Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Pembsbirds ...2009 !

Many Thanks to all for viewing this site in 2008, for providing records, & in particular all Pembsbirds bloggers!
2008 has been a great year for the site, with record" hits", fantastic photos, & great updates on key birds.

Lets give 2009 a flying start!
Mike Y-P has suggested that we all make an increased effort to blog(or get blogged for you),
all records of birds of interest seen on Jan 1st, so we can get as complete a picture as possible of what is around the county on day one. If in any doubt about it's interest to others, then blog the record!

Happy New Year & Great Birding in 2009 in Pembrokeshire & beyond!

Firecrest - Westfield Pill

Sighting via e mail from Mark Woodward/ Wanda Wilkinson. Firecrest along Westfield Pill (Neyland) today. There may well have been a second one but it flew into the bushes as we identified the first so cannot confirm that.
Also saw a couple of Redwings, loads of Blackbirds, 3 Bullfinches and 7 Little Grebes

Firecrest - Goodwick Moor

1 Firecrest on the embankment this afternoon.
A large increase in Water Rail numbers noted in the last couple of days.

Red kites and others.

Maes y Garn/Crug-yr-hwch. 7 red kites seen today(largest group of 3), one tagged, black tag in right wing but unable to see the lettering. Also seen were, 5 buzzards, 1 merlin, 2 snipe, 3 meadow pipits and 3 lesser blacked backed gulls. No sign of the golden plover for over a week now. Happy New Year to everyone.

Red neck grebe-Carew millpond

Could not locate this morning- water frozen over at its favoured area near to mill.
However , seen at 4.00p.m. further up pond c.50 yards from roadbridge.
-Hope its there tomorrow!
Dave Glanville.


A tour of the County today by myself & Rich D produced:
No Cattle Egrets at Pwll Deri, Llanrhian, Sandy Haven or Philbeach - big dip!
Impressive finch flocks at Longhouse Farm, near Abercastle - c1,000 Linnets, 300+ Chaffinch, 20+ Reed Buntings.
7 Red-legged Partridge at Brawdy Quarry.
Very little in St. Bride's Bay - 1 GN Diver, 2 RT Diver, and c100 Common Scoter.
Monk Haven - 2 male Firecrests & 13 Chiffchaffs on the filter beds (3 of which were very pale).
Marloes Mere - Whooper Swan (which flew off low S/E), Snow Goose, and plenty of ducks including a very odd dark bodied drake Teal - bizarre!
Gann - 20 pale Brents, 1 adult Med Gull.

Tetrad TTV-bashing

Over the last several days Annie and I have noticed good numbers of winter thrushes, notably blackbirds and redwings. Counts of thrushes in one hour long visits to 10 random tetrads are well up on counts made in late December last year (in different locations). Redwings seem to be well distributed - no really massive flocks but 50-300 in most places counted. Chaffinch numbers and finch numbers in general seem lower though in comparison.

A kestrel hunting nr Yerbeston, a Merlin and blackcap at Clarbeston Road on Christmas day reasonably notable. Today in SN11 Carms/Pembs border at Llanfallteg, excellent numbers of winter thrushes, siskins, willow and marsh tits, jack snipe in river flood-plain mire/meadow and willow-woodland.

Later today we noted black-necked grebe at Llys-y-fran reservoir with other usual waterfowl.

Goosander numbers have reached 30 now at Bosherston, a female scaup there before Christmas seems to have gone. Firecrests are still about nr the lakes - at least 2 seen with a chiffchaff or two.


At Kilpaison this morning as the tide dropped a nice selection of waders - c.200 Dunlin, 15 Bar Tailed Godwit, 17 Knot, 6 Redshank, 2 Turnstone, 8 Ringed Plover. Also c.300 Wigeon, 1 Goldeneye, 1 Little Egret, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Great Crested Grebe.
At Angle harbour 12 Redshank, 25 Dunlin. 19 Light Bellied Brents on the south side of the harbour were very confiding. Separate from them on the north side there was a lone Dark Bellied Brent. A look around the Angle area produced no Cattle Egrets.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Bosherston & Carew

Bosherston this morning: 22 Goosander, 15 Goldeneye, 1 Pochard, 6 Gadwall, 2 Little Egrets, 1 Kingfisher, 2 Jays. Carew this evening Red Necked Grebe showing mostly distant from sluice and Little Egret showing well.

Slavonian Grebe at Bosherston?

We had a maddeningly brief and tree-obstructed sighting of a grebe which flew in to alight on the main lake at Bosherston (at GR SR 970 946) this afternoon. Size, shape and markings strongly indicated Slavonian.

Cattle egret

Still present at the usual field behind the chapel at Sandyhaven this moning.

Hen Harriers & ..... ponds...

The Dowrog Common;-
1530-1645 this evening, 2 rt Hen Harriers very active covering most of the area, & 1 Merlin.
(Marloes Mere, dusk last night- no Hen Harriers- Steve S.)

Ivor's Pond;-
1 Shoveler, c20 Teal, 1 Peregrine, Water rail calling.
c40 Wigeon, 5 Shoveler(1m), c20 Canada Geese.
Little Grebes on both ponds.
Very Quiet.

(Wendy J. & Rich D.)

Fishguard harbour;-
1 ad. Med. Gull at the Flagpoles.

Barn Owl

Sad to report a Barn Owl as a road casualty on the Milford Haven road just south of Johnston.

woococks etc.

This winter a ringing project was started with the aim of assessing the population of Woodcocks in the county, as well as finding out more about the movements of this secretive species. Duing December 30 individuals have been ringed so far, and many acres of ground has been surveyed at night. The density of feeding woodcocks can be as high as 35 per square km in the most favoured habitat of fairly well drained improved dairy pasture, but it is much lower - say 1 to 5 per square km in sheep pasture and arable. Even though these are very preliminary results it seems to indicate that Pembrokeshire is an important wintering grounds for Woodcock.

At Monkhaven today it was buzzing with activity with the highlights being 11 Chiffs and a Firecrest (like yesterday) but when these were mixed with 9 Long tailed Tits, 8 Goldcrests, 5 Blackbirds 3 Robins, 3 dunnocks, 3 Pied Wagtails, 2 Grey Wagtails and a couple of Wrens all hopping up and down it made full on birding entertainment.

Red-necked Grebe

Carew Mill Pond;-
Popped in to have a look after a morning ringing session at Texaco.
( A number of Bullfinches caught, perhaps supporting their high visibility at the moment?)
The grebe diving like usual, best viewed from the mill.
Greenshank below the mill still.
(Kevin J. & Rich D.)

The Three Amigos

With reference to the pic of the Fishguard Bird Group below (Sat 27th), note the feeble attempt at the pretense of healthy living (large bowl of fruit, olives, bowl of salad) being clearly overshadowed by the coke, Guinness, and white wine!! I would imagine that just to right of camera was a tube of pringles, a box of Quality Street, and a pizza!

Monday, 29 December 2008

Ravens and Risso's

Dawn this morning and a pair of Ravens passed swiftly overhead gently cronking as another pair saw them through their territory and then one of the residents did a couple of barrel rolls as if to celebrate seeing the intruders off. several flocks of Lapwings and Golden Plover seen on St Davids Road near Mathry also on A 40 South of Letterston. A reliable report this evening of Risso's in Ramsay Sound this afternoon, allthingsgood, cliff


Diving Duck

Dear Richard, Not very exciting but still a Tufted Duck at Heathfield + 4 Wigeon, 2 Goldeneye and 6 Mallard am. Green Sand still at Sealyham and quite a few Golden Plover on fields east/adjacent to the A40 half a mile south of Fishguard.

Pembroke Ponds... & an Aythya duck!

Upper Mill Pond;-
15 Black-tailed Godwits & 2 Greenshank, this pm.
Main Mill Pond;-
1 Pochard, & the pr. Gadwall still.
(John H.)

Do we have any more "diving" duck around?
I will look at Rosebush, what of Bicton? Penberry?, or are our small waters beginning to freeze?

Red-necked Grebe & Firecrest

Red-necked Grebe;-Carew. Usual diving performance by the mill, also below the mill, low tide, 1 Greenshank, & Kingfisher.
At Fishguard Outer Breakwater the Snow Buntings still present.
(Paul L. & Rich D.)

1 Goodwick Moor, on the embankment again this afternoon.

Cattle Egrets, ... some farmland watching

Cattle Egrets;-
I must thank Rob John for informing us of the "Pwll Deri" Cattle Egrets. Thank You!

This morning, he did tell us that the Cattle Egrets seen to have become more mobile & more difficult to see when present.
We saw only 3 this morning, at this site. Rob did have the 3 Whooper Swans fly over again this morning, so they are still to be found on the way to St. David's, somewhere??
We had 20 Teal on one of his ponds.
Between Trevine & Abercastle, a splendid field, haven't a clue the crop?( some rows of un-lifted potatoes as well) but good for birds!
Of note c400 Linnets, c200 Chaffinches, c50 Skylarks, c10 Reed Buntings, c20 Meadow Pipits, 100's Starlings.

Great Northern Diver

I had one in the bay at Carregwastad at 14:00.

