Sunday, 8 May 2016

caravan weekend

Finally we made it to our caravan for the weekend. It was dry, except for overnight rain, and very windy which was south easterly today.

Saturday afternoon I took our daughter and son to the play park. Darling daughter found a Millipede - we have always seen so many along the coastal path . 


We were also teased by a Lesser Whitethroat again. He was very mobile and singing constantly! Record shot below.

There were some bees too. I've yet to ID these using our insect book.

Saturday evening we headed towards some barns and a small wooded area either side of a footpath which opened up into sand dunes. To one side of us was the beach and sea, high tide though, and to the other side fields, small wooded areas, some marshy patches and a large hill.
From here we saw;

Collared Doves 
Barn Swallows
Rooks in a distant Rookery
Carrion Crow
Cuckoo was heard calling and

When we openend the curtains this morning we were greeted by a female Blackbird gathering grubs and a Magpie.

Female Blackbird

Magpie - usally seen pretty much everywhere here in the UK

After breakfast we went towards the other end of the caravan site, by the entrance actually, and walked through the sheep field again towards the moors/marsh and dunes in the distance. Our thinking was that last night's rain might have knocked down some migrants, partcularly an unsual bird. 
As it happens we heard many Sedge Warblers. They've clearly arrived in good numbers  and are setting up their territories. I managed to get quite close to one.

Sedge Warbler - summer visitor to the UK. Produces quite a varied song which often includes some imitations of other birds. Noticeable eye stripe.

We saw a pair of Stonechats and a few Whitethroats.

Female Stonehcat. Not as brightly coloured as the male.

Whitethroat. Several seen displaying this weekend.

Meadow Pipits were pecking around for bugs in the grass next to the main footpath. Quite camouflaged. They have a beautiful display flight and song, similar to that of a Skylark.

We then pursued a singing Reed Warbler. Not an easy bird to see as they hide themselves very well in reeds. But as the reeds are very pale in foliage at the moment and it was breezy I managed to track it down. At first it was low in the reeds, singing and looking at me but the size of my large camera lens wouldn't let me take the photo! The bird was that little but too close to me. Thankfully as if the Reed Warbler read my mind, it hopped onto a fence, in the open but still slightly obscured by the reeds and a bit further back. This was the result.


On our return route, a Cetti's Warbler (pronounced 'CH-etti's) called really close to us in a large bramble bush. Do you think we could see it ?! No! Another very elusive bird but a delightful and distinct song.
Here is a link from a recent radio progrmame called 'Tweet of the day' with a renowned bird lover and expert here in the UK, Bill Oddie, playing a recording of the Cetti's Warbler song and a some information about them.
Be sure to press the 'play' button when this link takes you to the page.

Back through the sheep field we saw 3 Common Buzzards soaring over the dunes and back over us. Once we had gone through the field and back in the caravan site some Ravens flew over.
Got this shot first of one.....

Raven - largest of the Crow family in the UK. Much more thick set looking, obviously bigger when in flight. Wedge shaped tail.

...and when scanning the sky for more this one appeared being harrassed by a Common Buzzard. Fascinating agility these birds have.

On the beach this afternoon our daughter carried out her latest favourite hobby - rockpooling. Here's what she loves to catch and look at, amongst other things. More to come in the future. Watch this space.

She tells me it's a Shanny. I do believe her - we just get mixed up between a Shanny and a Goby.

Lastly on the way home we stopped in a village overlooking Loughor Estuary. The tide was way out. Part of the estuary diverts off near the village creating a river. Here we saw some Black-headed Gulls.

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