Monday, 22 January 2018

Water Pipits - Newgale

A friend - Chris Holland - reports seeing two Water Pipits on the flooded campsite at Newgale at about 10 am this morning.

Carew/Cresswell Rivers and fields near Milton

Numbers of most species of waterfowl during this mornings WeBs count (a day late - due to the very heavy rain yesterday) were fairly modest along the Carew/Cresswell.

Wigeon numbers had dropped considerably to no more than c. 50, although teal numbers (c.400) seemed to be holding up. Seven shovelers were at New Shipping where most of the birds were roosting. Some 80+ curlews were present - 55 of these feeding in sheep pasture rather than roosting at high tide. About 130 shelduck were distributed across both river systems and 56 oystercatchers were roosting at Lawrenny Quay (quite a good flock-size for this location). Redshank numbers were not especially high - a total of c.60 were roosting in small flocks at a few regular locations but there no obvious lapwings anywhere this morning and only a small number of dunlin on the Cresswell side.

It was really more of a gull morning, with over 1,000 herring gulls coming in to rest and bathe on Carew Millpond, along with other gull species. They were coming from slurry-enriched pasture fields near Milton on the south side of the A477 - an area that in most winters usually attracts lapwings but none were here this morning. There were at least another 1,000 to 1,500 gulls feeding here (utilising  two fields) including at least 700 herring gulls and similar numbers of black-headed gulls, small numbers of common gulls and a few LBB and GBB gulls and a little egret. With them was a 1st winter Iceland gull - possibly the same bird that was bathing with herring gulls on Carew Millpond back in November.

A buzzard perched on a hedge seemed to be keeping a watchful eye on the gulls, or perhaps more likely on the numerous starlings and small numbers of fieldfares that were also feeding in the fields.

Blackwits Galore

From Graham Stephens - Just had a walk along foreshore at Llangwm Ferry and counted 138 Black tailed Godwits on the mudflats in Llangwm Pill and along the tideline between Llangwm Ferry and Black Tar (2.30pm – low water at 15.30). They have been present in small numbers throughout the winter and Graham Brace reported 80+ last week but I’ve never seen them in these kind of numbers at this location in the past.


The birds flocking to Colin Laugharne's bird feeders have attracted the attention of the local Sparrowhawk.

The Gann (Sunday)

From Dave and Julia Evans : Brent Goose 10, Shelduck 5, Goldeneye 2 female, Red-breasted Merganser 1 redhead, Common Snipe 36, Little Grebe 8.    And a Great Crested Grebe in Dale.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Bird Race in North Pembrokeshire

Highlights are
Teifi Marshes
Tawny Owl 1
Barn Owl 1
Little Egret 1
Goldeneye male and 3 female
Webley hotel
Merlin female
Mediterranean Gull 1ad
Ceibwr Bay
Chough 4
Golden Plover 100
Fulmar 5
Newport Estuary
Greenshank 1
Redshank 10 Ringed Plover 20
Dunlin 30
Grey Plover 1
Fishguard Fort
Red Throated Diver 2
Black Throated Diver 1
Guilimot 2
A total of 79 was seen but an hour or so was taken up getting antibiotics for Mary

More Purple Sandpipers

2 with 12+ Turnstones on rocks at Monkstone Point this evening.

Black Redstart -- Fishguard

Nice to catch up with the smart male Black Redstart near the Medical Centre in Fishguard this morning. Park in the pay and display car park in town,  the back of the Medical Centre is just behind the bottle-bank.

Four Purple Sandpipers on the Outer Breakwater along with 3 Ringed Plover on an otherwise quiet WeBS count.
(Photo Dawn Jay)

Around the Teifi

A day early with the Teifi WeBS count as the weather tomorrow looks rather wet.

Starting at the Webley saltmarsh there was a varied collection of waders and ducks. All of the waders that have been seen around the estuary in the last week were there including 15 Ringed Plover and 30 Dunlin but joined by 2 Knot, not a common wader here. 25 Redshank too.
The majority of the Geese were opposite St Dogmaels slipway - 450 Canadas, 50 Barnacles and 1 Greylag.
300 Lapwing dropped in when the tide dropped.
On the Teifi Marsh the highlight was 4 Goldeneye at the river viewpoint, the most this year.
Out in the bay were 2 Common Scoter and a Great-crested Grebe.
Best birds of the day were undoubtedly 2 Purple Sandpipers on rocks below the Cliff Hotel golf course. A rare species for The Teifi.

Green sandpiper and Hen harrier - Talbenny area

A Ringtail hen harrier was quartering a field 500m south of Talbenny crossroads at 5pm. Moving to a field opening to get a better view I flushed a Green sandpiper, after a fly around it came back down in same field (it was in the flooded stubble field opposite a minor road to St Ishmaels). Nice to see Theresa, Mike, Paul and Paddy setting up their wader nets for a bit of ringing at the Gann earlier.