Monk Haven

At least 11 Chiffchaffs (inc 2 very pale birds) & 1 Firecrest on the Sewage works at Monk Haven this morning. Also flushed 2 Woodcock in the woods there.

North Pembs

No Cattle Egrets in the Llanrhian crossroads area this morning but 3 seen on farm, nr. Pwll Deri.
These birds could be the same as they were not seen around the farm yesterday afternoon and were mobile today.
Fishguard outer breakwater - 3 Snow Buntings and 4 Purple Sandpipers
(Richard D and Paul L)

Sunday, 28 December 2008

number of C.E.s

Sorry, the previous blog looks like 13 cattle egrets, there were only 3 ! I forgot to leave a space.

cattle egrets again !

Maybe the Cattle Egrets are tired of Strumble now and are working their way down the coast !3 Cattle Egrets in field of dairy cows just beyond the farm at Llanrhian crossroads on the Porthgain road,seen easily from the road at 4 p.m. today.

This and that

Birding seems pretty good at the moment - we have some rarities and also the less unusual putting on some great shows at the moment. Today, the Goosanders at Bosherston were feeding all morning (it seems on perch), the Starling roost at Plumstone gets better than ever. However, some Starlings have 'legged it' to Aberystwyth for the winter. The Pier from 3.30 onwards is well worth a look if you up that way.

South Pembs

A coast path run from Broad Haven (S) to Manorbier this morning produced a Black Redstart above Swanlake Bay, and plenty of Skylarks in the coastal stubble, but little else in the stiff south-easterly. After a pint and some food at the St. Govan's Inn, a quick look at the upper part of the Eastern Arm at Bosherston produced 26 Goosander (7 adult males), 2 Gadwall and 2 Wigeon - apart from the Goosander, very poor. No sign of the Cattle Egret at Hubberton, although I did scope a distant Little Egret on Castlemartin Corse from the road to Castlemartin. At Angle Harbour 20 Brents (1 juv dark-bellied, 19 pale-bellied) and at Rhoscrowther 14 Barwits and 4 Great-crested Grebes. A Merlin dashed over the road near Angle.

Pembroke Ponds

Upper Mill Pond;-
12 Black-tailed Godwits tonight
The Mill Pond;-
1 pr. Gadwall(good site record), c15 Little Grebe.
(John H.)

Heathfield GP

Ducks at Heathfield am: Pintail pr, Shoveler pr, Tufted Duck, Teal 30, Wigeon 12, Mallard 6, Goldeneye 2 also male Merlin and 2 x Mute Swans. At Sealyham: Green Sand, Woodcock and Chiffchaff.


Red-necked Grebe still performing well at Carew this morning. Also there a Greenshank. A picture of a Little Egret in case they're feeling left out!

South Wales, Lesser Scaup ...&....

The Plan realized;-
(see below)
Waxwings, 4 Briton Ferry.
Lesser Scaup, the 1w male at Cosmeston C.P. with c. 150 Pochard, & c.250 Tufted Ducks!
Also the male Bearded Tit giving stunning views!
& finally to finish the morning the 2w Ring-billed Gull at Lamby lake.
(Rich D., Clive J. & Bernie B.)

Waxwings, are also in Machynlleth, & Newport Gwent today. Also 200 in Dublin y'day.
They must reach Pembs. & be found on someones lucky berry-bearing bushes... or in a superstore car park!

Saturday, 27 December 2008

(Lesser Scaup - Cosmeston)

The Fishguard Bird Group this evening planning... for what??
A Lesser Scaup 1w male, at Cosmeston, Glamorgan for 2nd day. (see any national bird site for photo's).
The only new species for Wales this year?? (acceptance reqd!)
Why not one on a Pembs. water, several have arrived in Ireland.
(note a photo of the previous first for Wales on the wall).

Cattle Egrets

This morning (0815 - 1015) the 5 Cattle Egrets still at Pwll Deri (very distant). The Sandy Haven Cattle Egret showing off and on from 1130 to 1600. All photos are the Sandy Haven bird.
More pics on my website:

Angle area

No sign of the Cattle Egret at Hubberton today, only a single Little Egret with the herd this morning. Otherwise, an adult Mediterranean Gull was on the beach at West Angle, there were 10 or more Brents in Angle Bay, and lots of winter thrushes around.


I saw a Little Egret and not one of the missing Cattle Egrets fly east past the headland at 14:30.

Firecrests & .....North Pembs.....

Goodwick Moor;-
2 Firecrests on the embankment down to reserve.
Outer Breakwater, Fishguard Harbour;-
3 Snow Buntings, 1 Purple Sandpiper.
(Adrian & John. from Lincs.)

Pwll Deri / Trefasser;-
No sign of any Cattle Egrets in the area this afternoon.
Nr. St. Nicholas c200 of each Golden Plover & Lapwing.

Gripped off

It has occurred to us on several occasions how special it would be to see a Hen Harrier from our caravan, an excellent bird for our Pencarnan list. Having just spent four days there we returned to Narberth only to realise we had not turned off the water. So J.B. did us a favour and popped over to the caravan. You guessed !! As he stooped to rotate the stopcock a Ringtail flew over and quartered the field outside the main window... at least it didn't land on the bush.


By gum it's cold today! Decided the best option was to photograph from the warmth of the house where we have had this beautiful pale Buzzard hunting worms in the potato field at the back for several weeks. Click photo for larger image.

Whooper swan

Still present at Marloes mere this am. also c250 Lapwing

More Kites

Possibly as many as 3 Kites over Letterston at midday.

Friday, 26 December 2008


Interesting to see the red kite comment below; we had 4 over the house around 3.30pm for a little while. Not that far from Maes y Garn to Tegryn as a kite would fly!

Black-throated Diver - Fishguard

Fishguard harbour;-
A look in the harbour c1530 for the gull roost produced 1 Black-throated Diver, feeding continuously making it's way out of the harbour.
2 ad. Med. Gulls also on the water. 1 Gt-ctd. Grebe from The Flagpoles.
(Adrian & Richard D.)

Red kites and Lapwings

Maes y Garn, Crymych. 12 Red kites sightings seen around the land today with 5 together being the highest number group. 24 lapwings seen flying west.

Great Northern Diver

I saw one fly east past Carregwastad at 15:15.

Red neck grebe-Carew millpond

Red necked grebe still present and showing well on millpond this morning
Dave Glanville

Whooper swan at Marloes & the Gann

Whooper swan at the Mere this afternnon, Pintail & Daves` dark duck not visible. c150 Canada, 1 Snow goose, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, in good numbers.
Cattle egret still at Philbeach junction. At the Gann, 20 Brent, 3 Shelduck on the sea, 1 G/C/Grebe, 10 Little Grebes, 2 Grey plover.

Angle Area

At Stack Rocks no Guillemots present - all back out to sea I guess. A couple of Chough were obliging but otherwise pretty quiet there.
At Freshwater West whilst walking on the beach I looked back towards the dunes to see a ringtail Hen Harrier tussling with a Buzzard - both flew off towards Castlemartin Corse where there were 500+Lapwings, c.50 Skylarks, just a few Chaffinch and Goldfinch and 3 Stock Doves.
At Maidenwells a Merlin dashed low over the road.

Cattle Egret in Angle area

The Cattle Egret was at Hubberton again this morning, in the field with the cattle-feeder.

TTV of the West Angle headlands produced a small number of Choughs, Ravens, Shelduck, Yellowhammers, Snipe and Skylarks, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Cattle Egrets

At 10.00 the five were visible from the coast path, however as yesterday's blog mentions they were about 500m away. Classic jizz, trotting around & underneath the 2 cattle they were with.
Also seen a female peregrine on a kill near Trefasser & several chough around the headland.
In a nearby field there were two foxes playing in the morning sun.

Cilgerran Gorge

A female and two fairly young cub Otters seen in the river,watched for over half an hour at very close quarters.The female fishing then taking many of the fish up onto the bank were they were fed to the youngsters.
Also on the river one adult male and four redhead Goosanders,as well as single Dipper.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Red Necked Grebe

Red Necked Grebe still present this morning at Carew. Showing well by sluice gate.

Long-eared Owl

Andy Davies is a photographer who lives at Murchin Cottages next to Marloes Mere and managed to get some shots of the Long-eared Owl that Steve found the other week. Here's one to whet the appetite....wish I'd seen it!!!

Cattle Egrets & odd duck

Cattle Egret at Sandy Haven at 1pm, in the second field above the Chapel.

Cattle Egret at Philbeach at 1.15pm (& again later c.3.30pm) - definitely 2 birds! (left pic is Philbeach, right Sandy Haven - birds very similar in appearance)

Marloes Mere (from car park) - a dark female Mallard type, superficially Black Duckish, but with white in front of & behind speculum, dark cheeks, paler undertail, and largely dark bill with some orange near tip - I wonder if this is a hybrid and evidence of the Black Duck having bred last spring? Certainly a lot darker than any of the other Mallards present. Also a drake Pintail, 2 female Tufties (one Scaup-faced), a Snow Goose, 200+ Canada Geese, 15+ Gadwall, 30+ Wigeon, plenty of Teal etc.


