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