2012 Ramsey Island Systematic Bird Record

Chough on Ramsey Island St Davids Pembrokeshire Wales UK

Ramsey was inhabited from January 1st to December 31st (with absences from February 10-13 and November 9 – December 21). 131 species were recorded (127 in 2011), of which 39 were confirmed breeders (35 +1 probable breeder in 2011).

Recorders were principally Greg Morgan and Lisa Morgan with additional records from Nia Stephens, Derek Rees, Mike Chant, Ffion Rees, Tim Brooke, Steve Votier, Lewis James and RSPB volunteers. Many thanks to all.

2012 saw the 5 yearly Manx shearwater census. Numbers continue to increase with an estimate of 3,835 pairs in 2012 (up from 2,307 in 2007 and 849 in 1999 – the year before rat eradication). The small European storm petrel population is still present at the west coat site it was first discovered at in 2008 (min 5 AOS in 2012)

Guillemot numbers increased to 4,204 individuals, up from 3,438 at the last full census in 2007. This is the highest count on record and the first time the number has been over 4k. Razorbills were stable at 1,482 individuals while Kittiwakes fell to 175 AON, down from 204 in 2011 with continued poor productivity. Many Kittiwakes in the Glyma study plot failed to even lay this year indicating adults were possibly in poor condition. Puffins continue to ‘flirt’ with Ramsey (see below for more detail)

The number of breeding chough remained at 7 pairs (7 in 2011). They had a relatively disappointing year for breeding success compared to recent years with 14 fledging from 7 pairs (2.0 per pair, cf 3.14 per pair in the record year of 2011). This was caused largely by the loss of 2 nests at the incubation stage during fierce NE storm force winds in April. Lapwings increased from 2 breeding pairs to 3 and managed to fledge one young between them. Wheatears continue to maintain their population at over 100 pairs with 109 pairs recorded in 2012 (106 in 2011).

Stonechat continue to recover following their crash in 2009 and are back up to 19 pairs (as low as 6 pairs in 2010). The small storm petrel population first discovered on Ramsey in 2008 is still present with 5 responses achieved from a single visit in July. Chicks were heard for the first time this year.

From a records viewpoint, highlights were the first confirmed record of a great white egret (a possible was reported in 1995), Dartford warbler, grey phalarope and black guillemot (all 2nd records for Ramsey), barnacle goose, pale-bellied brent goose, black throated diver, firecrest, Leach’s petrel and yellow browed warbler.

UNDERLINED = confirmed breeding species

underlined = probable / possible breeding species


AOS = Apparently Occupied Site

AON = Apparently Occupied Nest

AOT = Apparently Occupied Territory

Mute Swan Single in Ramsey Sound on 16th May

Whooper Swan 5 west on 6th October

CANADA GOOSE Confirmed breeder. 1 pair (2 in 2011). The single pair was on Ynys Bery. No young seen. Max 24 feeding in central fields on 9th August

Barnacle Goose Flock of 55 flew over Ramsey before heading back to mainland on 31st August

Pale-bellied Brent Goose Single on central ponds on 10th April and 1 south past seawatching hide on 12th October

MALLARD Confirmed breeder. 2 pairs (1 in 2011). Recorded in most months up to December. Max 14 on 29th December

Teal Single on 29th March, 2 on 18th May, 6 on 24th August, recorded in small numbers on 6 dates in September, 2 on 11th and 5 on 14th October

Common scoter 7 logged in January then nothing until autumn passage. Much quieter this year with only 63 logged between 12th June and 16th October

Red–throated diver Singles on 1st and 22nd January with 3 on 20th. All south past hide.

