Friday, 8 June 2012

Pembrokeshire - Part 1

So on Monday 28th May the girlfriend and I headed down to Dale on the South Western tip of Pembrokeshire for her birthday present come spring holiday for the both of us. (Excuse to visit Skomer for me) The sun was shining which seemed a slightly daunting prospect as I don't recall that happening in Wales all that often. The illusion didn't last too long as a look out of the window on Tuesday morning resulted in a more expected weather front - cloud! Just up the road from Dale the Gann estuary enters the bay, so first port of call was a quick walk up the coastal path to see if any waders were about on the receded beach. Plenty of Whitethroat, Dunnock & Linnet flitted about on the surrounding gorse bushes. 6 Shellduck present on the pools behind the beach.

A smallish flock of small Waders flew and landed within 30 yards but the light was poor so I only managed a few clearish shots, which I think show Dunlin & Sanderling. Ringed Plover where also mixed in. A pair of Curlew also flew in amongst the obligatory Oystercatchers and Gulls.

Sandering & Dunlin
Next stop Marloes Mere after reading a lot about the resident 3 Glossy Ibis, we soon picked them up on a bank at the far side of the reserve, they soon were up and on the wing soaring around in a couple of circles before landing on the marshy meadows. The grounded photos were pretty poor due to the distance but I did get a fairly clear outline flight shot, even if the light was so poor to pick up much colour detail. But a great edition to the Species list.

Glossy Ibis
From the barbed wired gateway that overlooked the Ibis, we headed on down to the rather small Hide overlooking a couple of the Mere's pools. Proving a haven for small birds, with Linnets, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Reed Bunting, Dunnock, Blackbird and a lone Reed Warbler all showing themselves as well as a juvenile Dunnock.

Willow Warbler
Willow Warbler 
Dunnock Juvenile
With the car park at Martin's Haven overflowing from Skomer and Deer Park visitors we had a walk along the coastal path above Marloes Sands and over looking a mist shrouded Skokholm. Linnets seem to adorn nearly every bush along the path, but none pausing long enough in the open to satisfy my camera, however a pair of Stonechat appeared more obliging, the male in particular. Also got a quick glimpse at a pair of Chough as we walked back to the car.

Stonechat Male
Wednesdays weather proved similar in the morning but soon the warm sun burnt the mist away in the afternoon and bathed the area in glorious sunshine. We had a quick lunch stop at Stackpole Quay before walking the 25 uphill minutes or so to Barafundle, well worth the walk a glorious undisturbed Sandy beach managed by the National Trust. Plenty of Gulls and Jackdaws soaring along the elevated cliffs, a lone Gannet and Fulmar both spotted on the walk up along with 4 Skylarks singing over the pasture on top. Distant cliff views showed quite a few nesting Guillemots and the odd Razorbill.

Barafundle Bay 
Herring Gull
We then headed around to Freshwater West a lovely long stretch of beach with a lot of rocky pools, I did get distracted by the constant passing by of Ravens along with a couple of Chough.

Still nursing some of the previous days Sunburn and waking to a really crappy morning, Thursday we decided to do the 7.5 Mile walk round route to and from the cottage around St. Ann's head. Other than getting bloody wet due to the lack of footpath maintenance (4 foot grass) we didn't see all to much other than a lone male Stonechat until we had passed St. Ann's Lighthouse at the halfway stage.

The walk back over looking Skokholm and very distant Skomer was far more rewarding with Fulmar, Gannet, Rock Pipit and even a Brown Hare all added to the list. The rapid arrival of thick fog in the afternoon pretty much prevented anything else outdoors, so I skulked off back to the house praying for some decent weather for the trip to Skomer the next morning. Part 2 to follow.

Clifftop Fulmar I would be more than grateful for any 'Likes' on FB.


  1. Hello Martin, Some nice shots there. By the way your juvenile Robin is a juvenile Dunnock. Cheers, Seumus

  2. Hey
    Ive been in Pembrokeshire the last week too, and my birding was practically the same as yours, but i visited the Gann+ marloes on Monday.We didnt have any Sanderling there, so great going there! Had 2 Barwit and 6 Whimbrel tho.
    And also i was at Barafundle/ Stackpole head on Wednesday, did you get the Puffins up there?
    A nice report and great photos!