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Skomer Part 1 - The first voyage

A Manx Shearwater I have recently returned from my annual pilgrimage to the island of Skomer, having enjoyed a fabulous three days of birding along the Pembrokeshire coastline with my "Three Amigo" friends Paul and Nicola. We had been planning for the trip for ages. Leading up to our trip the days, hours and seconds seemed to pass ever so slowly. It's then just typical once you end up going on your trip it seems to be over way too quickly - time certainly flies when you are enjoying yourself and in good company. This year we had  arranged three boat trips through Pembrokeshire Boat Trips Day 1 - Seabird Spectacular Day 2 - Skomer Day 3 - Grassholm I have decided to write three blog posts documenting the trip and this is the first one to kick things off. The First Voyage. The weather forecast was looking rather dodgy for the weekend with high winds and rain predicted. Thankfully the dreaded North winds were not expected so there was a very good chance that most of the boat

Feeling the heat at Goldcliff Lagoons

One of the Spoonbills getting back-lit by the sun that was starting to set.

Yesterday was July's hottest day on record ever. In some parts of the UK it was 38.1C. Global warming must be on everyone's mind at the moment. I had my first opportunity in a good while to visit Goldcliff Lagoons yesterday evening and thankfully there was a slight breeze that provided some relief from the stark heat.

It was low tide when I arrived but there was plenty of birds to see. The three lagoons have been topped up with water so are looking in better shape than when I was on site a couple of weeks ago.

The mud bordering the island on Monks had Pied Wagtails, Ringed Plovers, Skylarks and Common Sandpipers feeding in it. There must have been plenty of insects around. I saw several Dragonfly species cruising the reen near Hide 1.

Redshank Platform stinks - it really does. When I stood there the smell was awful. Apparently there has been a dead sheep in the reen causing it. I did not linger long but there was not that much to see.

From the snipe platform I had a good view of the occupants of Priors Lagoon. Two juvenile Spoonbills immediately grabbed my attention. Initially they were taking a snooze with a big flock of 150+ Black Tailed Godwits but then they started to feed. One of the Spoonbills was quite obsessed with a reed stem and kept playing with it in its bill. At one point it took off with the reed in its bill, did a few circuits of the lagoon , dropped the reed and rejoined its companion to feed.

The two Spoonbills. They were preening each other at one point and they appear to be very social.

Spoonbill with the reed.

The pair of Spoonbills

Later "Flossy" the Glossy Ibis joined the party at Piors and landed near the Spoonbills. After a short dispute with one of the Spoons it made sure it kept some distance from them.

Flossy the Glossy

It was nice to see Priors with lots of birds on it. The Lapwings were roosting there is a big group and with some Black Headed Gulls.

The reed edges were busy with two Little Egrets, Coots and a Heron. The Gadwall ducks also remain in quite large numbers.

The sky was full of hirundines - Swallows, Sand and House Martins.

Out on the mud I could see from the sea wall,another  big flock of Black Tailed Godwits feeding on the foresaw. In amongst them were a group of Knot. Further along 12 Avocets were feeding with a flock of Oystercatchers. A Whimbrel and a Curlew put in an appearance every now and again calling as they flew along the shoreline.

I stayed until sunset hoping for some good views. Unfortunately the horizon went all cloudy so I only got a partial sunset.

Black Tailed Godwits and a Knot

Sunset looking overt the levels.


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