Thursday, 27 June 2019

Laughing Dove (?)

On the road near St Brides this morning, not sure about it`s status, the Collins guide says 3*V it was quite "bold" but is it an escape? I saw the land owner & explained what it was & that it might generate some interest - she said she didn`t want a load of twitchers on her land! Understanable.

Ringed Dipper.

A very young bird,sporting a metal ring,on the bridge wall at lower crossing,Westfield Pill this morning.They are known to breed at Rosemarket Brook.Is anyone ringing these birds,or has this one dispersed from further afield?
Historically,before the Pill was dammed,and there was a ford at this location,birds regularly wintered here.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019


The Laughing Gull is back this evening. Also a Red-veined Darter.


Short-toed Lark still here but often elusive.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Puffins - off Poppit

2 Puffins sat on the water off Poppit Beach at the mouth of the the Teifi this afternoon.
(seen from boat- A Bay to Remember)

Castlemartin peninsula - a cuckoo and a crepuscular hobby

A hobby put in an appearance at Stackpole last evening. It was hunting bats near the Courtyard Flats just as it was getting dark. We don't see them doing this every summer but when they appear it is usually during horseshoe bat counts. Last night's bird looked like an immature. It might stay a while and so perhaps will be seen hawking dragonflies etc somewhere over the lakes during the day?

Crepuscular sparrowhawks on the other hand tend to be a bit more regular here, one is usually seen hunting and catching bats in most summers.

On route to St Govan's Head, a cuckoo flew across the road early last evening near Bosherston.

Out on the coast last evening it was also obvious that there are a large number of painted lady butterflies around, presumably a recent influx aided by the currently warm, humid weather conditions. In excess of 50 were estimated in no time at all during a walk to check up on chough families between St Govan's Head and Crickmail Point.

It seems to have been quite a good chough breeding season this year and jackdaws have also bred well too judging by the large numbers of fledged young around.

West Williamston

Party of 8 shoveler on the river

A red kite and a buzzard were following a tractor that was cutting hay.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Gann & Skomer colour-ringed Wheatears

Yesterday evening over the high tide there were at least 15 Curlew (a significant increase) and a smart breeding plumaged Black-tailed Godwit on the pool opposite Crabhall, along with exactly 50 Oystercatchers (at least 5 with colour rings but too far away to read).

Also it seems that the Gann Shelduck have had an appalling breeding season - certainly no ducklings seen on the lagoon.

I noted a red colour-ringed male Wheatear on Skomer on 5th & 15th June - C6P - it was ringed on the Calf of Man as a juvenile on 1st July 2018.  Skomer is 260km from the ringing site (presumably having been to Africa & back in between!).  Great stuff.


Short-toed Lark still here. Also a Wood Sandpiper.

Saturday, 22 June 2019


A Short-toed Lark found on Western Plain this morning was still present this evening.

Caldey Island yesterday

Steve Sutcliffe had mentioned to us recently that there were 2 (possibly 3) pairs of choughs on Caldey this year from an earlier visit he'd made.

With many choughs now having fledged young, it seemed like a good idea to go over there and see if there were any family parties at expected locations. Pleasingly, we found two chough families: a pair and a single youngster between the lighthouse and Redberry Bay and a pair plus two young further west between Redberry and Sandtop Bay.

Our Caldey bird-list for the day wasn't too long but we had a surprising, if brief, view of a yellow wagtail, calling as it flew over one of the now ungrazed meadows between the lighthouse and the monastery. It looked like quite a bright male bird but the views weren't sufficiently long enough to determine its race.

Today, at Castlemartin Range West, it was nice to see a female kestrel. She was aggressively diving at a raven near a known kestrel nest site. Fingers crossed that breeding will be successful here this year as kestrels do seem to be quite scarce along the south coast this summer.

The Teifi

Post breeding birds now arriving, we never know if following successful breeding or not but the number of Curlew jumped to c40 today and Black-headed Gulls up to 20.
On a positive breeding note, we ringed the first juvenile Reed Bunting, Sand Martin and Kingfisher  on the Reserve this morning.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Quail - Brynberian

A Quail was on Brynberian Moor this afternoon.
Interestingly it was at the same spot that I saw and heard one 4 years ago, near the ruins of Hafod cottage.
In a 2 hour walk around the middle section of the moor just one Whinchat.
Although water levels are better with ponds looking good for insects not one damselfly was seen.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Ceibwr House Martins.

I first encountered this sea cliff colony back in 1979,  it was my first ever  sight of House Martins in their natural nesting environment., Forty years later (argh!) my memory is of a large and thriving colony. This afternoon on a half hour visit, I counted five occupied nests, I need to return with a telescope but my impression is that it was far bigger and better back then. Not surprisingly, no signs of sparrows, but I was pleased to spot a few nests on nearby houses as I drove past towards Moylegrove. Not a great road to stop on, but it will probably be worth further investigation when I get a chance.

Stackpole House Martins

Today we counted the number of house martin nests that appeared to be occupied at the Stackpole Centre and at the gazebos in the walled garden to compare with some counts we had made in recent years. The decline in occupancy at the Stackpole Centre was far worse than we had expected!

At the Centre and on nearby adjacent buildings we found only 17 completed nests.  Probably not all of these were occupied judging by a lack of droppings under some of them and a lack of house martin activity. There were no house sparrows obviously occupying the inactive nests either.

In 2016 (the year of the national house martin survey) we had recorded 44 nests on the same buildings and had monitored the breeding outcomes of 26 of these for the national survey. On the side of one building alone where, in 2016, we had monitored 18 out of 20+ nests, today we could only find 3 well-built nests with some breeding evidence in just one of these. The other three were old nests from last year and not in use yet this year.

Just three probably active nests on this part of the building at the Centre. In 2016 there were 20+ nests here.

A grey squirrel up on the roof at the Stackpole Centre today might have been casting an eye on some of the few remaining occupied  house martin nests!
On the positive side, in 2018 we counted 11 occupied nests on the walled garden gazebos on 18th June. Today we counted 18 nests on the same buildings, all with large young. The walled garden is really buzzing with insects, with numerous nectar producing plants etc in a very sheltered and warm location.

A few of the 18 active nests on one of the walled garden gazebos - all 18 have young in the nest
We also had a look at the sea cliffs in the Greenala area where house martins usually breed in a couple of locations. We noted a few flying around the cliffs but failed to see any going to previously occupied sites.

Choughs had fledged 3 young at nearby Trewent Point. It was also pleasing to record two successful breeding pairs at Stackpole this year. A few non-breeding puffins were at their usual Stackpole Head crevice where they are recorded in most years.