Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Tenby

 4 Purple Sandpipers keeping company with 9 Turnstones on the ramp of the old Lifeboat station in Tenby this morning.

Monday, 6 December 2021

Plumbstone Mtn Hen Harrier and Nolton Haven Magpies

From Richard Harris:

Just to report 1 male and 1 ring tail HH seen quartering low over the moor at Plumstone Mtn at dusk (16.15) yesterday 5th December. Also two Snipe put to flight. Very wet and boggy under foot.

54 Magpies counted ‘dropping in’ to roost in blackthorn between 16.00 – 1635, tonight 6th Dec at Folkeston Hill, Nolton Haven. I’ve never seen that many before, or if that number is usual, but if these are all local birds it suggests the farmland habitat here clearly suits them and their territory. 

Black Redstarts in a Sutton garden

Charles Mathieson from Sutton, near Haverfordwest, contacted me about two Black Redstarts that he watched at his garden bird-feeder on Sunday morning. One of the birds that Charles managed to photograph being a fine male bird. 


One of them was seen back at the feeder again this morning. 

Bob 

Sunday, 5 December 2021

Rosebush and Llys-y-fran

Rosebush: 9 Goldeneye (6m), 5 Tufted duck (all m), 2 Wigeon, 2 Coot, 2 Little grebe. Llys-y-fran: 6 Yellow-legged gulls (5 adult, 1 first winter), 5 GBB, c10 Common gull.  c 4,000 LBB and really good numbers of BH gull c2,500. Stiff breeze, heavy ripple, bright periods didn't make it easy. With Paul. A quick look in Ty Rhyg earlier was quiet with some of the paths blocked by fallen trees.

Goodwick/Fishguard Harbour this morning

We arrived at Goodwick/Fishguard Harbour during a blustery squall with heavy horizontal rain for a time. It eventually brightened up and we were able to have a look along the shore. Near the flagpoles there was a reasonable variety of gulls including 200+ Black-headed Gulls, 100+ Herring Gulls, 30+ Common Gulls (all mixed ages), a single adult Mediterranean Gull and a smart-looking adult Yellow-legged Gull. Lyndon have you seen one here yet?



Usual waders for the area included 20 or so Turnstones, a couple of Ringed Plovers and Redshanks and a single Purple Sandpiper feeding in the shallows along the shore with one of the Turnstones and a Redshank.


It was difficult to see anything much in the harbour due to the very strong wind, but a probable Great Northern Diver was feeding near the jetty and a single adult Little Gull (too far away to photograph) put in a brief appearance. Perhaps a bird that was passing through, but driven into the bay during the stormy conditions?

We noted similar numbers of B-h and Herring Gulls at Newport, and around 50+ Common Gulls there. Some 50-60 Wigeon were feeding in a usual spot north of the Iron Bridge and a Kingfisher flew up stream while we were there.          

Saturday, 4 December 2021

Castlemartin Corse

Bitterly cold wind with heavy showers passing through. As I approached the hide a 1stW female type marsh harrier was being mobbed by crows: Alan Merrett who was in the hide got some photos which I hope to put up later. The harrier disappeared upstream and did not reappear while I was there. A flock of 200 lapwing in the field on the right as you drive down to Gupton Farm, another flock on the N side of the Corse. 

Dowrog (Friday evening)

From Alastair Proud: Arrived at the Dowrog just after 4 pm. yesterday, 3rd December. A ringtail hen harrier flew over before we had parked the car, followed soon after by an adult male, both following the same route west.

A calling raptor, turned out to be a kestrel. This sighting was followed by a wheeling flock of about 200 lapwings towards the south. In the gloaming activity towards the west was possibly a short-eared owl actively hunting but light was too poor to be definite.

Friday, 3 December 2021

Cwm Gwaun

Sightings from Brennig Hughes: Nice to see 2 Firecrests today in Cwm Gwaun, along with woodcock, goshawks and sparrowhawks. Also a fox, stoat and polecat in the past few days, along with an otter and two pups on my trail camera. Even though its winter the valley is plenty busy.

Siberian Chiffchaff

No sight nor sound of the Yellow-browed Warbler at Crabhall today, but a silky Siberian Chiffchaff in the willows next to the driveway was very nice compensation.  The Hooded Crow was on the beach at the Gann at lunchtime, along with a polish-ringed Mediterranean Gull, and 30 Brent Geese.

As Derek says I saw the drake Ring-necked Duck in the company of 5 Tufted Duck mid afternoon.  Marloes Mere held 3 Tufted Duck on the northern irrigation pond.  Had a good look for the Isabelline Shrike last seen (briefly) on Tuesday - no sign, and a lot less finches about too.

Cattle egrets, Quoits Pill, Monkton

News from Melanie F: I now have 9 Cattle egrets resting and preening on the estuary.

Stackpole/Bosherston Lakes upper eastern arm this afternoon

We had a short visit to the eastern arm of Bosherston Lakes this afternoon. The (winter resident?) Black Redstart was present on the usual chimney pots near the Stackpole Centre. Will it stay all winter at this regular location for the species? 

