Friday, 29 August 2014

Castle Pill

From Tony Jackson - 7 med gulls roosting with the resident redshanks (48) and a cormorant on the slipway. Further up the pill watched 2 little egrets skirmishing -circling round and calling at each other. Spectacular flying far different to the usual tree roosting and feeding at different ends of the Pill. Later 2 med gulls feeding with black heads in the mud and one turning over seaweed.

Radford Pill/Carew Millpond

3 common sandpipers, 13 curlew, 2 little egrets, greenshank and redshank heard. A single Med gull has been present either just above or just below the Mill since at least 5 August, without fail, at all states of the tide.

Angle..... (where else!)

Third day on the trot at Kilpaison. This time a very strong SW wind howling in with an overcast sky pretty much precluded photograhy though I managed one shot of a Ringed Plover.

There were plenty of waders, although with 3, restless, groups, spread along the beach with the tide only just starting to drop they were difficult to count. There were certainly over 400 birds present and in one group I counted 62 Ringed Plover and in another 5 Turnstone and 6 Sanderling. The majority were Dunlin and a Curlew Sandpiper was also in amongst them - perhaps the same bird from Wednesday as it was similarly marked with a dark peach wash.

Over at Angle Harbour it was Med Gull City on the shingle spit with 33 birds  the vast majority adults in winter plumage with one 2nd Winter and one juv. Two of the Meds were ringed - RP42 on a green ring and (I think) 3123 on a pale yellow ring. Also some 80 B H Gulls and one Common Gull. 4 Little Egrets were initially roosting in a tree before dropping down to the back of the harbour.

An impressive sea at Freshwater West but no waders on the beach.

More on bat hawks

Re the post below, we have big numbers of pipistrelles in our roofs and we often see a male sparrowhawk in the garden at dusk. One year, a male sparrowhawk used to perch on the corner of the conservatory waiting for the bats to emerge - I never saw him catch one and I imagine it would be quite difficult as the bats only emerge when it is getting quite dark - but perhaps he could see quite well in the dusk with those big glaring yellow eyes!

Dartford Warblers

If anyone has seen or heard Dartford Warblers in Pembrokeshire this year, I'd be grateful for your records; ideally with an accompanying grid reference. Please send any such records into the blog and I'll pick them up here.

Thursday, 28 August 2014


From Rob Wilson - Whilst out walking early this morning In Abercych I saw a
male sparrow hawk make several attempts to catch  a pipistrel bat, it only 
gave up when they flew just over my head and it saw me.

Angle Bay.....again

After heavy morning rain the sun shone. At Kilpaison fewer waders than yesterday and less variety - 95 Dunlin (with just one in summer plumage), 6 Sanderling, 15 Ringed Plover. Over on the north side of the bay about 50 Curlew were in the roost.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Teifi - terns

A fruitful visit to the estuary tonight, from the Quay 3 Greenshank, 4 Redshank and 3 Black-tailed Godwits. From the Webley , 36 Common Terns, 5 Redshank and c20 Dunlin.
Eight Sandwich Tens flew out the estuary earlier in the day.

Late news - a second and different Yellow Wagtail at Mallard Pond on Monday night.

Marloes Mere

From Tony Jackson - Marloes Mere, lunchtime Eclipse garganey associating with 6 mallards. Just the one black-tailed godwit put up by passing buzzard. Both showing well. Chough called whilst we were in the hide.

N.B. See Skokholm blog re Garganey there on 23 August

Angle Bay
A very dull Kilpaison this morning with a strong wind - time to don winter clothing after the long hot summer.
The conditions were, however, good for birding with plenty of small waders on the beach as the tide dropped - 200+ Dunlin, 100+ Ringed Plover (the majority juveniles in both species), 5 Turnstone, 1 Sanderling, 1 juv Knot and a juv Curlew Sandpiper which had a rather dark peach wash to the chest.
Of the larger waders there were 60 or so Oystercatchers and a few Curlew.
Shame it was so dull for photography but good to see a nice selection of waders at Kilpaison early in the autumn passage.