Black-throated diver Single south past hide on 4th January

Great northern diver Singles south past hide on 2nd and 7th January

FULMAR Confirmed breeder. 284 AOS (302 in 2011). In the study plots, 34 fledged from 50 AOS giving productivity of 0.68 (0.57 in 2011). Present on ledges most of the year with occasional absences in winter. Absent from ledges for moult from 9th September to 6th November. Blue phase bird logged at sea on 4th January

MANX SHEARWATER Confirmed breeder. 5 yearly full census carried out. 3,835 pairs estimated (2,307 pairs in 2007). Continued recovery following predator eradication in 1999. First record of year was 2 birds at sea on 18th February. Present on land from at least 25th March. Last record of year was one bird south on 17th October. 230 fledglings ringed in study plots.

Balearic shearwater Winter records: 1 on 1st January with 2 on 2nd and 7th. Autumn records: singles on 11th and 24th September

Sooty shearwater 1 south on 24th September.

STORM PETREL Confirmed breeder on Ramsey (min 5 AOS), no census on Bishops and Clerks but assumed to have bred (149 AOS in 2010).

Leach’s Petrel 1 on 11th September and 2 on 18th. Both south past seawatch hide.

Gannet See Grassholm systematic list for breeding data. Recorded in all months including less usual winter records on 9 dates in January (max 6 on 20th) and 1 on 27th December – all winter records of birds in feeding frenzies with kittiwakes and auks.

Cormorant Offshore in most months in small numbers. Small spring and autumn movements noted with 31 north between 19th Feb and 28th April and 29 north between 23rd Aug and 6th

SHAG Confirmed breeder. 15 AON, mainly on the B&C (20 AON in 2008). Recorded in all months.

Little Egret 4 on 20th July on the lower central pond. 1 north up Ramsey Sound on 26th August

Great White Egret Flew north up the Sound on 15th May then cut across the island being mobbed by gulls before heading west out to sea (first confirmed island record following a ‘possible’ in 1995) – GM

Grey heron First record of year a single on 6th April. Recorded in June, July and October. July saw the highest number of records (6) with 3 of those on 20th

Red kite Another good year. Singles on 28th March, 21st and 24th April. 31 logged over 6 dates in May, max 16 on 18th and 9 on 25th. 4 on 4th and 5 on 22nd September. Singles on 3 dates in October with 2 on 21st.

Hen Harrier Single from 23rd March to 8th April. Single on 29th and 30th October. All ring tails.

Sparrowhawk Singles spread evenly over 9 dates between 19th Feb and 7th Oct.

BUZZARD Confirmed breeder. 2 pairs (2 in 2011). Min 2 fledged. Present all year. Max 7 at any one time.

KESTREL Confirmed breeder. 1 pair (1 probable pair in 2011). Outcome unknown. Recorded in all months. Usually 1 or 2 birds (breeding pair). Occasionally 3 in October

Merlin A female or young bird present on 3rd Jan. Single female /juv logged on 6 dates in March (probably the same bird) and up to 26th April. Single on 1st May then one female / juv from 12th October to end of month

PEREGRINE Confirmed breeder. 2 pairs held territory (2 in 2011). 3 fledged from the Garlic site (presumably the pair that had previously bred at Aber Mawr with limited success). Second pair at Glyma had 2 chicks in nest on 12th May but final outcome uncertain. Likely that at least 1 fledged from here Birds recorded in all months.

OYSTERCATCHER Confirmed breeder. 23 pairs (31 pairs in 2009). Recorded in all months but only small winter numbers – max 10.

Ringed plover 1 on 3rd April

Golden plover 30 on 3rd February; 6 on 13th March; singles on 26th April, 6th May and 9th October

NORTHERN LAPWING Confirmed breeder. 3 pairs (2 in 2011). One young fledged (2 in 2011). Recorded in all months apart from August. No large winter numbers – max 12 on 19th January

Purple sandpiper Recorded from February to April on the usual winter site at Penrhyn Twll. Max 11on 16th February and again from 13th August to end of October, max 16 on 20th October. All records from Ffion Rees of Voyages of Discovery.

Turnstone 5 south on 14th May – at sea

Dunlin Singles 7th and 20th May and 4th June with 2 on 12th July

Green sandpiper Singles on 15th July, 10th August and 9th September with 2 on 5th and 19th August.

