Tuesday, August 10, 2004

A hot welsh walk

Most of Tuesday was spent on a long coastal walk and the weather caught us out a bit by being much hotter and sunnier than expected. It was a good job we had taken plenty of water with us. I won't say exactly where we were because one of the best sightings was of adult and juvenile Peregrines flying about the cliffs, perching on the rocks and, in the case of the youngster, making a hell of a racket. Right at the start of the walk our first two Choughs of the holiday landed on a gate right in front of us. That was easy we thought, expecting to see more of them during the day, but as it turned out they were the only ones we saw that day.

Also not long after setting out the calm seas and good visibility meant I was able to pick out another group of cetaceans offshore. A bit further away this time but the small dark fins of our smallest cetacean meant these were easily identifiable as a group of, perhaps three, Harbour Porpoise. Grey Seals were much more obliging on this walk and there was one in particular loafing on a rock that would have easily passed for a mermaid - provided you had been at sea for long enough and were well soaked in rum anyway.
Grey Seal (Halichoerus grypus)

Digiscoped with the Nikon CP995, Leica APO77 and 20x eyepiece.

Gatekeeper and Wall butterflies were particularly numerous and several Grayling were the first for me. A copulating pair, approachable as they were engrossed in whatever they were doing, provided an ideal photographic opportunity.

Grayling (Hipparchia semele)

Common Blue, Green-veined, and Small White, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Peacock and Speckled Wood were among the butterflies along with many grass moths, an Orange Swift and an Antler Moth, which landed next to us while we were munching our sandwiches. Several juvenile Common Lizards scurried for cover from their warm grassy basking places as we passed.

Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria)

Antler Moth (Cerapteryx graminis) - on Somerfield carrier bag!

This little chap landed on one of us during the walk and turns out to be Ochsenheimeria taurella, a highly distinctive micro moth and the only one in its family (Ochsenheimeridae).

We got back in time to have a quick look around St Dogmaels abbey, where a Grey Wagtail was feeding in the millpond of the nearby watermill. In the evening a Dark Green Fritillary briefly visited the garden but unfortunately did not sit long enough for a photograph. It was still brilliant to see this large unfamiliar butterfly that does not occur in the Peterborough area at all.

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