Skomer Migrant Sightings

A Red-necked Phalarope on water by Pia Reufsteck

A Red-necked Phalarope on water by Pia Reufsteck

As we didn't publish the Skomer migrant bird sightings in last months e-news, you get a double helping this month of both September and October's sightings.


A Pintail was on Moorey Mere on the 28th and 29th and a Tufted Duck, a Red-breasted Merganser and 96 Common Scoter were recorded on the 16th.

A Little Egret flew past Skomer Head on the 16th and four Grey Herons flew over on the 22nd.

A Red Kite passed over on the 17th. A Hen Harrier was seen from the 8th. Twenty three Common Buzzards were logged on the 18th. An Osprey flew over on the 27th.

phalarope bird on water


Monthly maxima for waders include: 58 Oystercatchers on the 5th; six Golden Plover on the 12th; 26 Curlew on the 17th; 27 Turnstone on the 9th; four Ruff on the 26th; two Dunlin on the 2nd; three Purple Sandpiper on the 28th; five Redshank on the 14th and four Snipe on the 3rd and 25th. Other waders seen include Whimbrel on the 8th, 9th and 17th; Black-tailed Godwit on the 1st and 2nd; Knot on the 4th, 6th and 7th; an adult Grey Phalarope on the 16th; a juvenile Red-necked Phalarope on the 28th; a Common Sandpiper on the 10th; a Green Sandpiper on the 10th and a Spotted Redshank on the 3rd.

Five Arctic Skuas passed on the 16th and there were four Great Skuas on the 13th.

Puffins were seen on the 8th and 11th.

Seventeen Sandwich Terns were seen on the 16th and there were 14 on the 24th. Juvenile Sabine’s Gulls were seen on the 15th and 16th. A large count of Kittiwakes (1,705) was made on the 16th. Seventy seven Black-headed Gulls passed by on the 24th. There were two Mediterranean Gulls on the 18th and one on the 24th.

A Barn Owl was seen on the 25th and 27th and up to four Short-eared Owls were seen throughout. A Wryneck was present at the Farm on the 1st and 2nd and again between the 5th and 9th. A Great Spotted Woodpecker frequented some willows in North Valley on the 25th and 27th.

A Merlin was seen between the 4th and 8th but did not linger for longer. A maximum of 35 Goldcrests were seen (17th) and two Firecrests were present on the 27th and 28th. Up to twelve Blue Tits and six Great Tits (both on the 26th) were seen towards the end of the month. A maximum of twelve Skylark moved over on the 25th with smaller numbers on a few other days. Sand Martins were logged on nine dates with a maximum of eleven on the 1st. On a huge day of Swallow passage on the 18th 17,400 are estimated to have passed through. Smaller, but still significant, numbers were counted on a few other days including 7,680 (including a pure white one) on the 19th and 7,000 on the 25th. An estimated five hundred House Martins also passed through on the 25th.

Maximum counts of migrant warblers include: 35 Chiffchaff on the 16th; five Willow Warbler on the 16th; 19 Blackcap on the 16th; ten Common Whitethroat on the 1st; two Grasshopper Warblers on the 25th; four Sedge Warblers on the 1st and 7th and a single Reed Warbler on the 10th.

Spotted Flycatchers were seen from the 10th with three on the 16th, 18th and 25th. There was a small arrival of Robins on the 25th when 50 were logged. There were two Pied Flycatchers on the 24th and a single record on the 26th. Two Whinchats were logged on the 23rd and a maximum of 22 Stonechats were recorded (18th). Small numbers of Wheatears passed through throughout the month with a maximum of nine on the 2nd. The only records of Yellow Wagtail were one on the 18th and two on the 19th. Seventeen Grey Wagtails moved through on the 16th. There were three Tree Pipits on the 1st and one on the 2nd.

Maximum finch counts include ten Chaffinch on the 26th, 177 Linnet (including one leucistic bird) on the 25th and 175 on the 19th and 56 Goldfinch on the 19th.