Common sandpiper 3 on 9th August and 1 on 23rd September

Redshank 1 on 13th July

Bar-tailed godwit Single on NE coast on 3rd June.

Curlew A continuation of the poor run of form for records of this species (as was 2010 and 2011). Monthly maxima (zero if month not listed): Feb (1), April (7), May (38), June (9) July (5), August (11), September (4), October (1).

Whimbrel A poor year for records. 45 logged on spring passage during April and May – first record 19th April, max 23 on 6th May. Lighter autumn passage with 18 logged between late June and the last record on 2nd September.

Woodcock Singles on 21st, 23rd and 24th October probably all relate to the same bird

Common snipe Singles on 4 dates in February. Logged on 5 dates in March (max 2). Single on 2nd April. 20 logged between 9th August and 22nd December, max 5 on any one day

Grey Phalarope 2 on 11th September. At sea off the north end. Both landed together on water for a time before heading off south. 2nd and 3rd records for Ramsey (GM)

Great skua A single on 25th August for the first of the year. 6 south on 30th August, 6 logged in September.

Arctic skua 3 on 30th August were the first of the year. 15 in total during September and a single on 16th October. Mainly dark phase birds

Black-headed gull Present in Ramsey Sound in numbers of up to 200+ from January through to March. Not seen then until 29th June when a single juv appeared in the Sound. Regular offshore after that with peak numbers in autumn which included movement as well as residents (max 200+ south on 12th October).

Common gull Single on 20th Jan with 3 on 12th Oct (2 adults and 1 juv)

Mediterranean gull Singles offshore on 23rd Feb and 12th Oct (both adults)

HERRING GULL Confirmed breeder. Not censused – due 2013 (277 AON in 2008). Present in all months.


BACKED GULL Confirmed breeder. Not censused – due 2013 (266 AON in 2008). First record of year on 27th February but probably back before this. Not logged after October.


BACKED GULL Confirmed breeder. Not censused – due 2013 (25 AON in 2008). Present in all months.

Little Gull A first winter bird in Ramsey Sound on 1st January

KITTIWAKE Confirmed breeder. 175 AON (204 in 2011). Productivity 0.18 (0.15 in 2011). Breeding numbers down on 2011 and once again poor productivity at the Glyma study site. Anecdotal evidence from local boat skippers that productivity was better at the Ynys Cantwr sub-colony. Back on ledges sporadically from 6th March. Large movements of birds south in autumn, max 260/hr on 16th October. Present offshore throughout winter. Numbers of 500+ were a common site off the Bishops and Clerks in December

Sandwich tern 26 north up Ramsey Sound over 3 days in April. 8 south on 31st August and 13 south on 14th September

Auk sp. Max 1368/hr south on 22nd January. Mainly guillemots and 75% in summer plumage

PUFFIN Confirmed breeder (B&C only). Max spring count on North Bishop was 42 on 13th June (58 in 2011). Numbers increased around the North Bishop with the return of non breeders in July to 72 on 11th. Once again there were a good number of sightings of birds on the water close to the cliffs around the west coast of Ramsey. 33 birds were logged in May over 9 dates (max 17 on 24th). 158 were logged in June over 15 dates (usually small numbers but max 30 on 12th June). 43+ were logged in July over 9 dates up to last record on 25th (max 10+ on 17th) It is impossible to say how many of these records are duplicate birds. Of significance this year were birds coming close to making landfall, or possible doing so, on 14th June (2 birds) and 9th July (5 birds) – these records from Ffion Rees and Mike Chant. Thanks to 1000 Islands and Voyages of Discovery for all boat based records. In particular Ffion Rees, Mike Chant and Zeman McCready

Black Guillemot A summer plumage adult in Ramsey Sound on 11th June and then again from 18th June – 21st June. 2nd record for Ramsey

GUILLEMOT Confirmed breeder. 5 yearly census revealed 4204 individuals (3438 in 2007). This is the highest count on record and the first time it has been over 4k. Autumn and winter ledge occupancy noted on several dates. Seen offshore most winter months, c 50% back in summer plumage by end December.

