Sunday, 22 May 2022

Junco

 Just like to say a note of thanks to Peter & Steve for arranging access to the bird, and I think I can speak for Pembs birders to say a big thank you to the owner of the property for allowing us to see a really special bird.

Dark eyed Junco

Nice to have a twitch on my doorstep! showed well for us (Pete, Krystal & Andy) Not forgetting a big thankyou to the owner of the property for allowing everyone access.


 

Junco - a bit more info

See map below. The bird is in the vicinity of the blue outline, bottom left. To get there you need to get to the junction at the SW of St Ishmaels where the church is signposted (red outline). Turn right (SW) here, with signs for Trewarren Farm then carry on through the farm yard and on down the road. At the gate carry straight on. Parking is at the gate. Then walk down to the house. The post code SA62 3TJ should get you there. 

Dark-eyed Junco at St Ishmaels

 This smart bird has just been identified at a private house near St Ishmaels - see map:-

No idea how to place an arrow here but its at Giddanmu which is the farthest left of the houses on the map on the edge of the Gann - access from the top of the road down to Monk Haven (turn right there) but limited parking space.  The owner is happy to let people in today and will see if the bird hangs about after that. there will be someone at the gate and in the garden from 1400hrs onwards to provide directions and update the blog if it disappears - last seen around 1100hrs but no-one watching at the moment.





Saturday, 21 May 2022

Brynberian Moor

Another look a little further east of the previous visits turned up another Whinchat who popped up and took objection to a cuckoo I was watching, at least 2 male cuckoo and a female, with cuckooing, and excitable gawking, ever present - won't be too long before they depart for another year, so nice to make the most of them while we are fortunate to have them around. 6m and a female Reed bunting - often in the same areas favoured by Whinchat here, so can be a useful pointer. A few Lesser redpoll, buzzing around and moving between the taller gorse patches. 

Castlemartin Coast

As usual during May, when the young rooks have fledged, many family parties have moved to the coastal grasslands to feed during the day. Like choughs, rooks are also exploiting ants and other invertebrates in the numerous yellow meadow anthills along the Castlemartin coast. Skylarks, wheatears and other species also use many of these mounds as raised singing perches along the coastal plateau.



Walking along the Castlemartin coast this morning, just watching the various cliff-nesting birds, made me wonder about how many coastal zones in the county support three species of hirundine plus swift breeding in the sea-cliffs

Numbers are not particularly large, but today house martins were actively nest-building at a couple of sea-cliff locations; a couple of pairs of swallows were breeding in natural sea caves and arches where this species has nested for many years; sand martins were busy at two small colonies in a couple of actively-eroding lower softer, sandy-cliff areas. Swifts were also entering nest-crevices on some of the larger limestone cliffs. Up until the 1990s, starlings also used to breed in these sea-cliffs too, but sadly none do so now.  

Woodchat Shrike.

 Woodchat Shrike, Still on road to stack rocks Castlemartin range.

Skokholm


 A late Brambling this morning.

(Rich Brown)

Friday, 20 May 2022

Skokholm

 A female Serin today.



Flimston Woodchat

The woodchat shrike was showing well at 11.30, in precisely the spot indicated on Mike's map on Wednesday. It was either eating or impaling something on the brambles: a pair of linnets were hovering never more than a metre away. Like Bob I remember the 1995 bird in this very area. 


Hawfinches

From Mike & Sharon Lawrence: We check your website every day and thought you might like to know that we just had a pair of Hawfinches in our garden in Fishguard. Never seen one before! Beautiful birds. Unfortunately we didn't have a camera to hand.

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Skomer

 Double shrike day today after the Red-backed Shrike found yesterday was still around today and a Woodchat Shrike was found this morning. Nice to hear the Woodchat Shrike singing this afternoon. 





