Slightly later than intended but here’s the Sunday blog from two weekends ago….
The small port of St Brides (above) looked absolutely stunning early on Sunday morning. With blue sky, fluffy white clouds and the sea lapping gently against the cliffs it didn’t take long for memories of the previous days storm to be wiped from our thoughts. Our plan was to walk a circuit of the Marloes Peninsula, a ten mile loop that we’ve been meaning to do for a while after coming highly recommended by my parents. That distance seemed like a tall order to begin with though given the fact that we couldn’t seem to drag ourselves away from St Brides itself. First it was a family of fledged Willow Warblers that captured our attention, quickly followed by a pair of Swallows who were nesting in the restored pump house. When we finally did make it onto the path proper we found ourselves walking alongside an old stone wall. By reflecting the sun and blocking out the slight breeze it managed to create a perfect sun trap which this female Blackbird was certainly taking advantage of. It’s been ages since I’ve seen a bird properly sunbathing and definitely the first time I’ve got one on camera. Unfortunately we couldn’t avoid disturbing her on our way past but she was so contented that we were almost upon her before she finally dragged herself away.
The wall itself also looked to be providing the perfect habitat for many wild flowers. Regular readers will know that I’m not particularly enamoured with this aspect of nature but I couldn’t help noticing the great examples of Navelwort. This is a species I’ve only ever seen in this locality and is certainly one of the more unusual plants out there.
Whitethroats and Linnets dominated the next stretch and turned out to be a constant presence along the entire walk. Gulls of the Herring, Lesser and Great Black Backed varieties were passing by in a continuous stream, interspersed with the occasional Fulmar. Down in the water we had great aerial views of Shags fishing and our first Razorbills of the year, soon followed by a superb Harbour Porpoise. I’d been working through a raft of Herring Gulls when the porpoise breached slap bang in the middle of my field of vision. A few minutes later and it was back again though this time a little further along the coast. The water was so clear that we could still see it when fully submerged, a sight which took me right back to our first ever visit to Rhossili where we’d been treated to a similar sighting. It was too distant for photographs but the memory will definitely stay with me.
A family of Ravens were our next find with one of the younger birds posing beautifully. It was sat just over a low wall from me and didn’t seem to mind my proximity at all.
As the cliffs grew less steep and more vegetated the number of Butterflies started to increase. The predominant species was Speckled Wood but I did see the occasional Red Admiral and Painted Lady. One of the Blues tantalisingly flitted past but was lost from view before we could ID it. No such problem with this Wall Brown which was happy to pose once a rival had stopped trying to chase it off.
Reaching half distance we arrived at Martins Mere just as the boat to Skomer island returned from dropping off its load of visitors. It felt slightly strange to be in the port without actually taking the trip ourselves but I’m sure we’ll be back before the season is done.
Swallows were once more nesting in the toilet block, a location in which I unsurprisingly felt very self concious getting my camera out. To avoid any suspect connotations I locked myself in a cubicle where these two crackers had chosen to set up home. Definitely one of my stranger experiences.
Up in the old Deer Park I finally managed to break my duck when it comes to photographing Linnets, and what an individual to get on camera. The red plumage really stood out in the sunshine and its song was just as loud.
From the coastguard station we had commanding views over the stretch of coastline we’d covered so far, and that which was still to come……