Tuesday, 3 May 2016

North coast - Fishguard to Newport

During a walk along the north coast today, between Fishguard and Newport there seemed to be quite a strong westerly movement of hirundines taking place during the morning. Sometimes the flocks were mixed; at other times they were mainly swallows but passage was regular between c.10:00 and 14:00hrs. In all there could have been 1,000 or more birds involved. All were heading west - of which an estimated 70% were swallows, 20% were house martins and 10% were sand martins.

In addition, small flocks of goldfinches and redpolls were were also regularly moving west along the coast between 10:00 and 11:30. In excess of 150 goldfinches and 30 redpolls were noted; there were probably more. Presumably these birds, like the hirundines, could have been heading for Ireland?

Lesser whitethroats were singing at several points and in one patch of coastal scrub there were at least 4 feeding close together. A male cuckoo near Fishguard called briefly as it flew up to Carn Fran.

A few pairs of ravens and their nests were observed on route, most with young close to fledging, or with young nearby having already fledged. There was much displaying and the occasional dog-fight was observed between a pair and their peregrine neighbours.

It wasn't a momentous day bird-wise but it's always nice to watch large numbers of migrants on passage. We also recorded lots of other interesting wildlife on route and it was good exercise!