Just down the lane from the youth hostel at Marloes is the Mere, a lovely wetland nature reserve. On the Wednesday morning, I woke early and, seeing that it was sunny outside, decided that a quick trip to the Mere would be much more worthwhile than trying to get back to sleep. I was soon rewarded: outside the hide, a sedge warbler loudly and energetically proclaimed his territory, undisturbed by my camera. (He kept at it for fully two hours)
I’d hoped to see a linnet pair I’d seen the previous night but was disappointed… until the male alighted on a prominent branch and posed while I took shots. Linnets tend to be showy birds – but this one took it to an extreme!
The highlight for me came when a dowdy-looking bird arrived in some bushes by the water channel in front of the hide, dashed out to grab an insect before flitting back. A spotted flycatcher! These used to be common birds in the UK, arriving from sub-Saharan Africa in late spring, but their numbers have crashed. They were well known for nesting in gardens – I’ve heard locals in the Martley area say that they had them each year until recently – but now have become scarce. (A couple of years ago I was desperate to see one… see here). The Marloes bird was hard to photograph, until it appeared in some gorse bushes – at which point my finger became clamped to the shutter…
The site is also known for attracting unusual birds – including a glossy ibis that has been resident for over a year. Indeed, when I was here last time it had three companions, which have since departed. (I wonder what their final conversation had been…) It’s not a great photo, having taken it on a dull Monday evening. (Better shots here)
Later in the day, on my trip around the Dale peninsula, I was focussed more on walking than birding – but had to stop for this stonechat, which was singing to its mate while sitting on a barbed wire fence, while holding something green in its beak. Only afterwards, on looking back through the images, did I find that the ‘something green’ was a caterpillar. It seemed to be bonding with a nearby female which was also prominent and chatty.