Sunday, 26 May 2019

Probable Iberian Chiffchaff - Pantmaenog

The bird singing and showing well early this morning.
See Dave's post below for directions and some discussion. The bird was moving around the last track junction Dave describes.
Willow Tit, Grasshopper Warbler, Cuckoo, Lesser Redpoll all present too.

Probable Iberian Chiffchaff, Pantmaenog

The probable Iberian Chiffchaff (potentially a 1st for Pembrokeshire) was still at Pantmaenog this morning in pretty grim weather conditions!

Lisa and I watched it for around an hour 830-930. It was easy to locate by song - from the car park in Rosebush walk north past the disused quarries, past the house, and after crossing a gate (which is lowered in the middle for horses), bear right at the next fork. Go under the height restrictor, and about another 200m on a small track forks left and the bird was in hazel and small conifers here.

Much of the time the bird sings a classic Iberian Chiffchaff song in 3 clear parts, all completed in less than 4 seconds (we timed it). It would belt this out at least 8 times in a row. Then it would produce a Chiffchaff like 2 note song, but always short and of a faster tempo (again, less than 4 seconds).

We couldn't be 100% sure we heard it call. Iberian Chiffchaff sounds like a Siskin and there were several Siskins around to add to the confusion! However at one point we could hear the Siskin like call when we couldn't see a Siskin, and the bird in question was not singing so it may have been it calling.

In terms of plumage it looks spot on for Iberian, see The Collins Bird Guide for the main features. They are all present and correct.

So, it is either a genuine Iberian Chiffchaff, or it is a hybrid. The test is whether the range of song exhibited by this bird is within the tolerated range of Iberian. From the literature I have read so far, it would seem that it is.

Either way it's well worth a look!!

American Golden Plover - Skokholm

The American Golden Plover is still on Skokholm this morning.
(Rich B)

Saturday, 25 May 2019


A rather mobile but quite glorious American Golden Plover on and off most of the day.

Potential Iberian chiffchaff, Pantmaenog

Spent most of the day up in Pantmaenog, in the company of Paul G trying to get to grips with the potential Iberian chiffchaff, SN 08085 30623. A really intriguing bird. Gives Iberian chiffchaff juddering song 80% of time interspersed with more Collybita influenced phrases. This evening we managed to hear it calling, a quite unexpected chip-chip-chip (or chep-chep-chep) or is this a sub-song? Description: Olive mantle, whitish underside with yellow wash to flanks and vent area. Yellow supercilium and dark eye stripe. Indistinct eye ring. Thin pointed brown bill. Medium brown legs. We both did our best to record song and calls and photograph as best we could but with our limited equipment it was challenging.

Cwm Gwaun - Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, and Redstarts

A circuit of the western end of Cwm Gwaun turned up pairs of Pied Flycatchers and Spotted Flycatchers, the former being the first I have seen in Pembrokeshire. Only the female  Pied remained still for long enough for a picture.

A pair of Common Redstarts were much more obliging and posed, showing their best profiles.

The woods were generally quiet with only sporadic warblers singing, but several Lesser Whitethroats were chattering in the hedgerows above the valley.

Am Golden Plover - Skokholm

News from Rich Brown on Skokholm -
A summer plumage American Golden Plover found by Giselle on North Pond, just trying to re-find.
If the bird leaves Skokholm, The Gann maybe a likely destination......
Updates from Rich B later..

Friday, 24 May 2019

Possible Iberian Chiffchaff at Pantmaenog Forest (Rosebush)

Lewis James has recorded an interesting Chiffchaff singing at Pantmaenog Forest today which sounds very good for Iberian Chiffchaff.  The grid reference for the bird is SN084308 (map here:

The bird has been giving classic IC song around 70% of the time, but has been 'mixing it up a bit' (my words!), but having read both the Collins Bird Guide & the Handbook of Western Palearctic Birds (Volume 1) variations of the classic chiff chiff chiff chiff chiff te-te-te-te swee swee swee are quite common, especially switching the last two parts or missing either of them altogether.

Clearly worth a look....

Thursday, 23 May 2019

The Teifi

The mobile female Pochard was back on Mallard Pond this evening, the drake Gadwall was missing, but seen yesterday (Wed).
Out on the estuary, 30 Dunlin, 2 Sanderling, 2 Ringed Plover. 8 Dunlin were roosting at the river edge seen from Curlew Hide on the reserve, not the most regular location for the species.
(Wendy J and Rich D)

Wednesday, 22 May 2019


A ring tailed harrier crossed the road near Brawdy early afternoon.

Glynaeron Woods

From Clare Ryland - Small party of crossbills (at least 2 males and 2 females ) feeding in the sun this morning , also a displaying tree pipit and a very vocal cuckoo. Plenty of willow warblers , chiffchaffs, wrens and chaffinches singing .

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

The Teifi

A Grasshopper Warbler was singing near Mallard Pond this morning, where the female Pochard was present this evening. The first arrival of  Reed Warblers has produced lower than expected numbers, we will see how many more arrive over the next week.
Out in the main estuary 120 Dunlin, 28 Ringed Plover and 1 Curlew this evening.

Marloes Mere

Just a quick hour at the mere this evening. The Swans are having another nesting attempt after their earlier failure. 50 Mallard with 3 groups of duckling. 3 m Shoveler and pair Shelduck. Coot with 3 youngsters. Canada goose dive bombing a Mallard family that wandered too close to its nest.

At Last !!

I am not sure just how many years this/a mandarin has been seen at Lower Town.  Time and time again I have dipped until this afternoon.  Glass of red for me

Castlemartin Corse, cuckoos

This afternoon - a first summer male marsh harrier, probably the one that has been around for a few weeks, off and on. Two Cetti's in vicinity of hide.

A cuckoo at the Corse on 10 May (near the pines) which I was beginning to think was my lot for this year, until one called from the direction of Carew Airfield yesterday.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Piebald Blackbirds

One at the Gann this morning
In the field opposite the car park
  Meanwhile last July same field                                                                                            

Wimbrel, Haverfordwest

3 Wimbrel dropped onto Western Cleddau for a wash along with all the gulls just below Haverfordwest while tide low at 5pm.

John Whitehurst