Thursday, 2 February 2017



Again as in 2015 an indifferent season regarding the Skua passage, it remains to be seen what will happen in 2017 but a third annual low count of Bonxie numbers could start to raise a few questions.

POMARINE SKUA Stercorarius pomarinus                                           

Just 10 birds recorded in total. In August a single on the 4th then in September singles on 4th, 3 on 10th & 2 on 29th. October saw a single on 17th & 2 on the 18th. The breakdown of Plumage/Age was 5 Pale Adults & 5 Juveniles.

ARCTIC SKUA Stercorcarius parasiticus                                      

Monthly totals as follows;

         July                        Aug.                       Sept.                          Oct.                     Nov.

           2                          66                         139                            18                        1

The breakdown of Plumage/Age was 72 Pale Phase, 131 Dark Phase & 23 Juveniles.

LONG-TAILED SKUA Stercorcarius longicaudus                          

Exactly the same total as the previous year where 10 birds were recorded , Juveniles  on 16th & 29th September with 2 on 17th September  then  4 on 18th October & 1st & 2nd Summer birds on the same day.

GREAT SKUA Stercorcarius skua                                                                  

Monthly totals as follows;

       July                  Aug.                 Sept.                      Oct.                   Nov.               Dec.

          0                    40                     53                       2                    1                     1

Outside of the main  season there were 2 on 7th January & a single on 27th April. The second year running with a low return, the count of 100 being the equal 5th lowest count since 1980.

LITTLE GULL Larus minutus                                                                   

 A total of 22 birds recorded, 4 Adults & 18 Juveniles max. 8 on 18th October.

MEDITERRANEAN GULL Larus melanocephalus

A total of 76 birds recorded, 31 Adults, 4 2nd Summer & 41 1st Winter/Juv max. 12 on 10th November.

SABINE’S GULL Larus sabini                                                                    

A reasonable showing this year with 15 birds recorded, 12 Adults & 3 Juveniles max. 4 on 4th September.

KITTIWAKE Rissa tridactyla

Recorded throughout the year.

SANDWICH TERN Sterna sandvicensis                                          

A total of 539 recorded max. 70 on 4th September.

COMMON TERN Sterna hirundo                                           

 Only 2 recorded, singles on 3rd August & 17th October.

ARCTIC TERN Sterna paradisaea                                         

A total of 19 birds recorded max. 10 on 11th September.


A total of 321 birds recorded max. 34 on 13th September.

ROSEATE TERN Sterna dougallii                                           

The 2 birds seen on 31st August were the only record for the year.

LITTLE TERN Sterna albifrons                                                       .

A total of 8 birds recorded, singles on 4th & 29th August with 6 on the 31st of the same month.

BLACK TERN Chlidonias niger                                                          

A species in which numbers fluctuate annually 2016 being a low year with just 20 recorded max.10 on 13th September.


Recorded throughout the year, large numbers moving on passage during the late autumn.

RAZORBILL Alca torda

As with the previous species, recorded throughout the year with sometimes large numbers going through in the late autumn.

PUFFIN Fratercula artica

A total of 118 birds recorded, max. 58 on 11th July. Whether these are passage birds or local breeders is always a matter of speculation.


Below are the Cetacean counts made during the seabird watches, they do not necessarily include the additional counts made by SeaTrust on their Strumble counts & therefore the actual number of animals recorded from Strumble Head annually is actually larger. The counts however are passed to SeaTrust & collated to establish the bigger picture.

COMMON PORPOISE Phocoena phocoena

Recorded on 65 of the 75 watches, very rarely absent but conditions on the rougher sea days make it difficult to observe them.

COMMON DOLPHIN Delphinius delphis ( Short Beaked )

A total of 361 individuals recorded maximum count approx. 100 on 30th August. Again probably a record year .

BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN Tursiops truncates

A total of 15 animals recorded, the 2 on 4th August were thought to be the semi resident Fishguard Harbour mother & calf “ Apache & Ringo “, then 10 recorded on 30th August  & 3 the next day.

RISSO’S DOLPHIN Grampus griseus

A total of 52 animals recorded,  Maximum day count was 14 on 1st September.  

MINKE WHALE Balaenoptera acutorostrata

A single animal showed for over 3 minutes at five past six in the morning on 27th August & a Whale that breached distantly at twenty past four on 16th July was most likely a Minke.


 Only 3 recorded this year, singles on 4th August, 4th September & 9th  September.



A single bird flew West at 11.30 on 9th September.


A Juvenile flew West on 26th October.