Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Fort Road, Pembroke Dock - Red-backed Shrike

When we got home from our cycle ride to Blackpool Mill/Canaston this afternoon there was an email from Paul Culyer with a camera phone shot taken through a vehicle window of a bird perched on a wall along Fort Road Pembroke Dock. It was taken by Mark Roch (a volunteer at Stackpole). 

The quality isn't brilliant but to us it looks like a Red-backed Shrike! It was taken earlier today we think. If there are more details we'll update the post.

Over at Canaston a dipper and grey wagtail were probably visiting nests near/under the bridge. At Blackpool Mill, grey wags are still messing about but showing no obvious signs of breeding. However, the pied wag family, should be leaving their wall-crevice nest any day now. 

Martin’s Haven

The fog rolled in and out a couple of times yesterday late-afternoon and evening and, as it came in, so the seabirds became disoriented. At around 2000, the haven resembled (both to us and, presumably, the birds) a smaller version of North Haven on Skomer, and a couple of flocks of Puffins wheeled around, along with some Guillemots. We have never seen Puffins actually inside Martin’s Haven before, let alone so many: this was a real treat.

The valley itself has quietened down a lot over the last couple of weeks, with few apparent migrants moving through. Unlike Skokholm, which is still reporting Spotted Flycatchers, our last were two weeks ago, when three birds spent a morning here before moving on. But 14 Ringed Plover flying North over the Trehill fields were a nice surprise.

Still plenty of Adders around: we can only hear/see two cock Pheasants holding territory, so the predation reported elsewhere is clearly not severe here. We have now identified seven individual Adders by combination of size and colour action this Spring, which is a sign of a healthy population.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020


A Turtle Dove today.

Marsh harrier, Croesgoch

Report from Phil Lees of a Marsh harrier across the B4330, 2 miles east of Croesgoch earlier today.

Lochvane follow up

Interesting observation regarding the snakes. I have asked my herpetologist friend and this type of attack is well known, without a doubt, to be the result of a Pheasant attack. It seems they are very adept at despatching snakes –. Another unintended impact on our wildlife by an introduced species.
(Richard Harris)

See posts below for original observations

Monday, 25 May 2020

Pembrokeshire Wildlife series

Dear readers, 
I am a researcher for a television series about the wildlife of Pembrokeshire and I would love to hear from you if you have any wildlife stories that you think we might be interested to follow?

We're thinking about wildlife activities between June and October specifically at this point. We are considering stories about Pembrokeshire specialties, but also other common wildlife if it exhibits an interesting behaviour or can be found in an usual place perhaps. We're particularly looking for wild Pembrokeshire locations rather than the urban environment, but really we're very much open to ideas and would love to hear from you!

We're obviously bound by the same restrictions as the rest of the country, but the more information we can gather at this point the better placed we will be going forward.

Please reach out to me on (it really does end like that!).

Thanks in advance for your help with identifying great wildlife happenings in your area.

Best wishes, 


Great Crested Grebe

Still at Black Rock, Dale. 20m off the beach

I`ve never seen so many Orange Tips as I have this Spring

Carew Cheriton to Milton

Several fledged blackcap families along the lane today. This female still busy feeding young.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Landshipping and Minwear/Blackpool Mill areas

Quite a few carrion crows have fledged in the Landshipping area now. Juveniles can be seen perched in various trees and bushes awaiting food from the adults. There seems to be a plentiful supply of small marine organisms to support them. Jack Donovan and Graham Rees (Birds of Pembrokeshire) mention groups of non-breeding crows, sometimes up to 100 strong, gathering on the estuaries during the summer to feed on shellfish. Over the last several weeks we reckon to have seen at least 100-150 non-breeders doing just that along the shore between Landshipping and Sam’s Wood.  

This afternoon over at Blackpool Mill, blue tits (several pairs) were extremely busy taking in caterpillars to their young. Judging by the amount of food being taken to various nests, it looks like they are probably having a pretty good breeding season, although adult plumage is starting to look a bit worn now.

Sawfly and moth larvae seemed to be the main food

The spotted flycatcher was feeding occasionally from the river-side willows this afternoon but never close enough to enable a closer look at its right leg ring. 

There were plenty of other woodland birds around. Stock doves were calling nearby and  a few wood warblers were singing in their usual spots. Great spotted woodpeckers were also looking for caterpillars in the canopy to feed their probably soon to fledge offspring. Blackcaps are one of the most numerous species in our area. This territorial male (who seems to have a damaged right tarsus and was only able to perch on his left foot) was keeping a close eye on at least two other nearby singing males.  

Marloes Mere

The Mere continues to be a fantastic magnet for hirundines and Swifts. Over a hundred in total this afternoon, including 12+ Swifts and at least that many Sand Martins; fewer House Martins.
I am really interested in the Swifts and Sand Martins, because I am not aware that either breed at all locally, so the feeding at the Mere must be very good to justify the “commute”.

