Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Big Skua day at Strumble

The wind certainly delivered the birds at Strumble today.
The morning totals included 19 Pomarine, 28 Arctic and 6 Long tailed Skuas, 51 Bonxies, a Sooty Shearwater, 3 Leach's Petrels, 3 Grey Phalarope
A Snow Bunting was on the road between the cattle grid and lookout for the second day.

See Strumble Head Seawatching blog for details and updates for the rest of the day

Ramsey - seawatching

'Perfect' seawatching forecasts for this neck of the woods have been few and far between this autumn so today saw us take a day off (sort of!) and head to the seawatching hide! We weren't disappointed. Between us we covered from 07:30-16:00 in shifts. Totals were:

Leach's petrel - 1 (first since 2011)
Sabine's gull - 1 (first of year)
Sooty shearwater - 1 (first of year)
Grey phalarope - 2
Arctic skua - 30 (14 DP, 16 LP) - a day record
Bonxie - 28 (a day record)
Pomarine skua - 7 (3 LP 4 Juv) - a day record
Manx shearwater - 58
Fulmar - 2
Med gull - 4 (all ad winter)
Common gull - 4
Common Scoter - 6 (all males)
Arctic tern - 1
GN Diver -1
Dunlin - 10
Wigeon - 5
Very impressive passage of auks (mainly razorbills) peaking at 1200/hr, gannet peaking at 700/hr and kittiwakes peaking at 984/hr - many thousands of each passed by through the day

Monday, 20 October 2014

Wetland sites around the Cleddau

Late morning & all afternoon out guiding, centred around the Cleddau complex with the brief being waders & wildfowl.  Sites visited included Cosheston Pill, Pembroke Mill Ponds, Pembroke River (Bentlass), Angle Bay, Lawrenny & Landshipping Quay.  Lots of nice birds, probably the best site of all was the Pembroke River, in particular the thousands of Wigeon here - if you've not been, go (I suggest on a rising tide, not too high).  Also here at least 98 Black-tailed Godwit (none at Pembroke Upper Mill Pond so reasonable to assume the same birds Bob & Annie mentioned), and at least 5 Pintail, and an adult Gannet fishing.  Lovely to see 9 pale-bellied Brent Geese at Angle Bay (Kilpaison).

Sunday, 19 October 2014


From Mike Mealing  - Iam a regular (twice yearly) visitor to the Parrog and walk the path from there to the bridge at Newport.  Sightings this last week: 6 turnstones by Cwm; kingfisher, greenshanks, curlews, canada geese, two male? goosanders off the small island above the bridge, 13 dabchicks, 3 herons, 3 little egrets, and two sandpipers - all just below or just above the bridge; two goldcrests amongst a small flock of tits in the trees on the path, and a male sparrow hawk buzzed us on the path.  Starlings beginning to flock - though more of a whisper than a murmuration, but still thrilling to watch.


Snow Bunting, Little Stint, three Purple Sandpiper, a Short-eared Owl and two Balearic Shearwater the pick of the day's birds. Totals on the blog.

Glaucous Gull - Gann

After an equally fruitless look around Dale and the Airfield (just 3 Snipe). Last light at the Gann revealed a distant juv Glaucous Gull settling in with the gull roost, also a summer plumage Great Northern Diver. 2 Common Gulls. 5 Med Gulls (3 Adults, 1 Second-winter and a First-winter). The Little Egret bearing the rings was present (as Daves previous sighting, black P on yellow and white H on red).

Great White Egret - Angle

One reported today from Angle Bay with 6 Little Egrets (Mike Johnson).

Highlights from my belated WeBS count this morning at Hook included 3 Pintail, 11 Greenshank, 433 Golden Plover, 92 Redshank, 45 Lapwing, 47 Greylag Geese, 267 Teal and 59 Wigeon.

A kick around Dale this afternoon looking for migrants in the sheltered spots of the village was fairly fruitless, highlights included a Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Mistle Thrush.  Marloes Mere was also fairly quiet, a scattering of Mallard, Shoveler, Teal & Wigeon plus large numbers of (mainly) Herring Gulls dropping in to bathe, plus a single snipe.