Eight Whooper Swans flew North on the 29th. Four White-fronted Geese flew North on the 27th and there were twelve on the 29th. In with the Canadas were a Greylag on four dates and two Barnacle Geese on seven dates. One Pale-bellied Brent Goose flew south on the 5th. Monthly maxima of other wildfowl include: 20 Teal on the 9th, 40 Mallard on the 23rd, six Shoveler on two dates, two Tufted Ducks on two dates and 61 Common Scoter on the 23rd. There was a Red-throated Diver and a Great Northern Diver on the 23rd.

Leach’s Petrels were seen on the 21st and 22nd with the former being taken by a Peregrine over the sea! Grey Herons were present on the 8th and 18th.

Red Kites were seen on the 6th, 9th (both singles), 27th (four) and 30th (two). Up to two Hen Harriers were present throughout. Up to two Sparrowhawks were seen on 14 dates.

A Golden Plover flew over on the 6th and there were two on the 27th and 30th. Fourteen Lapwing passed over on the 27th, there were also three on the 28th and four on the 29th. Up to 36 Oystercatcher and 33 Curlew were seen. Turnstone numbers peaked at 25 on the 11th. A single Purple Sandpiper was recorded on the 21st and there were six on the 29th. A Jack Snipe was at North Pond on the 12th and Common Snipe numbers peaked at twelve on the 27th.

Four Pomarine Skuas, two Arctic Skuas, two Long-tailed Skuas and seven Great Skuas passed on the 21st and there was an Arctic Skua and five Great Skuas on the 22nd. A Sandwich Tern was seen off Skomer Head on the 22nd. There were high counts of 249 Kittiwakes (17th), 357 Black-headed Gulls (29th), 42 Mediterranean Gulls (29th), 17 Common Gulls (31st), 132 Herring Gulls (27th) and 235 Great Black-backed Gulls (2nd).

Two Stock Doves were at the farm on the 30th. The largest movement of Wood Pigeons came on the 30th when 1,420 were counted. A Barn Owl was seen on the 8th. There were eight Short-eared Owls on the 15th. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was recorded on ten dates. Up to two Merlins were present. 700 Jackdaws were present on the 30th. Raven numbers dropped off throughout the month and there were three Rooks on the 30th.

In a great month for tits there were 32 Blue Tit (25th), eight Great Tit (6th), three Coal Tit (8th) and 44 Long-tailed Tit (27th). Skylark numbers peaked on the 25th when at least 800 passed over. Numbers of Swallows declined but peaked at 131 on the 6th. The last Sand Martin was seen on the 8th (one) and the last House Martin on the 10th (seven).

Peak counts of warblers include: 45 Goldcrest (12th), three Firecrest (27th), two Yellow-browed Warbler (18th), a Radde’s Warbler (20th), 22 Chiffchaff (26th), two Willow Warbler (26th and 27th), 18 Blackcap (1st) and a Common Whitethroat (1st).

Starling numbers built at the end of the month to 526 on the 31st. Thrush numbers peaked at: 90 Blackbird (27th), 21 Fieldfare (30th), 86 Song Thrush (27th), 310 Redwing (26th) and four Mistle Thrush (30th).

There were four Spotted Flycatchers on the 1st and two were recorded between the 2nd and 9th. A Red-breasted Flycatcher was present in North Valley on the 27th and there was a Pied Flycatcher in North Haven the previous day. Black Redstarts were seen on six dates with two on the 22nd. Wheatears were seen on nine dates with four on the 18th.

There were 33 House Sparrows on the 27th. Grey Wagtails were seen on seven dates with two seen on three of those. Bramblings were seen from the 26th with eight on the 27th. Chaffinch numbers peaked at 253 on the 26th. A Hawfinch was seen on the14th. A Bullfinch was recorded on the 27th. Greenfinch were seen on four dates with ten on the 25th. Linnet numbers peaked at 145 on the 6th. Redpolls were seen on seven dates with four on the 27th. Goldfinch numbers peaked at 41 on the 30th and Siskin at 31 on the 27th.