Friday, 19 January 2018


A sizeable but scattered gull roost stretching across the width of the reservoir this evening. c5000 birds on water, with another c2000 still feeding in a recently ploughed field on the opposite side, and reluctant to leave it even when the light had gone. As others have mentioned many more Herring gull this year, didn't count but probably in excess of 1000. Best of the rest were 3 adult YL gulls and 3 Med gulls. 5 Goldeneye (2m), 8 GC grebe and single Little grebe. There were 5 buzzards, a kite and a heron in the same field as the gulls.

Black Redstart - Fishguard

A male Black Redstart behind the Medical Centre this afternoon.

Thursday, 18 January 2018


With the tide dropping along the stretch between Angle Harbour and The Lodge this morning a big count of 72 Black Tailed Godwits. I can't recall seeing more than a handful of Blackwits in the Angle Bay area over the last 10 plus years  - an interesting sighting given Graham Brace's record of 87 Blackwits at Llangwm on 15 January. Amongst them just 5 Bar Tailed Godwits, the more common Winter species in Angle Bay. Also c.120 Dunlin. 12 Redshank and a few Curlew. A Great Northern Diver was some way out towards the Haven.

Iceland Gull -- Teifi

A 1st winter Iceland Gull was bathing with other gulls off the middle sand bars viewed from St Dogmael's Quay at 4pm today.

St Davids Choughs

10 on the GC today, feeding busily. The one with a white ring on its left leg also has 2 red rings on its right, the lower one with white numbering. Firecrest still in the garden here at Sealyham.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Pembroke Blackcap

Photo of a Blackcap taken by Colin Laugharne in his Pembroke garden today. Also a pic of his bird feeders - should keep 'em going for a while!


A Firecrest in the front garden at Sealyham this afternoon.

The Hakin Great Northern Diver

The Great Northern Diver was again below the coast path near St Mary's Church Hakin, Milford Haven, at lunch-time today, as it had been at 8.30 am yesterday, and also the day before. It seems to favour the area between Conduit Beach and Hakin Point and is coming in very close to the shore.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

St Davids Choughs

A dozen choughs on St Davids Golf course today and feeding actively apparently. One had a white plastic ring on its left leg.

Monday, 15 January 2018

The Gann

From Bryn Burgess :  
Red Breasted Merganser – a single female
Snipe – 26
Little Grebe – 6
Greenshank – 1
Stonechat – single male
Bar Tailed Godwit – 2
Teal - c16
Wigeon & Redshank  present
Mute Swan – 3 (2ad + 1st year)
Little Egret – 1
Cormorant – 2
Shelduck – 3
Curlew – 22
LT Tit - 4


From Graham Brace: At 3pm this afternoon there were 87 blackwits feeding/slumbering along the tideline in Llangwm at the confluence of the streams from the pill with the river. Blackwits in varying much smaller numbers have been present most days over the last few months but I've never witnessed an 'invasion' of this magnitude in Llangwm. One, unfortunately, had a broken wing so it's survival is doubtful. Also, a common sandpiper was exploring the patches of seaweed nearby.

Wiseman's Bridge

3 Eider (2 1st winter drake and 1 female) offshore early afternoon but quite distant. 3 female Teal also offshore as well as the usual Scoter, 6 Great Crested Grebes and 3 Red-breasted Merganser.

A female Brambling feeding in my garden in Llanteg this morning.

Gupton/Castlemartin Corse - this morning and a brief look at Pembroke Millpond/Holyland wood this afternoon

Despite very heavy rain before 09:00 hrs, the weather settled down enough to allow a small team (including Clive Hurford, Chris Oliver, Paul Culyer, Richard Ellis, student Jack and myself) to do another 2017/18 winter survey of Gupton farmland birds for the NT. 

Despite blustery conditions we managed to notch up over 4,000 birds (mostly common typical farmland species) between us all. Highlights being over 700 golden plovers, plus a likely additional 1,000 or so golden plovers that flew high over the area at c. 09:00 hrs appearing to heading generally east and probably not returning; nearly 1,800 lapwings, 479 snipe (a similar total to that recorded in our December survey) and 3 jack snipe (also a similar number to the Dec count). Richard and Chris also noted 24 black tailed godwits further up the valley.

Between us all we also saw c. 86 fieldfares and smaller numbers of redwings but only 85 chaffinches and far less linnets. Skylarks (84) were up on Dec but numbers were still quite low for the area overall for the time of year. 

Raptors were almost absent (possibly due to the blustery conditions) apart from the 2 over-wintering marsh harriers that put in an appearance over the reed-bed. These were not seen by all of us.  

Later on, a quick look at Pembroke Millpond produced the usual expected waterfowl species including a couple of goldeneye and a single female tufted duck. No pochard here though yet, now quite a scarce bird in the county - you're probably much more likely to see scaup than pochard these days! 

(Clive mentioned seeing a scaup with a dozen great-crested grebes in Angle Bay yesterday, and also c.120 black-tailed godwits at a pond on the Angle peninsula - just passage birds or a new wintering area for them?). 

One of the over-wintering firecrests was feeding on insects at the Holyland car-park rubbish heap again. Another one was calling quite a lot further along the boardwalk in the alder and willow carr.


Great Northern Diver - Hakin

It was nice to see this Great Northern Diver at lunch-time today from the Coast path below St Mary's Church in Hakin.