RAZORBILL Confirmed breeder. 5 yearly census revealed 1482 individuals (1467 in 2007). Ledges virtually empty by 19th July but one late chick remained at Foel Fawr on 31st July. Regular autumn and winter sightings offshore.

FERAL PIGEON Confirmed breeder. Not censused. Present in all months.

Woodpigeon Singles on 27th March, 2nd May, 6th and 7th July.

Collared dove A good year for records. First was a single bird on 19th April then May saw 55 logged over 8 dates of which 32 occurred on 20th and 15 on 25th. 2 on 9th June, 1 juv on 20th and finally a single bird on 7th July

Turtle dove 1 on 14th May in farmhouse valley (LM)

Cuckoo Singles on 1st and 17th May were the only records.

Barn owl Single flushed by day in farmhouse valley on 9th October was the only record.

LITTLE OWL Confirmed breeder. 4 pairs (3 in 2011). Bred successfully. Young heard but none seen this year. Recorded from March to October

SHORT-EARED OWL 1 pair bred in the southern heathland (0 in 2011) fledgling at least 1 young. A possible second pair held territory on Carn Ysgubor in April but nothing confirmed (a bird was flushed several times by day but might just have been the partner bird from the first pair). A single on 30th Oct was the only autumn and winter record

Swift Recorded between 26th April and 14th August. 66 logged, mainly north and east, in this time (max 40 on 20th June).

SKYLARK Confirmed breeder. 13 pairs (13 in 2011). Occasional winter records. Autumn passage ran from 28th September to 3rd November consisting of 372+ mainly west.

Sand martin First record of year on 19th March (12th in 2011). A lighter year for passage saw 62 logged moving north during spring. Autumn passage saw just 15 birds logged between 9th August and the last record of the year on 12th October.

SWALLOW Confirmed breeder. 13 pairs (10 in 2011). First record of the year was 1 on 19th March (26/3 in 2010). Spring passage: 5735+ between 19/3 and 16/5. Unusually autumn passage was less and consisted of just 2712+ south between 9/8 and 27/10. Of note were 2 late fledglings from a nest on 7/10 (reported to BTO)

House Martin First record of year was 1 on 8th April. 43 logged mainly north in spring and 26 east in autumn, last record 7th October

MEADOW PIPIT Confirmed breeder. 57 pairs (66 in 2011). Present in all months apart from December. Max flock 100+ on several dates in September with birds moving through.

Tree pipit Singles on 24th April and 1st May.

ROCK PIPIT Confirmed breeder. 26 pairs (30 in 2011). Singing from 10th March. Present all year.

Yellow wagtail Singles on 5th August (juv) and 26th September (all flavissima).

Grey Wagtail Single on 13th September and on 5 dates in October with 2 on 29th.

PIED WAGTAIL Confirmed breeder. 4 pairs (5 in 2011). Recorded between 19th Feb and 7th October. No records in January, November or December.

White wagtail A good year with singles on 18th and 24th April, 22nd July, 9th, 28th and 29th October. September saw 10 logged over 4 dates (max 55 on 22nd).

WREN Confirmed breeder. 40 pairs (44 in 2011). Present throughout.

DUNNOCK Confirmed breeder. 9 pairs (7 in 2011). Present all year in small numbers, singing from 10th March

Robin Did not breed (last bred in 2009). Present from Jan-March and again from September-December. Max 20+ in autumn, down to 10+ in winter.

Black redstart Present on 5 dates in March probably relating to 2 birds (female type on 2 dates, male on 3 dates). Single female types on 22nd, 30th and 31st October could have related to 2 birds while a female type was present on our return to the island following a winter break on 21st December to end of month.

Common redstart Male on 28th March, female on 1st May and a juv on 12th July

Whinchat Male on 1st May, 2 females on 2nd May and a female (possibly one from the 2nd) on 3rd May.

