Friday, 4 November 2016

Westfield Pill this morning

Stimulated by Alan's and Clive's recent postings re: the red-necked grebe, and a lovely sunny morning, we decided to have look up Westfield Pill this morning. Having realised that neither of us had actually set foot in the nature reserve for probably some 25 years at least, it seemed about time that we visited the area again!

The grebe provided us with some excellent views. Initially it was on the far side near the top end but then it came closer to the old railway track as it gradually moved further down towards the broader end of the open water area.

Apart from typical woodland residents, plus the odd fieldfare etc, there weren't too many other obvious birds of note. A single chiffchaff was heard, as was a kingfisher near the marina, but neither were seen. Surely a yellow-browed warbler must have been there at some-time this autumn, or perhaps could still be lurking somewhere in the woodland?

Having not been to Westfield Pill for many years (there was no tarred path when we were last there) we were interested to see how much more overgrown/wooded the area seems to have become. There wasn't much (if any?) obvious open ballast/grassland habitat for small blue butterflies, a species now long gone from the area we assume. They used to be one of the star butterflies when a weekly butterfly transect was being walked there many years ago. Still, it was at least still warm and sunny enough today for a couple of red-admirals to be on the wing.

On our way back home much later from Haverfordwest at dusk, it seemed evident that the starling roost must be growing now at the Slebech reedbed. We watched large numbers flying south over the A40. A single huge flock must have included at least 20,000 to 30,000 birds, probably more. Most seemed to be coming in from the north; relatively few from other directions.