Wednesday, 11 December 2019


Czech ringed Black Headed Gull, white Z05H, at Newport this morning, had also been here in March 2017.

Updated Pembrokeshire Bird List

Mike Young-Powell has updated the Pembrokeshire Bird List, including species recorded up to the end of 2018.  The list is now 382 species and can be found here  or via the reports tab at the top of this page.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

late Strumble Manxie from Ken Barnett

A somewhat optimistic cetacean watch at Strumble by Ken Barnett yesterday, produced no cetaceans but these lovely shots of a lone Manxie, several thousand miles away from where it should be in the South Atlantic!...or is it?

Its behind you!, Dowrog diary continued...

We approach the shortest day, last evening the winds temporarily abated the sun came out low and dazzling across the moor. The moon gained in brightness, as the sun dropped lower and we waited impatiently for a harrier or whatever raptor deigned to show itself.
After a while with only a distant hovering Kestrel for reward, Fran scanned behind us, catching a glimpse of a  low flying raptor in the gloaming, Quite distant but from its GISS (General impression of size and shape) i was fairly sure we had cracked the Short Eared Owl shortage for the common!
It kept on increasing its foraging boundaries and ever so slowly got closer and closer in between disappearances behind bushes and dropping on the ground. getting it in the view finder of the amazing Canon SX 50 was frustratingly difficult but in the end despite the poor light I got a couple of decent record shots!

Monday, 9 December 2019

Long-tailed ducks, still Broad Haven

The 2 Long-tailed duck were still among the large scoter flock. Viewed from coast path SM86091459 just north of the Sleek Stone. Majority of scoter were in Broad Haven area. Broad Haven: 116 mostly females. Sleek Stone: single flock of 250+ (again mostly females among which were the LT ducks) a RT diver same area the only diver seen. Nothing off Druidston or Haroldston. Male Kestrel and 2 Chough. c50 LBB gulls, 30 BHs, 30 Herring gulls, and 2 Common gulls on the beach.
A quick look at the Gann late afternoon. 70 Wigeon, 20 Teal, a decent roost of mostly large gulls (majority LBB) BH gulls dropping in way out in the bay, too far to scrutinise for anything good. Stopped off above Mullock Bridge to check Mullock Farms field on the junction. Loads of finches, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Linnet, Reed bunting, Pipits and Starlings. I was hoping a harrier or even an owl might appear, but Sparrowhawk was all that took an interest.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

A Swallow ....

As dusk approached I was standing at the Wildlife Centre buildings looking over the Teifi Marshes and a single Swallow flew over and headed towards Cardigan town.
Perhaps John Hayes or Paul Warren know if any are wintering in the refinery....
Other weekend sightings included a flock of c40 male and female Common Scoter either in the bay or drifting behind Cardigan Island. whilst watching these a max of 6 Red-throated Divers, with small passage of Gannets, Fulmars, Kittiwakes and auks - far more movement this morning than yesterday.
Two Purple Sandpipers on rocks below the Cliff Hotel this afternoon. Other wader counts include 16 Ringed Plover, 35 Dunlin, 1 Greenshank, and 45 Redshank.
Goosanders had increased to 10 this afternoon including 5 ad males, from the river view point with the 2 Goldenye. Wigeon have now increased to c400 and plenty of Teal to search through......
(sev obs)

 - no Swallows at the refinery this winter.
(Paul Warren)

Water pipit, Newgale, Purple Sandpipers, Broad Haven

In spite of the almost un-birdable conditions I had an hour at either end of the day in St Brides Bay. A Water pipit (found by Paul G last week) was on the campsite at Newgale, along with 5 Rock pipits around 10am. Quite a few large gulls at Penycwm end, but could only see Herring gull and LBB through my shaky binoculars. Impossible to see anything off the coast through the raging surf. Nipped down to Broad Haven at high tide. About a dozen scoter, just north of Broad Haven on a very blustery walk up towards Haroldston Chins, but a large flock c300 birds were flying along the coast on my return and settled about 500m off shore but impossible to scope them. 2 Purple sandpiper and a Dunlin sheltering on the large rock at north end of Broad Haven beach.

