Monday, 15 January 2018

Gupton/Castlemartin Corse - this morning and a brief look at Pembroke Millpond/Holyland wood this afternoon

Despite very heavy rain before 09:00 hrs, the weather settled down enough to allow a small team (including Clive Hurford, Chris Oliver, Paul Culyer, Richard Ellis, student Jack and myself) to do another 2017/18 winter survey of Gupton farmland birds for the NT. 

Despite blustery conditions we managed to notch up over 4,000 birds (mostly common typical farmland species) between us all. Highlights being over 700 golden plovers, plus a likely additional 1,000 or so golden plovers that flew high over the area at c. 09:00 hrs appearing to heading generally east and probably not returning; nearly 1,800 lapwings, 479 snipe (a similar total to that recorded in our December survey) and 3 jack snipe (also a similar number to the Dec count). Richard and Chris also noted 24 black tailed godwits further up the valley.

Between us all we also saw c. 86 fieldfares and smaller numbers of redwings but only 85 chaffinches and far less linnets. Skylarks (84) were up on Dec but numbers were still quite low for the area overall for the time of year. 

Raptors were almost absent (possibly due to the blustery conditions) apart from the 2 over-wintering marsh harriers that put in an appearance over the reed-bed. These were not seen by all of us.  

Later on, a quick look at Pembroke Millpond produced the usual expected waterfowl species including a couple of goldeneye and a single female tufted duck. No pochard here though yet, now quite a scarce bird in the county - you're probably much more likely to see scaup than pochard these days! 

(Clive mentioned seeing a scaup with a dozen great-crested grebes in Angle Bay yesterday, and also c.120 black-tailed godwits at a pond on the Angle peninsula - just passage birds or a new wintering area for them?). 

One of the over-wintering firecrests was feeding on insects at the Holyland car-park rubbish heap again. Another one was calling quite a lot further along the boardwalk in the alder and willow carr.