Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Wales and the usual suspects again

Our annual Welsh pilgrimage took place this week and didn't disappoint.
Common Buzzard
First on route to Skomer we stopped off at the Wetlands Centre in Newport (a 7 mile detour) and after walking the wrong way around the reserve costing us an additional 3km we finally found the target reeling away a few hundred yards from the car park. The bird showed really well and down to just a few feet away.

Savi's Warbler
We moved on to the Deer Park at Marloes and I booked on a round island boat trip as landing on Skomer was fully booked. (Tuesday is always tricky as they don't run boats on Monday)
We walked the headland finding first Wheatears then a pair of Chough flying over calling. Ravens then took our attention before a Fulmar came along to Jim a much needed year tick. From our vantage point on the Deer Park we scoped the see to find it full of Guillemot, Razorbill and Puffins. Gannets hunted and both Shag and Cormorant flew past. I boarded the boat and headed off around the Island in calm waters and enjoyed close waters of the auks feeding and a pod of Dolphin drifting along.

Puffin in flight
We checked in to our digs and then headed off to Strumble Head where we watched as the Manx Shearwaters returned from a day at sea. Gannets and more Dolpin also entertained us here.
On route we had diverted to find Dipper at Blackpool mill which usually pays off and did again this year but we had an added bonus with a Buzzard taking advantage of the gardeners strimming which was obviously moving a few rodents for the bird to feast on. The photo opportunity was too good to miss.

Common Buzzard with kill
This morning we headed off early to Dinas RSPB. The weather was against us with grey skies and constant rain but we soldiered on and managed to find our target birds. Pied Flycatchers were visible coming and going from there nest boxes and five pairs of Spotted Flycatcher was seen along the boardwalk area.
Plenty of Wood Warblers called and one showed very well for us. We had to walk a bit further to finally find our first Tree Pipits of 2014 but we did find a couple calling which showed high up in the branches. Redstarts seem to have had a bad year here and only a couple were seen. On exiting I had a chat with the guy that reports on breeding performance at the reserve and he travels up from London to spend a month each year ringing etc which I suppose is a tough gig but someone has to do it.

Wood Warbler
Our final trip was up to Gilfach Farm where the rain again made for a rather damp experience. Although the Redstarts where coming and going and a pair of Pied Fly had set up nest in the car park the camera didn't much action. Pip explained that the reserve management have put in new rules this year.
1) No tripods or monopods to be used around the forecourt
2) No feeding the birds on any part of the reserve
3) No playing of tapes or recordings to lure birds

All three sensible rules brought about I suppose by people over stepping the mark on all fronts.
I totally agree with the recording part as these are breeding birds but can't help think they've missed a trick with regards to photographers. Most would pay on site to feed and make a donation for being able to set up in the courtyard to enjoy the stunning birds on site. Good for the Photographers, good for the birds and good for the trust you would have thought????

Anyway a good trip that has moved the year list on to 223.
I can't wait to return.

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