Scientific: Riparia riparia

Cymraeg: Gwennol Y Glennydd

Locally common summer visitor. Breeds along the lower main river valleys, particularly the Tywi, where there are exposed embankments. Population varies from year to year, with around 3000 nesting pairs in a good year. Autumn roosts occur at coastal reedbeds often in large numbers.

1982
First arrival, 2, Tywyn Point, 28 March 63 nest holes in colony, near Rhandirmwyn, with slightly larger colony near Dryslwyn. Last record 22 September

1983
First and last, Rhandirmwyn, 9 April & 14 September. Decrease in breeding pairs noted at nesting colonies at Rhandirmwyn and Dryslwyn, though fluctuations may sometimes be due to disturbance.

1984
First and last, 3, Llandeilo, 3 April and 21 September. Further drastic decrease in breeding paris, e.g. Penybont colony on River Tywi, Rhandirmwyn, 12 pairs c.f. 64 pairs in 1979, 45 in 1983 Maxa 100+, Dryslwyn, 22 June.

1985
First, Llandeilo, 7 April last, Tygwyn Pool, Ffairfach, 23 September. 1, Llanarthne, 7 November, was thought to be partially disabled. 11 pairs nested Penybont, Rhandirmwyn.

1986
First arrivals, 2, Ffairfach, 1 Castle Woods Llandeilo, 18 March, last, 2, Rhandirmwyn, 16 September.

1987
First, 5, Upper Lliedi Reservoir, 28 March, last, Rhandirmwyn, 13 September. A definite increase in numbers this year. 8 nesting colonies counted, River Tywi, Dryslwyn area, held a total of c440 pairs, the largest colonies of c120, near Pentre Dafis and Ty Pica. Assemblies of c100, near Llanegwad, ; Maesydderwen Pond, near Ffairfach, 2 May.

1988
First arrival, Llangadog, 10 March, c100, Tygwyn Pond, 18 apr. Continued increase in numbers nesting along River Tywi and its tributaries. 1113 nests counted in 17 colonies (see separate article by Julian Freise). Adult, ringed Co. Wicklow, Ireland 28/6/87 monitored at Llangennech 15/8/88, where 24 ringed.

1989
First arrival, Penclacwydd, 15 March, last, Dryslwyn, 8 October, c1400 nest holes along River Tywi between Pont Cilsan and Carmarthen, with 6 colonies of 100+ (2 of 150+); c1500 hawking, Witchett Pool, 11 July.

1990
First, 2 Penclacwydd WWT, 15 March and Witchett Pool last Rhandirmwyn, 20 Spet. Juvenile ringed, Dryslwyn, 24 June 1989, recaptured Loir et cher, France, 20 days later.

1991
First arrival Talley 18 March. 77 pairs nested River Tywi at Penybont, Rhandirmwyn.

1992
The first arrival in spring was 1 seen at Ffairfach on 10th March. A survey along the Tywi between Carmarthen and Llandovery revealed 1370 nests, whilst 71 occupied holes were counted on the Tywi in the Rhandirmwyn area. A few pairs were also present on the Loughor below Llanedi.

1993
The first arrival in spring was 1 seen at Sandy Water Park on 10th March.

No complete count was carried out along the Tywi, but there were 28 nest holes at Whitemill, 57 at Llanegwad, around 400 between Dryslwyn Bridge and Ty Picca Farm, 122 in the Llandeilo area and 57 at Rhandirmwyn fifty nest holes were noted on the Brân at Llwynjack Bridge, Llandovery. An interesting observation was made at Whitemill on 15th May, when the whole colony engaged in mobbing a large black slug which was moving towards a nest hole, perhaps perceiving the slug as a more dangerous predator (snake?).

The last reported record of the year were 6 at Penclacwydd on 12th September.

1994
The first record of the year was of 2 at Sandy Water Park on 9th March.

A total of 2089 nests were located along the Tywi and its tributaries: Tywi – 1692, Cennen – 34, Bran (Llandovery) – 100, Cothi – 128, Dulais (Talley) – 22, Marlais (Llansawel) – 96, Dulais (Llanwrda) – 17. Elsewhere 4 pairs bred on the Gwili at Hendy and there were 15 – 20 nests on the Teifi at Maesycrugiau.

