Mewslade - Stonechats, Lesser Whitethroats and more

Friday, October 12, 2012 Adam Tilt 8 Comments


After our success in Pembrokeshire we kept things local on Sunday and headed down to Mewslade on Gower. A Yellow-browed Warbler had been reported there the day before so we spent a good while scanning through the trees in the hope that it was still around. Unfortunately the fine weather looked to have hastened its journey and we were left with just a couple of Goldcrests for our efforts. Heading into more open terrain we couldn't help noticing the number of Robins that seemed to be calling from almost every bush. Blue Tits and Long Tailed Tits were also quite vocal whilst a very bright Chiffchaff briefly got the pulses racing. Overhead a pair of Ravens made their noisy passage inland but apart from that things were pretty quiet. It seemed that our weekend of migrants had reached a premature end.

With a cool breeze blowing in off the sea we found a sheltered spot on the cliff edge and sat for a while to watch the world go by. The gorse slope splayed out before us initially looked deserted but a flash of movement alerted us to the presence of a cracking Lesser Whitethroat. A second wasn't far behind and I put my best stakeout techniques to the test. Of course that meant the Whitethroats chose to feed exactly where I wasn't, but I guess that's life. It was still great to see them though and they were a new life tick for Emma. A nearby family of Stonechats were much more obliging and I got to add a few more shots to my happily growing portfolio of these attractive birds.

28884 - Stonechat, Mewslade

28886 - Stonechat, Mewslade

Other than a couple of distant Choughs that pretty much rounded out our weekend on the bird front. However there was one more nice find in the shape of this Harvestman Spider. I've not been able to pin it down to an exact species yet but it was a real beauty to behold.

28894 - Harvestman Spider, Mewslade

28889 - Harvestman Spider, Mewslade

As the shots above show, we found it hiding in a crack amongst the exposed limestone above Mewslade Bay. It would only emerge when one or other of our hands got a little too close, behaviour which I'd rather attribute to a defence than an attack instinct. Either way a great looking thing and I'd be grateful if anyone could let me know the exact species.

8 comments:

  1. gorgeous little bird. :)

    we call those spiders 'daddy longlegs'. :)

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  2. Great shots as always Adam.

    Don't know the full ID of the spider, but is that red mark a tick on its body, or part of its markings?

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  3. Brilliant photo of the Harvestman Spider and the Stonechat, superb.

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  4. How lovely to see Goldcrests! There are some around here, Adam, but we've yet to spot them ...

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  5. Nice pictures. Phenomenal detail on the spider. I just found your blog and will have to keep checking in.

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  6. Hi there - great set of shots. I spent a week once IDing harvestmen - I suspect the exact species will remain a mystery! But its a cracking shot anyway!

    Stewart M - Australia

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  7. Love the stonechat photos and that is one beautiful spider !

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  8. TexWisGirl - I think that's one of our names for them over here as well.

    Keith - I think you might be onto something there with the tick as I'm pretty sure it's not part of the spider's body.

    Bob - thank you.

    Caroline - Goldcrest numbers seem pretty good at the moment so it will only be a matter of time.

    JDS - thanks and hope to see you here again.

    Stewart - I think you might be right!

    Sharon - thanks very much.

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