Sunday, 27 May 2018

The Gann

Despite being  disturbed  by human activity the ever present Dunlin flock still quite approachable, some 70 - 80 birds. Also c10 RPs & 6 Sanderling.

St Davids am

A (different - 1st summer) Hobby at The Dowrog this morning along with a Cuckoo. At The Head a Nightjar churred and called briefly near the Withies in Porthmelgan Valley and there were 15 Spotted Flycatchers around with a single Blackcap.

Teifi waders

80+ Ringed Plover, 170+ Dunlin, 34 Sanderling, 4 Turnstone and a Spotted Flycatcher at Poppit - all birds early this morning.
(Gary Reynolds)

Saturday, 26 May 2018

St Govan's Head - a possible Alpine Swift?

After quite a good mothing session with Robin Taylor and Paul Culyer, we bumped into Graham Clark and Lynne Houlston (Castlemartin Range Rangers) at Stack Rocks at lunch-time. Graham mentioned seeing a swift that had puzzled him near St Govan's Head this morning.

It was flying in a loose group of typical swifts that breed there but this one had a white belly and a dark brown breast-band! His general description very much suggested to us that he could have seen an Alpine swift, a bird we have become familiar with breeding in the massive limestone sea-cliffs in the Cape St Vicente/Sagres area of southern Portugal. Graham is unfamiliar with that species but well used to seeing the summer resident common swifts along the Castlemartin coast.

We had to undertake breeding seabird and bee counts several km away so couldn't get down to St Govan's Head at the time but had a look there later in the afternoon. We saw 6 of the local swifts but nothing there that was unusual. If there is an Alpine swift hanging around with the local swifts then it could possibly turn up anywhere along >10km of the Limestone coastline e.g. between Stack Rocks and Stackpole Head where common swifts are resident at this time of year. One to look out for over the Bank Holiday period perhaps?

Shelducks at Newport

For the last couple of weeks there has been a gathering of Shelducks at the bottom of Long Street. This afternoon there were 13, plus another pair at the bridge & the pair with (still) 5 youngsters.
It's normal for there to be as many breeding as non-breeding pairs, with a max of c. 6 pairs (only 2 or 3 of which breed),usually spread out along the estuary, so a flock of this number is quite unusual.
Also unusual is the date of the first brood, a week to 10 days earlier than normal.


In what is very much the quietest spring of our six here, we'll take anything a bit different. So a Tree Sparrow riding the Lighthouse weathervane this morning was very much appreciated (the first Skok record since May 1994). There was also a female Black Redstart on the roof.

Trewent Point

2 singing male lesser whitethroats in the scrub on Trewent Point just S of Freshwater East the only notable birds on a 12 mile walk from Manorbier along the coast path to the Stackpole Centre. Just 2 chough feeding near Stackpole Quay.

St Davids am

A Hobby and Cuckoo were at The Dowrog this morning and another Cuckoo and six Spotted Flycatchers at The Head. A juvenile Greenfinch attended by an adult was a rare sight nowadays.

Friday, 25 May 2018


At 18.15 tonight 114 Dunlin, 34 Ringed Plover, 19 Sanderling and 1 Curlew on Boat house mud - also 1 Little Egret ( first I have seen all week) and a Red Kite.
(Peter Harris)

Swift's - Haverfordwest

Groups of Swift's (up to 7) - Swan Square, Union Hill and Market Street.

The Gann

 11.00 to 12.30, Dunlin c250, Sanderling 41,Turnstone 16, Ringed Plover 37 and Whimbrel 2.
(Bernie Beck)

Newport again

This morning the small wader flock was on the main beach. c60 Dunlin, 40 Ringed Plovers, 25 Sanderling & a Turnstone.
Upstream from the bridge 5 newly hatched Shellducklings, which had first appeared on Wednesday, & a/the red head Goosander.

Thursday, 24 May 2018


 57 Dunlin, 16 Sanderling, 8 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel at Newport Boat Club mud this evening at 17.50.
Also a Cuckoo going east past the estuary mouth on Tuesday eve at 20.00
(Peter Harris)

The Gann

After spending 2 fruitless hours combing the Deer Park, it was nice to find a few smaller waders at the Gann, 54 Dunlin, 35 Ringed plover, 13 Turnstone, 9 Sanderling and 2 Whimbrel.


Skomer saw a purple patch between the 18th and 20th with Whinchat, Black Redstart, Alpine Swift, at least two Spoonbills, four Red Kites and a Subalpine Warbler. The warbler was a tricky one and might have to wait for DNA analysis to confirm the species. See our Recent Sightings tab for full details and photos.

Skomer 19 May

Photos of the Spoonbill and Alpine Swift on Skomer on 19 May taken by Mike Wallen (first two photos)  and Ted Wallen (last two) - not a bad day on the island!

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Rare Breeding Birds

A gentle reminder to those of us who are keen to post sightings of our "rarer breeding" species at/near their nest-sites, of some potentially sensitive issues at this time of the year.

Whilst it’s always useful to know how particular species are faring each year (information that could be important to aid their conservation) we do also need to consider that some discretion might be required in order to minimise possible (although unintended) disturbance at particular sites concerned.  

This particularly applies to specially protected species  detailed in Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 (as amended including by the Countryside Rights of Way Act 2000). 
This also applies to photography of these species at their nests.

A full list of specially protected species can be found here.     

Bob Haycock
Chairman Pembs Bird Group and BTO Rep for Pembs.


This morning 60+ Dunlin & a couple of Ringed Plovers on the Boat Club mud. 4 Sanderlings & 3 Whimbrels on the main beach.
Is anyone locally putting uncoded black rings on Great Black Backs?. If so one was at Newport yesterday.

Roseate Tern

From Paul Warren - I found this last week in work (Valero), more peregrine left overs. I sent a picture to the BTO and just had initial reply and they think its off a Roseate Tern, awesome.  I will keep you informed as soon as I get more news.

Update at 16:24 - definately a Roseate Tern - awaiting furter info.

Monday, 21 May 2018


 This morning in south Pembrokeshire this stunning bird was perched much nearer to the coast path than usual, almost posing for a photo.

On Saturday, I was struck by the number of Cuckoos that seem to be around this year. I saw or heard several, including a pair on Tretio Common.

Sunday, 20 May 2018


Marsh Harrier over today. As noted at virtually every other site, it's been a very poor spring for numbers of common migrants.

Subalpine Warbler -- Skomer

Just received news of a Subalpine Warbler  on Skomer - hopefully some details from Skomer later.

Alpine Swift - Skomer

An Alpine Swift was found by Mike Wallen and his son Ted, well watched and photographed late afternoon on Skomer yesterday (Sat 19th)