Green Sand still present and two chiffchaffs (collybita types).

Teifi .

Jewsons, 1 Common Sandpiper still this afternoon.
River above the bridge, 3 rh Goosander feeding.

Pwll Deri Cattle Egrets

Still 5 this am.
There's an obvious parking place at SM893386, c 100m N of where the Coast Path going S leaves the road. It's a spectacular bit of path. There were also Ravens, Chough & a Peregrine.
The Egrets are easy to find (just look for the cattle!) & see, as the path overlooks the fields. The only caveat is that they were 500m away.
At the Goodwick flagpoles a Dipper still.

Fishguard harbour

Ad. Med. Gull & 1 Great Ctd. Grebe this am.
(Adrian )

Merry Christmas!

I like to sleep with an open window...woken this morning at 645 am, not by sleigh bells but a "shrllwkkkkkshhhhhrsssskiishhh" or something that sounded very similar.
A barn owl!
Not a bad way to start Christmas! allthingsgood for the new year, cliff

Cattle Egret / Marloes / Sandyhaven

Cattle egret at Philbeach at 0815, still there an hour later, after looking around Marloes. Drove over to Sandy haven / Hasguard/ Capeston area - nothing! Obviously that`s not to say it wasn`t there somewhere!
At Marloes, c105 Canada geese, 1 Snow goose, c150 Lapwing. 2 Kesrels - 1 at Winterton farm & a male at Mabs gate, St Ishmaels.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Cattle Egret(s) & The Gann (unrelated!)

Spurred on by Derek's Cattle Egret sighting at Philbeach this morning, mid-afternoon I was able to get out, and headed off S/W from Haverfordwest. A single Little Egret in the 'Cott's Farm' field mentioned below but no Cattle Egret, however further down the lane towards Sandy Haven I was pleased to find a Cattle Egret and a Little Egret in the field above the Chapel next to Sandy Haven Pill. Good I thought, this must mean that the Philbeach bird is different, so I went straight there - no Cattle Egret. I still suspect they are different, but it remains unproven as yet.

At the Gann a red-head Red-breasted Merganser, 20 pale-bellied Brents, 2 Grey Plover, a Bar-wit (new) 9 Goldeneye, a Kingfisher, 7 Great-crested Grebes (an increase) and at least 3 adult Med Gulls in amongst the gull roost (which was very distant).

Seasons greetings everyone - Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda.

Spotted Redshanks

Responding to John's and Marion's comment on winter scarcity, single Spotted Redshanks were at Landshipping on 6 November and at Castle Pill on 22 November, none being seen on subsequent visits to either locality. Has anyone checked Guilford Pill, Llangwm, lately ?

Graham Rees

Blue/Azure Tit

An interesting observation via e mail from Colin Butters - Dear All,I have just viewed the ecard - great. I note that the left hand of the three tits at the end seems to show a bird which I think is a cross between a Blue Tit and an Azure Tit. The mantle is a bit too dark though Wouldn't the latter blow a few minds in Pembrokeshire or anywhere in the UK in 2009. Merry Christmas and good birding to everyone in the county in 2009.

Pembroke news. Swallows..&.........

Chevron - Texaco Refinery;-
See Dean's photo below, at least 7 still roosting at sites within the refinery yesterday.
Pembroke Upper Mill Pond;-
Water level now receding, Black-tailed Godwits back roosting, 47 the count on Sunday.
Castle Pond;-
1 Common Sandpiper still.
(John H.)

the Gann and Marloes Peninsula

Still 20 Brent Geese on the Gann - all looked like pale ones to me from a distance. 18 Little Grebe's is a good count and yesterday 480 Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the islands at high tide.

Near Marloes Mere 240 Lapwing - roughly same number as last week. Goodish numbers of Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon and Gadwall on the Mere. Only 4 Chough around the Deer Park, a Kestrel on the cliffs above Marloes Beach (yesterday).

In the sounds a solitary Guillemot but at least 6 Porpoise including a female and calf.

UK Cattle Egrets today

A quick summary at 17:46;-
Shows the Pembs birds,( presumably 7), 1 in Cornwall, 6 in Somerset.

Short-eared Owls &.....

3 Short-eared Owls hunting at 16:30 around Trefeiddan this evening.
(John & Marion B.)

Llys-y-fran Resr;
Quiet this evening, 7 Wigeon though.
(Wendy J. & Rich. D.)

Cattle Egret still in Angle area

The Cattle Egret at Hubberton was present with three Little Egrets in the field with the cattle-feeder late morning.

And on that happy, albeit predictable, note - I wish you all a great festive period! Have a good one!


A quick pre Christmas stroll around Carew early afternoon was enlivened by a Peregrine attacking a tight defensive ball of Starlings. Another Peregrine then appeared and they sparred with each other briefly before one flew off at high speed and stooped at prey but I lost it behind the trees.
Red-necked Grebe still present but the water level on the millpond has dropped considerably and if it continues to drop the Grebe will, no doubt, move on.

St David's Airfield

Sighting via e mail from Sandrajane Young - 5 snipe close by rose up as we approached and we spotted two pairs of shovelers on the lake.The hen harrier was spotted yesterday.

North Pembs. Cattle Egrets

A walk to the highest point of the Coast Path south of Pwll Deri (20 mins.) has produced views of 3 Cattle Egrets this am, presumably the others still present.

Another Cattle Egret. 1100hrs

At Philbeach farm junction, where Stuart saw one some time ago. Time & cicumstance prevents me at the moment,. from going to Sandyhaven to see if that one is still there. Could it be number 8?

Happy Christmas !!! - Part 2

Okay we've had the tasteful Christmas Greeting now for something completely different!
Click Here for a merry little dance from Pembrokeshire's Birding elves - yours truly and Richard Dobbins.

Happy Christmas !!!

Happy Christmas to everyone and many thanks to all who have contributed to Pembrokeshire Birds over the last year. Click on the Robin for a festive greeting.

Christmas Swallows

Dean Maiden has sent in this photo of Swallows roosting at the Chevron Refinery taken this morning. Amazing!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Cattle Egret in Angle area

The Cattle Egret was in field with the cattle-feeder at Hubberton again this morning. Excellent news about the five in N Pembs!

As suggested in the earlier email, anybody wishing to see a Cattle Egret will not find a much more reliable bird than the one in the field at Hubberton. Most observers see this bird from the roadside within a few minutes of arriving. Left to its own devices, it is very sedentary.

Sandyhaven Cattle egret

Appeared to be settling down to roost in the trees above the irrigation pond where Dave & I met, (in a figurative sense!) last Sunday. That is,on the Southside of the lane, West of Cott farm. Easy to see too!


A male and two redheads on the river at Cilgerran late afternoon.

Cattle Egrets (five)

South of Pwll Deri ;-
(which is south of Strumble Hd);-
5 Cattle Egrets still present today, present now for c7-10 Days.

The birds in the south of the County are much easier to view!!
IF you wish to see these birds then--
Park on the approach road to Pwll Deri(Youth Hostel). Walk south along the Coast path for c1 Mile, this part of the Path is challenging!
The birds are always together with either of two herds of cattle, in coastal or near coastal fields.
Both farmers involved are leaving their herds out all winter, so we have a good chance of the birds remaining for a while.
3 Whooper Swans flew over this morning too.
For more photos of the Cattle Egrets and of the Snow Buntings click here
(Rich's C & D).

Fishguard Outer Breakwater

Midday today;-
On a rising tide, 3/4 Purple Sandpipers, & excellent viewing of the 3 Snow Buntings. Otherwise quiet in the Harbour.
(Rich's C & D).

Monday, 22 December 2008

Highs and Lows

With most of our prep for Christmas done, today we took time off to tour the north side of Milford haven.

Low of the day was the discovery of a housing development on the south bank of Castle Pill - always a good site for winter waders though little of note today. At Gelliswick Bay an adult winter Med Gull, then on to the upper reaches of Sandy Haven Pill to search for Spotted Redshank. No luck there: we are of the impression they are fast becoming a winter rarity in Pembs, any thoughts?

With all the talk of Cattle Egrets we thought it time to add one to our UK list!! then we moved on to Monk Haven for 2 Chiffchaff - one greenish, one greyish.

Finally, a stop off above Goultrop Roads where we found 4 Red-throated Divers in close contact with 2 Brents, 1 pale 1 dark. By "close contact" we mean, a sub surface dagger attack up the rear by a diver on a goose, which puts the phase " being goosed" in perfect perspective!

Cattle Egret at Angle

The Cattle Egret at Hubberton was present until mid morning, at which point it was flushed off the site by a member of the birding paparazzi - flying across the road to the south with the two Little Egrets. This was the first time that it has been seen to leave the site since it was found! Given the generally obliging nature of this individual, it would be appreciated if other photographers could exercise a little patience please? The bird still hadn't returned at 13:30 - and some birders missed it as a consequence.

Fortunately, the Cattle Egret was back with the herd at Hubberton by c.16:00.

Elsewhere. there was an adult Mediterranean Gull on the beach at West Angle this morning.

