Blog On Tour

This year we decided to have a series of weekends away with each of our children rather than a longer holiday. So this week we launched ourselves across the country to the Pembrokeshire town of Saundersfoot with one of our daughters and her fiancé.

Grey Seal on a boat ride round Caldey Island. Our daughter’s photo
Another of her photos of Choughs on the cliffs at nearby Lydstep. There were but 335 pairs of these birds in Britain as of 2014-5 and most of them were and still are in Wales. But they are only green listed because their numbers are thankfully rising slightly, helped by reintroductions and targeted conservation habitat management. In fact, Kent Wildlife Trust is shortly hoping to reintroduce Choughs onto the white cliffs of Dover not far from the meadows, possibly next year.

Of course we couldn’t be in Saundersfoot without a spot of rock pooling:

Animals living in rock pools are very vulnerable to bird predation at low tide. This Goby uses camouflage to protect itself
There are about a dozen species of Chiton in the intertidal waters around the UK. They are grazers and move slowly over the rock eating the films of algae using their rasping tongue. They are also called coat-of-mail shells because of the eight interlocking plates across their backs
The thin and pointed triangular tail flap on this crab tells us that this is a male. A female would have a larger rounder flap.

We were only away three nights but this was long enough to get very behind with the harvesting at this time of year.

Overgrown courgettes anyone?

Whilst we were in Wales, the bird ringers set up their nets in the meadows one morning and caught a variety of warblers – Garden Warblers, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and this Reed Warbler:

For the first time ever in the meadows, they caught a Magpie. We are now enjoying spotting this ringed Magpie on the cameras:

Newly-ringed Magpie

Another thing that hasn’t happened before is that they caught a Short-tailed Field Vole in the nets – what a sweetie:

I like this trio of photos captured by a trail camera. The female Sparrowhawk is passing the time of day on the perch:

Then, just visible in the top right hand corner, a Magpie lands on the camera and the Sparrowhawk cranes her head around to look at it. A few years ago we got a trail camera photo of a Sparrowhawk taking a Magpie and I should think no bird whatsoever would want to catch the eye of a Sparrowhawk like this:

The Magpie promptly flies off, although I personally would have chosen to go in the opposite direction, away from the Sparrowhawk:

Other photos from the meadows this week:

Magpies generally look very amusing at this time of year
Jays always look amusing when they bathe
Unusual to see a Pheasant in the meadows but this female must have appeared on practically every camera whilst we were away. The Pheasant shooting season runs from 1st October to 1st February in the UK and so she might be well advised to hang around here for a few months where she will be safe
Delighted to now be seeing juvenile Yellowhammer (Dunnock on the right)
Fox with unidentified prey
A bundle of Slow Worms under the sampling square
A group of Gatekeepers enjoying the bramble flowers

I am finishing this week by taking the blog off on location again. My brother was so lucky to get the chance to see a family of Barn Owls in North Somerset recently. He only has a camera phone but his friend took this fantastic photo of them in very low light:

Here are two more that his friend has taken of these birds recently:

Time lapse of a vole being brought in to the chicks
Silent gliding across the field

We don’t get Barn Owls here unfortunately and it is thrilling to see them doing so well over there in North Somerset.

2 thoughts on “Blog On Tour

  1. Fab photos. I am envious of the rock pools. I don’t think I have ever seen anything very interesting in any I have looked in. Barn owls are beautiful. Your brother is very lucky to have them. x

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