Saturday, 28 November 2020

Round up of the week

 A National Trust winter farmland survey with Bob and Annie at Pwll Caerog farm near St Davids got off to a cracking start on Thursday with at least three Black Redstart's flitting about on the roofs of the farm buildings, 


The first survey of the winter and so many birds about it was a hell of a job keeping track of them and estimating numbers: 3,000 odd Starlings 100+ Skylarks And small stuff flitting about in the hedge rows  Hard work really but good fun!


Latest Pembs diary - June

 Good morning all,

Tomorrow would of course be our Conference, in normal times.

The June edition of Annie's excellent Pembs Bird Diary is now available. So why not sit down tomorrow with a cup of coffee and go to  and pretend to be at the Conference, although without the usual good company. 

Peter Royle


 Some photos of a Buzzard at Castlemartin Corse sent in by Sid Simmons:

Friday, 27 November 2020

Broad Haven to Haroldston

After an aborted visit to Ty Rhyg (forestry work underway) and Pantmaenog (car park full) I ended up giving Broad Haven a couple of hours. Scoter numbers pretty low just 168, a lone male just off the beach was keeping away from the main flock but couldn't make it into anything else. It was still on it's own on my return, just unsociable! 7 Red throated diver, 2 Wigeon and a Red kite taking a short cut north to south way out in the bay, eventually coming in somewhere near Talbenny.

Hume's Warbler?

Visiting birder Mike Duckham had what he is sure is a Hume's Warbler calling prior to dusk in Broad Haven, between the Slash Pond car park and the viewing area a bit further down the road.  He is familiar with the call, so well worth a look.  The last (& only) Pembrokeshire record was at Strumble Head on 20th November 1993.

Another Blackcap

I don't have a photograph, but we did have a blackcap in our Crundale garden today enjoying mixed bathing with several house sparrows.


From Colin Laugharne in Pembroke:

I have a male Blackcap feeding in my garden - he loves the apples I've grown for the birds

I had a female in November 2010


Castlemartin Corse - harriers!

The tagged male marsh harrier, the second untagged bird (1stCY, I think a female as she's bigger and broader-winged), and Rob's ringtail hen harrier were all hunting over the Corse this morning. The untagged marsh harrier perched briefly on a blackthorn bush, where she was promptly mobbed by the hen harrier. The two marsh harriers were hunting together for part of the time. 

The birds use the full length of the Corse - you can only see the western half from the hide, but can view the eastern half by using the very slippery ditch crossing through the hedge by the hide. The cattle seem to have gone, but have made their presence felt. 

Also - kestrel, sparrowhawk, chough, 2+ Cetti's, lots of water rail calling, good lapwing and snipe numbers, golden plover....

Something has left a fresh pellet and copious droppings in the hide, whether diurnal or nocturnal raptor, a dusk vigil called for. Rob?

Goosander at Lower Town

From Chris Dighton:

Stunning and very confiding  male goosander in lowertown at daybreak - feeding less than 20 feet in front of me as the sun came up.


Thursday, 26 November 2020


All of us will have been aware that today was windless. Hooray.

And some of us may be aware that the milk churn stand that sits at the entrance to Pencarnan Campsite is the perfect place to stand in anticipation of crepuscular activity - when the wind does not blow!  

Marion and I stood back to back. I searched Trefeiddan Moor while Marion swept the area behind Rhosson Farm with her bins: she called first. The Short-eared Owl circled us twice. As we stepped off the concrete block the lights of a distant St Davids began to twinkle.

Hen harrier, Marloes Mere

The ringtail Hen Harrier was hunting over the mere and surrounding fields from 4pm. Couple Tufties in the north irrigation pool. Black redstart on the cottages overlooking Pickleridge pools. Earlier a walk across Dale airfield was uneventful.

King Eider

The first-year drake King Eider still present in St Bride's Bay, this afternoon close in shore off Borough Head, approximately a mile west of the parking area at Goultrop Roads.  Also 3 Great Northern Diver in the area.

Further west towards St Bride's, a Purple Sandpiper with 4 Turnstone on rocks off Howney Stone.

Castlemartin Corse this morning

From Rob Lewis: the tagged marsh harrier, this ring-tail hen harrier, male merlin, lots of snipe, golden plover, lapwing.....

And we've both noticed a very large pellet on the shelf in the hide, it'll probably sit there until someone feels like taking it apart.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Ring-billed gull, Llys-y-fran

The returning adult Ring-billed gull was back at the dam for yet another year (I believe it was first seen by Paul and Dave in 2006). Quite an interesting visit with 5 Yellow-legged gulls (4 adult and a 1cy), 3 Med gulls (an adult, a 2cy and a 1cy) as well as an adult BH/Med gull hybrid, possibly a returning bird from a few years ago? Just as the light was going a large white gull came into view, alas it wasn't the hoped for Iceland but what looked like a leucistic Herring gull (dove-white, with a pale wash to the primaries, dark bill and eye). Another decent sized roost with squadrons of gulls drifting in from the south all the time. Otherwise 10 Greylag geese, only 3 Great crested grebe and the RN grebe had been replaced by a Little grebe below the spillway. With Paul G.

Last of the summer wine!

 On leaving the Ocean Lab (Fishguard Harbour)  just after 4 pm, I heard a plaintive little "Seep Seep" call apparently coming from the small tree just over my head. Unmistakably a Philosc' even in the dusk, and from what I could see of the wing length/tail projection, most likely a Chiff Chaff! It made my day!!

Looking for old posts? Here's one way

 If you know the date you want, you can easily find the posts for that date and earlier. For example if you want 11th January 2020, type this in the internet address bar:

(N.B. Alternatively you can search by month going right back to January 2008 using the Archive facility just below Links on the right hand side of the blog. To find posts on a particular species or place type in the name in the search box top left of the blog and hit enter. This is rather hit and miss with results in no particular order. Rich Crossen)

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Hollys porpoise watchers get the bird again at Strumble!

