Friday, 25 March 2016

local coastal morning walk

A glorious day here in South Wales today so we made the most of it before the bad weather returns.
We walked along a local coastal path, between Porthcawl and Sker, which is in between a beach and rocks and a golf course, and consists of boardwalk and concrete.
In total we were out for about 2.5 hours and there were many other people walking too. But we did see a variety of birds and wildlife.
There were Skylarks singing and displaying, as were Meadow Pipits and Common Stonechats. A hunting Kestrel and several small groups of Herring Gulls and Common Gulls.
We spotted a large flock of European Golden Plover on the beach, but then took off due to being spooked by a dog walker. A little later there was a mass of birds high in the sky circling over the coastline and fields. These too were European Golden Plover, estimated to be about 550 individuals, and flying in a formation. 
Our daughter, ever ready with a bug pot and has more of a eye for detail, found a beetle type bug flying up and down in some grass. Sure enough she caught it, we took photos and released it. She said straightaway "I think it's a Green Tiger Beetle". A subsequent check of our new insect book revealed she was correct. We haven't seen one before. It was a fabulous bright green colour with a couple of pale spots.
Then she found a Common Lizard basking in the sun on the boardwalk! It was very obliging as we knelt down to look at it closely. I took photos on my mobile phone, which I  held next to it before it ran away into some grass.
 I did have my camera and 400mm lens on today and took several photos of which the best are below.
On our walk I was determined to find a returning Northern Wheatear. It just felt right today that might be one around. It wasn't until our return walk that a quick flash of bird disappeared behind some rocks. As we tip-toed towards the area it flew away from us, down towards the pebble beach and much further away. Indeed it was the Wheatear. It didn't allow for a photo but they are a stunning bird. The giveaway when they fly away is their white rump on a grey coloured back, black wings, peachy breast and thick black eyestripe, for a male.
A fabulous time was had by all. And I hope you are becoming inspired to get outside and casually look around you in different environments to observe, learn and enjoy nature.

Common Stonechat


Skylark singing and displaying

European Golden Plover

European Golden Plover

Green Tiger Beetle
Common Lizard

Here is a link to the insect book that we use. It's  brilliant piece of kit to have, covering all sorts of creatures. 

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