Friday, 20 October 2017


A Long-tailed Skua in Broad Sound was bird of the day where the gull flock is down on what it usually is at this time of year (only 65 Meds). Little left in our few sheltered bushes bar a Firecrest and a few Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs.

Radde's Warbler

Radde's Warbler at the Garland Stone this afternoon. A cracking little bird. Second for Skomer

Stackpole Court area

2 very likely 3 Firecrest lunchtime today. One beside the 8-arch bridge on the track leading up to the NT Stackpole Centre. Another on the lakeside path, where the path splits, just beyond the Boathouse towards reedbed. And probably a different bird calling on the slope beneath the NT yard behind the Boathouse. About 50 Swallows and first Redwing.

Turtle dove

A Turtle dove was on the telegraph wires in the car park at Porthclais early this morning.


At Kilpaison this morning with the tide starting to drop just 5 bar-tailed Godwits.  At Angle Harbour on the shingle spit 28 Ringed Plover, 21 Dunlin, 19 Turnstone and 2 Curlew Sandpiper. Two ad. Med Gulls were amongst c.100 Black-headed Gulls.
Very quiet at Bosherston except for a dozen or so Swallows hawking over the ponds at the back of Broadhaven Beach.


Just come off Lundy where I personally saw at least four Hawfinches on the 18th and two on the 19th. I believe they, collectively, have had as many as six in a day recently. Unfortunately one of them, a first winter, died of starvation. There was not a scrap of muscle on the thing. Also had two Leach's Petrels on the outward crossing, the day after the last storm.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

How many hawfinches are there out there?

It's clear from a number of sources that high numbers of hawfinch are being recorded in Britain this autumn.

The graph below from BirdTrack shows that their reporting rate (as a proportion of complete bird lists entered to BirdTrack in Britain) is presently well above the average historic reporting rate for this species at this time of year.

So far we've not been lucky enough to find one in the Martletwy area, although we wonder how many others are likely to be around the county.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Another Hawfinch

Bird no.4 of the autumn seen this morning flying east over Redberth (Matt Sutton)

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Yellow-broweds, Firecrest and more

From Steve Jones - Porthclais - 2 or possibly 3 Yellow-browed Warbler with 5 Chiffchaffs and a flock of Tits. These were seen from the sewage works gate. Strumble - very little on the sea - a single Arctic Skua. Highlight was a Black Redstart on the fence (horse field just before cattle grid). Lots of small birds including a noticeable stream of Blue Tits and a Merlin. Llanon near Trefin - a Wheatear on a roof looked big and bright - Greenland race. Also 20 Swallows and a few Skylarks passing. St Brides - a Firecrest behind the church with Chiffchaffs. 

Whooper Swan and AGP at the Gann

The plover was still at the Gann 9am this morning, in the company of 10 Bar-tailed godwit, 8 Ringed plover 7 Redshank, 7 Turnstone, 5 Dunlin, a Common sandpiper and a Wheatear. 5 Med gulls (3 adults, 2 1cy). There were again plenty of pipits feeding on the tideline among them were a dozen Chaffinch and a Greenfinch. A young Whooper swan flew over and dropped onto the sea towards Dale .

Ouzels of Birds

Well not quite, but it did require an easterly wind to enliven sightings here in the Pencarnan 1k square.

2 RING OUZELS close to Rhosson Chapel was the most notable sighting this AM, though not unexpected given the time of the season. A single JAY was way beyond the most westerly of St Davids' Oaks, and a total of 11 SWALLOWS were logged during the morning period, but the most common of the viz mig species was CHAFFINCH with a morning passage of many small  flocks.

Storm day (Monday 16th) produced the 50th species to visit the caravan's bush - a female MERLIN  made three calls during the storm force winds, and on post storm day (Tuesday 17th) 4 PINTAILS were seen seeking shelter on Treleddyn Pond.

Whooper swans

Thanks to john and Marion Best for a call earlier giving me the chance to see three Whooper Swans at Treffiaddan.  Possibly 'new  arrivals' as they were all fast asleep until a 'man' passed on a Quad Bike


News from yesterday:-

From Jane Herbert - Took the boat round for a little jaunt between Landshipping and Sprinkle Pill. Well over 100 Greylag in the area: I made it 113 plus something like 90 Canada, also the first lapwing of the season.

From David Ord - A hobby flew low, straight and fast in a southerly direction over Hook at 6pm tonight.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017


No post storm megas to be found but a couple of island rarities with a cracking male bullfinch and another (3rd or 4th of the autumn) GS woodpecker. An influx of blue tits saw at least 20 birds on the island today

Stackpole/Bosherston this afternoon

We had a stroll around Bosherston Lakes and the Stackpole coast this afternoon. It was generally quiet really. A few jays were out and about collecting acorns (it seems to have been a good mast and good fruiting year). We did hear (but did not see) a firecrest. It called briefly up in the canopy of the ivy-clad sycamores, about half way down the track from the Stackpole Centre to the 8 arch bridge (quite a typical location for them). There didn't appear to be many other woodland birds of note in the trees. Firecrests often arrive at the Stackpole/Bosherston area from about this time of year, some regularly overwintering in the lakeside woodland. 