STONECHAT Confirmed breeder. 19 pairs (10 in 2011). Continued their recovery following the cold weather crash of 2010. Present in all months but only sporadic winter records, max 2 in December.

NORTHERN WHEATEAR Confirmed breeder. 109 pairs (106 in 2011). First record of year was a male on 17th March (13th in 2011). First juv seen on 27th May (28th in 2011). Last record was 2 birds on 25th October (3rd Nov in 2011).

Greenland wheatear 20 on 28th April with an influx of Northern Wheatears was followed by the spectacular site of a huge fall of 500+ during late afternoon on 1st May, most concentrated into just a few of the central fields

BLACKBIRD Confirmed breeder. 14 pairs (8 in 2011). Present in all months. Max 26 on 24th Oct.

Ring Ouzel Male on 3rd April with a different male present from 8th-15th April. Female / juv on19th October with a male on 22nd.

Fieldfare Single on 26th Feb, on 3 dates in mid March and 22nd April. 12 from 24th Oct to 29th (max 7) and 5 up to 8th November.

Song thrush Present on and off in small numbers from Jan-April (max 6). Some movement noted in October and November with 113 logged up to 8th Nov (max 15 on 14th Oct). Up to 4 present at end of December.

Redwing Singles on 1st and 28th Feb with 2 on 15th March were the only winter records. First autumn record was 1 on 7th October then 133 logged over 12 dates in the month (max 70 on 24th). 7 logged in November up to 8th.

Garden Warbler 1 on 16th April

Blackcap First record of year was 3 on 27th March (23/3 in 2011). A further 11 logged in March after that followed by 65 logged in April over 12 dates (max 15 on 20th). 114 logged in May over 9 dates. Large influx at start of month with 47 on 1st May rising to 54 the day after. The first returning birds were 2 juvs on 20th July then just a further 17 were logged up to the last record of year on 30th Oct.

WHITETHROAT Confirmed breeder. 7 pairs (9 in 2011). First record of year was not until1st May when 5 were logged (17th April in 2011). Last record of the year was early on 6th September.

Dartford Warbler 1 on 27th October (2nd record for Ramsey) – LM

Sedge Warbler First record of year was on 1st May. 13 logged over 7 dates that month. 1 on 12th October was the only autumn record

Grasshopper warbler Singles on 24th and 26th April could have related to the same bird. Also singles on 1st and 6th May.

Reed warbler Singles on 2nd and 6th May were probably the same bird – both in same location in Waterings Valley

Chiffchaff First record of year was 1 on 12th March (26th in 2011). Logged on 12 dates after that with 8 max on 24/3. 9

logged in April and 14 in May. A bird singing in the garden on 26th June could have been a late bird leaving or an early one returning! Return passage began on 24th July but again fairly quiet with a max total of 27 logged up to the last record on 29th October

Willow warbler First record 2 on 27th March (2nd April in 2011). A max total of 609 ‘bird days’ logged in April and May (max 200+ on 20/4). Return passage from 12th July when the first returning juveniles was logged. Much lighter than spring with a max 71 ‘bird days’ logged through to the last record of the year on 14th October.

Yellow-browed warbler 1 on 6th October around the farmhouse and farm buildings (LM)

Goldcrest First of year on 28th February. Logged on 7 dates in May (max 9 on 18/3). 2 singles in April and 2 in May. First returning bird on 31st August. 24 logged in September over 9 dates (max 7 on 27th). 112 logged over 12 dates in October (max 20 on 3 dates). Last record 3 on 6th November. A considerable improvement in records compared to recent years which saw a large downturn in numbers following cold winters in 2009 and 2010.

Firecrest 1 on 6th October in farmhouse garden.(LM)

Spotted flycatcher A good year. 29 logged in May with a max of 10 on 14th. A single on 17th June, 5 singles through August and 3 in September with the last record on 27th.

