Anser Birding Skomer Island and Pembrokeshire 27-28 June 2008

Atlantic Puffin at the Wick, Skomer MJM

We set off in sunshine but soon found low cloud and raind with strengthening winds in Wales. Nearing Martin’s Haven I was doubtful of being able to get on the magic island of Skomer. A call to the boat base and it was on! We were soon at the quay waiting with Common Whitethroat, Linnets and 4 Chough either feeding young, singing or wheeling overhead. I tried to ignore the seabirds as I knew we would be getting great views in due course. The crossing, as usual provided a build up of birds, and as we entered the North Haven a raft of auks greeted us along with the rolling/drilling calls (bird calls are down to individual interpretation Jeanne!) of Guillemot from the cliffs. A climb up the steps past the nesting uaks and we were on top and soon walking around the island. Lunch was had in the new picnic shelter and then we walked the whole island. A couple of Harbour Porpoise were feeding below the cliffs and we began seeing nesting seabirds including Puffin. A few Wheatear were seen and other common species that nest (Sedge Warbler, Reed Bunting, Skylark, Rock and Meadow Pipit). We had a party of 5 Chough plus one feeding a youngster too. Over 150 Manx Shearwater corpses showed that at night some fatalities occur to the thousands breeding birds. At the Wick it was good to get up close and personal with the Puffins and see cliff-nesting seabirds, the same could be said for the steps at the quay where Razorbill, Guillemot and Puffin are rather showy. The return crossing gave amazing views of Manx Shearwater and all the other local seabirds.

What colour is the inside of a Razorbill’s bill? MJM

Back on the mainlaind we had a look at Marloes Mere and the pool at Dale and then transferred to Fishguard where we stayed for the night. In the morning we still had no luck with the two Black Guillemots that have been present lately. At Strumble Head a seawatch from the bunker and a constant stream of birds totalling c600 Manx Shearwater,  2 Puffin, 70 Gannet, 10 and 10 Common Scoter, 15 Fulmar, 30 Kittiwake and Guillemot and Razorbills. At Dowrog Common we located 2 reeling Grasshopper Warbler but they did not show due to the wind. Stonechats and other familiar passerines were seen well and a few dragonflies were on the wing. Lunch was at St David’s and then we headed for Llanelli and stopped of at the WWT reserve where we enjoyed Mediterranean Gulls, Black-tailed Godwit and Little Egrets (among others) but a Peregrine scared them all away!

Thanks to all that came with me, I hope you all enjoyed the short break and birds.

Martin

One of six Mediterranean Gulls and a naughty Peregrine Falcon at WWT Wetland Centre of Wales. MJM

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