Friday, August 13, 2004

Cliff-nesting House Martins

On Friday morning we visited the excellent Welsh Wildlife Centre run by the Wildlife Trust at Teifi Marshes. As is often the case at such places much of the wildlife was in hiding but we did get top quality views of a Purple Hairstreak from the treetop hide and a few Common Lizards were scurrying about. We then headed back to the coast for the last of our clifftop walks.

The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path is well known for the stunning scenery around places like the St David's area and Strumble Head but I had no idea that the coastline further north and east is every bit as dramatic. That can certainly be said of Ceibwr Bay. The outlandish loops and folds formed by tectonic squeezing of the rocks paint the surface of the cliffs here as they dive in and out of little coves with exciting caves and a natural arch.

This landscape hosted one of the most interesting wildlife experiences for me as the Fulmars shared the cliff with nesting House Martins. The familiar mud nests cling to rocky overhangs on the cliffs and in the caves and give us a view of these birds as they must have been before man provided alternative cliff-like structures inland.

One or two Raven were again a feature here and up to 5 Chough regularly patrolled the clifftop. An adult Peregrine dashed past at one point and the Grey Seals were at their most confiding at times. More Gannet, Fulmar and Manx Shearwater passed by offshore and were joined this time by a few Kittiwake. The clifftop was once again packed with butterflies and in addition there were good numbers of Six-spot Burnet moths and a couple of migrants in the shape of a Painted Lady butterfly and a Rush Veneer moth. The sea was again rather calm so it wasn't too surprising to once again pick out a small party of Harbour Porpoise, perhaps the same group that we saw earlier in the week.

So it was time to say farewell to the estuary and coasts of the Pembrokeshire/Ceredigion border. A superb holiday with some cracking wildlife.

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