 A cracking female Snow Bunting dropped in at Strumble during our Sea Trust porpoise survey this lunch time

Castlemartin Corse harriers

The tagged marsh harrier LI was hunting up and down the reedbed this morning, scrapping with crows and looking generally at home. Brief appearance by an untagged second (also 1st cal. year) marsh harrier. A couple of fieldfares posed by the hide. Also: 2 kestrels, 1 buzzard.

The cattle on the Corse are dry cows and take no interest in birders, just ignore them if you go. The bullocks in the coastal field can be more friendly, just shoo them away. 

Whooper Swans - Teifi Marshes

Two Whooper Swans first seen at dawn in the main estuary, then flew up river (Siwan T).

Three adult Whooper Swans on the Teifi Marshes then flew off  high west at 0845.


A late sighting; - A group of 8 Whooper Swans flew up the Teifi heading inland on Sunday at midday.(Howard and Siwan T.)

Monday, 23 November 2020

Whooper Swans , Croesgoch.

The 4 Whoopers that have been in the fields just east of Croes Goch for the last 9 days, were still there at 2pm today. Interesting to see the records of 4 at Trefeiddan at dawn, 4 at Strumble at 1pm, heading this way and 4 at Glandyfi this morning. An unsuccessful escape bid from Pembrokeshire?

King Eider

From Matt Hunter:

Just want to let you know I saw a probable king eider yesterday at Ticklas Point near Little Haven.  330pm. Just off the point so pretty close in.  Had scope view.  Pale front, darker body, white eye, bill not wedge shaped like eider with orange tint. 

With great Northern diver nearby.  Plus great Northern diver off the point in little haven

Whoopers coming in from the sea!

Sea Trusts Monday porpoise survey saw a group of four Whooper Swans fly in from the sea and head inland at approx 1 pm today Heading in the general direction of St Davids.

Just noticed John Bests earlier report from Trefeidden same birds heading back?

Curlew Sandpiper - Kilpaison

 A Curlew Sandpiper with 6 Dunlin at Kilpaison then the flock flew towards Angle at c1400.  Earlier 57 Light-bellied Brent Geese with c800 Wigeon and 3 Pintail. Also a  flock of c60 Wood Pigeons over Pwllcrochan.

(Paul Warren)



A walk around Carew Millpond in very dull conditions was brightened by a Great Northern Diver close into the causeway on the river side. It was quite content loafing and preening just 5 yards away. Photos from Richard Ellis. A Red Kite sailed past.

Caspian Gull

From David Ord:

After a series of blanks, finally caught up with one of the Caspian Gulls (one without a ring) at the Gann this morning. On the river, upstream of the footbridge, having a wash amongst a mixed flock of gulls.

Whooper Swans and Wood Pigeons

 4 adult Whooper Swans lifted off from Trefeiddan Marsh at dawn this morning then headed south.

The emergent aquatic vegetation that severely limits the presence of wildfowl on the "marsh" during summer and early autumn has now disappeared. This, coupled with seasonal rainfall, has returned the site to its winter lakeland appearance.

Also at dawn today - 300/400 Wood Pigeons, showing signs of dispersal, flew high and in tight formation as far as Ramsey Sound before returning inland. Large scale Wood Pigeon movement is not unusual at this time of the year. 6 Nov 2017 we recorded a flock of c12000 pigeons - yes 12000 - flying in a tight formation, line abreast, (an arc across the sky) slowly advancing on Ramsey Sound before returning inland. An an amazing sight.

Sunday, 22 November 2020


 Lapland Bunting, Black Redstart, Grey Plover and a Gann ringed Redshank the highlights. 

Marloes Peninsula

Selected birds from todays NT winter farmland bird survey through Trehill and West Hook fields. A Jack snipe flushed from beside a small pond in West Hooks fields. A Chiffchaff in a hedge at West Hook. Nice flock of 40 Chaffinch in stubble field beside Trehill farm. A  Merlin harrying a flock of 1-2,000 Starlings. Mixed flock of 70 Lapwing with at least 10 Golden plover north of the mere. Thank you to Rob Thomas and Pete Smithies for once again allowing access.


Adult Caspian Gull X290 was on the beach at the Gann early this morning with a handful of other gulls.  At 8.57am it flew off west towards Dale Airfield, and was not seen for the rest of the day.

Also at the Gann today in the unusually calm conditions, the Ruff, a Kingfisher, 2 Great Northern and 1 Red-throated Diver, the red-head Red-breasted Merganser, a Cetti's Warbler and at least 2 Water Rail.  Probably in excess of 25 Mediterranean Gulls, at least 4 of which were colour-ringed - managed to read 2 of them.  At dusk a Black Redstart around the houses overlooking the Gann.

Angle today

 From Chris Orsman - 3 Great Northern Divers off Point House, Angle this afternoon. Calling too which was nice.

St Davids Head am

 A Dartford Warbler was the first I've seen here for a couple of years. Also Merlin and Chiffchaff.


Nice flock of 28 Chough at Kete today. Not much else of note except a tame flock of Long-tailed Tits in a big shrub - it seemed an unusual place to see them. 

Rosemary Royle

Iron Bridge, Newport

Warm sun on the day I have to leave Pembrokeshire, after a fortnight of rain!!

Highlights were 4 Med Gulls, 1x second winter, 3x adult. One adult had a white Darvic ring on the right leg, metal on the left - too distant to read any characters. Also Water Pipit, Water Rail and 3x Goosander (1x male, 2x red heads)