Tuesday 28 May 2013


A force 7 wind from due north was blowing at Strumble on the 18th October 1980. A Shag took advantage of these conditions to make a rapid passage southwards by angling across the wind and flying at about 50 feet above sea level. It took a short cut by passing between the headland and Ynys Michael but unfortunately struck the power lines supplying the lighthouse and was electrocuted.
On the 24 May 2013 in similar weather conditions another Shag acted in exactly the same manner but this time there were no power lines to cause fatality. Full marks to the PCNPA for burying the cables, though this has removed perches for small bird migrants making them harder to see.

Sandwich Terns

Four Sandwich Terns in Fishguard Harbour this morning.

Monday 27 May 2013

Emperor Moth

Emperor Moth in garden at home

Strumble Head 27th May.

Time: 16.30 - 17.30
Weather: Rain
Wind: SW ( Very slight )

Mallard - 2 ( Strumble MEGA ! )
Manxies - 1000's
kittiwakes - Small numbers
Auks - Small numbers of Gillies & Razorbills going through

Porpoise - About 10 seen

Saturday 25 May 2013

Tresinwen, Strumble & Cwm Gwaun (25 May 13)

Cuckoo singing well all morning behind the house but not in view.  Lesser Redpolls around again with a brief view in the fir tree at the top of the garden of a large pale Redpoll.  Unfortunately I did not get enough on it.  Would like to see again.

In Gwaun valley a pair of Dippers, at least 3 Pied Flycatchers, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, lots of Blackcaps, a Red Kite, female Goshawk, 2 Sparrowhawk, 4 Buzzard.

Thursday 23 May 2013

Red Kite over Manorowen

A cracking pristine Red Kite low over the road junction of the A487 /A4219 at Manorowen just south of Goodwick. Not so rare these days but I remember getting one over Withybush about 15 years ago, when the lately and sadly departed  Stuart Devonald (generally regarded to have the largest Pembs bird list at the time), still had not ticked one for Pemb's! Although Cuckoos have definately decreased, Kites are obviously  on the up!

Cuckoo's, an encouraging sign?

Twenty years ago when I first settled here near Strumble, Cuckoo's abounded in the neighbourhood and were seen and heard daily from late April /early May, through June and into July. I would listen out for the change in its call to Cuk-uk-oo and the strange bubbling call of the female, as the season progressed .
It seemed that suddenly they were just gone. It may not have been so abrupt but I remember an Irish friend who lived in Rosslare asking me where they had gone around about 2004. Since then it seemed they had also pretty much disappeard from our neighbourhood. A kind of shrinkage from the western edge of its range. I have heard odd birds since then but all seemed to be passing through and I cant remember hearing any beyond May. Apparently cuckoo's have declined all over the UK and it is now a red list species.
This year, a little late perhaps, I heard my first Cuckoo a couple of weeks ago, but this week there have been at least two males calling, heard first on Monday and then several times again! Lets hope things are looking up for cuckoo's!

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Coming to a pond near you...

On a pond near Jordanston.

Collared Doves.

Over the last few days the number of Collared Doves in the garden has increased substantially from just 2 or 3 to up to 10 birds. Would be handy if they dragged a Turtle Dove in to have a look.

Tuesday 21 May 2013


Two Ringed Plovers were feeding along the narrow strip of shore remaining on the rising tide. A Lesser Whitethroat was singing from the depths of the gorse thicket on the opposite side of the road from the hotel. Impressively it was audible above the almost constant passing traffic noise.

Cuckoo cuckoo!

For the first time in years I actually heard two seperate cuckoo's calling at the same time from slightly different locations from my garden. Up until ten years ago they were pretty abundant but in recent years only odd passers by heard/briefly. Lets hope its a good sign of things to come!

Monday 20 May 2013

Another garden Tick.

Both Siskins and Redpolls on feeders yesterday and also a juv Greenfinch with a tick by its eye.
A Spotted Flycatcher at Abermawr yesterday .
4 Wheatears Pen Anglas this morning.

