Tuesday 20 February 2024


A few days ago, we visited Westfield Pill. Bird-wise it was generally fairly quiet, but it is the time of year that the heronry there is getting into full swing. Several pairs were at their nest sites, some possibly already incubating eggs, others still displaying and/or nest-building. 

One bird flew in with quite a long stick which appeared to be an awkward item to pass to its mate on the nest. After a few minutes, of what almost seemed like a tug-of-war session, the stick was eventually taken by the bird on the nest. 

Both herons then sort of cuddled up together and rested for a short while. The stick was simply left on the side of the nest, appearing to be no longer of importance. Perhaps it will have been placed into the nest fabric sometime later on.

The Westfield Pill heronry is a fairly easy one to watch from a distance, as the birds are probably quite used to people on the footpath on the opposite side of the pill.  Elsewhere, herons are not so used to people and so can be easily disturbed. 

There are several other known regularly occupied heronries, and their nests have been counted in most recent years. These are atBosherston, Cych Valley, Llys-y-fran, Millin Pill, Priskilly, Sealyham, Upton and Velindre Farchog (the last one needs a counter).

Other sites, especially those with only one or two pairs (including some not occupied every year) are probably missed. If you do know of a heronry elsewhere, please let us know via pembsbirds@hotmail.co.uk so that it can be added to the heronry register. 

The BTO heronries census is the longest-running bird monitoring scheme, having been running since 1928. The 2023 report is available here together with details about how to get involved.

Monday 19 February 2024

Common Scoter

From Elwyn Davies: Common Scoter Photos taken from the inner breakwater looking towards Fishguard town. (heavy crop)

Sunday 18 February 2024

Hook - Sprinkle Pill

After a period of absence, Little Egrets are favouring the pill again, with 7 here yesterday and today. A couple of hundred Teal are still present and a few more Wigeon than appeared on last week's WeBS count. A teal, with its head on one side and watching the sky intently, prompted me to lift my head from the 'scope. A small falcon was crossing the pill mouth, a Merlin, only the second that I have seen in Hook.

Ring-necked duck, still Rosebush reservoir

Nice to see the female Ring-necked duck just a little closer today, its face gleaming silvery grey even at distance in the bright sunshine. 7 Tufted duck (5m), 2 GCG, 3 Coot, 2 Moorhen, 2 Teal, pair Canada geese.

Llys-y-fran continues to disappoint, very few gulls on the water with many still just visible in the surrounding fields as I was leaving at 6pm. Best was the LBB/Ring-billed cross. 2 adult Yellow-legged gulls, 6 adult Mediterranean gulls showing some courting behaviour, and like Dave mentioned a couple giving their excited drawn out 'nay' calls. 850 BH gulls at 5pm had risen to 1,000 at 5:15pm. LBB max 1,200 at 5:30pm. A hatch of black midges had the BH gulls busily paddling after them as they emerged at the waters surface.

Sandra's Curlew

It will be either NO or N0, either way it seems to be from this scheme.  Look forward to hearing all about it!  Your sighting will be useful to the ringers Sandra, at the least it will 'ground-truth' their GPS data, and if the transmitter has failed they will now know where the bird is.

 Newport/Nevern Estuary

Green-winged teal was still showing well just east of the iron bridge mid-afternoon.  Also just west of the bridge, a curlew with a radio transmitter, a first for me.  It has been injured at some point and was limping although that didn't appear to hinder it walking too much and it took off with no trouble.  Obviously it's position will be known to researchers but can anyone tell me if I should be letting anyone know about the injury and whether the tag should be read 'N0' or '0N'?

Saturday 17 February 2024

Pallid harrier still here!

Drizzle, mist - not promising but I walked in from the E end and reached the hide around 10.30. Lower numbers all round - 3-400 lapwing, 30-40 snipe, a few shoveler, teal and mallard on the wet parts of the fen meadow. 4 Cetti's in different spots, water rail heard, a single redshank flew over, grey heron, 5 little egrets. A buzzard the only raptor, until....

I left the hide at 11.00 and set off back towards the pines through the rushy fields E of the hide (via the new metal gate on the main track - tricky bolt, the gate was even tied up for a while). The pallid harrier appeared to my left, flying along the blackthorn hedge - excellent views at less then 50 metres. Not in view for long, it flew over the hedge and disappeared. My camera was in my backpack, not that there would have been time for a photo. 

So - still here!

Med Gull

One of yesterday's Med Gulls at the Gann was a 3CY with a green ring.  I couldn't read the first digit as it was stood in water, but the last 3 digits were 8RA and I hoped that would be enough to identify it as an individual.  It was - the combination of the species and ring colour meant the first digit had to be an R, the fourth such bird I have recorded at the Gann since 2020.  Details below (click on the image to enlarge).

Friday 16 February 2024

Rosebush and Llys-y-fran

Rosebush reservoir: no sign of the RN duck at 3:30pm, 6 Tufted duck (4m) and a drake Goldeneye.

Llys-y-fran: roost spread and higher up the reservoir than recent visits. 1,500 BH gulls and 2,500 LBBs at 5pm. 7 Mediterranean gulls (5 adult, 2 3cy), also an adult BH/Med cross. 3 GBBs. 6  Yellow-legged gulls (4 adults, a 3cy and a 2cy). 2 bruisers of  Argentatus Herring gulls (an adult and a 2cy). Some shooting on the far side lifted everything off the water at dusk, looked like many more gulls than the earlier count with some LBB still coming down just as I was leaving at 6pm. 250 Canada geese, 4 Goldeneye (2m), min 6 GC grebe.


Both the Hooded Crow and the Whimbrel still at the Gann late afternoon.

8 colour-ringed Curlew amongst the flock of 70 or so, 5 ringed at the Gann, the singles from Shropshire and the Netherlands, and a bird with a faded yellow ring that has been here for a few years but I have been unable to trace it.

A total of 54 Med Gulls (37 adults, 12 3CY & 5 2CY).  Some of the adults looking very smart and lots of nasal 'yeah's echoing around the place. Magic.

At least 70 Wigeon and 30 Teal still on the lagoon.

Thursday 15 February 2024

Green-winged Teal

From Sam O'Donnell: Great to find this drake Green-winged Teal at the Nevern Estuary this morning! It was to the East of the iron bridge and was of course hanging out with the Eurasian Teals.

Aber Rhigian to Newport 14/2

From Sam O'Donnell: Walk along the Coastal Path from Aber Rhigian to Newport produced an Eider, Red-throated and Great Northern Divers, Fulmars, Shag, Guillemots, Choughs, Curlews, Kestrel and more!

Wednesday 14 February 2024

Angle bay.

 At a misty murky Kilpaison this morning.

Dunlin 190, Ringed Plover 28, Grey Plover 9, Bar-tailed Godwits 14, Red shank 15, Brent geese 24.

Very quiet at Angle harbour, Oystercatchers 3, Redshank 4, Greenshank 1.