Sandyhaven Cattle egret / Marloes

Still present this morning, (0900hrs) in the field behind the chapel.
At Marloes this afternoon, still good numbers of Starlings in the stubble fields behind Marloes farm, & to the West of the YHA, 3 main flocks, totaling c2500 birds + smaller groups scattered around the area.
Also 65 Lapwing, 12 Chough.


Three otters seen on the river Teifi at 12.00 today from the car park by Somerfields (up to the left). Watched for over 35 minutes (then I had to leave!) fishing and playing around. Also seen out of the river on the far bank. As per the posting about the group in Newport, one was noticably bigger and certainly more able at fishing so I think that this will have been the same group. Appeared very settled and in no hurry to leave the area.

Firecrest - Newport

A cracking male this morning at Llwyngwair Manor, amazing not to have seen one here before, may be making it's way upstream to the water treatment plant, where one wintered for a while earlier this year.

North of Eglwswrw;
The largest flock of Fieldfare for a while, c70 birds with Redwing & Starlings feeding on winter wheat-type plant.


Still 26 Goosanders present including 6 drakes. Also 10 Gadwall, 4 Mute Swans, 9 Little Grebes, c. 55 Coot and a few Teal and Mallard. Near the reed bed 5 Water Rail seen and a Kingfisher. Otherwise very quiet - no sign of the Goldeneye and very few small birds about. Near Home Farm 2 Swallows seen briefly (I wonder if they commute from Chevron refinery?).
RC & Morris North

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Cattle Egrets, how many.....thoughts

Putting a few more facts as they appear to a couple of thoughts already aired;

Since the 14 December there have only been reported 5/6 Cattle Egrets in UK(1/2 in Eire), 2 in Pembs, 1 in Cornwall, 1 in Oxon.(Birdguides)
The Oxon bird hasn't been seen since the 17 Dec. I'm not yet going to pour through all the dates, but there has been a movement of Cattle(& presumably Little) Egrets apparently out of the UK.

How many in moving SW, a likely direction to have briefly graced Pembs??
We know of a minimum of 2.
Clive H. thinks that he has had two different birds in the Angle area, & of Sandy Haven/Dale?
Perhaps others may subscibe to the thought that --not likely to prove -- but 3/4 passed through or are still present.
Certainly still worth looking for & describing!

Derek's field

Derek - from your description of the field that you had 4 Little Egrets in, this appears to be one and the same as the field that I had the Cattle Egret in, with 6 Little Egrets, late morning. The feeder is in the junction corner of the field, look down the field and you can see an irrigation pond (which you can view much better by driving down the road to a gateway). The cattle & egrets were in this part of the field, adjacent to the pond, when I was there, and as the cattle moved up towards the feeder at the top, most of them (including the Cattle Egret) flew into trees and bushes on the banks of the pond. I just came at the field from the other direction!

More on Egrets...

Following the comments from Dave, I came across 4 Little Egrets in the typical muddy cattle feeder environment they seem to enjoy. Up the lane behind the chapel for 1/4 mile, there is a turning right, just past Hasguard farm, sign posted Milfordhaven. On that corner is the field. If one carries on down that lane - guess where one arrives - at Capeston! 3 excellent habitats all within a few minutes flying time, and yes the Lapwing/Starling spectacle is impressive.

Guillemots & Swallows

Yesterday, of the c1000 Guillemots we estimated off Amroth, c90% were in winter plumage.

Still 6 present Friday, I believe the BBC are at Texaco on Monday with John H.

Guillemots at Elegug Stack

Interesting to hear about the Guillemots being back on the Stacks in s/p. When I was there a few weeks back (on 15th Nov) there were c.200 birds present on the lower section of the main stack, and all of these birds were still in their winter attire (see pic).

Friday 19th and Sun 21st Dec - Elegug Stacks to Carew/Cresswell Rivers

Frid 19th Dec. At least 4,000 guillemots (possibly mainly adult territorial males) all in summer plumage and vocalising loudly on the main stack and other smaller stacks; a single snow bunting at Mt Sion; around 70 curlew and smaller numbers of oycs, ringed plovers and dunlin at Frainslake area; some 200 or more lapwings on the dunes at Broomhill Burrows.

Sun 21st Dec: Wigon numbers on Carew/Cresswell Rivers topped 600, though only 100 or so teal seen. More than 200 shelduck also present; redshank numbers quite high for the location (over 90) and little grebe numbers also around 20 individuals seen. The very tame and very approachable red-necked grebe is still present on Carew Millpond - swam within about 20-30 feet of the mill dam, not even at all bothered by noisy dog-walkers. A flock of at least 16 little egrets in a nearby cattle-grazed field, but no other egret species present.

On Cosheston Pill on 19th 10 black-tailed godwits noted.

Cattle Egret at Angle

The Cattle Egret was in the usual field with the cattle-feeder at Hubberton this morning - and definitely there between 10:00-11:00, so I guess that meets everybodies criteria for there being at least two birds in the county.

I too have wondered whether the Dale and Sandy Haven sightings have involved different individuals, but thought discretion was probably the better part of valour....

Cattle Egret - Sandy Haven

Derek phoned before 10am this morning to say that the Cattle Egret was again in the field above the Chapel with 3 Little Egrets, so I decided to pop down, there by 1045 but no egrets! Tide out so assumed birds may have dispersed to the Pill, saw 2 Littles there but no Cattle. Had a little drive around to the south checking fields, ended up at Bicton where 16 Gadwall were notable. Another drive by the Chapel field, still no egrets, so went to Capeston to see the Starling/Lapwing spectacle (well worth it), and then decided to take the road from there to Hasguard Cross, past Cott's Farm, and low and behold in a cattle field on the left, next to an irrigation pond (SM853102) 6 Little Egrets with a single Cattle Egret! As the egret flies it's only a mile from the Chapel field, so I presume its one and the same bird - the farmer tells me there are usually egrets in the field, so worth checking. Plumage wise seemed exactly as the bird originally found at Sandy Haven in October, no plumes (head or back) and blob of peach on the forecrown. I wonder if the bird that Stuart had at Dale was different - its as far away from the Sandy Haven bird as the Angle one is!


I saw one over Ivybridge, Goodwick at 12:00.

Teifi Est - Sunday

Adult Med Gull off Webley.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

The Blogmaster......

The Pembs Birds Blogmaster himself.

What it is like to be on the "other" end of that Lens!

Lundy 1986(Cardiff Bird Club)

Sarah tells me... he still has the shirt!!

Bosherston pools

Different birds today to those reported Thursday, including 26 Goosanders, 80+ Coot, 7 Gadwall, 5 Moorhen and 7 Goldeneye.
Most were at the far end of the Eastern arm.

Yellow-Legged & Med. Gulls..&

Llys-y-fran Resr;-
c5000 gulls at the roost this evening, inc. 1 lovely ad. Yellow-Legged Gull & 1 fairly scruffy ad. Med Gull.

Also Med's at Amroth, off Angle Village, & in the field next to the Cattle Egret.

Still at The Flagpoles, Fishguard. Also Great Northern Diver in harbour.

Pembroke Mill Pond;-
No diving duck!, but 11+ Little Grebe, 19 Coot.

Cattle Egret / Sandyhaven/ Mission accomplished!

Finally at 1500 hrs, a cattle egret in the field behind the chapel! I tried to get a closer look at any markings but the low angle of the sun didn`t help. Had a look at Philbeach several times but only 1 Little egret there.
This evening at the Gann, 20 light Brents, c300 LBB Gulls, c150 BH Gulls. On the lagoon, 35 Teal, 11 l/Grebe c45 Snipe.
In line with Johns` comments - Starlings do seem to be everywhere, several large flocks today,the last being c 1000 flying East over St Ishmaels about 1630.


Early afternoon at Amroth & Wiseman's Bridge a spectacular number of birds in the bay - over 100 Red-Throated Divers, up to 1000 Guillemots, up to 5000 Black Headed Gulls, 500+ Common Gulls, 700+ Herring Gulls but just 1 Med Gull (ad.) 2 Red Breasted Mergansers and 6 Great Crested Grebes. Also 5 or 6 Seals seen. (Morris North, Richard Dobbins & Richard Crossen)

Notes from Pencarnan

On several days in recent weeks a mixed flock of Black-headed Gulls (c320) and Kittiwake (c80) have been dip feeding at the outer limit of Whitesands Bay close to the tide race.

The flock of 170 Lapwing first noted on Nov 20th now number 300+ and are seen daily in the fields close to the campsite.

Following several weeks when Song Thrush and Blackbird were common around open fields in the area of St Davids, numbers of both species have dropped dramatically, and, following daily observation of Merlin since mid autumn we have no recent records.

Starling numbers are however holding up well. Interestingly, (with ref to an earlier posting), during a journey to Plymouth and back earlier this week, the only Starlings seen was one flock of c30 while driving across the Somerset Levels. Enter Pembs and they are seen in their thousands. We ask, are the Starlings of Southwest England confined to the tip of Cornwall?

Red-n. Grebe, Cattle Egret, Eider..&

The Red-necked Grebe present at Carew early this morning.
At Angle Bay the female Eider was at Popton Point, 20 Great Crested Grebes in the bay and 1 Greenshank. At Hubberston the Cattle Egret in the usual field with up to 3 Little Egrets.
Now where's that Ring-billed Gull.....................