Passerines include at least 5 singing Reed Buntings along the North side, and uncounted (!) Sedge Warblers.

Duck are getting harder physically to see, but there still appear to be 3 pairs of Shelduck, albeit not necessarily breeders: we see at least one pair flying to/from Skomer each day.

Newport - Hooded Crow

Fourteen years ago I found a small colony of Green Hairsteak butterflies on Carningli (West). Today not only did I find c10 GH butterflies there this afternoon but also a male Redstart and a Hooded Crow.

GC Grebe

Still off  Black Rock Dale, Yesterday.

Friday, 22 May 2020

Coed Glynaeron

Coed Glynaeron is one of several commercial conifer woodland plantations in the Preseli area that is managed with a high priority given to biodiversity, and being less than 2 miles away is always well worth a visit. The highlight of a walk there on Wednesday was a flock of 60 crossbills, definitely the biggest count at the site this year for me. Two pairs of ravens appeared to have fledged chicks, or perhaps one large brood had split up and moved to different parts of the wood. Hearing the constant calls of cuckoos, often singing from the interior of the woodland as well as from the moorland in the distance conjured up a feeling of being in a bygone era; it does seem like ages since I've heard them in woodland.

At least 5 each of singing redstarts and tree pipits joined a constant chorus of blackcaps, garden warblers, whitethroats, willow warblers, and chiffchaffs. A wood warbler nest with 4 eggs was found very close to one of the tracks, given away by a female flying off and calling. The only other sign of this species was a male singing at the other end of the woods, which must be a different territory. The only species that was expected but not seen, was spotted flycatcher, though many are yet to arrive back from their wintering grounds.

Lochvane follow up

Yesterday we received an email from friends just outside St.Clears Carms.. The email was about a cock pheasant killing a good size grass snake, we asked if they could measure the snake but when they returned the snake was gone; the snake had presumably been feigning death and decided that 'discretion was the better part of valour' making it's escape while things were quiet.
It was therefore interesting to see another avian killing of a snake on blog, however in this instance I would rule out pheasant as the snake had been eviscerated, I would also rule out buzzard as the snake seemed to have had a more clinical evisceration than I believe a buzzard would perform, to mind this leaves a member of the corvid family as the culprit; I am certainly interested in any further criminal analysis on offer though.

Alastair Proud

The Gann

1 GN Diver, 1 GC Grebe this afternoon

Lochvane Friday

Edge of Bracken on path to sea, 2 Adder and 1 Slow Worm dead in exactly the same spot over the last 4 days. All killed by puncture wounds and eviscerated ( and presumably eaten) No damage to heads. It looks like bird attack, but not many Buzzard here, plenty of Pheasant in the bracken. Any ideas?
Steve Jarvis

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Llanteg Hobby

From Kevin Caley  - I thought that you might like to hear of a hobby that graced our property this evening (about 6.00-6.20), bringing our on-property bird list here in Llanteg to 73 species.  While standing gazing out from the barn, my attention was grabbed by alarm calls from the resident swallows which I at first thought were mobbing a kestrel. ‘That’s odd’, I thought, so I watched, and realised quite quickly that it was a beautiful adult hobby, attracted to our front meadow by the abundance of fox moths currently occupying that area, and zooming over and through the grass flowers.  The hobby did several circuits, frequently swooping down low, grabbing a moth and feeding on it on the wing, ignoring the mobbing swallows.  At one point, the bird came so close (within 9 m) that not only could I see the gorgeous orange-chestnut undertail and streaked underparts, but also the clear black crescent under the eye that extends onto the white cheek, and that lovely dark, soft grey back with the dark central areas in each feather.  I was mesmerised by its mastery of the air for a good quarter of an hour, and it was me who left first.  I don’t know how long the bird kept hunting there, but we have .... or, rather, had .... a large population of fox moths!


As we have all noticed, since the lockdown and the decrease in traffic noise the bird song is phenomenal. Standing on the Iron Bridge earlier the reed bed seemed to be buzzing with Sedge Warblers, the odd Grasshopper Warbler and occasional Moorhen. On the river in amongst a group of 13 m Mallard were a pair of Gadwall. Which the cob Mute Swan took a disliking too (his mate seems to have been sat on her nest for a very long time!!).
On the mud feeding in front of the incoming tide were 7 Oystercatchers, 2 Whimbrel, 7 Dunlin and 3 Sanderling. The 1st winter Mute Swan has been joined by another 1st winter.
The pair of Swallows outside of my back door are still in discussions whether or not to nest there.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Haverfordwest Swifts

I’ve only seen a couple of Swifts in Haverfordwest so far this year, but there were at least 18 feeding high over the Priory and river this evening.


Red-spotted Bluethroat at the Well this morning.