Still the Goosander & 2 Greenshanks at the bridge with 2 Little Egrets & a Kingfisher around. The Barwits seem to be down to one.
500 Canadas with a Greylag & a Bar Head.
The plentiful gulls included 3 Meds & several ringed Great Black Backs. Of the 2 I could read  one seems to be from Norway & the other is definitely from Skokholm.

Freshwater West

A family walk along a bracing, windswept, Freshwater West beach yesterday was made "interesting" if a little sad with many large washed up large jelly fish,  3 (quite old) seal pup carcases high up on the back of the beach and this dead juvenile Gannet. As you can see it was well tangled up in fishing gear and it had deep cuts on both legs where the rope had dug in. Whether it had struggled into the sea from Grassholm with the rope tangled around it or become tangled once at sea is impossible to tell. Such a shame that the fantastic amount of effort put in by it's parents should come to such an early (avoidable) end. No doubt this is just one of dozens of Gannet carcases around our coast line.

See the Ramsey blog here for an article on Grassholm Gannets and fishing gear which will also feature in the forthcoming Autumn Watch on the BBC at the end of the month

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Bosherston Whooper

From Craig Nicoll - Taken today at Bosherston keeping company with four Mute Swans between Grassy Bridge and Eight Arch Bridge. 

The Gann

Just before high water today - around 2:30pm - 8 Med Gulls just offshore, 2 Brents, 5 Redshank & 1 Dunlin, otherwise quiet.  Brian`s post jogged my memory, c35 Greylag Geese over Templeton on Wednesday last.

South Pembs

Fom Mike and Yvonne Townley on holiday in Pembrokeshire -
Wednesday: Lawrenny. Pair of Shelduck.
Landshipping Quay. 15 Redshank.
Yerbeston. Red Kite.
Giltar Head. Female/juv Hen Harrier.

Thursday: Kilpaison. On our arrival,there were,c40 Ringed Plovers,8 Dark Bellied Brents,2 Black Tailed Godwits and lots of Curlew but all were soon spooked by female Sparrowhawk.There were also large rafts of duck out in the bay,but a little too far for good id.
Angle Harbour. More or the same Ringed Plover,10 Redshank,4 Little Egret and again lots of Curlew.

Friday:Cosheston Pill. In the gloom,Godwit,2 Little Egret,Kingfisher. Aflock of Thrushes flew over,in the gloom we did not have a positive visual id,but confident they were Fieldfare by call alone.
Tenby, The Croft. Yvonne had great view from where we are staying(3 storeys up) of Peregrine heading towards North Cliff.

Marloes Mere to Martin's Haven

The fields of Trehill Farm have an interesting range of birds scattered through them at present: a flock of between 100 and 200 Skylarks in a stubble field, a dozen Snipe in the rough open field near Martin's Haven, and the start of a build-up of Starlings: only a hundred or so in a flock, but a sign of things to come.
I caught up with the Ruff and Reeve, along with 4 Lapwing and a Curlew, in a grass field between the Farm and the Mere. The difference in size was startling, with the Reeve being far closer to the size of the Starlings feeding near it. But, when all the birds were flushed by a Raven, the wing bars on both birds ruled out a Buff-breasted.
Lots of large gulls roosting around the Mere, and in a field with sheep.

Bosherston Whooper

From Max and Dilys Burrell - Just to report that my wife and I spotted a Whooper Swan at Bosherston Lakes yesterday (Friday 17th Oct) on the eastern arm not far from the grassy bridge. No photos sorry, but was seen very clearly not far from the bank.

Llys-y-fran and Rosebush

Llys-y-fran: Very low water levels. An adult Yellow-legged gull preening on Stumps Point opposite the boat house among c800 other gulls mostly LBBs, with another 300 gulls out on the water. 2 Redshanks (I'd be surprised if there hasn't been a few other waders with the levels this low). 5 Greylags among the Canada flock. 4 GC Grebe. c30 Cormorants, 15 Mallard and 6 Teal. 7 Jays and a Red Kite over. A Greenland-type Wheatear just beyond the first inlet. Rosebush Res: 14 Tufted Duck and 5 Little Grebe. A good look around a very quiet and blustery Pantmaenog but nothing much to show.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Pembroke Millpond this morning

A brief visit to do a waterfowl count count produced typical Millpond birds, generally in small numbers, including c. 10 little grebes, 30+ teal, similar numbers of mallard but only a few coot. Black-headed gull numbers were over 300. Goldcrests, chiffchaffs and blackcaps were still present on the fringes.