Talking to Clive H. this morning re: RB Gull, it hasn't been seen during a weekend, we didn't change that today!
It is usually? seen with a small group of Herring Gulls.... best time on West Angle beach at c0830......(mon-fri), otherwise remains elusive!!
(Wendy J. & Richard D.)

Dinas Cross

A Tree Sparrow on the nut-feeder early this morning. Cheek patches almost luminous in the gloom.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Purple Sandpipers - Tenby

Sightings via e mail from Andy Baxter -Tenby, around lifeboat satation area several Purple Sandpipers and about dozen Turnstone.
At Carew , morning Red-necked Grebe still about.
Bosherston, 5 male golden eye with a number of females and several goosander both male and female. Lots of Jays about

The Quest,... Onward & Upward.

Looked at Philbeach, nothing, impressive Starling flock though. On to Sandyhaven, nothing on the mudflats, 2 Egrets in the cattle field behind the chapel got me going though, drove up there, only to find "Littles"- stayed there for about 45 mins hoping something would fly into roost, but it didn`t!
In the fading light I went on to the cattle field at Rickeston, again nothing. A good number of Lapwings ( as per Dave`s notes last week,) several hundred.
Ah well, 2 weeks off now, things can only get better!


1st winter Iceland gull on Ramsey again today. In the same spot as the 2 on 25/11 (single bird also present a week or so ago). Presumably the same bird(s).
Flock of 80 lapwing roosting in fields yesterday plus regular curlew roost of c. 50.
Chough roost at Aber Mawr is between 10 and 15 birds most evenings.
Fulmars have been on ledges most days this month.

Fishguard Harbour

I saw an adult Med Gull fly in past the inner breakwater at 15:00.

Hide and Seek!

Fishguard outer breakwater again this morning, hoping for porpoises, but none showing. Three little birds flit here and there - extremely nervy as I walk along waiting for porps to turn up and trying to winkle out none existant purple sandpipers. A single Turnstone and seven smart Ring Plovers in amongst the blocks. Three little birds must be snowbys, flit over wall before I can get bins on them and then there's one having a squint, not sure it didn't wink!

St. David's to Newport

St. David's Area;-
Generally quiet, but Whilst at Trefiddan did watch an imm. 'swan' sp. appear to land in a field towards Penberry, only a v. brief view! & couldn't relocate.
Ivor's Pond;-
A few Teal & Little Grebes.
c20 Wigeon & Little Grebes.

"Spite Moor";-
Never been before, but seeing c400 Golden Plover, & c250 Lapwing in the air made me investigate the road, Looks like East Anglia arable without the Pink-feet!

Nevern Est;-
A male Goldeneye from the iron bridge, 1 Knot with c20 Dunlin, c70 Wigeon.


At Landshipping Quay this morning 50 Teal, 20 Wigeon, 15 Redshank and nearby 14 noisy Turkeys which looked decidedly worried!
Over at Sprinkle Pill a mass of Golden Plover in the air, wheeling around as the rising tide drove them off their roost - 2000 a very conservative estimate. Another spectacle provided by c400 Canada Geese which flew in from the direction of Hook betraying their presence by making a real racket long before they appeared. Also 70+ Shelduck, 200+ Dunlin and 5 Pintail.
At Carew late morning the Red-necked Grebe still present.

Cattle Egret - Angle area

The Cattle Egret was present with three Little Egrets in the field with the cattle-feeder at Hubberton this morning, also an adult Mediteranean Gull in the field next to the road.

Anybody calling in to see the Cattle Egret should spare a few minutes to look at the stubble fields on the south side of the road between the Angle turn-off and East Blockhouse. These fields are attracting thousands of birds, most notably Starlings, but also gulls, corvids, pigeons and finches. There is certainly a chance of coming across the Ring-billed Gull and Med Gulls in these fields.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Rosebush Resr. & Sprinkle Pill

Rosebush Resr;-
4 Goldeneye, 1 Pochard, 15 Tufted Duck, c40 Teal, c10 Coot, 1 Great Ctd. Grebe, 3 Little Grebe,
a few more birds than usual.

Sprinkle Pill;-
1 Brambling, 18 Greylag Geese, c650 Golden Plover, c500 Lapwing, 25 Redshank, 5 Greenshank, c350 Dunlin.
(Paul G.)

Fishguard Harbour

2 different adult Med Gulls in front of the flagpoles around 14:00.

Newport Bay - Otters

Yes I know it's a bird blog but... I saw three Otters out at sea in Newport Bay this morning. At 10:30 they were larking around together at the mouth of Cwm-yr-Eglwys, then headed north along to coast towards Needle Rock. The tide was high and there was a north-going eddy along that stretch. There were similarly sized, but one did look a little larger and led the others - adult and two youngsters? They would dive around a spot but then come up one by one, popping up quite spectacularly sometimes, and immediately rush over to roll around together as if seeking reassurance. One caught an eel-like fish, maybe a butterfish. Couldn't see if they doubled back across the bay from Needle Rock or carried on around Dinas Island. Probably the Otters that have been seen by many on the river at Newport I guess.

Cattle Egret still present in Angle area

The Cattle Egret was in the field with the cattle-feeder at Hubberton again this morning.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Stuart's Cattle Egret

So we definitely have two - or is it three - or is it more?! The spot where Stuart had one today was, when searching for one during the main invasion last winter, my number 1 top tip for where we'd find one!!!

Cattle Egret - Dale

Late this p.m. a Cattle Egret with a Little Egret at cattle feeders on Philbeach Farm, at the junction where the minor road to Marloes meets the main Dale road. Very wary; flew down to Pickleridge Pools where it provided excellent views until, unfortunately, it was put to flight by a dog-walker !!

Great Northern Diver

I saw one fly west off Carregwastad at 13:30.

Here today gone on Monday!

At least two Snow Buntings on Fishguard breakwater today, only waders I could find were seven ringed plovers, Several porpoises feeding off Pen Anglas, saw a GBBG pick up what looked like a herring as the porpoises were surface feeding under mixed gull flock. RT Diver also in attendance.
Yesterday afternoon Fishguard Harbour; Extremely tame Kingfisher feeding in shallow tidal pool below slipway opposite Celtic Diving. My dogs ran past it down to the beach though it flew when I approached! five PB Brents on tideline as well as usual curlew, redshanks etc
allthingsgood, cliff

Red-necked Grebe

The Red-necked Grebe still present this am, Carew Mill Pond.
(Mervyn J.) Click here for further photos.


Two smew redheads fishing in Millar's Pond, Landshipping on Tuesday afternoon. They weren't there when I went back with a camera this morning ;-((


Cattle Egret still in Angle area

At first light, the Cattle Egret was still in the field with the cattle-feeder at Hubberton.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Firecrest - Goodwick Moor

Goodwick Moor;-
This pm, 1 from the path nr. to where the Pechora Pipit was. The usual bird / different bird is usually along the path by the bank, so may be two?

Ring-necked Duck

Certainly that is an adult drake Ring-necked Duck! The second bird appears to be a female Pochard, but it looks very small. I've tried to turn it into a female RND, but I can't - the features that you might expect to see are not very clear on the pics (e.g. bill pattern, eye ring/teardrop behind eye, pale half moon at bill base), and the body/mantle colour is right for Pochard and wrong for RND.

This pic shows female RND & Pochard side by side:

Red-necked Grebe

Red necked grebe still on Carew millpond at09.00-09.30 today
Dave Glanville

Ring-billed Gull and Cattle Egret at Angle

At c.08:30, the Cattle Egret was in the usual field near the farmhouse at Hubberton and the adult Ring-billed Gull was in the field next to it - between the field with the cattle feeder and the road down to Angle village.

Ring-necked Duck -- Bosheston

Just been sent these photo's by John H. They appear to show a male Ring-necked Duck !

The photo's were taken by Dean Maiden on Sunday 30th November.

I presume the bird hasn't been seen since??


That's not a chaffinch. Indeed. A male black redstart on our patio for c 5 secs yesterday.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Cattle Egrets

Hi Dave, I guess the critical distinguishing feature for me, on the pics at least, is the different bill pattern on the two birds. The top left pic in Lyndon's set clearly shows a bright orange-yellow basal half to the bill, the bird at Hubberton does not have any orange-yellow on the basal half of the bill, it is pale grey.

The more subtle plumage colours tend to get burnt out on photographs of white birds, particularly when the photos are taken in bright sunlight (which, at this time of year, is almost essential if you are going to get a half-decent photo), so perhaps we have to rely on structural differences (and behaviour) to separate individuals. That being said, the plumage details on the Angle bird are there for all to see in the field - they are just not always obvious on pics taken in direct sunlight.