Sunday 19 May 2013

Tresinwen & Strumble (19 May 13)

14 Whimbrel still present at the head early morning but then flushed by Peregrine and seemed to move on.

Sparrowhawk hunting at head.  Thousands of hirundines and Swifts around today but thorough searching could not find anything out of the ordinary with them.  Hopefully managed to get some Swift pics - will post later this week once I have had time to sort them out.

Cuckoo has found its voice again - still over by the mountain somewhere.  A couple of cracking Bullfinches feeding on daisies on the garden.  Lesser Redpoll have been moving overhead all day - maybe up to 30 different "fly-overs" so not sure how many different individuals.  Still a lot of Goldfinch about and 2 Lesser Whitethroat on territory.

Saturday 18 May 2013

Tresinwen & Strumble (18 May 13)

Honey Buzzard (dark) circling high over Tresinwen 1200 - 1218 then circled high and lost into cloud over mountain.

... And Osprey N over at 1415 headed NE into Cardigan Bay.  Crap record shot below.  A close up on my computer screen indicates a blue ring on left leg.  I believe that makes it a Scottish bird.

....And another Osprey!  This one at 1545 circled over Porthsychan Bay then headed NW out into Cardigan Bay - Ireland bound.  Crap record shot of this one:

Hundreds of hirundines hawking over fields this morning.

14 Whimbrel in the two crop fields at the head.


Another interesting "Stena Europe" ferry Survey. As we leave from Fishguard and these were in Pembrokeshire waters I hope this counts as Fishguardish! The weather is as unpredictable as ever and so we jumped aboard at half a days notice. The outward trip was extremely calm and  it was nice to see plenty of sea birds such as Shearwaters and puffins as well as one difficult to identify small skua . It looked dark all over and was probably a dark phase Arctic Skua but as it was mainly flying away from us hard to be positive.
My first Cuckoo of the year heard somewhere over towards Goodwick and several swifts seenthat probably came in with it.

Friday 17 May 2013

Redstarts and Pied Flycatchers

In the Gwuan Valley both Pied Flycatchers (males) and Redstarts (males) were seen at  Allt Clyn and Llanerch today .Dipper also on the river at Allt Clyn.
In Fishguard Harbour a single Sandwich Tern.

Wednesday 15 May 2013


A dead Polecat (road casualty) was seen this morning on the A487 near Fishguard Fort.
Several Swifts feeding over trees at Cwm Yr Eglwys mid morning and others over fields near Jordanston late afternoon.

Monday 13 May 2013

Swifts & Manxies !

In an hours watch from Strumble this evening we had 2 Swifts enjoying the wind & they're back with a vengeance, 1000's of Manx Shearwaters heading west in the strong wind some quite close in. 

Swifts and Stormies!

I awoke this morning to see four Swifts winging past our house which is a nice way to start a day. Better still was to come at Strumble when three seemingly seperate Storm Peterels (European) fluttered by us whilst we were doing a porpoise count between 2/3 pm. They were difficult to track alighting on the water and getting lost in the big surf so it could possibly have been two or three. I am not sure but I think these are the earliest Stormies I have seen at Strumble although I do remember seeing them occasionally in June. They were certainly living up to their name. Ps. if Ray wilkinson is up to surfing the net, get well soon from we Strumblers!

Sunday 12 May 2013

Tresinwen & Strumble (12 May 13)

The Goldfinch flock roosting in the garden again this morning - now about 30ish.  Why are they still flocking?  Feeders were taken down last week.  They should surely be establishing territories by now???

Some more pics from yesterday:

Saturday 11 May 2013


A mere trifle but add one Whimbrel to Richard's tally.

Tresinwen & Strumble (11 May 13)

Hard going today to find any migrants - no doubt keeping their head down in these autumnal gales.  Flock of 50 Goldfinch in the garden early morning only and Lesser Redpoll still around and displaying.

Lots of Gannets feeding offshore this afternoon with Porps showing well in the lea to the East of Mackerel Rock.

Friday 10 May 2013

Subbuteo !

No, not a finger flicking football game but a Hobby in off the sea at the Flagpoles yesterday at approx.. 4 p.m.

