Friday, 16 June 2017

Great Bird Reserves - Skomer Island

The May edition of "British Birds" includes a really fascinating article on Skomer Island National Nature Reserve by David Saunders (the first Skomer warden in the early 1960s) and Stephen Sutcliffe (warden there from 1986 to 1994). 

If you already subscribe to BB then you will already have absorbed the article and hopefully enjoyed the read. If not, then it can be found in British Birds volume 110, May 2017, pages 278–295 - it's a really interesting article by two of Pembrokeshire's foremost Skomer aficionados.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Curlews In Trouble

Curlews in trouble: It has been many years since curlews were known to have bred on the Pembrokeshire mainland - Skomer Island currently being our only confirmed breeding location for them. Mid-winter WeBs counts on the Cleddau estuary (between November and February) suggest that numbers of this familiar bird are also declining there! 

Mary Colwell, who last year walked from western Ireland to eastern England to highlight the plight of the Eurasian Curlew, is planning a conference to bring together all those with an interest in the species' conservation in Wales, and she is hoping that birders and local bird clubs across Wales will get involved. 

The event is planned for 24 January 2018 at a venue to be announced later. Read more here, and get in touch with Mary if you'd like to be involved. 

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Reverend Murray Mathew in Pembrokeshire Life

 The April edition of Pembrokeshire Life contains a three page article by David Saunders about the Reverend Murray Mathew author of the first Birds of Pembrokeshire published in 1894.  Included in the article is a photograph of the Reverend himself, one of two tracked down just a few months ago, the second one being reproduced here. 

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Bird Group Display at the Local Environmental Centre 10th anniversary event

Bob and Annie attended a "West Wales Biodiversity Information Centre Recorders day" held at the Hermon Community Hall. This was a special event, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the LERC.

It was a well-attended by about 60 delegates with some very good speakers and displays.

Congratulations to WWBIC in your 10th anniversary year, and for organising an excellent Recorders day to commemorate it.

The Bird Group provided a static display for the event.

The Bird Group Display
The Bird Group display - one of several viewed at lunch-time by the delegates

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Monday, 30 January 2017

AGM Minutes

The Minutes of the Bird Group AGM held in January, including the Chairman's report, are now available on the Reports section of this Blog under Ad Hoc Reports.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Wartime oil spills almost wiped out Skomer's Guillemots

A recent study, published in the journal British Birds, suggests that major oil pollution in the 1940s had a major impact on breeding seabirds around Skomer, Pembrokeshire.

Tim Birkhead from Sheffield University used photographs of the island’s cliffs taken in 1934 to estimate there were 100,000 Guillemots before World War II. By the 1960s there were fewer than 5,000. Professor Birkhead used the annual number of shipwrecks off western Britain as an index of oil pollution, to which auks such as Guillemots are very susceptible.

Not surprisingly, there was a big increase in shipwrecks in the early 1940s (350 in 1940-41 alone). These would have released oil as they sank, and many would do so for a decade or more.

Since the mid 1980s, guillemot numbers on Skomer have increased at around 5% per annum, but at almost 24,000 individuals (in 2015), this is still a just a quarter of the pre-war numbers observed from photos taken some eighty years ago.

Tim’s study highlights the value of ongoing, long-term studies of the islands seabird populations and also the need to carefully archive the data collected.

For more on this story, read this article by Tim Birkhead.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Pembrokeshire Bird List

Mike Young-Powell, assisted by Bob Haycock and Graham Rees has produced a definitive "Pembrokeshire Bird List", detailing the 373 species recorded in Pembrokeshire up to the end of 2013. It also details the status of each species within Pembrokeshire.

You will find the List on the "Reports" page of the blog.

We hope that this list will be useful not only to local birders, but will also be a valuable source of information for visiting birders

Peter Royle

Dartford Warbler Survey

Mike Young-Powell has now published the report on the Dartford Warbler Survey carried out in Pembrokeshire in 2014.

The full report can be found on the "Reports" section of this blog, under ad-hoc reports

Many thanks to Mike and his team of volunteers for this very valuable and worthwhile piece of work.

Peter Royle

Friday, 21 February 2014

Some "new" and recent ad-hoc reports/articles

Over time the Bird Group intends to publish various "ad-hoc" reports and articles relevant to birds and bird-watchers in the "Reports" section of the Blog-site.

Three such reports have been added today:
  1. An article by Peter and Rosemary Royle about their experiences when "the Orphean Warbler" turned up in their garden last November;
  2. An article by Lyndon Lomax, about  an "overwintering Turtle Dove" in St David's (remarkable perhaps considering how this species, a scarce summer passage migrant in Pembs, is sadly declining in Britain);
  3. A short report by Jane Hodges and Bob Haycock, providing summary results of a "winter coastal birds survey" conducted in February 2011 - a survey involving many volunteers.  
We would very much like to encourage folk to look at these, which are available as PDFs from the Reports page link above. Over time we hope to build up a growing archive of reports that can be browsed or downloaded from the Blog. 

If you have accounts of bird surveys or short articles on bird-related topics of potential interest that you have permission to publish and would like to share on the Blog-site then contact either Peter Royle or Bob Haycock.