For info, I believe that the bird I saw fly in from the beach at West Angle was a different individual to the bird I later found at Hubberton, again based on structural differences. Sadly, my pics were taken at distance in early morning light, so they are not great, but they still suggest that two birds were involved.
The bird in the pic on the left flew from the beach into the root crop at West Angle before flying off inland, the bird in the left is the Hubberton bird. What is instantly noticable on the West Angle bird is the extensive plumes on the neck and mantle, the latter almost reaching the tail. These plumes can also be seen on pics of the bird in flight. Even the longest feathers on the mantle of the Hubberton bird do not, as far as I can tell, extend further than c.half way down the back. Also, the nostrils of the West Angle bird appear to be set in yellow, whereas the nostrils on the Hubberton bird are set in pale grey.
So it could be that we actually had three Cattle Egrets in the county last week? If anybody has noticed long plumes on the mantle of the Hubberton bird then I would be interested to hear of it, but none of my photos (or observations) have given any indication of this. Both the right hand pic above - and the pic of the Hubberton bird on last Wednesdays blog, suggest that the feathers on the mantle of this bird are relatively short.
I guess the take-home message must be that Cattle Egrets are expanding their range, there were good numbers across the water in Devon last winter, and we can probably expect to see them more often in Pembs.

Cattle Egrets

Interesting update Clive. With regard to the Sandy Haven bird, it didn't appear to have as much of a peachy wash on the crown as the Angle bird, though only your latest pic shows how extensive this is (on most of Richard's it doesn't look as extensive). Similar comment with the breast 'smudge', not obvious on many of the Angle pics but clearly visible on the latest pic - I did not note this on the Sandy Haven bird. The Angle bird has obvious head plumes, I did not notice them on the Sandy Haven bird. I will qualify this and say that I did not see the SH bird as close as the Angle views evidently are, and I haven't seen it since 27th October so it may look a little different now, but that would seem unlikely. Re. bill, two of Lyndon's pics show a dark tip but that is just mud, my description of the SH bill was "whole bill orangey, with some smudged pale brown along the centre of the upper and lower mandible" which would seem to be different from your bird, though again, distance is a factor we should be wary of. Anything I've missed?

As you say, we need to have an extensive look for the SH bird and locate it during the day with a simultaneous sighting of the Angle bird to be absolutely sure, but it does look more like two birds from your additional information and photo.

Red Necked Grebe

Red-necked Grebe still At Carew Millpond this afternoon (until at least 3:30). The light was starting to go a little when I arrived and the bird did not appear to want to allow a close approach but eventually proved quite obliging. A nice immature bird still showing some stripes on the cheek. Click on photo for larger image. Nice one Dave!

Cattle Egret & south coast / Angle.

Cattle Egret;-
Usual location this am.

Black Redstart;-
A male on Amroth prom. nr/ the castle.

The fem. in Angle Bay also 1 Greenshank, 14 LB Brent Geese. & 14 Bar-tailed Godwits.

(Clive Jones)

Divers -- St. Brides Bay

A short post-script on the diver front;-
420 Red-throated Divers off Ynyslas - Cerdigion today!!

Goultrop to Broad Haven;-
A look across a calm sea this am,(until Dave Glanville phoned!)

23 Red Throated Divers in one flock, sometimes flying, I use this as the total seen, although presumably from Broad Haven N. we were watching at least some different birds.
5 Great Northern Divers, inc. 4 together.
c20 Teal on the sea looking up the coast, nr. c200 Common Scoter, off Broad Haven N.
(Paul G. & Richard D.)

Fishguard Harbour / Strumble

Fishguard Harbour;-
1 Ad. Med. Gull, & 5 Teal.

Cliff & Rich. C. had a party of c20 teal and 2 Red Throated Divers fly past whilst on the Outer B/w this am but no sign of the Snow Buntings or Purple Sands. At Strumble Head a very late young Grey Seal pup - still in it's white coat and close by it's mother mating.

Red-necked Grebe on Carew Millpond.

Red necked grebe on Carew millpond this morning. Seen at 09.00, and later by Paul and Rich D. Still there at 10.40 near to mill .
Dave Glanville

Cattle Egrets

Thanks Lyndon, these pics look more than adequate. I guess folks are best left to draw their own conclusions.

The Angle Cattle Egret was in the field at Hubberton again this morning at 08:00.

Newport Sun am

Highlight on the Webs count was a 1st W Little Gull.Otherwise as per expected; 100+ curlew, 11 redshanks, 20 dunlin, 10 ringed plovers & 9 (a lot) turnstones. Just 1 ea little egret & l grebe. 69 wigeon & 2 shelducks.
cf Llys-y -fran, 25 herring gulls could be a new record low for any time of year

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Llys-y-fran Resr..

Llys-y-fran Resr;-
Tonights gull roost a bit of a non- event, in fact little at the resr. Highlights for WeBs, c150 Canada Geese( large no.) 12 Teal, 6 Lapwing.
(Adrian & Richard D.)

On the way to the resr. along the road from Farthings Hook, a flock of 190 Linnets which flew up into 2 trees near the roadside seemed a good find for this inland area.

Fishguard Harbour;-
100+ Common Gulls, 1 ad. Med. Gull

Cattle egret

As Clive says below, the 'Sandyhaven bird' was very shy hence little in the way of photographs seems to have been achieved. These are as good as I managed - they probably won't help. Left click to enlarge.

Barn Owl near Penycwm

At 1800hrs today there was a barn owl flying alongside the A487 on the Solva side of Penycwm at GR SM 830 239.

Cattle Egret at Angle

Needless to say, the Cattle Egret was already present at Hubberton in the half light at 08:15 this morning, and still there at 16:45, by which time it was too dark to distinguish it from the two Little Egrets it associates with.
And while it is not impossible that a bird would commute from Sandy Haven to Angle to feed, to me - this seems a bit unlikely.
Did anybody take any notes on the Dale/Sandy Haven bird, or take any decent photographs? The Angle bird has a very distinctive two-tone bill, with a pale grey basal half and then yellow to the tip. Did the Dale bird have head plumes or mantle plumes? How far did the buff coloration on the head extend? Was there any colour on the breast? and so on....
This bill pattern of the Angle bird can be seen clearly on the image below (on Wednesdays blog), and in the image here (taken today). People tell me that the Dale bird was flighty, hence there do not appear to be many pics of the bird. As you can tell from the images on the blog, the Angle bird is relatively approachable.
So, it could well be that only one bird is involved - but I think that unless a corresponding amount of time and effort is put into searching for the bird at both sites, then perhaps it might be better to base our assumptions on descriptive evidence?
To be honest, I would have been more convinced of the single bird theory had the bird not been seen in the Sandy Haven area yesterday. The Angle bird has not been seen to arrive at or leave the site since it was found, it is there at first light, there during the day, and still there at dusk. In fact, in terms of reliability, it is the exact opposite of the Ring-billed Gull.

Cattle Egret & other stuff

I looked for the Cattle Egret at Sandy Haven this morning (c. 10am), no sign at all, and having spoken to Derek who told me that his 3.15 sighting yesterday involved the bird flying in high from the South, I think we're talking just one bird unless we can prove beyond doubt otherwise.

Of interest, a very large flock of Lapwing at Capeston Farm (up to top of hill, turn left, to next right turn and in fields around this junction), I would estimate 4-500 but it was lashing with rain so not able to count properly.

At the Gann, 59 Teal which I think is a record count for me at this site, just 8 light-bellied Brent though. In the stubble field above and to the west of the lagoon, a large flock of Woodpigeon which based on a sample count I estimated to be around 800 - impressive! Also 3 Grey Plover at the Gann, 10+ Ringed Plover, several Redshank and two male Goldeneye (along with several females) doing the classic head back 'jousting' - fantastic. Finished off with a rainbow, which was nice. (I then went off to do a Santa Run, which wasn't as nice but more fun!)

Sandy Haven Cattle Egret

Spent 45mins (1515-1600hrs) watching the sky, pill & surrounding fields for aforementioned Cattle Egret, but to no avail, I thought my quest was over! Having had time to ponder, I must confess, I too am thinking that we`re all looking at the same bird, but a pair would be great!
The Quest will resume next weekend!!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

crossbill gelly

2 crossbills at the southern end of Gelly wood today

Cattle Egret - (s)?

Seeing how there was a 45 minute gap between the last known sighting of the bird at Angle and Derek seeing it fly in "from high" at Sandy Haven, the apparent similarity in plumage, and the fact that the Chapel at Sandy Haven is no more than 4 miles due North of West Angle / Studdock Farm, it could easily be that the bird is roosting at Sandy Haven and feeding at Angle - or there could be two (which would be great)! I'd personally prefer to know that they have been seen simultaneously to confirm the presence of two.

Angle Bay & Cattle Egret(s?)

An excellent morning & we missed a couple of birds!

West Angle Beach;-
3 visits over the course of the morning, no sign of the Ring-billed Gull, but 2 ad. Med. Gulls.

The Lodge, Angle;-
A HT visit, no sign of Slavonian Grebes, c10 Gt. Ctd Grebes & 3 Great Northern Divers feeding together off the Lifeboat Station Point.

Sawdern Point(off Popton);-
A good idea to look from here, the fem. Eider close in!

