokholm 18th Aug (DJA, ME) and five off Strumble Head on 16th Aug (TP, RDJ).

One which passed over rough seas off the Lighthouse on three occasions between 1525 and 1540hrs on 18th August was just the fifth for Skokholm (DA, ME). This came one day earlier than the fourth for Skokholm logged last year. Skokholm Annual Report 2018

2020 – One logged passing Strumble Head 26 Aug (per PB et al)

2021 – One from Celtic Deep pelagic 3 Aug (RS et al) and two seen passing Strumble Head on 6 Aug (LG et al),

Records from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports, except where noted from the Skokholm Annual Reports

More about the Great Shearwater in Pembrokeshire