Tuesday, 31 July 2007


A cold start to the month, rain and wind; and a hot ending. In between some of the wettest weather for years, with heavy flooding first in the North East, and then in Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Oxfordshire. We missed nearly all of it. It rained the first afternoon we were out on the Gower, but thereafter we had good birding weather, even if the time of year was not the best to see birds: very little bird song and quiet woods on our home territory (Yarner), but the weekend we had in West Wales more than made up for this.

Thursday 5 July Heavy rain

Oxwich Bay, Gower (2.30 - 4.00 ~
Fierce south west wind and heavy rain): in the woodland, a Tawny Owl, Robins and; on the marsh, nothing at all; back along the beach, into the teeth of the wind, Common Gulls

Friday 6 July: Sun and wind

Strumble Head (10.00 - 11.30 ~
bright sun, strong south westerly and a rough sea): Choughs by the lighthouse; from the Observation Station, Fulmars (a steady stream flying East to West, 150 metres off-shore), Manx Shearwaters in broken water 400 metres farther out, Guillemots and Razorbills, Common and Lesser Blackbacked Gulls, Cormorants, Harbour Porpoise (?), Grey Seal in the broken water under the cliffs

Teifi Marshes (Welsh Wildlife Centre) (1.30 - 3.30 ~ bright sun, with wind flattening the reeds out of the shelter belt): Mallard in transition on the ponds, Kingfishers (two: one fishing, one glimpsed flashing across the water), Longtailed, Great, Blue and Coal Tits, Heron (4+), Chaffinches, Robins (adults and juveniles)
Dinas Head (5.00 - 6.30 ~ bright sun, with South West wind): Peregrines (2) playing and hunting/hawking: motionless in the wind, Stonechat (4+ adults and juveniles), Whinchats, Guillemots, Razorbills, Fulmars, Common and Lesser Blackbacked Gulls, Chough (3 pairs in a field with sheep) joined by 4 Curlew, Oystercatchers in the air over and on the beach.

Sunday 8 July Sun and heavy showers

Elegug Stacks (11.00 - 1.30) sea calm, squalls (with a real drop in temperature) from the South West: Guillemots ('000+) and Razorbills on the stacks (with young) and in the water [see my Flickr photos], Lesser Blackbacked, Common and Herring Gulls (with young), Fulmars, Kittiwakes (with young), Linnets by the car park, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, a very bedraggled Rock Pipit, Housemartins, Goldfinches (pair, twice), Choughs (single, family groups and mixed in with Crows and Rooks).
Lark song on the clifftop.

Saturday 21 July Fine

Exeter (4.30): walking from Mary Arches car park down to The Picture House, heard and then saw the Peregrines returning to and flying around the spire of St Michael's Church

Sunday 22 July Cloudy and dry

Out from Princetown to King Tor and back (12.00 - 3.00): Greenfinch on a fence post on the path out, Rooks (30+) above the old railway line, Ravens (pair: hard to confirm but typical flight), Wheatears at Foggintor Quarry, Pied Wagtails, Larks and Meadow Pipits, Kestrel

Sunday 29 July Overcast at first, then brighter

Yarner Wood (11.30 - 13.00): Marsh, Longtailed, Blue and Great Tits, Pied Flycatcher ~ all seen in the first 20 minutes; after that nothing, and very little to hear.
Trendlebeare Down, Haytor Down and Black Hill (13.00 - 15.30); Ravens (pair: very distinctive flight and call), Wheatears, Meadow Pipits, Larks, Blackbirds (looking for Dartford Warblers but instead saw Blackbirds on the moor edge)

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