Angle Bay LT from the village;-
Teeming with birds!
17 Light-b. Brent Geese, c40 Knot, 2 Greenshank, 4+ Bar-tailed Godwits, c700 Golden Plover, c300+ Lapwing, 100's of Wigeon! & the rest, we will leave for the WeBs count.(Who said counting isn't fun)

Cattle Egret -Hubberton Farm;-
This Cattle Egret didn't appear to leave this field all morning, when we left, c12:30 it was still being watched by Mike & Kathy Y-P.
When we got to the Sandy Haven favoured fields (13:30ish), no sign of any egrets, cattle having been removed from the Capeston fields.
(Paul G. & Richard D.)

Cattle Egret at Angle

Thanks Derek, this suggests that there are probably at least two birds in the county, as the Cattle Egret near Angle was still with the cattle in the fields at Hubberton at c.14:30 this afternoon, where it appears to have been since it was found on Tuesday.

Cattle Egret

flew in just as I arrived, at the field with the cattle in, above & behind the chapel, where it landed in one of the dead trees in the graveyard. It did appear to come in high, as opposed to flying up from the pill. Reading Clives` comments, it too has quite a noticeable apricot forhead. The time was about 3:15pm.
First light this morning at Marloes, good numbers of Starlings, a large flock of some 2500, with smaller groups flying in, c25 Snipe seeming somewhat on edge flying above the YHA - Steves LEO perhaps?
This evening at the Gann, 18 Brent, all appeared to be" lights." c 18 Ringed plover, 3 Grey plover.

Blackcaps and Owls

Someone metnioned few Blackcap records recently - Paul Warren has a two feeding regularly in his garden in central Milford Haven a male and a female.

At Marloes Mere this morning a nice Long eared Owl . It was in bushes by the footpath and flew down the track to land on the bank and provide excellent views - seemed a bit exhausted as it flew only small distances. Chaffinches and magpies not happy at all!

lots of Teal present and easy to see at the Mere at the moment 'cos water levels are really high.

Angle Cattle Egret

This morning, a Cattle Egret was in a field with cattle near Hubberton farm (on the road passing Angle towards East Blockhouse).
If anyone one could look in the Sandy Haven Pill area today for the other Cattle Egret it would be helpful in determining whether there are now 2 birds in the county.

Richard D and Paul G.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Marsh Harriers

Further to Richard's comments about male Marsh Harriers, the following observations may be of some interest.From at least 24th December, 1994 to 18th April, 1995 a female Marsh Harrier was frequently seen in the Marloes Mere/Dale area. In February 1995 I watched her go to roost in the reed-bed at Crabhall, Gann. On the 29th March a male Marsh Harrier turned up at the Gann. This set the imagination racing for a while, but unfortunately I never saw both male and female together.

Snow Bunts, Purple Sands .... Fishguard

Fishguard Harbour;-

Following on from Cliff's visit to the Outer Breakwater, a record shot of the 3 Snow Buntings this pm.
Also present 4 Purple Sandpipers & 1 Turnstone(low tide). The porpoise with small calf was present c20m from the b/w.
(photo Adrian)

Local records...swallows....

Still 6 surviving at Chevron / Texaco Refinery, Pembroke.
(John H.)
At least 1 bird feeding in Janet's garden in Felindre today.
The male reported by Paul M. recently still present on the river between Cenarth & the sawmill at SN250415. (Carms. just!)

Westfield Pil

Little Egret and lovely Goldcrest foraging by the footpath at Westfield Pil this morning
no Otters though! Apparently one of the residents of Neyland Marina has video footage from last year of an Otter catching 19 fish up stream!

Cattle Egret and Ring-billed Gull still around Angle

Both the Cattle Egret and Ring-billed Gull were still present this morning. The Cattle Egret was in the usual field - the one with cattle behind Hubberton Farm. Unusually, the Ring-billed Gull was not 50m away from the Cattle Egret in the field next to it (in the corner between the roads to Angle and East Blockhouse). Suggest that the beach is probably still the best place to connect with the Ring-billed, as it tends to drop in to wash and drink occasionally. Worth checking any gulls in the fields though.

Also, 2 Slavonian Grebes were in Angle Bay this morning.

It isn't a problem to feed back this info, as I walk my dog at West Angle before work.

Out of interest, has anybody seen (or looked for) the Cattle Egret at Sandy Haven this week? It would be nice to know whether we have one or two birds in the county.

Then there were three!

Did a ferry survey aboard the "Stena Europe" Wed/Thurs, nothing of particular interest birdwise but yesterday had a nice pod of Circa 50/60 common dolphins whilst also seeing a porpoise with a calf when leaving and returning into Fishguard Harbour. So whats this got to do with birds, some will be asking!
Decided to go out on the outer breakwater yesterday and thought I saw three Snow Buntings as I drove down the breakwater. I was looking out to sea, so just saw them flit out of the corner of my eye. This morning I went for another look and had great views of the porpoise and calf also one RTD, but I am also able to confirm three snow buntings on sea wards side of breakwater including at least one cracking male, allthingsgood, cliff

Angle News

Clive in particular, but to everyone, please keep the news coming, I know that birders are intending to go to Angle this w/e.
Updates are key to making decisions for those who live away.
Many thanks for your effort in particular Clive, believe me it is much appreciated by ALL!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

The Teifi & further North!! --for geese!

The Teifi;-
Early Morning, a stunning pair of Red-breasted Mergansers off the railings. Very different looking from the 3 (prob. juv.) Rb Mergansers seen here recently.
Also the Dunlin flock has now reached c100, & c20 Ringed Plovers around too.
1 Common Sandpiper wintering.

The Dyfi Estuary, Ceredigion;-
Our (Paul & I) plus guests annual visit for the Greenland White-Front's whilst they still return to the Dyfi was a success.
c19 birds were viewed fron the track along the River Clettwr.
Also (we didn't count but 100+) Barnacle Geese, 3/4 Dippers & a variety of waders in freezing conditions.

Borth Bog;-
1 adult male Marsh Harrier watched for a no. of minutes before it finally roosted.
How many ad. males have you seen in Pembs?

(Wendy J.,Paul G. & Richard D.) & a note to our readers in Canada-- this was a COLD day!


A gathering of 23 x Common Gulls amongst Blk-heads & Herring Gulls by the flag poles at 09:30 this morning. Also 5 x Moorhens by foraging around the mole holes opposite.

Cattle Egret and Ring-billed Gull still in Angle area

Both birds still present between 08:30 and 09:30 this morning , the Cattle Egret still in the field behind the farmouse at Hubberton, and the Ring-billed Gull on the beach at West Angle. Also, a Swallow flying over the Speculation Inn in the general direction of Orielton Decoy - heading to Stackpole from Texaco?

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Ring-billed Gull at West Angle

At the risk of sounding monotonous, the adult Ring-billed Gull was on the beach at West Angle again at lunchtime.

Nice pic of the Cattle Egret Rich.

Newport Wed am

88 Curlews & 65 Wigeon were notable. Otherwise v quiet, as it has been for several weeks. 3 L Grebes, 3 L Egrets,2 Shelducks, 8 Redshanks. Of small waders I couldnt find any Dunlin or Turnstones & just 3 R Plovers hunched into the wind. All the (not many) gulls were BH or Herring except 1 Common.
There is now a 2nd pair of Mute Swans downstream from the bridge, 1 of which is the peripatetic PO25, which was here earlier in the year & I believe has also been seen in Fishguard & on the Teifi

Cattle Egret

The Cattle Egret near Angle performed well late morning - thanks Clive. Click here for more shots


Amongst the usual wildfowl at Marloes Mere this afternoon there was a very smart male Pintail dabbling away.

Moylegrove to the Teifi & Fishguard

Goodwick Moor;-
The Firecrest showing with the Long-tailed Tit flock in the bushes on the bank to the Reserve this afternoon.(Adrian R.)

A couple of highlights from this morning's TTV;
Short-eared Owl;- an excellent record from NE Pembs.!
A bird flying in fields to the north of the PCNP viewpoint, on the B4582.
A fem/imm. watched hunting M. Pipits, & seen again later nr. the Granant Concrete Works.
(Janet A. & Richard D.)

The Teifi Marshes;-
1 Goosander(m) on the river from the viewpoint nr. the Centre.
Under Priory Bridge;-
3 Otters, ad. & 2 young.

Stackpole - swallows etc

On 9th Dec six swallows were hawking over fields and hedgerow between Stackpole Home Farm Dairy and the Estate access road, at least 2 still there today 10th. Also usual firecrests near Stackpole Centre - feeding close to buildings on small insects on garden herbaceous plants. Observed through a window c. 1 metre away (alas no camera at hand!).

Goosanders now number at least 20 on Bosherston lakes (but they come and go).

At Llangloffan today - at least 400 redwings, numerous blackbirds and song thrushes. Small flocks of lapwing over valley - spooked by a peregrine.

Cattle Egret still in Angle area this morning

This morning, the Cattle Egret was in the same field as yesterday afternoon, i.e. the field behind the farmhouse at Hubberton with a herd of cattle. The field is best viewed from the B4320, carry on past the turn-off for Angle village for c.200m (on the road towards East Blockhouse), and look for vantage points. The field with the Cattle Egret falls away into woodland, so the bird is not always on view, but it usually appears after a short while. Still a couple of Little Egrets feeding in the same field.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Around the County

2 seen today at Chevron-Texaco Refinery.
Ringing nr. Pwllchrochan, 1 Firecrest trapped.
(John H.)

