About UsGet to know us a little better
West Coast Birdwatching is run by Dave Astins, who started visiting Pembrokeshire in the early 1980s with his family and moved there for good in 1988. Dave’s interest in birds started at an early age and his earliest birding memory is watching a Brambling in his garden in Sussex (as well as a blurred photo of a Hoopoe in his grandfather’s garden in Greatstone, Kent, but that doesn’t really count as he never saw it in person!).
Dave has travelled and watched birds across the UK, Ireland and further afield, including Spain, Turkey, Morocco and North America, from California to Quebec. His real expertise, though, lies in the birds of Pembrokeshire, and over the last 26 years has developed an extensive knowledge of the birds of Pembrokeshire and where to find them.
Dave has been a very active birdwatcher in Pembrokeshire over the years, including undertaking national surveys such as the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Breeding Birds Survey and Wetland Bird Survey. In years gone by he has been chair of the Pembrokeshire Bird Group and a member of the Welsh Records Panel, who adjudicate on scarce birds in Wales. His photographs have featured regularly in the annual Pembrokeshire Bird Report, and he was a key contributor to Birding in Pembrokeshire, written by Jon Green and Owen Roberts.
His real passion is discovering scarce and rare birds, and this has taken him to all corners of Pembrokeshire, but his ‘local patch’ is the Dale and Marloes Peninsula. Over the years he has found a long list of ‘good’ birds, including Black Scoter (1st for Wales), 2 Isabelline Wheatears (the only 2 ever in Pembrokeshire), several Kumlien’s Gulls (including the 1st for Wales), Black Duck (2nd for Pembrokeshire), Laughing Gull, Semi-palmated Sandpiper (2nd for Pembrokeshire), American Wigeon (2nd for Pembrokeshire), Ring-necked Duck, several Surf Scoters, Icterine Warbler, 2 Short-toed Larks, Little Bunting, 2 Buff-breasted Sandpiper and numerous scarcities including Yellow-browed Warblers, Wrynecks and other locally unusual species.
Dave lives in Haverfordwest and has a ‘day job’ as a senior manager with Carmarthenshire County County Council, being responsible for (amongst other things) the school catering service, school admissions, children & young people’s participation & children’s rights, business support functions, and school management information systems & data.