Thursday, 21 June 2012

Strumble Head and Goodwick Harbour, Wales 2012


As this was the only forcasted decent weather way of the week, we decided to make the most of it, and spent almost 9 hours 'in the field' at multiple locations around Pembrokeshire, Starting with Strumble Head, so i could get all the 'common' seabirds at once.
We had planned to visit Skomer today, and a very early get up by me (despite being violently ill the previous day) was insured in the hope of getting over, however, my dad got up late, and by the time we left, it was already too late, maybe next year. 4th time lucky!

The good thing with Strumble, is that you dont have to venture far from the car, you litterally park on the edge of a cliff face looking north into St Georges Channel, and being this far out from the 'main' landmass means seabirds pass at a scopeable distance, on sunny and bright days, very far off. and today was one of those 'very far off' days,
Immidiatly obvious was the ever present Gannets, with about c30 diving offshore, with many of them in a huge scrum above a pod of Dolphin and Porpoise. I dont get very much practise at cretations, so therefore my skills at id'ing them is extremly limited, however i was able to identify that about 10 Common Dolphin and 10 Harbour Porpoise were feeding offshore, as they often appeared at the top of the water and often broke the surface, however, it was a slight shame that the Dolphins never 'jumped' out of the water, which would have a made a good sight!

Eventually, a small flock of MANX SHEARWATER joined the meele of Gannets, Fulmars, Kittiwakes and proper 'seagulls'. However, all of these were very distant!
A little seawatching produced very little apart from the mentioned species, hopes of a skua never materialised,a nd despite favorable conditions later in the week, i didnt have any further time seawatching later in the week, which i now regret!
3 PUFFIN which flew past bears a remarkable similarity to a visit to the site last year,in which i also saw 3 Puffin fly past.
However, i was quickly distracted by 4 STONECHAT'S feeding in gorse just below the car park, giving stunning views down to 30ft, stonking views of a very interesting species, and one that i dont usually see in the home county of Worcestershire.
The female gave particularly good views, and i manadged this photo which i was quite proud off, well up there on my personal 'Favorite images' list.
The birds moved about almost constantly (as always with Chats), and with the wind, it made from some dificulties, however, i was happy enough to just sit and watch them, without the need for the scope.
Occasioanlly though, the birds would perch long enough for me to get some video footage.

Acompanying the female was also a stonking male, which similarly, gave absolutly stunning views, in almost perfect light, and with a backdrop of the sea, what could make a better photo?
(Apart from a better photographer!)

It was only when reviewing the photos later did i realise that the bird was grasping onto a wasp in its bill, a highly unlikely food source i would've thought?
The male, was a little lest restless than the female, and occasioanlly perched for longer periods of time than the female.

After a few hours around the lighthouse area of Strumble Head, we then dropped down into nearby Goodwick Harbour. On the drive down the steep hill entering the this picturesque harbour town i clocked onto a RED KITE circling above us, however, by the time we had stopped in the car park a few hundred metres away, the bird had dissapeared, and wasnt seen again.
A 1st summer MEDITERRANEAN GULL flew past, and out of the Harbour, which made for a Pemb's 'Tick', and again, this didnt come back and wasnt relocated. The tide was now rapidly receeding, and the newly exposed mud ment the flock of Oystercatchers were now moving in. Within a short period of time 15 OYC appeared.
In a walk along the breakwater, a single Common Blue Butterfly was noted, but very little else.

We then walked back to the car park, where for the 2nd year running, i enjoyed a superb Ice cream from the van that parks within the car park. Highly recomended if anyone is in the area, some of the best ice cream i've ever tasted!!
With the day having just passed Midday, we decided to move onwards, to Marloes Mere....


Isidro Ortiz said...

Buenas capturas de esta pareja de Tarabillas.Saludos

Pam said...

I am following your 'Wales 2012' posts with interest Craig! They are splendid images and videos in this post!

Rob Stokes said...

Hi MB excellent photos of the Stonechats and i agree the male bird is stonking .

Cheers Rob

Jason K said...

You may not have got on to Skomer but it seems that you had a good day all round Craig with a good mix of species. I didn't see a single porpoise or dolphin whilst there earlier this year

midlands birder said...

Isidro Ortiz-Gracias por tu comentario

Pam- Great! Im glad i have somebody waiting for hte next one :P And thankyou, with the Stonechats down to 20ft, I dont see how you could have got a bad photo :P

Rob- Cheers, Stonechats are stunning birds, the male is, as you say, absolutly stonking, and it always makes a good day when i see one (Which in Worcs, isnt often!)

Jase- it did end up to be a great day, and i got almost everything you can 'get' on skomer (Wanted the SEO's tho) so it didnt bother me too much!
I guess its just luck of the draw with Strumble, Some days you get things, others they have gone. Its a nice change t see species on holiday though, birds or anything. It add's extra interest as its things we dont usually get inland :P (Although apparently accoring to the Upton log book one day, a drunk teenager had a shark in the flashes :P lol)