After the Gull-billed Tern diversion it’s back to Pembrokeshire for part two of our walk around the Marloes peninsula. Part one finished in the old Deer park at Martins Haven and coincidentally that’s exactly where we shall pick things up again. Though the Deer are long gone it’s still a lovely place to wander through and was surprisingly the only location on the whole trip where we saw a Meadow Pipit. From the cliffs we had expansive views across the sea to Skomer island and could just about see the hundreds of Puffins that breed there every year. Though small their distinctive flight makes them unmistakeable even at distance and it was a pleasure to watch them going about their business. Slightly easier to spot were the few Gannets fishing further off shore.

27458 - Skomer

Returning to the main path we happened to be talking about the lack of Wheatears just as a male and female pair popped up on the cliff edge. They were pretty flighty but the pause helped us to spot a family of Choughs further down the sheer drop. There were definitely two adults and two juveniles present with the youngsters battling each other quite vigorously to receive a feed. In the photo below the young can be discerned by their slightly duller and less curved beaks and were a real pleasure to see. It’s always nice to find evidence of our rare birds breeding successfully.

27459 - Chough Family, Nartins Haven

The terrain from this point on was noticeably different from that already covered as we found ourselves walking across much flatter and more expansive grassland. Ancient earthworks (including a fort featured in the latest series of Time Team) provided some historical interest but it was noticeable how the variety of birds seemed to have dropped off. Insects quickly had our attention instead when a loud buzzing caused us to look down at a small flooded area. The culprit was this stunning Broad-bodied Chaser, definitely the most impressive Dragonfly I’ve seen to date.

27460 - Broad-bodied Chaser, Marloes Mere

I was fortunate with the photo above as it only sat still briefly before flying further inland and out of reach. In almost exactly the same place we spotted a Burnet Moth and this pair of Lackey Moth Caterpillars sat on a fence post.

27461 - Lackey Moth Caterpillars

Next up was Marloes Mere itself, a nature reserve consisting of several shallow pools and marshland that draws in an impressive variety of rarities each year. For the last couple of months a group of Glossy Ibis have taken up residence there but we sadly couldn’t locate the last remaining individual. Instead we were treated to Shelduck, Swifts, Swallows and House Martins as well as the singing Sedge Warbler below, the first I’ve seen this year.

27464 - Sedge Warbler, Marloes Mere

Up at the old farm House Sparrows seemed to be nesting in every available nook and cranny with this recent fledgling being particularly approachable.

27465 - House Sparrow, Marloes Mere
27467 - House Sparrow, Marloes Mere

With aching legs and noticeably pinker skin we made it back to St Brides some six hours after we’d originally set off. Remarkably the sky was still blue, the temperature pleasant and we both had a sense of satisfaction that for the first time in ages we had actually managed to beat the weather. If only it had continued into the next week.


J · June 27, 2012 at 2:48 am

Lovely account of your walk around that most-beautiful of coasts. I think I saw those same Choughs myself a few days ago! Out of interest (as I hope to be heading there again fairly soon) how far would you say Marloes Mere is from Martin's Haven (or, indeed, from Marloes Village)? Thanks!

Sondra · June 27, 2012 at 3:13 am

SOME really awesome photos from your walk, 6 hrs is a LONG walk!! I would love to see puffin chicks for sure I bet they are soooo cute.

Caroline Gill · June 27, 2012 at 9:31 am

A fascinating account, Adam, of your walk. It's extraordinary to think that when we moved to Swansea some 20 years ago, we hardly heard a mention of the Chough. It's wonderful when a situation gets turned around by simple conservation measures.

Gillian Olson · June 28, 2012 at 1:13 am

Beautiful collection of pictures, the last one seems to be giving me a crosseyed kind of look.

Adam Tilt · June 29, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Jeremy – always nice to see Choughs. I think Marloes Mere is about a mile and a half from the village and easily walkable.

Sondra – thanks Sondra. Got to make the most of our occasional sunny days.

Caroline – it certainly is. Let's hope they continue to do well.

Gillian – I think you might be right there. It's probably wandering what on earth the strange human is up to.

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