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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Wales: Skomer 13th June

A trip to Skomer and I was amazed to find despite arriving at 9.10am, both the boats for 10am and 10.30am were fully booked. But never mind, I booked onto the 11 o'clock boat and walked up to the Marloes peninsula deer park with the hope of seeing a migrant Woodchat that had dropped in yesterday. It hadn't been seen so far, I had no luck either but I was keen to see if I could find any Chough. As I walked to the end of the peninsula, "keeyah" calls meant they were nearby. I noticed a lady birder sitting and watching 2 Chough just around 30 feet in front of her on the short grass here, great views were had, albeit straight into the strong sun. They then flew round the cliff face and 1 bird perched beneath the cliff top feeding by the sand, I managed a few pics here. They then flew around the edge of the cliff face. By the left hand side I saw a load of cattle and made my way over there where at first I saw a Raven on the cliff edge. Then 2 Choughs feeding in the long grass. I sat down watching them as they slowly walked towards me, oblivious of my presence. I admired their lovely jet black plumage glistening in the strong sunlight and their longish down curved red bill and long red legs. They continued to walk towards me until one bird was barely fifteen feet away, photography was tricky with the birds often obscured by the long grass and as the bird came closer and closer it was mostly obscured and a couple taking the cliff path flushed them and they flew a fair way right away from me. Walking back I saw a few 3 Razorbills, 5 Guillemots and fewer 2 Puffins on the sea below. The 2 Chough were then feeding on the grassy edge over to the right. Walking up the hill to go back was tough as I had to get back to the boat by 10.50am and hadn't allowed much time to do it with the Choughs showing so well. The boat took us over and walking up the steps, 2 very close Razorbills, 2 very close Guillemots and a Puffin were seen. Walking to the stop stage, another close Puffin seen. After the obligatory talk from the Warden volunteers, I made my way to the farm to take the converter off the camera. Then headed for the Wick to see the Puffins, taking the coastal path here within 10 minutes of the wick, I was delighted to see a very pale Short- eared Owl fly in from the left flying right and heading for the marshy area by the hide. At the Wick, several hundred c250 Puffins seen. Many Puffins seen standing with burrows either side of the path, spending just over an hour here I only saw 3 Puffins come in with Sand Eels stuffed in their bills. The one close bird, I couldn't get to in time because of the sheer number of people here c40 with one person even lying on the ground blocking any quick access which was disappointing. Several 3 Fulmars drifted by on the air currents, a Raven calling frequently flew by too. Walking around, by a rocky outcrop, a Chough was seen to the left under a rocky cliff face. Around 10 Meadow Pipits, 6 pairs of Oystercatchers seen too. On the way back down the steps I took full advantage of the close Guillemots and Razorbills and also enjoyed seeing around 60 Puffins swimming on the sea close by, but again several people had taken the best spots for viewing/ photography.

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