Gower Scarce and Rarity



Interesting Birds

I have created this section as an avenue to show out some of my images of some of the scarce  and rare species locally. From this you can see that Gower has  produced some incredible birds in rarity context in recent years.

I hope you enjoy the images and comments. All images are my own and are copyright of the Photographer.


at Three Crosses in 2017

This bird had been seen several weeks before up at Usk Res in Carmarthanshire before it was found on one of  the Gower commons. A very rare and beautiful visitor to the UK

Barred Warbler                                            

Mewslade Cross, October 2016

On view for just 25 minutes before disappearing off towards Middleton. This was the first County record. This species is renowned for its skulking behaviour for long periods of time and a real scarce migrant to Wales from Europe


Middleton, Rhossili

A very scarce spring or summer visitor from Europe to the Gower – this one spent several days by Mewslade valley feeding in fields  often vanishing for long periods.

Woodchat Shrike

Frog Moor, August2017:

This bird spent several days on Frog moor on the edge of Cefn Bryn. Woodchat Shrikes are a very scarce visitor to Wales.

White Rumped Sandpiper


Weobley Track, September 2012: This American Vagrant turned up at the same time as 2 Pectoral Sandpipers and a Buff Breasted Sandpiper on the same area of Salt marsh. All are American vagrants which apparently had been brought by the same weather system and deposited on the North Gower shore.

Iberian Chiffchaff

May – July 2015, Nedd Valley

This occurrence was really quite unbelievable. In May 2015 I discovered a singing male Iberian Chiffchaff which was just the the 3rd occasion this species had ever been seen in Wales. As time went on it became clear that there was a pair breeding in a Gower woodland which successfully produced two broods.

This species from Spain and Portugal had never bred outside its core range and a full documentation of this special pair’s observations, song variants and breeding experiences can be read in the journal British Birds, February 2018, Vol.111, 100-108 – with photos and links to videos, recordings and sonograms.

The species’ distinctive song is the key to its identification and the previous Welsh occurrence had been a long staying bird at Pwll near Llanelli.


Thayers Gull

Burry Holms, Jan/Feb 2014

This juvenile bird was just the 4th fully accepted Thayers Gull for the UK and was present for a few weeks around Burry Holms. It occurred at the time of a national influx of American Gulls, Glaucous Gulls and some hybrid gulls.

Booted / Sykes Warbler

Middleton, September 

I found this bird in 2017. The identification of these two species is one of the trickiest species pair in a European context – as even the measurements can overlap as well as some plumage characters. There also is  another little known western race of Sykes Warbler .(Svenson 2017) which does not help matters with the identification. Its behavior feeding constantly  in the canopy of the tallest trees was a pro Sykes Warbler feature.

In the photos it can be seen that sometimes it suggests Booted and in others Sykes. To touch on deeper identification points of the bird – the primary pattern is estimated from photos to be suggestive of Sykes or in the overlap zone of the two species. The bill was also estimated as been in the overlap zone. The supercilian and slight dark tip to the bill in some photos was suggestive of Booted although Sykes can also show these features. (Svenson 2019)

This was  a true eastern vagrant to Wales. It was accepted by the British Birds Rarities Committee as a Booted / Sykes Warbler.

Snow Bunting                                   

Whitford Sands, Jan 2017

Whitford Sands, Feb, 2012

Weobley track Oct 2019

Pallas Warbler

Middleton, Nov 2016

This was just the 3rd record for Gower the first I had found in the very same trees many years before and interestingly this  is the area with the majority of rare warbler sightings.

Yellow Browed Warbler

Middleton, Oct 2016

Each October these delightful warblers occur in variable numbers around Rhossili.

October. 2016 was the best year to date where I saw around 35 birds around Rhossili – the conditions of constant easterly winds across to the Uk saw its greatest influx ever that year nationwide


Lapland Bunting

Weobley, Sept 2016

“Flava” Type Yellow Wagtail – Blue Headed Wagtail

This juvenile Yellow ‘Flava’ Wagtail arrived in August 2017 with a nice movement of Yellow Wagtails – here seen in company of a British Yellow Wagtail in the foreground.

Water Pipit

Wernffrwd, April 2017 – Summer Plumage aged bird siting out High Tide birds are


Black Redstart

Briton Ferry, November 2016

This is a  occasional winter and autumn visitor from Europe.

Glaucous Gull

Wernfrrwd. Feb 2013.

An occasional winter vistor from the far North.

Common ( Mealy ) Redpoll.


Glynneath Feb-March 2018


This was the first county record. A truly lovely Redpoll visiting the feeders in my garden. An irruptive scarce winter migrant from Europe.