Between us we covered the coast path between Freshwater East and Skrinkle this afternoon in search of choughs etc. The breeding chough population seems to be doing really well at the moment with some extra breeding sites occupied this year. Observations of feeding birds suggest that there could be an abundance of soil invertebrates, especially tipulid (leatherjackets etc) larvae, in the coastal grassland – perhaps helped by the wet spring?
Not far from the coast, it was nice to see two very smart male yellowhammers (one in song) at a location near Fresh East where they have bred in previous years. We’ll need to check the general area again in the coming weeks to see if we can find any more.
Having noted a whitehroat in some scrub above Goodwick last Thursday (13th), they were singing in several places along the south coast today (all in expected breeding areas). There was also a lesser whitethroat singing in dense scrub near Manorbier.
Sand martins breed on the coast in Manorbier Bay and so it was nice to see a dozen or more feeding over the stream above the beach – presumably the summering birds.
Three whimbrels were resting on the cliff near Old Castle Head, but a resident carrion crow took a dislike to one of them, persistently singling it out and chasing it off every time it tried to land close to the others. It was not bothered about the other two!
Lots of wheatears feeding in sheep and pony-grazed pasture fields near Manorbier Camp – at least 30-40 there (a regular stop-off location).
Surprisingly, no kestrels were seen anywhere along the coast today in places where we are aware of at least two breeding sites. Two pairs of ravens were at usual sites – one nest had 3 well-grown young.
Rob Butler from Landshipping emailed to say that he had seen an osprey early this morning flying/fishing in the Daugleddau between Sams Wood and Black Tar.
Some belated observations (too busy in recent days!) at Goodwick last Thurs (13th) of 5 sandwich terns and a great northern diver feeding inside the harbour. A smart, but distant, black guillemot flew across the bay towards the cliffs near lower town.