• Mon. Mar 4th, 2024


The Pet encyclopedia

Wedns 7th Feb – Bosherston Lakes (a.m); Castlemartin Corse (p.m)


Yesterday morning we headed over to Bosherston Lakes to see
if the scaups were still present. The three greater scaups (2 females and the
young male in transition plumage) were with two tufted ducks (male and female) in
the usual area of the upper eastern arm. The young male lesser scaup (slightly more
advanced in its plumage transition) was resting with a single different male tufted duck closer
to the reedbed. It was nice to be able to compare their plumage and structural differences. 

The young male greater scaup

The young male lesser scaup

Lesser Scaup

Eleven little grebes were resting near the shore on the
lower eastern arm where a
great crested grebe made short work of catching and
then dispatching a reasonable-sized perch. We’re pretty sure that they were all aware of
two otters that were also feeding nearby. Goosanders,
also feeding in the lake, numbered eight in
the lower arm and two in the upper arm.

did not take very long for the grebe to catch and swallow the perch but possibly
longer to digest it!

Several adult cormorants were resting in lakeside trees, displaying
their subtle but nevertheless resplendent breeding
plumage.  Two local adult herons should start breeding any day
now and two ravens were behaving very territorially in a regular
location.  Coot numbered about 21 or so in the upper eastern arm
but where were the gadwall that usually associated with them here? We saw none.
At the top of the lake system eight goldfinches feeding on alder cone
seed were accompanied by a female siskin, we looked hard but could only
see one siskin in the area.

A single siskin, quietly but earnestly feeding with a small flock of goldfinches

There is something to be admired in the breeding plumage of an adult cormorant


We had not visited Castlemartin Corse
for some time but decided to do a late afternoon-dusk visit to see what was
around. it was nice to bump into Caroline Pickett in the
shelter/hide.  She and Annie spotted the 
great white
coming over – I caught the tail end of it just before it landed
in the reedy pool. A female 
marsh harrier was hunting over the
reedbed and eventually the 
pallid harrier came down slope from
the Gupton area and provided some reasonable views as it hunted over the area,
occasionally settling in the vegetation. A 
juvenile peregrine was
also hunting in the area,  sparring with the pallid harrier for a
second or two on the far side of the reedbed. A few hundred or so lapwings
(noted initially in two separate flocks) were often in air in the valley. We’re
not sure how many teal, wigeon or shovelers were hidden in the reedy pool, but
at least 
10 shovelers could be seen and constant calling of
the others suggested quite a reasonably number. A few water rails and cetti’s
were also heard but not seen. 

Two choughs (a
likely pair from Castlemartin Range) were feeding in a field near Starman’s
Hall and four others (most likely the ones seen earlier in the
day by Richard) were feeding on the Kilpaison side where there was a scattering
of at least a dozen or so stock doves feeding among the large
sheep flock over there.  Three little grebes in breeding plumage
appeared late in the afternoon. 

Small numbers of starlings appeared to be gathering to roost in the
reeds. However, being distracted by an altercation between a patch of rather
deep and sticky soft mud and a wellington boot (the mud won, leaving the
wellington boot owner with a rather soggy wet foot) we failed to notice if they
did roost there or not. An interesting day all round, but we should have been
more aware of the very poor state of the Castlemartin Corse access route
conditions during a wet period!