Pied flycatcher Only 2 records this year. Singles on 19th and 31st August. Both female/juv

GREAT TIT Confirmed breeder. 1 pair. This is the first breeding record since the early 1960’s. Bred in stone wall near to generator house. 6 fledged from the first brood on 31st May with a minimum of 2 fledging from a second brood on 21st July. The breeding pair were present all year, overwintering on the island.

Blue tit 2 birds present from Jan up to 1st March. A single then appeared on 26th March. Next record after that was a single on 18th June. 2 singles in August before becoming more regular in September with a max of 6 on 19th. A single bird was present from at least 21st Dec to the end of the year.

Long-tailed tit A single on 21st Oct was the first of the autumn. 2 on 22nd Oct, 10 on 30th, 6 on 4th Nov and 10 on 5th. Most around the farmhouse garden but also recorded at Aber Myharan.

MAGPIE Confirmed breeder. 1 pair (0 in 2011). No young fledged. 1 or 2 birds present from Jan through April then no records until 5 on 22nd Sept. Singles on 6th and 22nd October the only other records in the year.

Jay 1 east on 19th October

JACKDAW Confirmed breeder. Not censused but bred in holes on east and south facing cliffs as usual. Present most of year but post breeding absence from 6th July to end of August. Regular flocks of 200+ in October.

CHOUGH Confirmed breeder. 8 territorial pairs (8 in 2011) of which 7 bred (7 in 2011), fledging 14 young – 2.0 per breeding pair (3.14 in 2011). Productivity down on recent years, largely due to poor weather in April (force 10 NE winds) which saw 2 nests abandoned at the incubation stage.

Max flock size from transects per month:


7 7 14 18 18 21 20 12 23 12 10 10

CARRION CROW Confirmed breeder. 6 pairs (6 in 2011). Present all year. Some local movement in autumn with max flocks of 60 in October

RAVEN Confirmed breeder. 4 pairs (3 in 2011). 8 fledged in total. Present all year. Max flock of 30 on 6th October.

Starling Present from Jan-March and again from June-Dec. Flocks of up to 200 at times in late winter. Autumn movement consisted of 1525+ logged through Oct and Nov, mainly east. 6 on 30th Dec was the last record of the year.

House Sparrow Another good year for records of a species that is becoming more numerous in recent years. Logged on 8 dates in March, a single male present most of April (singing at times), a single on 25th June, 4 on 20th and 2 on 22nd July and 5 through October.

Chaffinch Present in all months apart from May, June, November and December. Small numbers in winter and late summer with notable movement in October of 277+ west through the month

Brambling 2 west on 29th October with 5 west on 30th. 3 on 3rd November and 1 on 8th.

Greenfinch 1 on 28th March was on the only record until autumn. 32 logged over 8 dates in October (max 10 on27/10). 4 on 1st November were the last of the year

Goldfinch Some spring movement noted with 379 logged in April and May (max 150 east on 23/4 and 25 on 3/5). 6 records in July then nothing until October when 250 were logged through the month of which 175 occurred on 7th. Not clear which direction the autumn birds were moving as they tended to arrive from the mainland and depart the same way.

Siskin No spring records. 33 west through October. 8 on 6th November and 1 on 8th.

Bullfinch Single males on 13th Jan and 1st Feb. Single female on 22nd Oct and again from 27th-31st.

LINNET Confirmed breeder. Not censused (78 pairs in 2011). First record of year was 6 on 19th Feb. Recorded in all months thereafter up to end of October. Max flock sizes of 50-80 birds.. No large movements noted in autumn

Lesser redpoll 7 logged in May, 1 ad plus 2 juvs in garden on 12th and 13th July. Single adult on 18th July. 1 on 5th August. Singles on 4 dates in October.

Reed Bunting Singles on 16th and 26th Feb and 21st March. 1 or 2 birds logged most days in October with a max of 3 on 14th. 1 on 7th November was last of year.

Lapland bunting Single present around central ponds from 12th-14th October and possibly the same bird on 19th October.