At the upper millpond there was a distant view of c. 90-100 black-tailed godwits wheeling around, prior to roosting in the shallow water. The image below is not of the millpond birds (eagle-eyed observers will spot another species in the flock) but hopefully it provides an illustration of the kind of spectacle that is now quite regular in winter at this site.


The Gann this morning: 12 Mediterranean Gulls (7 adult, 4 first-winter, 1 second-winter) and a Common Gull among the large gull flock. 2 Brent, 16 Teal, 4 Little Egret, 4 Little Grebe, 4 Redshank and a Water rail working in and out of the reeds near Crabhall (mostly in!). Quiet around the village and on the airfield, again no snipe. 2 Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest on track up.


A quite amazing sight, and sound, first thing this morning when a flock of several thousand starlings arrived over Crundale. They stripped our rowan tree of berries in about three minutes!

Thursday, 16 October 2014


The Gann this morning: 7 Little Grebe, 12 Teal, 10 Redshank, 3 Lapwing, 2 Snipe and a Dunlin. 4 Med Gulls (all adults, one with a red ring). 6 Little Egrets inc a juvenile and another bird with yellow ring on right leg and red ring on left (probably the same one Dave reported a few weeks back) it was chasing fry too much to get any detail. Plenty of gulls here mostly Herring gull. Flock of 20 Redwings over the car park heading west. Good look around Kete/St Ann's and Watwick but apart from a dozen Curlew in field up by the lighthouse just a few small groups of Redwings passing east and a constant prrip from passing Skylarks.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


Highlights from a largely rain soaked day (all found by Steve Votier) were juv yellow legged gull, a ring ouzel, a whinchat and 4 DB brent geese. Also 15 wheatears, 3 chiffchaff and 12 redwing


Marloes Peninsula

Circuit of Marloes Peninsula this morning, as Paul regarding the 2 Ruff with the 8 Lapwings at Trehill. The Starling flock there is growing must be 500+. A Ringed Plover flying over calling. Pair of Kestrels hunting in the rough pasture near Martins Haven. Flock of 14 Redwings flew SE nr Trehill Farm and another small group by Winterton Farm. A Chiffchaff in the sycamore by Goose Cottage. Otherwise pretty quiet. 2 Mistle Thrush and a Snipe on coast path near West Hook campsite. And another Mistle Thrush Marloes.


The Brents have gone. The usual 3 Greenshanks & Goosander at the bridge. 2 Barwits, &,associating with the Wigeon, a pair of Pintails - less than annually sighted here.
Despite large numbers of Gulls, including Black Headed, I couldn't see any Meds.

Penmaenmelyn Tuesday‏

From Malcolm Barradell - A large number of gulls feeding close in on the flood tide,
mostly blackheaded but also med gulls and common,
also a Jay came over from Ramsey.
A small flock of Redwings at Cilgwyn this morning.

Grassholm - a Pembs rarity!

We went out to Grassholm yesterday for the annual session to cut free chicks (more on Ramsey blog here) - we had time for a quick scout round for other birds afterwards and it was an interesting year! The highlight was a tree sparrow! Closely followed by a firecrest (both found by Steve Votier). In addition there was single redwing, snipe, merlin, song thrush, turnstone, skylark, wren and dunnock plus 3 starlings and 5 rock pipits along with large numbers of lesser black back, great black back and herring gull.

Marloes Mere

Still 2 Ruff and 8 Lapwing in the resown field by Trehill Farm this morning.

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UNMISSABLE TALK October 21st. Pembroke

                        "SKOKHOLM - THE PIONEERING YEARS"

The South Pembs Group are giving us the opportunity to hear David Saunders give a repeat of the talk he gave at the launch of the Skokholm Bird Observatory earlier this year.
Don't miss this brilliant talk.

Full details at  http://www.pembrokeshirebirdgroup.blogspot.co.uk/p/events.html

Peter Royle