Dale Airfield & Marloes

A quick search of the gorse around the airfield failed to give up another Pembs shrike but a good selection of commoner birds were present. 4 singing skylarks a wheatear and 3 whitethroats the highlights. More Linnets and Rooks than you could shake a stick at and many Herring, LBB Gulls and corvids playing leapfrog behind a tractor ploughing the stony field. Later, at Marloes Mere just after 8pm, an adult male Marsh Harrier explored the mere for a minute or so before drifting across the fields towards Dale/The Gann. 

Marloes Peninsula

Fairly quiet. A group of 20 Chough were heading towards the Deer Park or Skomer around 8'ish, presumably to roost, also a pair by Rainy Rock and a single bird moving between Marloes Sands and Gateholm. The swans were showing off their 4 cygnets. Single male Shoveler and a Shelduck. 3 Coot on nests. Just 2 male Wheatear. Young Raven begging parent for a snack and then seen hammering at a rotten fence post. A male Yellowhammer at Hasguard Cross. 


Castlemartin peninsula this morning

It was nice to see swifts back at their usual sea-cliff breeding areas on the Castlemartin peninsula this morning. Hopefully this small and vulnerable population will have a successful season. A few whimbrels were still passing west along the coast.

The Castlemartin Range covers a very large area and has numerous patches of scrub (and who knows what might be lurking somewhere), but it is interesting that the Woodchat (which we were pleased to see) has settled in a patch of scrub not far from where Peter Hughes (who works on the Range) found one back in 1995. That particular individual stayed for two days (12-13 May); just long enough for several observers to see it, including one of us (Bob) who, being based at Stackpole with the CCW then, was able to see it (after work of course!). 

The current bird seemed to be taking bumble bees with relative ease, as was the case with the 1995 bird. Hopefully this has not included any of the rare, and probably only just emerging, shrill carder bees!

Choughs too are partial to Hymenoptera, ants in particular. With growing young to feed, at various nests on the peninsula, many of the adult choughs are now concentrating on ants (especially yellow meadow ants Lasius flavus) to feed their growing broods. Choughs will exploit ants and their larval stages by hacking into the soft ant-hills. 

This one (a male) was probing into the ant-hill as far as it could


Signs of recent chough-feeding activity - sides of ant-hills opened up with numerous yellow ants scurrying around 


Woodchat Shrike.

 Woodchat Shrike still showing well on road to stack rocks just now.

Out & about (yesterday 18th May)

Nice to catch up with some of the scarcer breeding birds in Pembrokeshire yesterday.  Wood Warbler singing in classic habitat in Minwear, and another two were in similar habitat in Cwm Gwaun - not seem them there in a long time.  Also two singing male Pied Flycatcher there.  At least one Tree Pipit singing away in windy conditions at Canaston, with Dipper nearby on the Eastern Cleddau, and a singing male Common Redstart at Rosebush (with Felicity & Mike).


Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Skomer

Red-backed Shrike today (per Skomer Warden).

Woodchat shrike

 


Woodchat shrike seen mid afternoon on road to the Green bridge of Wales about 100-150 metres before road off to Flimstone Church.  Some distance away so heavily sharpened and cropped.  Smart bird

Woodchat Shrike.

 A Woodchat Shrike on the Castlemartin range road to Stack rocks lunch time 50 mts off road, Thanks to Guy Thomason for the info.



Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Skokholm

An interesting Subalpine Warbler with an Eastern Subalpine Warbler-type tail today. Also a late Hen Harrier and another nice little fall of commoner migrants. 

Porth Sele area

From Roger Wilkinson: Today's bits and pieces: Porth Sele area. Hooded Crow, 6 Whimbrel, Spotted Flycatcher, Little Grebe with chicks.


Monday, 16 May 2022

Skomer yesterday

 First decent drop of birds in a while yesterday. 26 Spotted Flycatchers, four Reed Warbler and three Cuckoo the highlights 

Quail

One singing briefly from the field to the north of Martin's Haven car park around 820am this morning. Didn't hear it in the afternoon after returning from Skomer.

Ridgeway fields

 And still they come - another three wheatears today. All 8 birds seen since May 8 have been female.