Monday, December 07, 2009

Severn Estuary:Pom Skua

With Wayne unavailable and Dan concentrating on a couple of BTO Atlas tetrads around Cardiff myself and Kevin headed up to Beachley on the outskirts of Chepstow for the obliging Pomarine Skua which had been feeding well on a sheep carcass on the high water mark for the better part of a week.
An early start got us to Chepstow for the high tide at just after 10.00am and following the excellent directions on Birdguides we were soon trudging across the very wet and muddy path along the estuary.
If ever there was a time when you wished that your wellies weren't in the back of the garage this was it !!
We soon arrived at the small patch of reeds where the bird was feeding and it gave superb close views as it continued to feed on what was now a partially submerged carcass.

My only previous views like most birders' of Pom Skua have been distant views from seawatching places like Strumble Head or from boats,not even a "close-in" view at Strumble could compare with the views of this bird.

With the tide rising rapidly and the carcass becoming fully submerged the bird took to the wing,and whilst we beat a hasty retreat to avoid getting cut off it gave us some excellent flight views as it flew up and down the estuary.

We next headed for the Forest of Dean to try and get Hawfinch for Kev's year list but despite a good search at both Speech House and Brierley we "dipped" miserably.

A call into Aust Wharf between the two Severn crossings on the way home was equally unproductive as the Short Eared Owls which have wintered at the site for many years don't appear to have turned up this year,and so with the weather starting to close in we headed back over the bridge to a soggy wet Wales.

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