Fishguard Harbour;-
1 Dipper still at The Flagpoles today.

Today, c120 Dunlin in two now regular flocks, c130 Curlew at The Webley. Good nos. of Teal, Wigeon & Redshank around.
Yesterday, 1 Common Sandpiper still at Jewsons.(To be closed down this sat. The actual site name is "Pinog"! but we shall still call it Jewsons...for now).

Goshawk near Croes Goch

Late morning the spectacular site of a female Goshawk hunting in 30mph winds- brilliant
By the B4330 at grid ref 845298

BOP, Tegryn

Sat here on the telephone just after lunch & a peregrine flew past the house, below roof-top height. The 2 kites were about earlier & the local buzzards.

Last Sunday a.m. there was a kestrel around Foel Drygarn.

Cattle Egret still in Angle area

Popped out at lunchtime to try and relocate the Cattle Egret, and found it in a field with three Little Egrets and a small herd of cattle at Hubberton. This field is on the northern side of the B4320, perhaps 200m beyond the signposted turn to Angle village. It is the first field with cattle on your right after passing the Angle turn-off towards East Blockhouse. Also, three Med Gulls (2 x ads and 1 x 2nd w) in the fields there with Black-headed and Common Gulls.

Purple Sandpipers

Thanks to John & Marion for finding the Purple Sands at Tenby. There were 5 there today in company with a few Turnstones on the rocks below the old Lifeboat Station just before high Tide.


Hello everyone,
At 9:30 am... 90 x Curlew; 7 x Redshank; 5 x Oystercatcher; 6-13 x Snipe; 1 x Little Egret; 2 x Little Grebe; etc.

Cattle Egret

Hi Clive, the Sandy Haven bird also had a noticeably buff/orange forecrown (adult?) when it was found in mid October, so they could be the same - would be good if someone could check Sandy Haven though to confirm one way or the other!

Cattle Egret

There was an egret in with the cows at Sandy Haven again this morning but it was too far away and I didn't have my bins with me to check if it was the cattle or a little one.
I have looked at this cattle bird several times and haven't noticed any buff on the head but thats not to say there isn't any.
If its around on Wednesday I will check more closely.

Cattle Egret and Ring-billed Gull at West Angle

The adult Ring-billed Gull at West Angle was joined by a Cattle Egret at c.08:30 this morning. However, the Cattle Egret, which was in the root crop being grazed by cattle next to the car park, was harrassed mercilessly by a very territorial Little Egret until it flew inland. I suspect, however, that it is still in the fields around West Angle somewhere - as it didn't seem to be intent on flying far - and there are plenty of cattle around in the area. Worth checking the root crop next to the car park though if you are in the area.

It is worth checking whether the bird is still in the Sandy Haven area - if any one is planning a visit? The West Angle bird has a noticably buff-peach coloured crown, but as I haven't been across to see the Sandy Haven bird, I don't know whether this is relevant.

By the way, thanks Lyndon, I was beginning to think I was the only person who had seen the Ring-billed Gull. It's a good looking bird, though not easy to photograph.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Just a thought

Well done Dave, I wondered who would spot it first !!. Thanks, on this occasion, to Clive for keeping up the postings re the RBGull. I now have a photo of the bird, my first Ringer picture. Sometimes we may feel our postings go un noticed but that is often not the case. Someone, somewhere, will appreciate the info we all have to offer.

Update - Tenby Purple Sandpipers

Arriving before today's high tide allowed a search of the rocks in the vicinity of the Lifeboat Station.

We found 7 Purple Sands together with 10 Turnstone feeding among the rocks at the foot of St Catherine's Island. (easy to view with our back to the bandstand).

As the tide flooded the flock began to relocate to the new slipway supports where the piers are already encrusted with barnacles,and feeding continued.

Additionally, in Tenby Harbour - 1 Redshank, 8 Oiks and 2 Turnstone.

Angle Brents

The Brent flock in Angle Bay has been fairly static for the past few weeks - at around 19 birds, and (to date at least) all of the birds that I have seen have been pale-bellied. That being said, it is difficult to be certain precisely how many birds are present as numbers fluctuate slightly in the main group (tyically from 17-19), so it could be that some birds are moving around a bit. Have attached a pic of a few of the birds feasting on Enteromorpha yesterday.


Love the Starling roost pics Lyndon - I reckon the 112th bird in from the left, 43rd from the top, is a Rose-coloured!!!! (only kidding)

Forgot to post earlier but on Saturday there were 17 pale-bellied Brents at the Gann, but no sign of the probable Grey-bellied - moved on? (the Angle flock seems to have grown - anyone checked it carefully?) More likely it's in France now!

Sunday, 7 December 2008


There do seem to be rather a lot of Starlings in the county at present and the roost at Plumstone is well worth a visit.

Blue Tits

Interesting to see the age ratio's of blue tits caught this week. I looked back at the data for the past four months from Mullock and Caldey with a few from Pwllchrochan :_

Adults Aug 4, Sept 8, Oct 1, Nov 3
Juvs (birds born in 2008) Aug 17, Sept 32, Oct 33, Nov 19

Interestingly our last catch a week ago also had a higher proportion of adults so perhaps the older birds are faring better this autumn. It will be interesting to see how the ratio's work out as the winter goes by. We can probably do this for a range of species once the data set is up to date.

Herring Gull and starlings

That Herring Gull John & marion saw at Saundersfoot is from St Margarets - ringed as a chick on 18 June 2000. Well done for reading that - its the first sight record in Pembrokeshire ever even though its fairly easy to do.

Those starlings - have just driven all the way up to Derbyshire and back this weekend and hardly saw a single starling anywhere and certainly no flocks - so from that we must assume the whole UK population is in Pembrokeshire where its nice and warm !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

More Teifi & more about tits

A look at the gulls, poor as most flew straight to sea due to late HT. But 48+ Common Gulls caught my eye amongst the Black-Headed, roosting below the GVP. Also nice to see the male Shoveler from there.

Teifi Valley Ringing;-
Following Paddy's note on his Blue Tit ad:1st yr ratio. in the Lampeter Vale.
Figures from here, of 25 Blue Tits caught , 7 ad's. Clearly a better ratio in terms of breeding/survival.
We also trapped 11 Coal Tits y'day if anyone hadn't suspected that there are good nos. around!

Dowrog Roost

At the Dowrog roost this evening 3 probably 4 Hen Harriers 3adult ringtails 1 juv . First bird dropped in at 3-3o pm.

Teifi estuary

At high tide this afternoon
Webley - 1 Grey Plover, 40 Dunlin and 10 Ringed Plover
St Dogmaels Quay - 1 Common Sandpiper, another 40+ Dunlin, 5 Little Grebe and a Kingfisher.
Over 200 Wigeon and 30 Redshank around the estuary.

All at Sea

Went out in my neighbour's small boat from Saundersfoot this morning. Unfortunately the sea was pretty choppy and we failed to find the Scoter flock which is normally off Amroth. We did see 6 Red Breasted Mergansers and 20+ Divers but with the low sun in our eyes could not pin down the species. Several winter plumage Guillemots were seen and, on the cliffs between Monkstone Point and Tenby, there were c.30 Cormorants & 50+ Fulmars.


Saundesfoot harbour wall today. Herring Gull with keen eye on our mince pies - ring number -GA36026. History anyone?

Penberry - St.David's area

Hen harrier;-
A ring-tail, flying on commons nr. Penberry, also a male Gadwall on Penberry Pond this am.(Adrian).

long tailers etc

Whilst it is inevitable that there will be a decline in numbers of long tailed tits between the end of one breeding season and the start of he next, they still seem quit numerous in the Lampeter Vale area. If finding food was becoming a serious issue then the weights of captured birds should decrease. 29 birds caught in early November had an average weight of 7.57g (range 6.7 to 8.6) and of 11 birds caught yesterday the average was 7.69g (range 7.2 o 8.2) a slight increase implying feeding conditions are still reasonably good.

Assuming that the Blue Tits visiting the feeders in the garden are mainly of local origin, then the breeding season in this area appears to have been very poor. Of 78 caught during the last fortnight 54 are adults and 24 1st winters, whereas typically at this time of year, 1st winters would considerbly outnumber adults.

Thoughts of Summer are now distant but the ringing details of a male Willow Warbler caught at Ty Rhyg in early July have just arrived. It was ringed on 20th March 2005 in Morocco. Even though this is not unusual for a Willow Warbler, (they tend to refuel in N Africa after crossing the Sahara) I still find it amazing that a bird less than 10grams has made a return journey to Central Africa at least 4 times. I hope he made it back OK this autumn.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Ring-billed Gull at West Angle

The adult Ring-billed Gull was on the beach again at West Angle at c.12:30. Also, the 19 Brents are still in Angle Bay with good assortment of common waders, e.g. Greenshank, Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Ringed Plover, Dunlin.

American Bittern (parts) photo's.

Further photo's of the American Bittern, as we have enthusiastic viewers!

The first & only photo of the wing produced over 900 hits to this site in the day & day +1 of publication!