I spent a very enjoyable couple of hours on patch this evening following up on some red-hot intel put my way courtesy of Barry Stewart. He’d been around Cefn Drum on Monday and had spotted two species which I have never seen there myself. Needless to say I’ve had itchy feet ever since and tonight headed out to the furthest reaches of my Patchwork Challenge area in the hope of relocating them. The first didn’t take long to find as a pair of Stock Doves shot into the sky before I’d even got close. Flying in a long looping arc across the valley they were soon back in the same spot but would take flight again at the slightest movement or noise. This made hunting for the second species somewhat difficult and in the end I retreated for fear of disturbing the Doves from what is potentially a nesting site. I have however picked out a more distant viewing point which I shall be returning to next week.
So one success and one for another day, plus the added bonus of a Kestrel pair at the same location and an absolutely fantastic encounter with a flock of at least eighty Golden Plovers. Regular readers will probably have seen my distant photo of several in the last Patchwork Challenge update, and initially I was getting similar views again tonight. However while watching them head west a second, larger flock came up over the ridge of Cefn Drum and flew right past either side of me. They can’t have been more than a couple of metres away and were skimming the ground the whole time. Initially I thought that I’d disturbed them but I’m now sure they came from further to the east and not from Cefn Drum itself. Either way I had just a matter of seconds to register the stunning summer plumage of several birds before they disappeared as quickly as they’d arrived. What a fantastic wildlife encounter and a perfect example of why birding a local patch can be so rewarding.
Elsewhere one of the Red Kites was doing an impressive job of ignoring the persistent attention of several Crows, far better at any rate than a Kestrel which was forced to the ground. A male Stonechat, two Swallows and several Meadow Pipits were having a quieter time of it but I can’t go without mentioning the Skylarks. After so many months of walking with nothing but the rush of wind in my ears it is so nice to have their sound once again filling the air.