Martin’s Haven

A ringtail Hen Harrier floated over towards the Deer Park at 1400.
And a single Barnacle Goose in with a skein of c. 40 Canadas, heading (slowly) towards Skomer.

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Newport this morning

Got lucky with the Cattle Egret & the Water Pipit. Also c50 Curlews on the field by the kiln, 4 Moorhens, 20 Ringed Plovers, & just 3 Dunlin, the Greenshank, an ad Med Gull & c70 Common Gulls including Green J3M6, the most frequently sighted of the Norwegian birds.

Long-tailed ducks, Broad Haven

A pair of Long-tailed duck among the scoter flock just north of Broad Haven this morning. The scoter and the LT ducks were pretty mobile, making frequent short flights and joining other scoters as they search for shellfish beds. The LT ducks were among a flock of 56 females. On my return from Druidston, the flock had grown to closer to 150. Not the best visibility but it appeared the majority of the scoter were around Broad Haven with smaller groups moving down from Newgale. 2GN diver the only divers.

The Gann

Yesterday, on the pools at High Tide, highlights were 60+ Wigeon, a tight group of 7 Dabchicks, a Little Egret and a single adult Med Gull amongst large numbers of Herring and Black-backed Gulls

Friday, 6 December 2019

Dowrog Harrier catch up

A surprisingly bright end to an otherwise wet and windy winters day found Fran and I back at the Dowrog. We arrived a little early so popped around to nearby Penberi pond to see if the B N Grebe had returned.

It had not, but there were twenty odd Wigeon and the red head Goldeneye.

Back to Dowrog the light on the dry grasses and rushes from the low sun was spectacular and I prayed the Marsh Harrier would put in an appearance.
We had found it perched on a stunted tree in among a clearing in the willow/alder carr, last Monday, and luckily Jack from Cardiff who was with us when we first saw it in October, was there again with his scope! I snapped a couple of record shots but again the light was poor and the bird distant
No luck with the Marsh Harrier this evening, but a perky little kestrel amused us as it searched for its supper over the moor.
At last as the light faded a Ringtail Hen Harrier wafted over and around the willow carr giving decent views , a pleasant end to the session
apologies for the poor quality images but they provide a record if nothing else!

Firecrest - Holyland Wood

A Firecrest this afternoon at Holyland Wood in Pembroke - about three-quarters of the way along the boardwalk, which is to the left as you enter the Car Park.  Quite a few Goldcrests were also flitting around.

Black redstart

A male black redstart around Trefeiddan Farm this morning. White wing patches appeared pronounced in the gloomy drizzle so possibly a different bird to the one reported from Rhosson on 3rd?

Cattle Egret - Newport

The Cattle Egret was standing at the waters edge 400m downstream from the iron bridge. A Common Sandpiper just upstream of the iron bridge.

The Teifi...
Great Northern Diver and Red-throated Diver in the Teifi estuary mouth this morning, Goldeneye up river from Priory Bridge

Thursday, 5 December 2019

A quiet Bosherston Lakes this morning

Bosherston Lakes seemed very quiet this morning. Several gadwall and a few wigeon were present at the top end of the Upper Eastern Arm but coot numbers were still extremely low. There were no obvious diving ducks - three tufted ducks there last week had seemingly moved on. Pochards are hardly seen there these days.

There was no obvious goldeneye presence in the Central/Western Arms where in the past 20-30 were often present by early December. However, as shown in the graph below, monthly winter WeBS max. count records indicate that numbers there were also low in the late 1960s-early 1970s when more systematic counts started there. It isn't known if this species was possibly under-recorded in the early years.
However, there were nine goosanders on the Lower Eastern Arm - one adult male and eight female/immature types. Their over-wintering population will probably be increasing during the coming weeks.

Divers - Teifi Estuary

A quick look at the Teifi before the rain was worthwhile with a Great Northern Diver and 2 Red-throated Divers in the bay towards Cemaes Head.

Waders were all busy feeding on the sandbanks as the tide came in; 50 Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and 37 Dunlin. Also, 380 Wigeon and about 300 Lapwing.