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WEATHER: overcast with some sunny spells, light winds, top temp 19C - no rain!!

Having spent last weekend in and around the Haverfordwest area on a whirlwind recce (which was delayed due some family issues back home) I collected my group this afternoon in the centre of Swansea.

Over the weekend I had visited areas around Dale, Marloes, Haverfordwest, Fishguard, Cilgerran and the lovely RSPB woodland reserve at Dinas. The weather had been mostly dry but some drizzling rain followed me around on Sunday.

Today, Monday, I collected 7 members of the Central London RSPB Member’s Group at 1:30pm in central Swansea, two hours later we arrived at RSPB Dinas. Along the way we saw several common species, I guess Red Kite counts as a common species in this part of the country? We also saw Common Buzzard, Mistle Thrush and usual corvid species Magpie, Jackdaw and Crows.

We made two stops, the first on hump-backed bridge to look at the River Towy, we all stayed in the bus in the middle of a quiet, narrow lane. From our seats we watched Grey Wagtails and a Dipper.

The next stop we parked the bus and walked down to a much larger bridge over the same River and scanned the rocks and shale banks. There we saw more Grey Wagtails, Pied Wagtails, Sand Martins, Spotted Flycatcher, Common Sandpiper, Common Chiffchaff and we heard Blackcap and Willow Warbler singing.

Dinas woodlands

the river Towy skirts the reserve bounday.

Common Sandpiper on the river Towy

Before we commenced our walk around Dinas we drove up to the dam at the huge Reservoir Llyn Brianne to use the toilets in the main car park. Scanning the water we found 8 Cananda Geese and that was all! On the rocky banks near the dam we spotted a family party of Northern Wheatears, we heard Linnets and saw very little else except for House Martins and Swallows and some distant Buzzards.

Spotted Flycatcher taken on Sunday

A quick scan of the grassy banks and bushes for Whinchat and Tree Pipits turned up nothing, so we drove back down the hill to Dinas.

This wonderful ancient oak-woodland covers a huge rocky hillside and is a Welsh flag-ship reserve for the woodland species Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher, Wood Warbler and Common Redstart as well as more common species such as Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper, Marsh Tit and both Song and Mistle Thrushes.

we followed Common Redstart fledglings around - but they wouldn't sit still long enough to get a decent picture.

On the river all token species were seen again (except for Dipper) Pied & Grey Wagtails and Common Sandpiper.

juvenile Pied Flycatcher, we saw a couple of these and the parents feeding them, this picture was also taken on Sunday

A nest-box scheme is in place throughout the woodland, but by now all the breeding birds had fledged their young, we saw young birds everywhere. It was because of their noisy calls that gave away their presence in the tree-tops and that gave us the opportunity to see them and their parents.

juvenile Grey Wagtail on the Towy

Scanning the nearby craggy cliff-tops we found a Peregrine Falcon, a couple of Ravens, more Buzzards and the odd Red Kite or two.

very distant views (digi-scoped pictures) of juvenile Swallows waiting for dinner from mummy and daddy

 mummy arrives, feeds one chicks and other two look on very disgruntled!

It was just after 5:30pm when we left the Reserve, we drove back down miles of country lanes before hitting the A40, we made good progress and arrived at our hotel in Haverfordwest just after 7pm.

the Common Valerian, the only native species of Valerian in the UK,  the others are invaders!! Pointed out to us by group member Neil Anderson

other species seen over the weekend include this Large Skipper

Common Kingfisher taken at the Welsh Wildlife Centre near Cilgarren - taken on Sunday.

a very poor shot of Heath Spotted Orchids atekn in Dinas woodlands.

Most of us tucked into a delicious plate of Steak, mushrooms, onion rings and chips and a cold beer went down very well.

Tomorrow we are spending the day on the Island of Skomer to look for the odd Puffin or two.