1995
The first spring record was 1 at Penclacwydd on 12th March.

At least 2915 nest holes were counted along the Rivers Tywi, Cothi and their tributaries. Some sites went uncounted, though the above total still represents a 40% increase on the 1994 tally of 2089 nests. This change was reflected nationally where a 52% increase in the number of occupied 10km squares was recorded during the BTO’s Breeding Birds Survey and an 89% increase in nest holes in the Waterways Bird Survey.

In the west of the county where the species is scarce 20 nest holes were found on the Tâf near St. Clears. Allowing for unrecorded nests on the Teifi and Gwendraeth Fach and the substantial numbers on the Loughor (counted from the West Glamorgan bank), the total population for 1995 easily exceeded 3000 pairs.
A white individual was at Tygwyn, Ffairfach on 4th July.

1996
The first spring record was of 1 at Llandeilo on 16th March.

No surveys were conducted, although 138 pairs bred on the Tywi near Rhandirmwyn. Breeding success was adversely affected by high water levels throughout most of the spring/early summer.

1997
The first record was at Machynys Pond on 9th March.

There was a record count of 245 occupied nest-holes at 3 sites along the Tywibelow Penybont, Rhandirmwyn.

1998
The first bird arrived on 11th March at Penclacwydd. There was a spring gathering of 103 at Sandy Water Park on 13th April. The colony on the Tywi at Rhandirmwyn numbered 101 nest holes, a decline on 1997. The last birds of the year occurred at Llanllwni where 5 birds were sighted on 6th October

1999
Six were seen at Sandy Water Park on 26th March with an influx of 20 over the Afon Cothi at Edwinsford by 4th April. The only colony counted on the Tywi was one of 55 nest holes at Llangunnor on 11th June. At least 15 pairs were on the Afon Llwchwr South of Plas Mawr on 31st May. A late-departing flock was noted roosting at Ty Gwyn Pond, Ffairfach on 24th September. The last bird of the autumn was a Sandy Water Park on 5th October.

2000
The first record was at Penclacwydd on 15th March.

2001
First reported from Llandeilo on 8th March. Last ones – 4 – at Pendacwydd on 19th September, highest count here was 450 in April.

2002
First reported from Sandy Water Park, Penclacwydd and Dryslwyn (Migration Watch), all on 17th March, with 3, 1 and 4 birds respectively. c50 were at Sandy Water Park on 5th April. By the Afon Sychlwch. near Llanddeusant Trout Farm, there were 4 pairs excavating nest holes on 25th. C40 pairs colonised the ash cliffs at Cefn Padrig, Burry Port. counted on 9th June. Singles at, or near. Usk Reservoir on 10th May and 7th July. Highest counts at Penclacwydd were 200 in April and 110 in May.

2003
An early bird for Rhydcymerau, on 11th March. 2/3 at Llandeilo on 21st. 35 nr Paxton’s Tower on 27th, c30 at Carreg-Sawdde Common, Llangadog on 30th and 50+ at Dryslwyn on 7th April. As with several other summer migrants no records of departure at the end of the season.
… An inspection of a small colony on 25 Jun at Typicca showed that
2 had 2 young
4 had 3 young
1 had 4 young
4 were uncountable
6 were empty
1 had been scratched out by a mammal.
A week later 2 more had been scratched out but all the young had fledged and one pair had relaid a second clutch…’.

First at Penclalcwydd on 14th March, maximum count of 240 in April.

2004
Swiss Valley, Upper Reservoir March 21st. Thereafter 61 Sandy Water Park April 3rd and 100 Morfa/Machynys April 20th. 40 pairs nesting at Cefn Padrig and 2 pairs excavating nest holes in a dilapidated barn at Llandysul in May The latter were not successful.

2005
Earliest 3 Gelli Aur March 12th then c50 pairs Cilsan Bridge March 28th. In summer 1518 active nest holes were found at 19 different sites in the Tywi and Cothi.

2006
The first bird of Spring reported was at Penclacwydd March 25th although 70 around Ashpits Pond March 27th was the first record of any numbers. 150 had assembled at Kidwelly Quay April. 1st and 500 Coed Bach by April 20th. Birds from nearby breeding sites surely made up the 540 reported in the Upper Loughor June 27th.

2007
The first of the year was seen at Llandeilo March 7th. The only nesting colonies repotted were 137 nests at Cothi River, 20 nests at Dolgarreg and 40 nests at Cwm Ifor.