On the lakes, we noted 9 Goosanders (at least one drake) in the lower eastern arm plus a couple of Gadwall there too. Four Tufted Ducks (possibly the same birds that were here a few weeks ago) were present with other usual waterfowl in the upper arm. At least 5-6 Water Rails were calling from the reedbed and, below the court terrace, we noted a couple of Goldcrests and a Chiffchaff (not a tristis) in the same location we had seen one a few weeks back. We listened and looked for Firecrests but none were showing in places they have occurred frequently in the the past at this time of year. 

Possibly the highlight however, was a flock of at least 25-30 Greenfinches that were starting to congregate in trees near the old Brewery at about 15:30. It looked like a pre-roost gathering and possibly others could have arrived by dusk. 30-40 years ago there used to be a fairly large Greenfinch winter roost (in excess of 100 birds on occasions) in nearby Lodge Park before mature stands of laurel were removed. It seems likely that a roost still persists somewhere in the area anyway: 25+ is the largest flock we have seen for a while.

On the way home we noted small flocks of Starlings heading towards Castlemartin Corse, presumably to roost at the reedbed roost. This site has been fairly regularly occupied during the last couple of decades or so at this time of year. Many thousands of Starlings are now roosting in the Miscanthus near Slebech/A40.

Dave`s Ring neck duck

 About twenty minutes behind Dave, I caught up with the RND  on my "doorstep", it was nice to see it closer than previous sightings at Marloes Mere. Although Bicton is close to home, my scarce visits in the past have never been fruitful. so thanks to Dave for the wakeup call.





Haverfordwest Old Mill Grounds

 Yesterday evening great to see a merlin and also water rail calling at the marsh for about the 2 weeks

8 Whoopers

 


I thought Whoopers were not using this field as I had not seen any there.  Thanks to George (Mee) for telling me they were.  2 miles or so East of Croes Goch.  Photos heavily cropped.

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Carew geese


Branta carewensis
 was looking lovely on the Millpond this morning...I think it's just an ordinary Canada. There were a dozen there for a few days, now just the one again. The greylags were heading home after dark this evening, at about 1710. 

Plumbstone Mountain

 Hen Harrier male

Starling 500+ 

Yellow-browed Warbler

The Yellow-browed Warbler calling again in the trees on the other side of the B4327 from Crabhall Farm, Dale, this morning.  I have yet to clap my eyes on it! 

GWE Llys-y-fran

From George Mee: Great White egret flew over just before dusk. Otherwise a large gull roost, easily over 6000 birds, with hundreds of birds still streaming in as I left. Four Yellow-legged gulls, one Mediterranean gull, three Greater black backs, and over 100 Common gulls amongst the commoner species. 

Haverfordwest

Following the shocking reports from the latest Birds of Conservation Concern, it was nice to have a Greenfinch in Haverfordwest today. In the spring I regularly heard at least one singing male near my home and saw females almoat daily as well, although this is only my third of the autumn following a flyover and lovley views of a male at the other end of town a few weeks back.

Skokholm

A first-winter Glaucous Gull was in Broad Sound this morning. 

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Skokholm

A minimum of 444 Mediterranean Gull in Broad Sound was a new Pembrokeshire record. Also a Manx Shearwater

Yellow-browed Warbler @ Crabhall Farm, Dale

On Saturday Lisa heard a distant call which she suspected was a Yellow-browed Warbler from our front door, today she confirmed it when it called 3 times from the apple tree in the garden, but we couldn't locate it in the windy conditions. Be interesting to see if has an extended stay.

Birds of Conservation Concern

Many of the UK bird species are in trouble, as indicated in the latest Birds of Conservation Concern (5) Report, where the number of Red-listed species (those of highest concern) has risen to 70.

Some familiar species here in Pembs., including Greenfinch, Swift and House Martin, are now on the “Red List”, due to worsening declines in their breeding populations in the UK.

The 1984-88 distribution map of Greenfinches breeding in Pembrokeshire showed that they occurred in 55% of tetrads in the county. The 2003-07 map indicated an increase to 78% of tetrads. However, since then, the story is all downhill https://pembsavifauna.co.uk/category/greenfinch/. It currently remains a scarce, but very much under-recorded species in the county. 

Four species have been added to the Red list due to worsening declines in non-breeding wintering populations in the UK, these include Goldeneye and Dunlin.

Although never a very numerous species, numbers of Goldeneye present in winter in Pembs have fallen according to WeBS data. Up to c.10 years ago for example, peak winter numbers of 20-30+ were regularly recorded at Bosherston Lakes (a favoured haunt). Since 2013/14 their max. numbers have barely made double figures for the whole county https://pembsavifauna.co.uk/category/goldeneye/  

More information on BOCC5 and how species population changes are assessed can be found at https://www.bto.org/our-science/publications/birds-conservation-concern

or at

https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/uk-conservation-status-explained/

Little Gull - Wiseman's Bridge

A nice adult Little Gull offshore from Wiseman's Bridge this morning. Associating with a large feeding aggregation of Gannets and gulls offshore.