Thursday, February 19, 2015

They kept a welcome in the hillside - First long distance trip.

My challenge took a back seat for a while with a family bereavement. My mother-in-law having reached the age of 93, plus a few months passed away at the end of January. To honour her I took a trip to South Wales, she was born in Fishguard and I had promised her to keep visiting both South and West of her native country. The bonus of travelling by rail was being able to see many bunches of mistletoe near Abergavenny, the downside was that the train was travelling too fast for me to photograph any. My friends took me to the coast where I went on a flower twitch. Yellow whitlow-grass is a rare plant and is also the county flower of West Glamorgan. It wasn't in flower but I did recognise it half way up the wall of a ruined castle. The photo is from a previous visit.


I also saw Corsican pine, sea buckthorn, Alexanders, a tamarisk tree and a dipper on a nearby stream.
The following day we went to The WWT reserve at Llanelli. The Bonaparte's gull was nowhere to be seen but I was happy with many of the regular birds. Little egret, redshank, spotted redshank, knot, dunlin, lapwing, reed bunting, shelduck, black-tailed godwit and greenshank were quite close to the hide. One of the birders let me use his scope enabling me to add red breasted merganser to my list. We left that hide and walked to the next one on the other side of the visitor centre. A greenfinch made its distinctive call just above our heads. This is another one I need for my patch list, but am unable to count . I was about 170 miles away from my local patch and even the latest scopes aren't that good. A quick glance at the feeder meant we saw a water rail darting from the reed bed. Our last hide revealed gadwall, pintail and distant views of some Brent geese. It had been a brief but profitable trip to Wales.

 Thank you Freda for giving me the reason to visit the land of your fathers. My species challenge is now 152.

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