for tracking purposes only.
The birds of
Cheltenham Diver 10th
RSPB Criuse, Exe 9th
Slimbridge 26th & 27th
Garden Sparrowhawk 8th
Portishead & Chew 7th
Cheltenham & Highnam 1st
Wildlife in the Forest of Dean
Skomer or not!
We went to Slimbridge to see the Spoonbill. It had been reported at South Lake, so we went there first. The South Lake Discovery Hide had recently been reopened after a refurbishment. The Spoonbill was still present but was asleep when we first got there. It did wake up a couple of times for a quick preen and went back to sleep again. At one point it walked right behind the vegetation to have a snooze out of sight. A little later on it walked back out in view for another snooze. However all the time we were there we did not see it feed. When the Spoonbill is feeding in water it normally has it's bill open and sways it from side to side which would have been good to see. Other birds on the South Lake were a family of Shelducks and a couple of Oystercatchers. There were also 2 Avocets wading in the lake and they were feeding -
Martin's Haven and Marloes Mere 25th June 2013
We went to Martin's Haven in Pembrokeshire, hoping to catch a boat over to Skomer Island but unfortunately all the boats for landing were full. There were boat trips sailing round the island but in the end we decided to have a walk around the Deer Park at Martin’s Haven. From the clifftops we had views of Skokholm and Skomer and quickly saw our first pair of Choughs. There was also a Skylark was performing a songflight. On the sea we saw Shags, Razorbills and Puffins in flight and on the water. Gannets were also flying past from the nearby breeding colony on the island of Grassholm. A Fulmar was nesting on the cliff and another kept flying up and down to the nest. I kept hoping that it would land, but it never did. Two more Shags were perched on top of a rock. We then saw a Raven perched on another rock and it called briefly before taking off.
Chough over the sea
Meanwhile, one of the adult Choughs was foraging quite close to the cliff face, so we walked round for a closer look. The juvenile has a yellowish bill unlike the adult's bright red one and it’s a bit less curved. We could see the Chough foraging for insects. We saw another adult perched on a rock before they both flew down to feed the youngsters. We walked to the coast guard hut where we saw a handsome male Linnet perched and singing on the gorse brush. We sat by the hut and saw two more Linnets flying around.
I also saw a Large Skipper on the gorse near the same place. A Wall Brown Butterfly flew past and it perched with it’s wings open on a rock. We walked back down to Martin’s Haven. We saw a Peregrine flying over being mobbed by a Buzzard. There were Swallows nesting inside and outside of the toilets and we saw one of adults singing on the roof. I had to be careful going into the Gents as there was one nest just over the door. Low flying Swallows! We went back to the Car for lunch and afterwards went for a walk on the other side of the Deer Park. As we got to the cliff, we could hear the sound of a Peregrine calling. We followed the noise and discovered it was a Juvenile in a nest screaming for food. We saw a couple of Peregrines around the cliff, and one had a dead Rock Dove. We thought it might fly up to feed the chick, so we sat down to watch. It flew over a rock and out of sight. The female flew up to the nest with a morsel of food for the youngster, but it obviously wasn’t enough as it kept calling. The male flew past a couple of times, but it never took the food up to the nest, so it must have ate it himself. A Rock Dove flew past the nest. He was taking his life in his hands! We were getting a bit fed up with listening to the Peregrine chick screaming, so decided to leave them to it. A Chough landed on the grass right in front of a couple of people further along the clifftop. The man took some pictures of it. It must have been really close views as he had a big lens. It didn’t seem to worry about him and we hoped it might stay until we got there. Unfortunately, the man just had to try and get closer to it and it flew off! Down below the cliffs were three Atlantic Grey Seals hauled out on the rock until they got pushed off by the incoming tide. We also saw a Wheatear perched on top.
Raven taking off
Puffins flying over the sea
Rock Pipit singing
Razorbill with sand eels
Further down was a Rock Pipit singing on the ground before it started a songflight. We sat and watched the boat going to Skomer. The ‘Dale Princess’ was soon arriving back at Martin's Haven for the next crossing. A Razorbill swam past with a beakful of Sand-
Grey Seal in the cave
Grey Seals touching noses
Choughs [Feeding Juvenile and Adults]
Linnet [Male] on the gorse
Swallow on the roof of the toilets
Peregrine Falcons [Adult and Juvenile]
Grey Seals on the rock
Grey Seal being pushed off by wave
We then went to Marloes Mere to look for the Glossy Ibis that has been around for a while. We had directions to get there, but we missed the turning. We had a job finding the place as its not signposted at all, but we got there in the end. We walked down to the hide where the Glossy Ibis was showing distantly at the back of the furthest pool. It's shame it was distant because the bird was in summer plumage of deep maroon/purple and green on the wings and it would have been a cracking bird to photograph. Still, at least we had good views of it. A juvenile Whithroat was perched briefly on some flowers just in front of the hide, before it disappeared from view into the vegetation. Just then a Fox came trotting along before stopping dead and looking right at us. It had spotted us and it took off running into the Juncus. We couldn’t see much else from the hide apart from a Little Grebe and some Stonechats, and as the Ibis had gone out of view, we decided to leave. We walked down the track leading to the other hide and realised we could see over the hedge into the mere. We must have been quite close to where we last saw the Glossy Ibis. We couldn’t see it anywhere though. Just then we spotted the Fox again on the other side of the fence. This time it just sat and stared at us. We didn’t bother to go to the other hide as time was getting on and we had a long journey ahead of us. Well, we never got to Skomer, but I had a really good day. Pembrokeshire is a lovely area and we must come back again and stay a bit longer to explore it more.
Whitethroat [Juvenile in front of hide]
Spoonbill [Adult Summer]
Shelduck [Female] with Ducklings
Common Tern on post
Great Crested Grebe [Summer]
Avocets checking the eggs
Tufted Duck with Ducklings
Slimbridge 17th June 2013