You’ll have to excuse the suitably vague location details in this post, but our prize finds from Sunday are a Schedule 1 protected species and I don’t want to inadvertently jeopardise their breeding success. All I will say is that I was somewhere on the Gower coastline and to my great joy stumbled across two immature Dartford Warblers. They were hopping around the extensive gorse bushes and frequently paused out in the open giving superb, if somewhat distant views. In all we were able to watch them for at least a quarter of an hour before the arrival of several more walkers sent them scampering out of sight. Being immature birds they lacked much of their parents distinctive colouration but the long tails were unmistakable.

Prior to the 1990’s Dartford Warblers were a very rare occurrence on Gower, but since then their numbers have been slowly increasing with evidence of breeding first recorded in 2000. They are however very susceptible to harsh winters such as the last one we experienced, and there were fears as to how many individuals would make it through. Therefore to find clear evidence of successful breeding is a great relief which should hopefully ensure the continued expansion of their small population.

Another success story on Gower is the Chough, two of which flew past us while we were watching the Dartfords. Sadly no pictures again as the birds have been playing very hard to get these last couple of weeks.

More accommodating, as usual, were the local insects with plenty of Butterflies once more on the wing. Common Blues in various states of disintegration were numerous, whilst Green Veined Whites, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers and Speckled Woods all added to the spectacle. A couple that really caught my eye were the following Wall Brown and Small Tortoiseshell, both species that I have only seen a couple of times so far this year.

P1090304 - Wall Brown, Gower
Wall Brown
P1090276 - Small Tortoiseshell, Gower

Several day flying moths were also out and about, one of which was this Burnet Moth exploring the cliff tops.

P1090298 - Burnet Moth, Gower

Back to the birds and another couple of notable sightings were a juvenile Stonechat (mainly because I like them so much) and a Red Kite flying over Scurlage. I think the Red Kite was our first one since heading off to Mull way back in June!


J · August 25, 2011 at 12:55 am

That's a lovely shot of the Wall Brown.
I haven't seen a Dartford on Gower for a couple of years, so good to know some have survived these recent hard winters.

TexWisGirl · August 25, 2011 at 1:16 am

they are beautiful!

holdingmoments · August 25, 2011 at 10:21 am

Adam, that's great news about the Dartford Warbler. Let's hope we have a milder winter this year, and they get a chance.
Excellent shots of the butterflies and moth. Pin sharp.

Adam Tilt · August 25, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Jeremy – it's been a while since I'd seen any Dartford Warblers as well. Glad you liked the Wall Brown.

TexWisGirl – thank you.

Keith – it is but the predictions so far seem to be for another harsh winter. Much as I like the cold weather I think our wildlife could do with an easier ride this time around.

Victoria · August 27, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Gorgeous captures… all of them! I especially like the moth. 🙂

Adam Tilt · September 5, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Thanks Victoria.

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