Newport high tide

Fairly typical early Autumn. A flock of 43 Dunlin & 29 Ringed Plovers on the spit. Seperately single smart juv Knot & Barwit, 11 Sanderlings, 5 Redshanks, a Turnstone, 3 Little Egrets, 17 Oystercatchers with a further 20 on the "bay" roost. Only 8 Curlews, & a heard, but not seen, Whimbrel.
The juv Shelducks (finally 5) seem to have now left, the adults having left them a fortnight ago.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014


From Ed Hunter:

Group of 8 or so very large crane like birds, seen from moving car with no bins along new stretch of A477 around 445pm. Either landed nearr Red Roses or kept going towards Llanteg struggling in the wind.
Worth a look in that area I'd say!

Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

2014 Pembs breeding peregrine survey - provisional results

During 2014, Pembrokeshire’s breeding peregrine population was monitored for the 34th successive year. This season’s results will also contribute to a national census of the species – the last such similar survey having been conducted in 2002.

Provisional results indicate that the number of occupied territories (38) was similar to that recorded in 2013 (39). However, overall breeding success seems to have been quite poor. A minimum of 26 young fledged from 26 nest-sites (compared with 40+ young fledging from 26 sites in 2013). Back in 2002, 46 territories were occupied, and that year 35 pairs reared a minimum of 47 young.

Compared with the last national census year, the peregrine population does seem to have declined in the County. Closer scrutiny of the records suggests that this is largely due to a sharp decline in the number of inland sites being occupied, where the population had been expanding to during the last 20 years. Coastal sites are faring better, but even here evidence of breeding was lower in 2014.

Weather conditions and food availability are significant factors that influence breeding success. It seems possible that last winter’s severe storms may have impacted the population in some way – perhaps causing the deaths of some birds, or weakening others prior to the breeding season? Abandonment of inland sites is interesting. Has food availability declined near these areas? If so could this be due to competition with other predatory species? Or maybe this is an indication of the current general health of the environment, where populations of some bird species (which peregrines might be dependent on in spring) are also declining? It will be interesting to see what the national picture reveals this year.

There are usually a number of younger peregrines in the population, birds that are probably not yet mature enough to breed successfully. This year the proportion of younger birds observed paired with older birds (based on plumage differences) occupying territories does seem to have been quite high. 

Following the winter storms, spring was relatively mild and settled and summer weather was also generally quite warm and benign. In May though it was occasionally quite unsettled with some stormy, wet periods. It is likely that some breeding pairs may have failed at this time.

Obtaining evidence of peregrine territory occupancy and proof of breeding takes quite a lot of time and effort. Considerable thanks are due to a number of volunteers who, between them all, dedicated many hours to checking more than 100 locations, making repeated visits to confirm if breeding had occurred. Thanks also to several birders who contacted me directly about their own particular observations, or added records to BirdTrack – all these records were valuable.
It is hoped that a more detailed account will be published in the Reports section of the Pembs Bird Group Blog Site in due course.

St Davids Hd am

A handful of Wheatears and a small number of Mipits appeared to be new. The highlight of the morning was a gathering of up to a thousand House Martins around Carn Llidi and resting on the eastern ledges of the rock outcrop. They were like a cloud for a short while. No other Hirundines were present, I don't recall seeing anything like it previously.

Trewent Hill Freshwater East

Green Woodpecker flew accross the road when I was driving up the hill and landed on a telegraph pole giving a good view.

Monday, 25 August 2014


Nice selection of waders this afternoon on the pools. Bar-tailed godwit, a Knot, 7 Redshank and a Greenshank. A Little Grebe on the pools already. Couple of Wheatear and Pied Wagtails on the spit. Marloes Mere: 16 Snipe flying around, 3 White Wags along with c10 Pieds, 2 Wheatear and a dozen pipits all on the bank from barb-wire gate.

Red Kites

From Michael Bates - three Red Kites circling together above the fields on the western edge of Puncheston at around 3:55pm today

Angle Harbour

At least 30 Mediterranean Gulls at Angle Harbour this morning: nearly all adults in winter plumage, except for one or two 1st summer birds.  On Saturday, when this pic was taken, there were also two juveniles present - these birds weren't there today, so there is some turnover of birds too. Elsewhere, there was a Sanderling on the beach at West Angle and a nice summer-plumaged Greenshank at Quoit's Marsh.  Otherwise, all quiet on the Angle Peninsular (as far as I know at least). 

