Sunday, 29 April 2018

Green Heron: Llan-mill Narberth, Pembrokeshire

Prior to 2010, most of my birding was confined to local patches and holidays. Subsequently, I had missed the previous two visiting Green Herons. (25/10-09/11 2008 Hythe Kent & 06/10-01/12 2010 Heligan, Cornwall). 
I have seen several Green Herons during holidays to the US, but the chance to see one in the UK, albeit 260 miles from home proved too tempting. We left at 4am and with minimal traffic on the roads at this hour we arrived in the village of Llan-mill in Pembrokeshire around 7.30am. A fifteen-minute walk followed before we reached the end of the track and the home of Simon Hart MP. We were met by another birder who directed us to the garden viewing area. There was a small stream running along the back of the garden and the pond was situated behind the stream. The Heron was seen immediately, perched on a small branch at the back of the pond. During our three hour visit, it became more active and began flying to different areas of the pond.

This was a very enjoyable twitch, with great scenery, very accommodating hosts and not a hint of anyone misbehaving while on site. The coffee was also very welcome.

After leaving Llan-mill, it was just a short drive to Blackpool Mill, this used to be a very welcome place to stop off and enjoy Cream teas. Now, unfortunately, it's closed and going to ruin. It is however still a reliable site for Dippers. After a longer search than normal two Dippers were seen. The longer search may have been due to a fisherman fishing close to the bridge.

There was still enough time to visit the Deer Park at Marloes. This is where you would come to catch the boat across to Skomer. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time to do this but instead went in search of Chough. Normally you can hear the birds before you actually spot them, but today they remained silent. Eventually, we managed to see three birds. A scan from the headland of the Deer Park across to Skomer added good numbers of Puffin for another welcome year tick. Wheatears seemed to be everywhere here, with at least 20-25 birds seen. A Raven dropped in to drink from a puddle and a single Stonechat was also seen. The only other year tick came in the form of two House Martins that zipped low across the grass providing me with my 200th bird of the year.

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