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WEATHER: coastal sa mist to start with then bright sunshine all day, with a light breeze.

At Haverfordwest we awoke to a clear sky and a lovely sunrise. Some of the group went for a pre-break fast walk along the river d reported back a number of sightings incuding Grey & Pied Wagtails, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Common Swift, lots of common species but not a Dipper.

We set off just after 8am for Fishguard, sveral reports had come in that a pair of Black Guillemots were breeding in the harbour wall and that was our our first target bird of the day. As we approached Fishguard we realised that a thich sea-mist covered the area, it was rolling in from the sea very slowly. We stopped to buy our lunch supples before dropping down to the main harbour area at Goodwick, where the Ferry Terminal is.

the sea mist at Fishguard this morning

Parking the bus we decided,  that even though we couldn't see a thing in the harbour, that we would walk out on the embankment in the hope that mist wouls clear. It didn't!! However, we had very exciting birding when we reached the end of embankment out in the harbour. We started spotting groups of birds flying into the harbour that had obviously got disorientated by the mist! 

female Large Skipper

We sw groups of Common Guillmots at first, then a dozen Razorbills flew into the harbour circled out of sight and reappeared, much closer, on thier exit. This happened time and time again with all manner of species. We saw a group of 15 Manx Shearwaters do exactly the same, a Fulmar flew right over our heads, a few Gannets skimmed the harbour and our best sighting was of a a dozen or so of Common Scoter, they flew very close to us on their way out of the harbour. We also saw a Sparrowhawk fly over us carrying a large chick, the hawk headed out to sea but soon corrected its direction once it realised its mistake. Back at the car park, Neil called out a Redshank as it flew along the nearest shoreline.

Pale Toad-flax

We listed a couple of butterflies too, Large Skipper and Meadow Brown and we saw Cinnabar Moth and several interesting flowers. The mist remained in place during our hour-long watch, we never had a sniff of a Black Guillemot, we never even saw the harbour Wall at the Ferry Terminal in which these birds are supposed to breed.

So we left Fishguard having had some excitement, we arrived at Cardigan some 30 minutes later in bright sunshine and no mist! Parking near the bridge we walked onto the Welsh Wildlife Reserve and spent the next two hours enjoying some sigtings from the various hides and boardwalks. The tide was high so those hides looking over the river did produce much. 

Black-tipped Skimmer

We found enough to keep us happy and enjoyed the sunshine and the nice cooling breeze. We soon listed a few marshland birds such as Reed Warbler, Reed Bunting, Cetti's Warbler (brief glimpses) we also saw Chiffchaff, we heard Blackcap a Willow Warbler and a Bullfinch without seeing either.

Four-spotted Chaser

We ate our lunch in the Kingfisher hide where we saw a...........Kingfisher! also Moorhen, Little Grebe and Mallards. The walk up to the Otter Hide produced, not an Otter but a couple of Indian Oxen, intorduced there to manage to the marsh, a couple of Magpies were acting like Ox-peckers. The open sky above the marsh held to obligatory Common Buzzards and Red Kites.

At the mallard Hide we saw a couple of Mallards, also lots of Dragonflies, we lsited four species: Four-spotted Chaser, Black-tipped Skimmer, Emperor and Common Darter. there was also Beautiful Demoiselle and Common Blue Damselflies. Very few butterflies were on the wing, a probably Green-veined White, Red Admiral and a few Meadow Browns.

As we walked back to the car we added Black-headed Gull to the day list and a pair of Common Shelducks to the trip list.

Now that the mist had lifted we decided that on the way to St Davids Head we would pop back into Fishguard for a second look for the Black Guillemot, This the Harbour was fully viisbile, we stopped on the hill and scanned from there, we found what we though was the bird, so we dropped down to the harbour for a closer look. It turned out to be a Common Guillemot, but not five minutes later we found the real Black Gullemot, hooray!! It was distant, but ingood light and every saw it through the scopes.

an archive picture of Black Guillemots - taken by Katherine Wark on the Isles of Arran last year

It was now 4pm, some of the group wanted to look for Chough at St David's Head, so we drove up to Whitesands and walked from there. The area was packed with people, the car park was heaving, we had little chance of seeing a Chough, but we tried. Lot of Jackdaws and Rooks were flying around the area and landing near the picnic tables but the walk produced only a Stonechat and Common Buzzards. Plenty of wild flowers were seen and that kept the group happy.

We got back to the Hotel in good time for dinner at 7:30pm.