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Flagpoles mid afternoon

Two Whimbrel among about 12 Oystercatchers but they did not stay long. Among about 20 Herring Gulls of varying ages was an adult Great Black-backed Gull eating a large crab. Judging by its colour the crab had been cooked. Who would suspect a G B-b G could move from gourmand to gourmet so easily.  

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Lesser Whitethroats

At Pen Anglas this morning two singing Lesser Whitethroats also ten Wheatears at least two looked like greenland type.
A Whimbrel flew over at Jordanston and an interest record of a Snipe last night quite late for one to be around.

Monday 6 May 2013

Flagpoles 16.00

Just 3 new Ringed Plover in, very quiet otherwise.

Tresinwen & Strumble (06 May 13)

Around the head today:

Cuckoo, 5 Sedge Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 5 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Whimbrel, 2 Shelduck (Porthsychan) and 2 Common Sandpiper.  Hirundine passage up on previous days and Swifts moving through at similar rate to yesterday.  Another influx of Wheatears over-night with circa 50 around the headland.

Sunday 5 May 2013

Tresinwen & Strumble (05 May 13)

Totals from around the head today:

1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Sedge Warbler, 1 Cuckoo (my first of the year), 1 Spotted Flycatcher back in the garden (first of the year), 26 Swift (my first of the year) and 12 Whimbrel.  Steady passage of hirundines all day, Whitethroats everywhere and a few Blackcaps singing in the hedgerows and Lesser Redpoll singing and displaying in the garden.

Goodwick Moor/Flagpoles 15.00

Around the moor, Cetti's, Reed & quite a few Sedge Warblers singing. The Flagpoles had 3 Common Sandpiper,a single calling Whimbrel & these 2 summer plumage Dunlin.

Saturday 4 May 2013

Tresinwen & Strumble (04 May 13)

Around the head today: 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Sedge Warbler, 4 Buzzard, 3 Lesser Redpoll and still quite a lot of Goldfinch about.

A Male Marsh Harrier in off the sea at 1515 flew in behind the house then out towards the Richards Farm.  (My third Harrier species for the garden list!).  A Cracking male Lesser Redpoll singing in the pine between me and the farm next door at lunchtime.

Friday 3 May 2013

Ferry good Fishguard ferry report and Porpoise soup at Strumble..

Sea Trust veteran Steve Rossser and new girl Hannah Harries were joined by Dawn and Lloyd Nelmes for what turned out to be a pretty good survey aboard the Stena Europe Wed/Thurs...
Lots of Porpoises , some Common Dolphins as well as our first Minke Whale of the year! To say they were happy is possibly the understatement of the year,well done all!
In their excitement they all forgot to take photo's so heres one Steve took earlier!(in the Hebredes). The Common  Dolphins below were from the ferry, so obviously Steve finds small targets easier than big ones in the Irish Sea!

Perhaps more mundanely, I had to wait until yesterday afternoon for my cetacean fix of  porpoises at Strumble with Wdigbirder and Hannah. It was one of those special days when the sea was calm and porpoises could be seen near and far including mothers with calves, animals logging, and also breaching , not that mundane on reflection.
We have a porpoise watch at Strumble 2-4 pm bank holiday Monday  afternoon, all welcome... lets hope the porp's and weather oblige us then!

Thursday 2 May 2013


A Cuckoo heard from the direction of Dinas Mountain this morning.
Great Crested Grebe still in the harbour.

Strumble Head 2nd May.

A single Wheatear & 2 singing Lesser Whitethroats found on a walk around the headland this morning. Common Whitethroat & Linnets in good numbers now.

Wednesday 1 May 2013

Great Crested Grebe

A bit of a surprise this morning off Fishguard Fort a Great Crested Grebe in summer plumage,I think it's my latest ever Great Crested in the harbour,also two Sandwich Terns.
At Cwm Yr Eglwys a Lesser Whitethroat singing.

Strumble/Flagpoles 1st May.

Not a proper seawatch at Strumble but had 7 Common Scoter ( all males ) went past. Then at the Flagpoles, 6 Whimbrel, 4 Black Headed Gulls & a lone Sandwich Tern fishing.