Green Woodpecker - Llandilo - Preselis

One seen and heard, but not aged or sexed on the 21st August and not seen since.
(Den Vaughan)

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Castlemartin MOD Range West

Really enjoyed a guided walk on the Training and Firing Range led by Peter Royle and Bob Haycock today. And it was all the better for having an Osprey drift along the cliffs mobbed by a couple of Kestrels. An adult Med Gull was also nice and there was a good selection of waders including: Whimbrel, Curlews (20+), Turnstones (3), Redshank, Sanderlings (11), Dunlin and Ringed Plovers (25).

Saturday, 23 August 2014


The ninth Garganey for Skokholm was the highlight of the day, but there has also been a nice selection of migrants over the last couple of days. More on the Skok blog.

Angle Harbour

Yesterday, pm, rising tide - at least 16 Mediterranean gulls on the shingle spit. Similar numbers a few days ago.


A late swift hawking over the house caused some excitement this evening but it turned out to be just a common! Also this evening the first spotted and pied flycatchers of the autumn and the first goldcrest this morning. Single curlew, sand martin and sparrowhawk today plus a small number (5+) willow warblers. 2 common redstarts (a juv and a male) on 20th were scarce records out here (it is not an annual species)

Fishguard to Rosslare

I said that I would do this blog post for Cliff Benson at Sea Trust for letting me go out on one of his surveys but thought that Pembs birds readers might be interested as it mostly involves birds:

On Wednesday (20/08/2014) I made my first crossing on the Stena Europe from Fishguard to Rosslare with Steve Rosser to survey cetaceans for Sea Trust. I had high hopes, lots of naive enthusiasm and couldn't take my eyes off the sea for the entire crossing. Unfortunately cetaceans were fairly thin on the ground with groups of Common Dolphins on the approach to Rosslare on the way out and close to Fishguard on the way back (the next day) plus a few Porpoises. We also saw two Grey Seals in-between Wales and Ireland. Seabirds were a little more exciting and highlights include at least one Great Shearwater (my first), a Sooty Shearwater, some big rafts of Manxies, four Bonxies and one Arctic Skua, lots of Common Terns, all of our breeding seabirds with young well out to sea (Guillemots, Razorbills, Puffins and Kittiwakes) and thirteen Dunlin flying east roughly at the halfway point. At the extreme ends there was a single Black Guillemot in Fishguard Harbour (but interestingly none at Rosslare) and  two juv Med Gulls at Rosslare.

Juv. Med Gull

Great Shearwater

Great Shearwater

Manxie over a flat sea

Raft of Manxies

Sooty Shearwater

Common Tern
An Osprey over Skomer was nice on the morning I left for the trip and there have been a few migrants about since then - Whinchat, 5 Sand Martins, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 4 Willow Warblers and the Gyr Falcon yesterday.

And finally a big note of congratulations to Dave Astins who managed to swim from Marloes Sands to Skokholm. An amazing feat in my book even on a calm day and it was a bit choppy, so well done Dave. Dave was raising money for the Wildlife trust of South and West Wales and you can still add to his fund raising by following this link.

Eddie Stubbings, Skomer Warden

St David's Hd am

The first Robins have arrived to winter, or maybe passing through? A few Willow Warblers present and a single Goldcrest. It's a start.

Yellow wagtails - Marloes Mere

2 Yellow Wagtails among the cows at Marloes Mere, viewed from Oriole Hide and barb-wire gate, also 15 Pied Wags, 6 Wheatear also on the grassy slope. 2 Black-tailed godwits just in front of Oriole Hide tearing up cow pats and seemingly finding lots to eat! 3 Snipe and Greenshank calling. Female Sparrowhawk being followed by group of Swallows plus a few Sand Martins, which were new. Teal now up to 11. A wander over to the Deer Park was pretty uneventful apart from a Kestrel and a nice chat with Merv.

Dave Delivers!!!

Despite brisk winds and a choppy sea Dave Astins managed his swim from Marloes Sands to Skokholm yesterday raising over £1000 for the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales in the process. A stupendous effort - well done Dave from Pembrokeshire Birds and all local birders!

A full report with more photos is on the ever excellent Skokholm Blog and there is still time to congratulate Dave by donating here