Thursday, 22 June 2017

Common Rosefinch - Skomer

A 1st year male Common Rosefinch singing in North Valley this afternoon on Skomer.
(Jason Moss)

The Teifi

The 1st of this year's juvenile Black-headed Gulls has arrived this morning. c40 Black-headed Gulls around the high tide roosts, c70 around the estuary yesterday with 2 Sandwich Terns and an adult Med.Gull.
Nine Curlew last night, and a Whimbrel during the day. 3 Greylag Geese amongst the Canada Geese.
Wader passage also noted whilst out on the sea with both Dunlin and Curlew flying west down the coast.

The Teifi Ringing Groups most recent activities covering Storm Petrels and other news is in a new post 
CES, RAS, nests and Stormies


Following on from Rob's sighting, not too far away I have heard a Yellowhammer singing on two occasions recently while driving between Maenclochog and New Moat, just south of Twmpath.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017


A message from Rob Davies who quite regularly sees a Yellowhammer perched on the telegraph poles just north east of Penffordd on the road to Llanycefn at the intersection of the road to New Moat. It's good to know that there is at least one likely territory-holder there.


3 Common Sandpipers, together in one of the channels of the salt marsh. Continuing along the river path - 7 Curlew, pair of Shelduck with 7 young, 13 Black-headed Gulls, 1 Heron and 1 Redshank.
Plus a fantastic sight (and sound) of 11 Swifts flying around above the house.

Turtle Dove

One, flew up in front of me as I was driving St Ishmaels Nursery this morning, it must be the same one (or 1 of 2?) that I`ve seen between here & Mullock farm on a few occasions over the past few weeks.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The Teifi

Monday at high tide, a nice adult Med Gull with 14 Black-headed Gulls opposite St. Dogmael's Quay.
Earlier in the day Wendy had a good mid June count of 22 Curlew, and c350 Canada Geese. Black-tailed Godwits now up to 3.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Plumstone - Yellow is no longer the colour?

Very early this morning, before it got too hot, we met up with Clive Hurford and Mike Young-Powell to look for yellowhammers at Plumstone, having carried out a similar survey of exactly the same area on exactly the same day 2 years ago! Jon Hudson was also involved on that occasion. 

Two years ago, in a posting  "Yellow is the colour" we were all quite chuffed to find at least 17 individual male yellowhammers (some noted in pairs) and some feeding young on the day of our visit. 

Today things were totally different! We could only be absolutely sure of 1 or 2 territory-holding males, with no positive proof of breeding. We gained an impression that one male may possibly have been moving from one end of Plumstone to the other - perhaps without a mate?

Whilst these are only snapshot observations, non-the-less the breeding population at Plumstone appears to have totally collapsed and over a relatively short time-scale. 

Yellowhammers can breed quite late into the summer and, trying to be optimistic, hopefully more will turn up in the next few weeks. If anyone has observations of yellowhammers breeding/holding territory here or really anywhere in the county, we'd ask you to record your sightings on the  Blog so that a better picture of their current Pembs distribution can be be obtained. 

With seemingly less and less arable margins available for them, supporting weedy patches with seed and insect food sources, and less spilled grain around in general, things are looking very grim indeed for this once quite widespread breeding resident species.  

We recorded a male and female cuckoo - plenty of mipits there to attract them - and it was nice to have a fleeting view of a well-marked redpoll but, without yellowhammers, Plumstone seemed a much duller place today!

Sunday, 18 June 2017

A Humming-Bird Hawkmoth and a Parakeet!

Not a bird, but a humming-bird hawkmoth in the garden in Crundale today,and reports from our daughter of a ring-necked parakeet in Pembroke.

Skokholm Myrtle

What a day! The Yellow-rumped Warbler, found singing in the Courtyard by Giselle this morning (and apparently singing prior to our arrival) went quiet in the middle of a scorching day. More active this afternoon, happily so for the nine people that made it over to see it. The plan is to have another 1400hrs boat tomorrow if the bird is still here. However Monday mornings are our guest changeover mornings so we will be very busy from 0700-1030. I'll be here from about 0500 and will put news out either way just before the guest boat arrives. Things will then go quiet from here until 1030 (our apologies). If you're interested in coming over, contact Dale Sailing to book a place (office opens at 0800). There will be no boat if the bird is not located.
The bird became more active during the twitch and when we returned from seeing the boat off we soon saw it flying high over the Cottage. It was relocated just now in one of the Heligoland Traps (so it's exploring a wider area than it has been and is seemingly flighty).
In the hand it was found to have good fat reserves but little in the way of muscle (so it is seemingly feeding well and putting on weight after a long flight).

YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER @ Skokholm Island today

I'll leave it to the Skokholm folks to tell the story via their daily blog, until then a few blurry photos from me of this absolute stunning male in the courtyard.  Expect some amazing photos in due course.  Second county record, following one on Ramsey Island in the late autumn of 1994. Wow.

Shelducks at Newport plus

At the peak there were 6 pairs of Shelducks at Newport of which 4 produced young.An initial brood of 6/7 at the end of May soon disappeared. In early June a new brood of 8 was down to 2 within a week, & these are also gone. More optimistically a brood of 10 on June 7 was down to 6 the next day, but has since lost no more & more surprisingly a brood of 7 on the 11th has lost none as of this morning.
How any ever survive is always a surprise to me as they run around on the mud just metres from a flock of c100 preening large gulls, including up to 30 Great Black Backs. But then I've no idea what happens to them - it's rare that more than a couple survive to fly. I've never seen one being killed.
Also this morning, somewhat unseasonally, 3 Little Egrets (1 with orange feet) & a Kingfisher.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Teifi - new arrivals....

A red-head Red-breasted Merganser feeding mid-channel early this evening was an unseasonal surprise for the Teifi. The 2 new Black-tailed Godwits were more to be expected, as were 2 new Little Egrets yesterday. Still only 4 Curlew and very few Black-headed Gulls yet....

Friday, 16 June 2017

Great Bird Reserves - Skomer Island

The May edition of "British Birds" includes a really fascinating article on Skomer Island National Nature Reserve by David Saunders (the first Skomer warden in the early 1960s) and Stephen Sutcliffe (warden there from 1986 to 1994). 

If you already subscribe to BB then you will already have absorbed the article and hopefully enjoyed the read. If not, then it can be found in British Birds volume 110, May 2017, pages 278–295 - it's a really interesting article by two of Pembrokeshire's foremost Skomer aficionados.