With so many caterpillars, butterflies, spiders and bees about on our walk from Rhossili to Mewslade you might have expected everything else to have taken a back seat. However, with views such as this out to Worm’s Head that was never going to prove possible and the birds did their best to eclipse even the brightest and most interesting of insects.
Kicking off on the cliffs below Rhossili it was nice to see at least two pairs of Fulmars sitting in what looked to be perfect nesting sites along with another couple of individuals out over the sea and along the coast at Worm’s Head. I couldn’t find any signs of breeding yet but fingers crossed. A species that does seem to have gotten down to business early is the Jackdaw with several juveniles seen amongst the mobile flocks. I spotted one such bird some distance beneath me and just loved how different it looks from the adults. Sleeker and with a much more prominent eye it also still shows signs of the gape which would have helped feeding whilst in the nest.
A pair of Ravens were briefly overhead but the beach itself was unusually devoid of life with not even a single Oystercatcher on show. A scan of the bay was similarly quiet but I did pick up a distant Gannet diving for fish along with the usual mixture of gull species. Back up on the headland a recently fledged Stonechat was nice to see as were two Kestrels hunting together. There was also a good smattering of Linnets whose numbers continued to increase throughout the day. Around at Fall Bay we drew the ire of a Rock Pipit which must have had a nest somewhere nearby. It hovered in front of us before perching on the cliff so we moved on quickly to avoid any undue disturbance.
Another family of Stonechats were in a similar area as were two Choughs feeding at the bottom of a steep grassy slope. Having not seen any on our last walk here it was good to confirm that they are still about. Indeed there was a further trio noisily patrolling the high ground above Mewslade and no doubt enjoying the stunning views along this stretch of coastline. More tropical island than south Wales I’m sure you’ll agree.
In Mewslade valley itself temperatures were noticeably higher thanks in no small part to a complete absence of any breeze. I spent a while scanning the Nitten field which is now in its fifteenth year as a wildlflower meadow but only managed to turn up a few House Sparrows and Whitethroats. It should be superb come the autumn however. Already on top form were the raptors with a Peregrine Falcon carrying prey easily bird of the day. It flew directly overhead calling and we were able to watch it all the way out to Thurba Head where the Jackdaws provided a hostile reception. Soon after both a Red Kite and Buzzard turned up along with a male Wheatear down by the shore.
Heading back towards Rhossili I spotted a White Wagtail feeding in the neighbouring field but it was this male Pied Wagtail which ended up making it onto the camera.
We took a different route at this point choosing instead to walk back via the Vile, an ancient field system which due to careful management is currently providing a riot of colour. Amongst the fallow fields we picked up numerous flocks of Linnet and Goldfinch and were surrounded by chattering Swallows feeding just above ground level. Definitely another place we will have to return to come the autumn.
All in all then a most pleasing day with lots of wildlife considering both the number of people about and the relatively short length of our visit. If the Painted Lady invasion mentioned in my last post does occur then Rhossili could be getting a whole lot more crowded in the not too distant future.