Out on Stackpole Warren it was very quiet apart from the usual resident rock pipits, the odd skylark here and there, 4 choughs and a kestrel resting on the cliff near Mowingword. Having opened its mouth wide, the kestrel looked like it was about to produce a pellet but nothing emerged. Maybe it was just having a good old yawn?  

There were quite a few red admiral and small tortoiseshell butterflies on the wing today - what a difference a day makes!

American Golden over still at the Gann

From Steve Jones: The American Golden Plover was still at the Gann as the sun set this evening - where it narrows. Also a few Turnstone, 3 Ringed Plover, 5 Greenshank, a Bar tailed Godwit , Kingfisher and a Wheatear on the beach. Pickleridge and the car park in a poor state after yesterdays tidal surge.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Not too many birds obvious on the Castlemartin coast

There were not many obvious birds about on the Castlemartin peninsula earlier this evening. Choughs flying to roost in a couple of places were keeping very close to the ground to avoid the gusty winds. A few cormorants were also battling against the wind as they too headed off to their Thorn Island roost (probably from Bosherston Lake where they would have been feeding earlier).

However, the boiling sea at St Govan's Head and at Stack Rocks was really quite impressive though. Numerous blow-hole crevices in the limestone were really roaring away today - sounding rather like extremely powerful rockets being launched. One that was not too easy to get very close to (near the appropriately named "Devil's Barn") being particularly energetic - spouting skywards c. 50 foot high or more plumes of spray at times. It and huge amounts of spray from waves crashing up and over c.100 foot high cliffs drenched the coastal grassland and also those of us trying to stand there in the wind as we watched in awe!
A "geyser-like" blow-hole near Devil's Barn - one of many on the edge of the coastal grassland that were active today

Green Bridge of Wales being buffeted by waves. A large chip on the end was probably smashed off earlier in the day 
You have to admire the energy in such storms but we fear for the small breeding seal population along the Castlemartin peninsula - young pups are present in some very exposed bays.  Perhaps something interesting will have been blown up this way but hopefully we'll not see too many wrecked seabirds in the coming days.


Hawfinch still here early on, 60 years to the day since the last autumn record. The evening twitch boat has been cancelled however...

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Newport Estuary

Mediterranean Gull 2 ad
Little Egret  6
Kingfisher  2
Goosander  2 female
Red Kite  2
Linnet  25
Dunlin  4
Chiff Chaff 1

The Gann

Pre Hawfinch twitch - American Golden Plover still present attracting admirers.

Met Rob & Jenny Briggs, neighbours of a certain Lyndon Lomax with two friends of theirs, while we were talking a text arrived from Dave informing us of the Hawfinch  at St Brides, so we drove over there & spent some time looking for it without success. After returning home & reflecting on the afternnon`s events the hidden twitcher within surfaced & dragged me back to St Brides where Brian & David Ord had relocated it. Briefest of views- would liked to have seen more - however thanks to Dave for a really good find & staying conscious despite his manful!


Glad a few others got to catch up with the bird at St. Bride's.  I managed a couple of record shots when I first found it.  At one point it perched on the church roof, but I wasn't quick enough to record the event!  Also here 3 Blackcaps & 2 Chiffchaffs, 1 of which was very grey looking with dark bare parts.


Finally got in on the Hawfinch action with a female appearing at the Well tonight. Now over 100 Mediterranean Gull in Broad Sound and a nice little fall of other migrants included Yellow Wagtail (later eaten by one of two Merlin), Common Redstart and Firecrest. Black Redstart yesterday first of the autumn.

Hawfinch still at St Brides

I met David Ord at St Brides at 4.30 and following some instructions from Dave A we managed to locate the hawfinch at the top of some ash trees behind the pink scouts cottage SM 80425 10820. Derek arrived just in time before it flew. As we followed it in the binoculars it seemed to have a companion flying with it! They may have come down somewhere behind the church or may have continued towards St Brides castle. Nice one Dave.


One at St Bride's by the Church at 215pm, attracting lots of attention from the local pipits, wagtails and tits!! A massive rarity in Pembrokeshire.

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One in a South Pembrokeshire garden this morning (Matt Sutton)

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Hoopoe, Carn Llidi, St Davids Head

Hoopoe found by Ken Thomas, Carn Llidi, St Davids head this morning. Report via Mike Y-P on Scilly 

Saturday, 14 October 2017


Hawfinch on Skomer this evening

Lovely American wader 1, Man-flu 1

Dragged my sorry man-flu ridden carcass down to the Gann late afternoon and was treated to lovely views of Derek's American Golden Plover, all very intimate, the views were that good.  Also 2 Med Gulls (1CY & adult), 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Dunlin & 2 Greenshank.  Had no effect on the man-flu though...

Whooper swans, Trefeiddan

4 Whooper swans at Trefeiddan this afternoon (Chris Grayell).

American Golden Plover

At the Gann still, very confiding though hard to find in the kelp. Also 3 Med Gulls,  10 Wigeon offshore & Seal close inshore. 1 Dunlin.